From Klaipeda to Liepaja

route 10

09h30 Thursday 31st July - Klaipeda to Pape

We left Litinterp after a quiet night with a locked security door and courtyard between us and the car thieves etc. which we were warned about by a police brochure waiting in our room. We found the H. Montu St. out of K. to the Northwest. A marked bike path on the pavement to the right of the road made the going easy except where the road went under a bridge. The bike path crossed at a higher level by means of a staircase up and down with two 300 mm. wide ramps spaced for proms or wheelchairs I suppose but at a 25% gradient which required which required me to descend again to push C's bike up the steep ramp. Shortly after this we stopped to ask a local cyclist exactly where the bike route 10 path left the road which turned out to be just 100 metres away. The first 10 km.of the path out of Klaipeda were really excellent, 3.6M wide hotmix well isolated from roads with trees on either side. Later there were more and more road crossings until at Palanga it is just possible to weave between beachgoing pedestrians. We changed money in Palanga but were left with 200 Litas because the bank ran out of Latai. A local had to translate for us because we could not understand what the problem was.

Several times we encountered and spoke with a german girl from Hamburg who was cycling on her own in the same direction. We also met a couple of local lads just north of the border with Latvia who were cycling south. The border post had a number of official looking cars parked outside but no officers were in evidence and we just cycled straight through.

map of route

The road from the highway to Papes Cakstes is terrible. If we had not paid for two days in advance we would certainly have turned back. Total for the day just 72km. including those 10 km of very bad gravel. Beach Games

The beach and the unusually fine weather was evidently the reason for the excessive traffic down the road. The beach could not have been more different from an australian beach. The water is fresh and cold. Very few bathers would actually swim and then only two or three breast strokes. Most just quickly dunked and then came out. The sea is flat with no waves at all. The beach gradient is extremely shallow and the most popular sport seems to be to stand ankle or knee deep in the water and to play with a ball.

We met a very nice extended lithuanian family in Pape holidaying with a caravan. We had beers and ate wild pig and potatoes with them and watched the sunsets on the two successive nights that we stayed there. They very kindly offered to take us and our bikes out to the main road on the morning that we left. Caravan

09h30 Saturday 2nd. August - Pape to Liepaja

Gil the lithuanian Renault dealer from Vilnius loaded our bike into his Renault people mover early this morning and moved us out to the main road before also leaving Pape to continue his caravan holiday. We spent a comfortable 40 minutes reassembling and packing our bikes at a convenient picnic table and benches at the junction of the Pape road with the highway. At 09h00 we departed on the main road towards Liepaja. The traffic was fairly quiet during the morning. At 11h30 we stopped in Nica to have a coffee in a very fine restaurant with tables under the trees. When planning this trip I had noticed the possibility of leaving Pape by a sand track directly to the north that comes out at Nica and from Nica to take the gravel road to Liepja via Rude and Otanka to the east of Lake Liepaja. We had always left the decision flexible to be confirmed by consulting the locals. Efim Levin was adamant "ONE WAY" said he over and over. After our experience with the road into Pape we were not inclined to experiment so did not really try the gravel roads again until we reached Estonia. After our later experiences I would certainly be inclined to try the quiet alternative another time.

We continued on the main road. The traffic increased gradually as we neared Liepaja. It was not in the least dangerous, just noisy. We particularly noticed several saturday motorbike riders tearing south at speeds in excess of 150kph. We reached the Hotel Liva after a comfortable 47km at 14h30. We walked to the RIM. Hypermarket about 500 metres from the hotel. This is a huge store with an absolutely fantastic abundance and range of food products. Nothing of this scale exists anywhere in Australia. Food is about half the price of food in Manjimup or cheaper and better quality. This includes an enormous variety of fresh bread, fresh fish etc. that we never see. We ate a cooked meal in the restaurant attached to the Hypermarket, the equivalent of $14 total for the two of us. We watched out of the restaurant window as drizzle fell from a grey sky.

Guesthouse Litinterp /Papes Cakstes Hotel Liva