To and Fro: A Three Day Trip: Days 2 and 3

After a night in the worst campsite I’ve been to ever we were in a hurry to leave. So we gulped our sandwiches as fast we could, packed our drenched tents, and off we went in search of some coffee, and to our first POI for the Saturday – Cold War museum in a former missile base.

Cold War museum

Former Plokštinė missile base, which now hosts Cold War museum (the only of the kind in the Europe as they advertise) was definitely a highlight of the day and probably of this whole trip (Hill of Crosses was also great, but I could hardly tell which was better, as both are definite must sees of the Žemaitija region).

There are only guided tours to insides of the museum-ex missile base. The museum (during summer time at least) is open 10 A.M. to 18 P.M., and every hour there’s an excursion, so if you plan to ever visit this place plan your trip accordingly so you do not end up waiting a full hour till the next guided tour.

The Cold War museum IMO is probably the best museum in Lithuania I’ve been to. It’s modern polish over Soviet times authenticity combined make for a really great and lasting experience. And a tour guide was also really great. A small pieces of her own childhood experiences of life near secret Soviet missile base thrown into her narrative made the tour so much better and personal 🙂

Pictures don’t do justice to this place, so if you ever have a chance just go and see this place for yourselve

a Cold War time line fragment on the floor

a Cold War time line fragment on the floor

plokstine

I was reminded seeing these shafts of those rare occasions when my late father talked about his experiences in the Soviet army. Whenever Plokštinė missile base was mentioned he used to laugh, ‘That ain’t a proper one. The one I’ve served at somewhere in the very north of Russia could not be spotted this easily and there were no tell-tale protruding shaft peaks at all- just even ground and eternal snow’.

plokstine1

control post dummy at the entrance to the base

control post dummy at the entrance to the base

plokstine3 plokstine4 plokstine5 plokstine6 plokstine7 plokstine8

a somewhat dreamy dummy near the entrance

a somewhat dreamy dummy in a ‘rest zone’

plokstine10 plokstine11 plokstine12 plokstine13 plokstine14

a map of Lithuania. White star marks Plokštinė underground missile base, the rest mark mobile on ground missile locations in the country during Soviet regime

a map of Lithuania. White star marks Plokštinė underground missile base, the rest mark mobile on ground missile locations in the country during Soviet regime

a missile shaft cut display

a missile shaft cut display

plokstine17 plokstine18 plokstine19

Soviet propaganda

Soviet propaganda

a cold war propaganda room - Western propaganda posters

a cold war propaganda room – Western propaganda posters

plokstine22

communication room – decoding signals and waiting for the order to ‘press the red button’

plokstine23

my new improved look ;)

my new improved look 😉

plokstine25

me trying to befriend a dummy soldier in full protective gear

me trying to befriend a dummy soldier in full protective gear

plokstine27

inside a missile shaft going down some 30m deep

inside a missile shaft going down some 30m deep

Plungė manor

After Plokštinė we drove to Plungė. Originally we planned to visit an art museum in Plungė manor and enjoy a walk in a beautiful park around the manor, but a cold and really nasty rain started to pour on us just as we’ve reached our destination, so eventually we decided to cut the stay and off we went after just a short stroll around.

plunge plunge1 plunge2 plunge3 plunge4 plunge5 plunge6Kretinga manor and Winter Garden

Kretinga manor boast the only winter garden of its kind in Lithuania. And while the Kretinga museum inside the manor is just yet another museum and there’s nothing special about it, the winter garden is really impressive. Sorry, since one has to pay 10LTL per photo shooting permit, I’ve only managed to make few sneaky shots of the place.

kretinga kretinga1

one can climb three stories up inside this ever green winter garden jungle greenhouse

one can climb three stories up inside this ever green winter garden jungle greenhouse

a place has a distinctive jungle feel

a place has a distinctive jungle feel to it

kretinga4Latvia: A Change of Plan and the Baltic Sea

In Kretinga we parted ways with one member of our crew who had to go back to Vilnius on some urgent personal matter. So it was only the four of us – girls only – to continue with the trip afterwards. After Kretinga our next destination was Pape Nature Park in Latvia, and, namely, our first great disappointment of the whole trip.

After reading so much praise on Pape Nature Park I was really hyped about visiting the place, and I kind of expected it to be another big highlight of this trip. Alas the hype was premature. I’ve known beforehand that a road to Pape was just a gravel road, but I’ve never expected it to be this bad. A Lithuanian outdoors music festival Satta Outside was taking part on the outskirts of Pape this weekend, so after some rather heavy rains and a lot of cars passing on this gravel road, the road was one hell of a muddy swamp and hardly resembled a road at all. I knew there was going to be a festival at Pape beforehand, but I kind of hoped that it won’t prevent us from visiting some places in Pape itself. I should have known better, and I might’ve saved us some time and kept a car mud caked free. Alas I’ve learned my lesson too late, so we’ve wasted some precious time going to Pape village on that terrible road or should I say we’ve sailed through some mud swamp to and fro.

After I gave up on Pape and decided to go to the rest of the places to visit in Pape Nature Park it was already too late. So I backtracked to a tarmac road and off we headed to the next Pape Nature Park destination  – Savvaļas zirgs habbitat – only to find out that the visiting hours were until 18 P.M. (and it was like 17:20 P.M. already), and that the whole horses experience was a safari like experience. Hm, yes. I might’ve enjoyed this horse safari experience for 3EUR/person in a Latvian nature park and all, but trying to go off-road for that after a heavy rain in a Toyota Avensis… Nah, I’ve had my share of off-roading on this trip when I had to drive out of our campsite this very morning

a good, comfortable and spacious car for a trip, but not so good for any off-roading on a muddy paths

Toyota Avensis a good, comfortable and spacious car for a road trip, but not so good for any off-roading on a muddy and soaking wet paths

So unfortunately at least for this time one of the probable highlights of the trip was unanimously marked as a failure. I might yet make an attempt to re-visit this park some time in the future, but in that case I’ll come more prepared and wait for some really good weather.

The Baltic sea, a storm, and a hot shower at last

While Lithuania has it’s small share of the Baltic coastline, I prefer the Latvian one to it. Mainly because there’s no trouble to find a nice spot on the beach where the only people are the ones you come with. A range of options to choose from campsites to some seaside resort towns/villages options also counts as a plus.

Since Pape was swarming with music lovers this weekend, we had to go almost all the way to Liepaja before we’ve found a place for the night. After checking a couple of campsites which were fully packed and there were no rooms for 4 available, we were looking for yet another night in our tents, and they were still soaking wet from the previous night. Yet none wanted to go all the way to Liepaja to look for that sacred room for 4 under a rain-proof roof, so in the end we’ve decided to backtrack and settle in one of the quieter campsites we’ve been to (Gaili campsite in Nica< Latvia). It wasn’t the best option, but it offered some peace and quiet after a really long day. So we unpacked and popped our tents hoping they’d get dry until the night came, and went to the beach.kites liepaja nica nica1 nica2 nica3 nica4 nica5When we got back to our tents, a campsite owner was looking for us. Some of his expected guests did not arrive so he had a room for us for the night. And that was a real blessing as we were soon to learn as a night with a storm with some mad showers of rain, lightnings and thunders, as well as plenty of cold winds was ahead. We’ve spent the night in a cozy and warm room, instead of cold tents, and sometime at 1 A.M. when the rain has stopped we even ventured on a nightly stroll to the beach to enjoy a good old storm at sea, only to find in the morning that were we to sleep in tents two of us four would have ended up wet and cold – one of the tents was leaking madly and there was a small pool of water inside of it in the morning.

Then it was Sunday morning, and Sunday was all about getting as much of the beach as possible. As the noon was approaching we’ve started to pack – it was time to go home. A ghastly rain, which caught us already en route, was yet another proof that we’ve chosen well deciding to leave early.

So I’m sort of officially done with Lithuanian regions. And I’ve seen plenty of Latvia for now. So what’s next on my list of summer car trips? How about Poland? Well, now I have a whole year to think about that and come up with something.

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About somewonderland

While sometimes world may seem grey, in twilight's grey all the colors are hidden. Learning to find those colors is like making a collage from many and many scraps - it may seem hard, pieces might not fit at the first glance, but that scraps come together in the end. If you enjoy what you find, don't be shy.
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2 Responses to To and Fro: A Three Day Trip: Days 2 and 3

  1. June says:

    That missile museum really looks interesting – I’ll definitely have to go there. Sounds like a great trip, overall!

    Like

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