Zelenogradsk, Russia

Trip Start Jun 08, 2006
1
34
87
Trip End Ongoing


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Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday 28 August
Up at 8 to breakfast, Olga checked I still was up for the tour as she had to train it back to Kaliningrad to pick up car as boyfriend had to take her son back to school earlier. Had breakfast but had the shits so slept a while then for a painful beach run. Back to hotel where Olga phoned me in room saying she was waiting - strange, I said I had to shower first. Showered, half way through had to go for a number 2 then met Olga and she drove me to the spit. Museum of beliefs and tradition was shut so onto excellent tour of bird ringing station, where they catch birds in massive nets and ring. Taken round by scientist while Olga simultaneous translated - excellent. I asked lots of questions about patterns over the years (connected with global warming) and where the birds fly. Interesting facts like the farest a ringed bird has been recorded is South Africa, Cranes have a genetic system for flying to Africa but it takes 3 years to kick in so they learn from their parents, Butterflys fly from Africa and can live for 6 months. An artist melted down his grandmothers gold ring and ringed 50 birds one of which died locally so the scientist had the ring as a kind of necklace. They sex every bird but you cant tell the sex of a 1 year old bird, check the fat content by blowing on the feathers and look for yellow fat deposits, meaning they are ready to fly a long distance and they weigh the bird by putting it head first in a funnel and then release it - Olga did that. Then onto the second highest sand dunes in Europe but destroying the spit - it only survives by planting alpine trees. Kaliningrad is made up of Russians from every area forced or chosen to come, once the Germans had been kicked out - the most effective ethnic cleansing in history. Back to hotel where I paid substantially less than Balmore tours. Went for a sauna but some confusion I estimated 1h 15m whereas attendant claimed 15m. Checked with reception and I had been in Kaliningrad for 5 days on the wrong time as there was a 1 hour difference with Poland - shit. Sent Olga an apology email straight away. All the trains run on Moscow time which I thought was +2 but was +1. Went to recommended pub again and got back in OK. Set alarm for 2 hours before train left. Out to recommended pub for a couple then to bed.
Tuesday 29 August
Alarm woke me up but realised it was still on Polish time so no time for shower, no breakfast just packed and got on train. Svetlogorsk is an interesting untouched old German town with an interesting water tower! Train stopped at what I found out was Svetlogorsk 1 - confusion so asked for the centre - no English so made a decision to wait for Svetlogorsk 2 train. At train station like any other beach resort loads of tak, tak, tak shops (Polish Joke). Found beach - must be funny for everyone seeing a man carrying a heavy rucksack along beach. So many trees about cant find water tower. Walked along beach for a few k then off when I saw some cyclists taking photos. Walked up steps and found myself in concrete hell which was actually a school. Walked through avoiding school bus then 2k walk through countryside and found main road. Took a decision to go left and found myself back at Svetlogorsk 1. Walked back on myself and found myself at Svetlogorsk 2. Took slightly different route to 1st time and found water tower. Brought some food and drink and went back to Svetlogorsk 2 where train turned up so I got on and ate and drank. This only went to Kaliningrad North so walked back to hotel by Kaliningrad South. Lots of confusion at hotel where security got involved - they are not used to English people at all. Checked emails, showered and took different route to brew pub where I got smashed. Ran back to hotel through rough area.
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