Waiting For Our Ship

By Stephen Ewashkiw | July 8, 2013

3795 km so far.

After breakfast surrounded by water lilies and lotus flowers, the waitress at the Hotel Kintai got me a coffee, which she wouldn’t let me pay for, and filled up our 4-gallon bladder with fresh water.

bikes near a pretty lake

Our bikes in their pretty spot.

Something In The Water

Speaking of water, the last three places we’ve visited, with 100 km between the first and last, have had nasty water in the faucets. It smells a bit like hot springs/termé water, is a funky brown, and leaves a nasty residue in the shower (as well as a sulphuric scent on your skin).

As the waitress was kindly filling our water bladder, I asked about the strange water. She said, “You haven’t been drinking that, have you? We don’t drink that. It’s not good for you.”

So glad there were no signs saying this, and no one mentioned it last night when we arrived, or at any of the other places we stayed. I got the impression from her that the water isn’t bad for you, just that it’s kind of gross so they don’t drink it. And since we drank it all day yesterday I’m hoping I understood that correctly.

We couldn’t find out much information about ferries over to the Curonian spit. In fact, until yesterday, when a cyclist told us he took the ferry from the south end, we’d thought you could only get the ferry at the north end of the spit. So, knowing there was a ferry, we just had to find out where and when.

All the hotel staff could tell us was that there was a boat that left from a town we had passed just before the hotel last night. So, we headed back 5 km along the paved road, and then turned onto another unpaved, bumpy as shit, road. Fortunately we knew the town was only 5 km away, but after our experience two days ago this was 5 km too many.

Sail Away

When we arrived in Minija at 10am, there was finally a ferry schedule to be had. And we discovered we had missed the ferry by 90 minutes, meaning there wouldn’t be another for 5 hours (the ferries leave Minija at 8:30am and 3:15pm). We had known this was a possible scenario today, so it didn’t throw us into a funk.

Kavine Egzotika and the offending ferry schedule.

Kavine Egzotika and the offending ferry schedule.

We actually had a lot of work to catch up on, and the bar at the ferry dock, Kavine Egzotika, had free WiFi, a power point, and great beer, Grimbergen, on tap. So we settled in for the day.

Emailing, yoga class planning, route planning, blog updating, photo editing, banking, and catching up with what friends are doing with their summers easily took up the time we had to kill. We picnicked on the lawn outside the bar, for we had already eaten the only two vegetarian dishes on their menu, fries with fresh vegetables (a Lithuanian specialty we have seen on a few menus) and apple crepes.

purple wooden house in lithuania

Flowers matching the paint in Minija.

Finally our departure time arrived and we made our way the 14 km across the lagoon to Nida.

jane on the ferry in lithuania

Jane on the Minija-Nida ferry.

When we arrived it was as if we had been transported to another world. The spit is only 2 km wide here so it feels a bit Hawaiian as you can feel the water all around you. There are bikes everywhere, making it feel very Scandinavian, there are sand dunes and pines trees all over the place, which makes me think of Portugal. There are big city, monied people here on holidays dressed in their fanciest summer attire, evoking Muskoka, The Hamptons, and Cannes.

Borscht Lithuanian style, with cream and a boiled egg hidden inside. Not my favorite.

Borscht Lithuanian style, with cream and a boiled egg hidden inside. Not my favorite.

The campground is in a sandy pine forest about 500 m from the beach and has a small lawn perfect for yoga practice. We even tried out some of the AcroYoga we know, but we need a lot more practice at these poses. Practice practice practice makes potential.

The wind is wafting through the pine tree tops, making a sound that reminds me so much of National Park camping in North America, the only difference being the people I can hear walking past the tent are speaking Dutch, German, Lithuanian, Russian, French, Estonian, and probably a few other languages… everything except English.

The Ferry Man

There are a few options for getting to the Curonian spit that don’t involve going to Klaipeda first, however we found the information was a bit hard to come across, so here is a brief helpful guide.

The Minija ferry stops in Uostadvaris, which is on Rusnė Island, before it continues on to Nida. I believe there is a campground on Rusnė called Pakalnė, and it is a short ride from there to the ferry dock. This might be a very handy option if you are touring in this area. Here is more information on taking the ferry from Minges / Minija to Nida.

There is also a ferry that runs from Ventainė campground daily from July 1 and every other day in June.

You can also take the ferry from Minija, and Hotel Kintai the night before is probably the closest accommodation, though we bet the Kavine Egzotika, who run the ferry, would let you camp on their land overnight.  

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