Forest, Sea, and Sand

You may doubt that it is possible for one person to visit a forest, sea, and sand dune all in one day, but I just proved that it is. We are in Nida, a tiny village on the Coronian Spit, an almost 100 km long and, on average, only 2 km wide finger of land jutting off of Lithuania into the Baltic sea. On one end of the village rises the great sand dunes, in between the shores of the spit is forest, and on either side there’s the Baltic Sea and the Haff (half salt half fresh water). The fishing village is a UNESCO world heritage site, and you can tell why when you bike through town past quaint little red and blue houses with white trim and carved roof embellishments. There are not many tourists but it is just prepared enough to host them.

My great grandmother grew up here, and she loves to tell us stories about the old days as we walk through the lush green pine forest on the way to the beach on the other side of the spit. Yesterday we stopped for a picnic of dark bread and butter with chicken while we sat in the soft, velvety moss and built fairy houses. I’m not sure if it’s possible but I think we found the remains of one of our little houses from three years ago when we were here the first time.

We made it over to the beach, expecting it to be windy and blasting sand like last time, but instead we were surprised with lovely warm weather and a calm sea. We swam in the freezing cold water and collected handfuls of the marbled red stones that line the edge of the sand. Eventually, everyone decided that we had soaked up enough sun and salt water so we headed back through the forest to the village and the Haff.

After a short rest, some of us headed back out with our bikes, but this time we rode over to the dunes. We were there just in time to catch the beautiful light as we made our way up the many flights of stairs to the top of the dune. At the end you can see the whole village and forest, and it feels like you are on top of the world. In the places where footprints haven’t scarred the surface, the sand forms smooth waves making it look like one, big, white ocean.

Nida is such a peaceful, beautiful town. I really love seeing the colors of the old houses next to the lush green forest and sparkling blue Haff dotted with swans. Though it’s a slower, more peaceful life here compared to Paris or London, I am excited to see what lovely adventures tomorrow brings!

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