Saturday July 14, 2007

Had a bit of a nothing-day yesterday – or an everything-day, depending how much you chose to do onboard ship – while we cruised from Copenhagen to Klaipeida (pronounced ‘Clay-pitter’), founded in 1252. Lithuania formed a part of Germany until 1919, then became part of the Soviet Union until 1990, when it finally gained independence. Klaipeda (this very small country’s third largest city) got seriously smashed-up in Word War II, and, compared with the neat-&-tidy towns we saw in Norway and Denmark, it looks rather tired.

19-Klaipeida 1Our tour today began with a 10-minute ferry ride from the very busy port (cranes everywhere you look) – then we headed north of town, along the sandy, foresty Curonian Lagoon. At a coastal resort (popular with Germans and Russians) we visited an amber museum for some oohing and aahing and shopping – chased down by a quick coffee.

19-Klaipeida 2Then we took to our feet, and went walking in the forest – up what the locals call the ‘Hill of Witches’, where a carved collection of weirdly-wonderful sculptures was waiting for us. Sounds spooky – but it was actually a lot of fun, and untold photos were snapped of our mad midlifers draped all over these things.

19-Klaipeida 3It was gloriously sunny and hot by mid-afternoon as the Marco Polo sounded its horns and sailed away yet again. So we all sat out on deck, eating a late lunch and listening to the ship’s resident jazz band … while a big, grunty tugboat pulled us out into the current, and a smaller orange pilot vessel escorted us through the chop and spray into open sea.

PEOPLE NEWS: More mad awards were passed out today:
* The ‘AWOL Award’ to Doris W – for being overlooked by the ship’s computer when she came onboard the day before yesterday (everyone thought she was ‘absent without leave’).
* The ‘Shipboard Romance Award’ to Betty S and Bev C – both of whom were seen dancing with tall dark strangers in the Ambassador Lounge.

TOMORROW: Waterfront saunas, old villas, an ancient fortress, and a fleet of giant icebreakers. So stay tuned …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. Don’t forget – if you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ under the title for today’s blog, and type away! And if you want a better look at some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!