As far as first days go, this whopping big 8.47km was an easy one.
It is always a palaver leaving our flat. Bicycles, bottles, bags and anything else and whatever else we have, needs to be painstakingly carried down two flights of stairs. And because of local opportunistic drunks, nothing can be left unattended. However, being a crisp sunny day and an afternoon sail, we had all the time in the world.
We quietly loaded up our bikes, set the camera on timer and took our ‘before’ shot. Slightly over-exposed and backdropped by sickening city apartment blocks, this was a view that I was looking forward to leaving behind. Our morning meander to the ferry took us along paved pedestrian thoroughfares, busy streets, quiet streets and finally flanked the water’s edge on a new smooth independent cycle path.
We had been given two different sailing times, so were a little unsure what time we needed to actually be at the terminal. We turned up two and a half hours before departure to be greeted by Dutch tourists travelling in a pack and oblivious to their surroundings. There were no instructions at the ferry terminal for bicyclists, so we jumped in amongst the Dutch and lined up with the cars. After a confusing long wait, eventually the Dutch sorted themselves out, got out of everyone’s way and allowed us through.
At the berth we were greeted by a long line of cars; having no clear instructions we just rode past them, to be greeted by a smiling man, motioning us to cycle straight on. This turned out to be both our last stranger smile and our last display of simplicity until we re-boarded the ship a week later.
Inside the vessel we were confronted by a collection of tired looking bicycles haphazardly strapped to the hull. We managed to find an old trucking tie and used this to add our bikes to the mess. Next came the hardest part of the day; carrying between us our 12 panniers from the belly of the boat up many flights of stairs to our cabins. In my bags I had our first two days’ food and water as well as drinking water for the sailing. They were heavy and complicated to carry and if I only learnt one thing on the climb to our room, it was how ‘not’ to carry my panniers. I will do better next time.
The afternoon was spent on deck watching sunny Klaipėda slide by and eventually finished with an average beer and an excellent book.
Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Training, part 1
Day 2 – Training, part 2
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 1
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 2
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 1
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 2
Day 5 – Each Other, part 1
Day 5 – Each Other, part 2
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 1
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 2