Palanga is a small beach town only 30 minutes north of Klaipeda with buses back and forth every half an hour, which makes it very easy to get to. The day I visited it threatened to rain all day, but I figured I could deal with whatever came. On a side note I was amazed at how much other travelers fret over the weather. They constantly talked about what was or was not suppose to happen and how it ruined their plans. I figure go ahead and see what happens before you worry to much!!!!
Anyways, When I arrived it was very cloudy and rain was in the air, so I chose to head for the Botanical Garden instead of the beach first. The Botanical Garden is wonderful, but not what the name implies. It is more of a large manicured forest with lots of paths and benches instead of a flower garden. Walking the paths in the woods or along the several duck ponds is relaxing and then in the middle you run into the Amber Museum housed in the Tiškevičiai Palace, which is a house build in the 1890’s and abandoned when the Soviets took over at the end of World War 2. I found this museum to be even better than the one in Kaliningrad, Russia as they show you amber, how it formed, how it is extracted and manufactured, and the amazing art and jewelry made from it. The other place in the Botanical Garden I liked seeing is Birutė Hill with its little chapel (there is evidence of religious ceremonies happening on this hill well before Christianity reached Lithuania).
The best part of walking through the Botanical Garden first is that it is bordered by the Baltic Sea and you can leave the garden and walk a mile or so back north along the beach to the city pier. For this walk I took my boots and socks off and loved feeling the sand between my toes (nope I never get tired of that feeling). I brought a swimsuit, but after testing the water with my feet, there is no way I am going swimming in that cold of water (I guess I am just too use to the warm Caribbean waters 🙂 ) , haha. Regardless the walk up the beach is fantastic and right before the pier there was a little deck with drinks, which was perfect timing because it finally started to rain. Would you believe the rain only lasted about as long as it took me to have a cup of tea? After that the sun came out and it was a pleasant afternoon. Haha to all those doomsayer travelers :).
The pier was nice to walk out and back on and started my walk along Basanavicius Street, which is the focus of the entire town. For half a mile the pedestrian only street is full of tourist walking enticed to visit shops, restaurants, carnival rides, virtual reality rides, carnival games, and a museum to top it off. Oh yea, there are also countless shops offering “bubble waffles”, which is a freshly baked bubble shaped waffle instead of the usual grid. They roll it and fill it with ice cream and toppings. It was so good, the next day when I rented a car with a Romanian I met he wanted to stop by just to get one on the way to northern Lithuania. He did not get any arguments from me :)!
What a day I had at Palanga. I am glad I did not listen to everyone complaining about the weather. I had a perfect time!!!!!