Visiting R 94 28

On our path along the family history we also visited a place associated with fun and leisure: the Curonian Spit. If you ever have the chance to go there – do it!

Sand and myth

The Curonian Spit is a very sandy UNESCO World Heritage Site that belongs to Russia and Lithuania. It is 98 kilometers (61 miles) long but very narrow. Its widest part encompasses only 3,8 km (2.4 miles) whereas the smallest part is only 380 meters (415 yards) wide. It only keeps on existing because of a steady supply of sand delivered by the wind.

View along one of the beaches

Obviously there is a geological explanation for the sand spit’s existence. But as usual I love the myth that tells the story of how the Curonian Spit came into being. It was the giantess Neringa who protected the shore’s residents from giant waves a villain unleashed. She collected sand in her apron and piled it up to form a protective wall off the coast. I consider this to be a perfect and logical explanation 😊.

It is a very beautiful spot with wonderful beaches and a lot of bird wildlife. My grandmother used to come here and her brother worked here as an ornithologist before the Second World War. We still have old pictures and souvenirs from that time.

Birds

My granduncle wrote his doctoral thesis about the ability of budgies to count. He was really into birds! He worked at the ornithological station in Rossitten which (when it was founded in 1901) was the first one in the world. The original station is gone but the building that used to be the museum is still visible. In between it looked more like a stable but when we visited a renovation was on its way.

Black and white picture of the museum building
Museum in 1931 (Picture from Wikipedia)
Building in 2013, wood rather pale, almost no windows
Building back in 2013 (Picture from Wikipedia)
Peeking through a fence to see the renovations.
Renovations ongoing in 2019 – almost looks the same again as in 1931

I am sure my granduncle walked at the exact same spot where I stood while taking the picture of the museum.

On our way we had the luck to see a breeding population of gray herons. Majestic.

Gray heron sitting on its nest

Fish (and cats)

Having a personal tour guide has a lot of pros. One of them is that they might take you to really nice spots for local food. We were able to enjoy smoked fish on the roadside. Very delicious!

Tour guide looking through the different options for fish
No, our tour guide is really not a swordfish!

This is something the cats totally agreed with. 😻🐟

Cats around the table with the smoked fish on the table.

We continued our way up the Curonian Spit to Epha’s Dune.

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