Beautiful amber - but is it real?
What to buy: The Baltics have long been famous for their amber, and much of the production comes from the Curonian Spit.
Amber is a fascinating substance, and for me, its attraction is that it was generated by a living organism. Whilst we were in Nida I bought myself a collar necklace made out of rough (unpolished) amber, which is a stunning and highly original piece. It looks as though it is made from those rough brown sugar crystals that you get in very upmarket coffee houses.
A word of warning: it is not always easy to tell the difference between real amber and coloured plastic. The easiest way to tell is that amber is electrostatic (the Greek word for amber is 'elektron' because it creates static when rubbed against paper or fabric). To test this, rub the amber against a piece of woollen material and see whether it attracts tiny pieces of fluff or paper - if it does, then it's real.
Sea amber (such as is found around the Baltic) also floats in salt water. As it is solidified resin, it should also have a very slight pine taste - if it tastes like plastic, then it probably is. Finally, real amber will also not burn - although I can't see you being able to apply this sort of destructive testing to an item that you're considering purchasing!
Indulge in affordable ethnic knitware
What to buy: We loved the cosy ethnic knitware that was on offer at a number of stalls in Nida. The designs are predominantly geometric in muted colours with a distinctly Scandinavian feel. There are lots of jumpers (that's sweaters for you North Americans) available, but we thought that the designs which fasten up the front with clasps were more unusual and interesting.
The quality is generally good, and they were excellent value for money - five years on, we're still proudly wearing ours!
Treat yourself to a weather vane!
The Curonian Spit is famous for its ornate tin weathervanes that adorn many of the roofs. The weathervanes were first developed for identification purposes on fishing boats in the nineteenth century, but have long since been incorporated into house design and feature bold geometric designs in white, blue, red and black that have been personalised over generations to provide information on the family concerned.
If you are of an eccentric nature, perhaps you should consider having a personalised design made up for your family? (It's certainly more original than getting a family coat of arms!). Even if you don't have room for a weather vane on your roof - or the luggage allowance to transport one - you can take comfort in the fact that it is possible to buy wooden models as souvenirs.
Flee Market in Klaipeda: Summer Sundays Flee Market
Since last year Klaipeda developed a new project - Flee Market in one street of Klaipeda old town. The Aukstoji street. The Flee Market takes place on Sundays from 9 to 15 o'clock. You can find old things or handcrafts. It is a small market, but it is nice to see old books and other stuff.
In Lithuanian language it is called "Blusu turgus".
What to buy: You can buy old vinil records, things from Soviet period, books, vases, hand knitted socks or things like that...
- Arts and Culture
"Akropolis": ladies paradise
Akropolis is the biggest shopping center in Klaipeda - there are 160 shops in one building -jevelery, clothes, shoes, bags, interior decorations, toys, etc... There are also few places to eat and skating rink . There is 'Akropolis" in Vilnius and Kaunas as well. This center is really good place to buy gifts. But if you would like to buy amber, the same things in old town of Klaipeda, in some shops are really cheaper than in Akropolis.
What to buy: Shoes and silver ;-)
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
BIG: Everything in one place
There is one of the bigest supermarkets in Baltic states. Actually there is more like big area with small shops for local people but not actually for tourists.
What to buy: There you can get anything you want. Moreower there is one of those places where you can register to diving courses (but they will be not in Klaipeda but 100 km away from there). But in this shop yu definitelly should stop at saloon - restaurant inside supermarket...
What to pay: As much as you want too
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