Being in Klaipeda you could not miss the possibility to go somewhere in the Curonian Peninsula. Given the limited time at our disposal the choice obviously fell on Nida.
Nida’s town is one of the most important Lithuanian touristic centres that gather every year about 50,000 visitors. Therefore, reaching it has not been difficult even by public transport.
Despite this, I woke up very early to avoid missing the first bus that lead from Smiltyné, the first ferry’s dock just across the entrance to the Curonian’s lagoon, directly into the town passing through the fantastic local flora.
During the entire bus ride our gaze was completely enraptured by the beauty of the landscape around us. Among the tall trunks of mountain’s pine you could see the glint of the sun reflecting on the lagoon’s greenish water and the more you forwarded into the depths of this narrow strip of land the more you could be seen leaping hares and even an elegant fox. This territory which is part of the Curonian Spit National Park (Kursiu Nerija), established in 1991, it is also inserted in the lists of UNESCO’s world heritage site.
The national park takes its name from Neringa who is considered, according to legend, the creator of this strip of land. Further, pursuant to folk tales Neringa was a young giant girl who to protect the pacific lagoon coast from the typical Baltic storms carried by herself mountains and mountains of sand.
The landscape is made even more striking by the contrast created between one side and the other on the peninsula. Actually, if in the lagoon’s one you can see the highest European dunes of a golden and pure white colour, some of which are still active. On the other hand, the Baltic shore is dominated by dense vegetation that hides many types of mushrooms and mountain animals such as wild boar and moose.
The lower part of the peninsula until, the Russian border, is still called „valley of death“. In fact, in that area during the last decades of 1800 found the death many French political prisoners who were exploited for the afforestation of the dunes that were suffering the ferocious deforestation undergone over the centuries.
The village of Nida despite the high influx of tourists seem to have remained totally untouched by time and relentless urbanization that often destroys the authentic character of the places to make way for resorts and hotels. Here, however, you can still see the traditional little fishermen’s red cottages. These were equipped with typical roofs of reeds and adorned with Curonian white-black-red pennants.
Along the pier when are not moored tourists’ yachts and sailing boats, it is still possible to see the typical Curonian dark wooden boats and if you are not lucky that day, you can always go to visit the fishermen’s ethnographic museum which is located in one of the most centric street. Due to the natural presence of amber, that in winter period you can easily find along the Baltic beaches, was founded a real amber museum that exhibits works and explains the working process of this stone.
This little corner of paradise still shelters many artists who exploit its quiet to concentrate for their creations. This is evidenced by the fact that the city’s narrow streets are scattered with small art galleries that offer any type of exposure. Even Thomas Mann has enjoyed this incomparable climate and fresh of Nobel prize recognition, he moved to Nida to work on his novels. Even today you can visit his home that certainly remains one of the major tourist attractions of the city.