Thursday, September 12, 2013

Klaipėda.

Day's end in Klaipėda.

For us, Klaipėda has been the place where we've just slept and eaten while we spent our time exploring the Curonian Spit.


We arrived late this afternoon after along day's drive from Kaunas.  Klaipeda is not a big town but that didn't mean that finding our hotel was easy, even with a detailed road map in hand.  I remember working with Ieva to pick the hotel, the Old Mill Hotel.  From the pictures, I could tell it was located by water.  Looking at the map, I could roughly spot the area it was in but believe it or not, it was clear how to get there so it took quite a few of turning around to finally get there.  The hotel is located on a very small street that's really not well marked.  After having spent two nights there, I now appreciate its *remote* location in the heart of Klaipėda. :-)

There were only a handful of parking spots outside the front of the entrance.   We were lucky enough to score the last one!  Getting out of the car and seeing the surroundings, I was initially very skeptical about where we were staying.   We were right alongside the dock and when you shipping boats less than five minutes walk from the hotel, you might think you were in a sketchy neighborhood but it turned out to be far from it.

We walked into a very small lobby and got checked in.  They had given us a room facing the front of the hotel.  Surprisingly, it was a very spacious room, decorated with contemporary style furniture, and had all the amenities we needed.

From the hotel, it literally was less than a five minute walk to the dock area.
 
That's our hotel, on the right, in the far distance.

We strolled along the promenade which led to small plaza by the water's edge.  Not a pretty view being by the dock unless you love being in a shipyard.

I believe that Klaipėda is Lithuania's only port so this small city fills a big need for the country.


There were a few fisherman casting out lines.  I can't imagine what you catch in these waters which would be so filled with exhaust pollution from the boats, large and small.  The city has tried to *pretty* up the area by erecting some statues and putting in pots of flowering plants. 

Strangest sight.  A very well dressed mother taking a photo of her equally well dressed daughter with the not so pretty industrial backdrop
of the dock.  I don't know if she was able to capture the statue but blur out the background.

For dinner, we decided to go into to Old Town, about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.


Some local boys playing chess.  I love the idea of this little park but it would only work in a place like Klaipėda where the crime rate is very
low.  If this was the US, I'm sure someone would have long stolen the chess pieces.  So sad that I think that way.

We found a small restaurant with an outside seating section.  It was still too early for dinner but there were a few patrons enjoying happy hour.  There were a few baskets of delicious looking fried things making their way by us.  I was tempted to order some but decided to stick to dinner.  Trying to be good. *sigh*

I could hear the TV screens blaring inside; they were set to whatever channel was broadcasting the basketball game.  They sure do love their b'ball here!


Our entrees were so-so.  Best part of the meal was the peach cake which Bro and I shared.  Not too sweet, not too tart, the crumb was tender and the frosting perfect!



After dinner, we took a short stroll around Old Town.  Eventually we made our way to Theatre Square where the iconic Ännchen von Tharau statue can be seen standing in front of the Klaipėda Drama Theatre.


Photo by Joostik (Pieter Joost Lemmens)




I have to admit, I didn't recognize the Drama Theatre at first because the only image I had seen of it was one that had been posted up on the Wikitravel page for Klaipėda.  The photo on that page shows the same building painted entirely in shades of white!  The photo was taken thirteen years ago in July 2000.  I have to say, I prefer the two tone colored building of 2013 - the dark dusky orange color helps to make the building accents pop to the eye.  Makes it look a bit more regal too.

We took our post dinner stroll back to the hotel where I got fascinated trying to decipher some posted signs. They obviously mean something to someone but what??   Later, we asked the hotel receptionist who did explain them to us but there were too many words lost in translation for us to really understand what they meant.



An artist with a sense of humor.  A statue of the Grim Reaper.

From the back.

From the front.

A pretty weather vane.  The warehouse looking building behind is a restaurant.

Just as we were approaching the front door of the hotel, we saw this sight - two guys manually shifting the bridge to meet back up with the street.  They had to move it to let a small boat out of the little harbor area.



Tomorrow, we're heading to the Curonian Spit. If we have time and energy left at the end of the day, I definitely want to explore more of Old Town.

Goodnight from Klaipėda!