17 November 2023

Fun fact about Nida

There is another interesting fact about Nida (other than you can land up in Russia if you are not looking where you are going). There is a nudist beach here.

Not exactly recommended on a day like this.

Not likely to see a sign like this too often either!!

17 November 2023

The Baltic Sea God was angry today

Look at how it has already flooded the cycling and walking path. But that fury is nothing compared to the Russian fury we will face if we walked a mere 2 kms to that land mass you see. That is Russia!!

In case you are wondering, that is actually not the mainland of Russia. It is the exclave of Kaliningrad that is part of Russia. We are at Nida – the furthest we can go before entering Russian territory.

17 November 2023

We reached the top! This is the South View

Try zooming in to the top of the sandline. You can clearly see a foot of sand dust being kicked up by the unbearably cold and strong wind! We did not spend too much time there. Like I said, it was just too frigid and sand was being kicked all over our face. But we did reach the top. It is a good thing we stopped there. A few false steps and we would be tumbling down the sand dune side to the icy cold Baltic waters before we could cry “Uncle”!

17 November 2023

Admittedly, sand dunes and I have a checkered history

First time, I tried scaling up the steep sides of the sand dunes of Michigan lake with my friend Aditi, I did so successfully. Except that I blacked out in the end.

Second time, I tried another very large sand dune in Mongolia with my friend Roger. I had explained him the details… “Roger, the sand is so loose that for every one and a half foot step, I am going to slide down about a foot. Which means, I am going to spend too much energy. Mt heartbeat will soar. Being the idiot I am, I am not going to give in. I will keep doing till either I reach the destination or my brain decides to put the whole body in unconscious state to stop the idiocy. It will last a minute or minute and a half. No need to panic. No need to throw water on my face. I will come around and and then we can go down like nothing had happened.” He thought I was kidding.

You should ask him what surprised him the most – my prediction, my blacking out like clockwork or climbing down like nothing had happened.

I faced the sand dune challenge third time in my life – The Curoninan Spit. It seemed like the slopes were not that steep and mit was not that high. Plus the sand was fairly firm.

Also, I did not come to this country to simply walk away after looking at the sand dune.

So, the trek began with my friend…

17 November 2023

Baltic Sea!!

I had read so much about the Baltic Sea in my school years. I could, even then, name all the countries that surrounded the Sea. Although, at that time, it was much easier. I would just replace Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the exclave of Kaliningrad simply as “Soviet Republic”.

It was cold as heck. Biting wind. Which was whipping up some menacing waves. Look at the foam all the waves lashing the concrete was creating….

17 November 2023

Reached the island of Neringa

A short ferry ride later, we drove off into the one single road that runs thru this island. It is a very beautiful island that is only 2 km wide and 100km long. Reminded me of Eleuthera island. Verdant green and full of natural habitats. Sand dunes on either side bordering the Baltic Sea.

Now the trick is to not overspeed. If we fail to stop at Nida (our final destination today), we will be in Russian territory. Not exactly prepared for that this trip!!