Yesterday was the first day we did not have a tour scheduled. It was a beautiful sunny day with an unusual high of 31 so we spent a good couple of hours walking the long white sandy beach. Some of us thought we could walk as far as the old fishing village of Sarkau but being 12 kilometres away that proved to be unrealistic. You can in fact walk that far along the coast if you wanted to, which is what mom would have done with her parents to get away from the crazy crowded Beach at Crantz. By the way, a couple of kilometres down the beach you can stumble across completely nude sunbathers. Something that seems to both titilate and shock Hans!
In the afternoon we took a stroll to the market, which is rows and rows of small stalls and shops selling everything from cleaning supplies to ladies clothing. As you walk along the narrow streets of Crantz you have to step lively to avoid being run down by a car. Two cars can not navigate the street at the same time, one has to wait patiently for the other to pass. Everywhere there are partially completed buildings that have fallen into disrepair because the owners apparently ran out of money. There are very few new houses. There are lots of pre-war houses that stood here when mom visited. They are severely delapitated. Wait until you see the photos. We can't believe that families actually still live in these houses.
After our visit to "downtown Crantz" we went for a swim in the Baltic Sea. Well some of us went for a swim. OK. one of us went for a swim - can you guess who? The others waded knee-deep in the freezing cold sea water.
Dinner was on a patio in a local restaurant that specializes in grilled meat. No one here speaks any English but somehow we manage to order something from the menu, mostly by pointing at things and at what other customers are eating. Sadly for Klaus, Hans and Ushie the waitress thought they pointed to the one litre mug of beer instead of a half-litre. They were a little too happy on the walk home, which was in bright daylight even though it was 10:00 at night. Even babies and toddlers are still up at that time of night.
Some quick observations about Russia. Passengers can consume alcohol in a moving vehicle but the driver must not have any alcohol in their system. Russians are not quick to smile but when you engage them they quickly respond with a grin and lots of Russian words. In the hotel restaurant where we are having breakfast right now they pipe in only songs in English. Mostly light elevator music and they obviously don't understand a word. For breakfast they serve vegetables but don't try and get a vegetable for dinner.
Sorry there are no photos being posted but we did not anticipate the difficulty of browsing to select and upload photos on an iPad. Photos will be posted upon our return to Canada.
From Russia with love.