Curonian Spit sounds like something Russia would be doing. Here it is a UNESCO-listed strip of forests and sand dunes between the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon. Shared with Lithuania, the Russian side is less than a 90-minute drive through empty villages from Kaliningrad Khrabrovo Airport. The Lithuanian side reportedly has more bird spotting, though is considerably farther from Vilnius than the Russian to Kaliningrad. Crossing between the two with rental car by all reports requires paperwork and tremendous hassle, since, well, it is Russia, and also the Kaliningrad enclave is a smuggling conduit between the EU and Russia. Indeed Kaliningrad is a geopolitical oddity, a lasting relic of WWII. Formerly Königsberg of Germany’s East Prussia, and the home of Immanuel Kant, Stalin emptied it of Germans and Russified it.
All of that human struggle has passed over the Curonian Spit, now left to shifting sands, trees twisted from brutal winds, and elderly mushroom foragers.