Monday, July 11, 2011

Baltic babies beach bonanza

Mantas picked us up at 0700. Saulius was a tired little boy and hard to wake up but was thrilled with the car ride. He knew he was going to see Gustus again and couldn't wait. We drove an hour back to Kaunas to swap to a bigger car that Mantas was able to borrow from a friend, and loaded up all 7 of us. Kristina was wedged in so tight in the back, I wasn't sure she'd be able to get out. The luggage was stuffed into every empty spot. Luckily Gustus' and Saulius' little legs were so short we could fill the foot wells of their seats. We then headed off for the 3 hour drive to the beach. We had a short driving tour of the beach area. It's amazing how all the beach areas look similar - little beach houses that have been there forever next to big new mansions, beach shops with the usual collection of t- shirts/beach supplies/popcorn/cotton candy. We went to Smetova which would be like our Bethany Beach - family oriented. They are very smart here, there is no boardwalk or any development right on the beach. There is a good sized buffer of mature trees and sand dunes which keeps their beach from eroding. We stayed at a bungalow compound that they have visited often. They are little clusters of one-story houses with several units each. Some units have private bathrooms, others share a bathroom and there is a communal kitchen. We got there a little early for check in and our room wasn't quite ready. While we were waiting we went for a walk to the beach just to see it. Saulius couldn't wait and went wading immediately. He got soaking wet and was shivering. We dried him off and wrapped him in a towel. Fortunately he was wearing shorts that dried quickly. We all had lunch at an outside cafe which was delicious! We headed back to the bungalow to move in and get our suits on. The bed had a spring that was broken, so they fixed that right away. Sauilus loved watching the repair man.

Veronica's cousin Ramune and daughter Inga joined us for more beach time. They drove up the coast from Klaipaidia where they are home for the summer from Germany.

The weather was overcast with a cool breeze. We then made a quick trip back to the beach this time in a bathing suit. Saulius loved splashing in the water, kicking his legs in the surf, and sitting in the waves as they hit the shore. He wasn't in the water long before he turned blue and shivered constantly. This time were prepared better and changed him into dry clothes right away to play in the sand. We just kept doing that every time he got wet and he stayed much warmer.

After finishing up at the beach, we walked back through the usual beach retail area with souvenir shops, all sorts of ice cream and treats, lots of local smoked fish places. Ramune headed home and invited us to stop by for coffee on our way home.

We were treated to a grilled dinner outside - chicken, beef, sausage, rice, and vegetables with lovely smoked fish, then celebrated with 2 bottles of champagne for Mantas' pre-birthday and our going away. Mantas, Kristina, and Gustas presented us with gifts - a CD of pictures from our trip and Lithuanian stories/kids songs, a t-shirt for John about good beer and beautiful women in Lithuania, some pictures from Mantas' wedding to Kristina, and a jar of honey. The adults must have stayed up too late, because Gustas started crying in his room, and the neighbors almost called the police.

The next day, we ate sausages and veggies, including fresh peas in the pod, for breakfast after Kristina's parents made a surprise visit for Mantas 30th birthday - breakfast dessert was pastries, chocolates and champagne. They also brought roses and gave Mantas a certificate for a hot air balloon ride for his birthday. After that wonderful meal, we packed up our things in the bungalow, and loaded up the car. We then spent most of the afternoon at beach. The sun was definitely out on our second day. Everyone enjoyed a snack on the beach, the water, and playing with the sand. Kristina's parents spent the day on the beach with us also. It was so nice to have them there and they were so kind to play with Saulius.

We had lunch at nice cafe after walking off the beach. Mantas drove us to Klaipaidia to visit Ramune and her family. We were greeted with smiles and a beautiful assortment of teas and pastries in garden. Saulius wasn't interested in the pastries so her mom picked fresh wild strawberries and purple gooseberries for him - he is getting so spoiled. They had lots of toys in the garden including a kiddie pool with water toys. I thought Saulius would never be able to leave. Her family has beautiful big house, with a smaller house in the garden, garage, and amazing garden with fruit trees, berry bushes, veggies, flowers and two greenhouses. Her parents live on the first floor of the main house, her sister and brother-in-laws with their two boys live on the second floor. Ramane and her daughter live in the guest house. Her husband will join them later in the summer for vacation. It was getting late, so we drove straight back to Vilnius - 2.5 hours and said our goodbyes. Kristina was able to nap a little as was Emma. The boys just played, snacked on veggies and crackers. Mantas drove his family back to Kaunas. We unpacked our things from the beach first, and then it was bath time for Saulius and Mom. We got two loads of laundry done and put out to dry. Lithuania won the World basketball championship, which lead to lots of horn honking and celebrating. Happily it did not last too long. So, with that the Baltic Babies settled in for the night.

Walking to the beach

First time we see the beach!

It's a little chilly!

The caterpillar was so fascinating.

Ramune joins us for the beach.

Muscle men!

Really mom and dad, I'm not cold, honest, let me go back in!

I need granddad to help with this construction project.

Flirting with Inga.

Ramune and Inga.

All the boys.

Cooking dinner.

What a feast!

Happy birthday!

Where is everyone?

Everyone at the beach.

Soaking up some rays.

Nap time.


Ramune's brother in law and nephew


1 comment:

  1. Veronica, John, and Saulius, We all have loved being with you on this journey. What a beginning to an awesome life together. How can we ever thank you for sharing and posting a gazillion pictures. We were all with you and can't wait to meet you and your son after the settling in period. Have a smooth trip home. CB and Burr