Svetlogorsk

Svetlogorsk.
Svetlogorsk is a resort and spa town on the Baltic Sea. It was recognized as a fishermen settlement in 1258. The original name underwent many changes until it became known as Rauschen, a small German resort town. In 1946 it became part of Kaliningrad, former Konigsberg region. It is about 40 kilometers away from the airport; the roads are excellent, our transfer bus took just half an hour to reach the conference venue.
The main industries here are tourism, health and spa, fishing and of course the famous amber collection and production. We have seen some women wading in the cold water near the shore with their equipment looking for that beautiful natural gemstone which is actually solidified ancient sap, often with some grains of sand or even insects embedded in them. Its color is all shades of transparent yellow-gold and can be almost black. Amber is to be found only in the Baltic area. It is forbidden to go deeper into the water or to dig or to use any machinery. One can only search for it in the waves in the same way as the ancients did, by hand.
A lot of the old settlement survived all the wars and changes. There are very pretty residential areas with nice detached houses surrounded by beautiful gardens and sturdy fences. I stretched my hand with the camera in between the metal pokes to snap some pictures. Walking along a lovely shaded road we found the old railway station which was opened by the decree of the King of Prussia in the 19th century. Then we saw the old cable way with its quaint little bright yellow cabins and used it to get down to the sea. Surprisingly the coast is quite high. Rather than climbing the stairs up and down we went on a ride which was no mean feat since the cars of,course never stop. One has to jump in and out of them while they are slowly moving. It is 118 meters down to the shore. We walked on the fine almost white sand and enjoyed the beautiful views. The shore is very green, there are maples, chestnuts, pines, birches and oaks growing among the beautiful shrubbery. Every hotel and spa is surrounded by well-tended quite extensive gardens. There are play areas for children and benches around the fountains where older people may sit and enjoy the balmy weather. The humidity is rather high, over 90%. In the morning our clothes felt a bit wet, but once the sun came out everything dried up really fast.
There are lots of cafés and restaurants as well as all manner of shops. Amber souvenirs are to be found at every corner, with the prices ranging from a couple euros per piece (obviously fake) to about a thousand for real jewelry. Studying a shop window or counter is much better than visiting a museum. Amber is a very bright stone, like a drop of the Sun. It creates an image of warmth and beauty and is believed to bring good luck to its wearer. Walking in a different direction one can come to the beautiful area around Lake Tikhoe; the literal translation is Lake Placid.
Food is very tasty and fresh, with lots of fish and seafood, wonderful cheese, breads and desserts. To sum up, the place proved to be quite a nice revelation.

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