We really managed to get up earlier than usual on day 74; at 7.00 AM we were outside of the apartment, ready to go. We caught the early ferry to Smyltinė, and after only 15 minutes voyage, we landed on the Curonian Spit, a 98 km long and 1-3 km wide strip of sand, separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. We had a last look back to the mainland, before we started exploring the Spit.
At first, we followed the bicycle trail going through the entire length of Neringa, as the Curonian Spit is called in Lithuania. Then we remembered that hikers can go to places difficult to reach for cyclists and took the next access to the beach.
After the beautiful walk at the Baltic coast, we crossed the 1 km width to the Curonian lagoon, where we met Thomas and Ines for a farewell coffee.
For the rest of our hike in Neringa, we stayed on the bicycle path. As the day advanced, more and more bicycles went past us, because this is probably the most popular bicycle route in the Baltics. Still, it was much more pleasant than hiking on the busy road. We spent the night in a nice little hotel in Juodkrantė, where the old-fashioned beach promenade fortunately covers the concrete holiday apartments in the background.
Our objective for day 75 was to reach the village of Pervalka at around 15 km distance. As we were still fresh and energetic in the morning, we first went up and down in Juodkrantė’s sculpture park. The detour took a bit ouf our daily energy resources, but added a lot of interesting sights (unfortunately, the two gentleman in the park did not carry our backpacks):
Trying to avoid the main road, we found a small path in the forest which ended up leading in the wrong direction. After a bit of creative hiking, we followed a path that would take us back to the road. We heard some funny sounds which grew louder as we went on – something like one wild animal attacking another. Suddenly we noticed that everything was white and dry around us, and remembered that we had seen that before in Estonia. Looking up we saw that the trees – almost without leaves – were home to a huge colony of cormorants.
The next attraction on our walk were the Grey Dunes. Of course we had to follow the path leading up to the dunes which once had swallowed an entire fishing village and now presented some breathtaking sights.
So our 15 km hike had turned into a 20 km one with a lot of climbing. Before reaching the village of Pervalka, we took a last break to have enough energy to look for accommodation. We went to the first apartment rental we saw and to our surprise, the owner was expecting us already. He had noticed us sitting on the bench in front of the village and concluded that we might show up looking for a room. This is how we got the last room available!
We really liked Pervalka, a charming village, much more quiet and intimate than Juodkrantė.
On day 76 we walked the last stretch on the Lithuanian side of the Curonian Spit. Our hike finished in Nida, the busiest town in Neringa. Despite a lot of helpful information in the tourist information (and free WiFi!), we had a hard time finding affordable accommodation. At some point, José went for a walk around town to find something. This magic trick worked, as he managed to get a hotel room at hostel rate. Something was supposed to be missing in the room, but we couldn’t figure out what.
On our last evening in Lithuania, we enjoyed the scenery around the port and had dinner with our favorite Lithuanian beers.
Then we packed up and got our passports ready – we were going to cross the border to Russia the next day!