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  • Day44

    Unseren ersten Stopp in Lettland machten wir an den schönen Veczemju Klippen in Salacgriva. Der Sonnenuntergang war so farbig und der Sandstrand so fein, dass man sich schon fast wie auf den Malediven fühlte.🌅 Weiter gings durch die schöne Natur Lettlands in den Süden nach Cesis. Da liefen wir am Abend den Ciruliši Nature Trail. Dieser führt an schönen Spiegelklippen vorbei durch schöne Wälder und Felsen mit Höhlen - sehr idyllisch.🏞 Geschlafen haben wir am Zagarkalns Camping der direkt nebem dem Fluss Gauja im Gauja Nationalpark ist.🏕 Von dort aus machten wir eine 17 Kilometer lange Kayakfahrt nach Ligatne. Die Fahrt dauerte knapp vier Stunden. Das war herrlich, sich mit dem Fluss treiben zu lassen und die schöne Natur aus nächster Nähe zu geniessen. (Das dachten sich auch zahlreiche Insekten)🛶🐝
    Am Abend besuchten wir Mittelalterliche Burg von Cesis mit Laternen, weil es keine Lampen in der Burg gibt. 🕯Die Mitarbeiter waren alle mittelalterliche gekleidet und erklärten interessante Sachen. 🏰 Am Abend fuhren wir nach Riga zum City Camping. Dieser ist sehr zentral aber die Leute die da arbeiten sind ziemlich unfreundlich. Am nächsten Morgen trafen wir Max und Carina, ein junges und sympathisches Paar aus Deutschland. 👫 Sie haben sich mit ihrem VW Caddy, dem Moby, neben unsern Olaf gestellt. Bei Gesprächen stellten wir fest, dass wir die fast gleiche Reise zum gleichen Datum unternommen haben. Sie starteten Anfangs Juli mit dem Ziel Nordkapp und müssen ebenfalls Anfangs September wieder anfangen zu Arbeiten. Am Nachmittag schlenderten wir alle zusammen gemütlich durch Riga. Am Abend haben wir noch zusammen grilliert. 🍗🍻🍹Und zum ersten Mal überhaupt haben wir Marshmallows gegrillt. 🔥🍡Wirklich lecker! 😋 Am Samstag gingen wir dann auch alle zusammen zum Sommerbob-Fahren nach Sigulda. Dort rattert man mit bis zu 85 km/h auf einem Bob mit Rädern den sonstigen Eiskanal hinunter. Absolut einmalig und total Klasse. Auch wenns richtig fest geschüttelt hat.🎢 Danach trennten sich unsere Wege wieder.
    Wir besichtigten die Turaida Burg. Ganz nett anzuschauen und in den Parks umherzulaufen. Am Abend zog ein Gewitter auf und wir machten uns auf die Weiterreise nach Litauen. 🇱🇹
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  • Day380

    Waking up to someone shouting "Schei$$e!! Alles weg!!!" on a quiet beach-side campsite was the last thing we expected at 4.30 this morning. A fellow cycle tourist had been robbed of everything, taken from inside his zipped tent (inner AND outer).

    I looked over to Peter in disbelief and my heart sunk. Bike tourists are so vulnerable and exposed in any country. The terrain, the weather, the people, the infrastructure... every single element has an effect on your day. You sleep with your worldly goods (typically the bare minimum to get by) separated from the outer world with a millilitre of fabric as protection and security. You want to trust strangers and always hope for the best in people.

    We looked through our flyscreen to see the purple tarp still in place secured by bungee cord in a bike-like shape and breathed a premature sigh of relief.

    Our eyes then naturally darted down to the front of the tent, which was uncharacteristically bare, discovering that our 4 front bags and our cooking equipment bag were all gone. Only the 2 pairs of shoes were left. All clothes, toiletries, pots, pans, stove, trainers, glasses etc were in those bags.

    The slightly nonplussed camp owner had since appeared, made her way to the woods to search for any traces and then called the police.

    It gets stranger...the camp owner called us over to say she'd found all of the bags. All of our stuff had been scattered around and the thieves had been through everything.

    But it was all there..... what a HUGE relief!!!

    We had already assumed it was a lost cause and prepared ourselves mentally for the mammoth task of replacing our fairly specialised set up in Riga, once we'd cycled there in our pyjamas and flipflops that is!

    Since re-packing everything we found that nothing important had been taken - just our good folding knife, my headphones, a pack of COTTON BUDS (yes, what the hell is that about?!) And some nail clippers. Moritz was not so lucky, having his entire valuables bag taken from near his head whilst he slept.

    The police didn't speak english and wanted me to come to them at the camp site entrance.
    As if i was going to leave my things unattended after a theft.. 🙈 They then left their briefcase (with wallet /ID cards) next to our tent as they left and got 1 hour down the road. Glad to be supported by such geniuses at our time of need!

    So many strange things don't add up.
    Why the camp owner didn't tell us at check in to mind our belongings due to a similar spate of thefts the night before - a vehicle was broken into whilst children were sleeping in it.
    Why the camp owner was so blasé about it all.
    Why she didn't give the rubber gloves that were found with our stuff, to the police.
    Why the thieves took only rediculous items from us.

    We're now 90km from Riga, totally exhausted, fuelled by bewilderment and chocolate. Hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight to be able to decide if we buy a ferry ticket to Stockholm or carry on with our route. Our new german buddy Moritz told us of his journey from St P and it sounds like a higher scale Poland experience. Intoxicated truck drivers on the main road, packs of wild dogs on the side.

    We need to think very carefully about what we do for "fun" and where to draw the line.

    That line is in reaching distance right now.
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  • Day382

    Happy midsummer day from Riga where its 10pm, bright daylight and flipping cold!!. We're huddled in the outer tent trying to cook our evening meal sheltered from the wind. Headband, shorts, trousers, t-shirt, 2 long sleeved tops and a gilet combined with socks and sandals are the current uniform for the evening.

    We had planned to stay in Jurmala tonight but the campsites were ghettos right next to a busy A Road. One was in the shadow of a completely derelict block house building with broken windows. Creepy!

    As we were fresh from yesterday's rest day, (and its never dark!) we carried on the extra 15km to Riga where two city campsites are located on a strip of land on a river. The latter of the two looked the least ghetto so we rolled up there to find the 2 Munich-ers we met in Kolka on the same site. Small world! As it was so bitterly cold they invited us into their lorry conversion for a warm tea and an update on the past few days.

    As we are back in city territory that means better supermarkets = tofu and fresh spinach!!! Finally protein and fresh veg are back on the menu! . The smaller supermarkets were killing us slowly with their wall to wall of neon coloured soft drinks, syrupy pasta sauce, and endless processed junk. Hopefully Sweden will be more health conscious and veggie friendly.

    The current plan is to probably stay in Riga again tomorrow, not yet sure where, visit the ferry ticket office and see the city before closing the chapter on eastern europe the day after.. lets see what happens!
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  • Day35

    Of the cities I've visited so far, Riga is the most highly vegetated--trees, parks, gardens, etc. It creates a nice ambience. The center of town is the Freedom Monument, built in the 1930s during Latvia's first period of freedom, before the Soviet period. There are a couple pictures hete of the old town. Then a statue, a gift from Germany, 4 critters symbolizing the emergence of the people through the wall, or freedom from Soviet domination. The some 18th/19th century warehouses along the Daugava River that are being redone mostly as art spaces. And the Latvian Academy of Sciences, aka here as Stalin's birthday cake. The architecture is Stalinist.Read more

  • Day376

    After a comfy night's sleep in the tent pitched on piney forest floor, we breakfasted with a Swedish cycle tourist and exchanged stories for a while before making our way out of Klaipeda towards the Latvia border following European cycle route number 10.

    Eurovelo route 10 has probably been the most scenic of our trip so far, making today an absolute biker's paradise (except for the unfinished bit of EV10 on deep deep sand and the 22km of A road (which has the same size designation as a motorway)) but we'll forgive Lithuania for that because the cycle route building is very much underway. We'll be left with memories of pine forest, sand dunes and blue skies, very much like a Dali painting.

    Today we;
    ...went over the 2000 miles mark(imperial day!).
    ...saw the Baltic Sea for the first time today - very satisfying after 6 weeks on the road.
    ...ate far too many biscuits. applauded as we crossed the border.
    ...found 2 shops in the same village with 10 varieties of tomato pasta sauces which all contained a tonne of added sugar. Yuck. (We have enough sugar consumption on the menu already, thanks to baltic bread and biscuits!)
    ...are the only people on our small private campsite.
    ...are going to try and go to bed by 11pm despite it not being dark, to finally adjust to the timezone we've been for a week!

    Its seems the area we are currently in is well populated by small private campsites each eith their own unique charm and flair, run by old people on a piece of their land.

    The water here, like in Lithuania, smells and tastes like metal...the carbonated bottled water also tastes pretty disgusting (strangely like salt). Thankfully it's not so hot at the moment that we need to drink much of it!
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  • Day31

    Visiting new friends in Latvia, a look at the beach about a block from their home and the Ghost Tree, a sculpture on a park across the street from their home. Arija and Astrid were most gracious hosts showing me their town.
    One last thing--sweiki means hello.

  • Day118

    So a quick rundown on Riga as I am super tired. I am not sleeping and I swear that moving from one hour ahead to two hours ahead is keeping me up all night!

    We headed in today with little (well none actually) pre reading on what to do and see. This is quite unlike me so I felt a little unsure of what to expect. First things first we ate lunch. Most people who know me will know I am not good at two things: 1. getting up in the mornings; and 2. being anywhere on time. We therefore never tend to get anywhere earlier than lunchtime unless we have to!

    Once we had lunch I asked a lady in the cafe if she could give me a map as she had a huge pile. She said no because she counts them .. but helpfully told me where the tourist information was. Map finally in hand, we took a little jaunt around the old town centre, where we found ourselves, until we saw a little tour buggy thing. It said it was five euros each and would take you around the main sights with an audio guide. Having done countless walking tours we thought we would do it in style this time - see picture of model Stuart in the buggy thing. It lasted half an hour and I was too busy watching the driver nearly mow people down to really listen to the guide but it was different and I get the gist that Riga has some old buildings - the oldest being the House of the Blackheads daring from 1334 (but renovated in 1999 of course) - a few cathedrals and a freedom monument that is currently entrapped in scaffolding.

    After our little ride we headed to the Latvia Occupation Museum. In approximately a century the country went from Soviet Occupation to Nazi Occupation to Soviet Occupation. They were treated horrifically, subject to separation of families, executions, deportations to remote parts of Siberia with no food or clothing, being stripped of their national identity and forced to adhere to Soviet/Nazi/Soviet rules and ideology.

    One of the favourite things that I learnt about here - and had heard of in Lithuania - was the Baltic Way. On 23 August 1989, two million people joined hands and the line stretched between Vilnius (Lithuania) to Tallinn (Estonia) to show their desire for independence. This was finally granted on 21 August 1991.

    One thing I had heard of before coming to Riga was a building that is sometimes known as Stalins birthday cake. Why I have no idea and the pictures I had seen and descriptions likened it to the Empire State Building. I was excited as I had hoped it would be like the one I fell for in Warsaw. It was no way near as impressive - as you will be able to see from the picture - but took us on a detour through the market on the way back to the car.

    Whistle stop tour of Latvia completed now onto a new country.
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  • Day267

    Beautiful luxury bus and a four hour ride with gorgeous scenery brought me into Riga in the early afternoon. Wowwww! Another great feel city and super friendly people. Had a beer in an underground cellar recommended by Jana (yup) at the hostel and super cool (beer was great too). Walked along the river to the cruise ship area where a huge luxury liner from Panama was docked. It was 27 degrees and the Latvians were swimming in the river. I dipped my feet in and it wasn't too cold. Walked through the magnificent parks where people were laying in the grass, talking and snoozing. There is a water taxi you can take up and down the river. I came across some kids playing in the city water fountain to keep themselves cool. This city is a hidden gem in Europe and has almost a Swedish feel to it. I walked for five hours straight. Picked up a salmon cheese and chive triangle tart for dinner which was very yummy. I can't understand the Latvian language but there is a lot of English and Russian spoken here.Read more

  • Day268

    Last day here today and so off to the other side of the Daugava River for a different view. Cool and windy this morning so I doubled back to change and grab a jacket. Walked four hours and then went to the museum at the Powder Tower. One of the best historical museums I've been in in all if Europe. These poor Latvians were constantly at war and being over thrown by someone. I spent 4 hours in the museum. Next was the arsenals, along the park, groceries and back to the hostel for prepping tomorrow's trip to Tallin Estonia.Read more

  • Day378

    Over breakfast we decided that we should do a 100km+ day as that would take us nicely to Ventspils, the next big town/city on our coastal tour to Riga.

    Following the Eurovelo 10/13 we were hoping for a designated seperate cycle route that ran along the coast....we got a 85km A-road a few hundred meters away from the sea! Probably our longest, most repetitive road on the trip yet, but on the plus side navigation was easy and it rolled pretty well. Anything dry was an improvement on yesterday's rainy, wet sand experience!

    There weren't any real villages directly on the road so our one and only lunch stop came fairly late and was much-needed just to break the monotony amd so we could actually talk to each other. Whilst sat outside the little shop we met a cycle touring couple from Switzerland, cycling their way back from Thailand. After a chat (and 2 ice creams for Peter) we got back on the road to put the final 30km to bed with a pizza stop as the incentive at the end. We found cracker bread for the first time in ages so were able to avoid eating a sandwhich which tasted like cheese in a sweet cake. Yay!

    Ventspils makes a welcoming impression, very green, clean and tidy. Tree-lined avenues with well-networked cycle tracks run throughout the town. Tonight's campsite is directly in the town itself, its a bit like too commercial compared to what we are used to and like but that's the beauty of cycle touring- differnt locations every day!

    Today's drying effort after yesterday's rain
    The first real building we see on the road today-Ventspils brewery. (We tried their beer today= not great!)
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Latvia, Lettland, Latvia, Letland, ላትቪያ, Letonia, لاتفيا, ܠܐܛܒܝܐ, Latviya, Латвія, Латвия, Letoni, লাতভিয়া, ལཏ་བི་ཡ།, Letonija, Letònia, Lettonia, Lotyšsko, Латви, Latfia, Latvia nutome, Λεττονία, Latvio, Läti, لتونی, Letonii, Lettonie, Lètonie, Letlân, An Laitvia, An Laitbhe, લાત્વિયા, latibiya, לאטביה, लाटविया, Letiska, Lettország, Լատվիա, ラトビア共和国, ლატვია, Lativia, Letlandi, ឡាតវីយ៉ា, ಲಾಟ್ವಿಯಾ, 라트비아, لاتڤیا, Latvi, Lativya, ລຼາດເວຍ, Latvija, Латвија, ലാത്വിയ, लाट्‌विया, Latvja, လတ်ဗီးယား, लाट्भिया, Lettonnie, ଲାଟଭିଆ, Łotwa, Letônia, Lituniya, Lativa, Летония, Latvie, Látvia, Letonùii, ලැට්වියාව, Latfiya, Летонија, லாட்வியா, లాట్వియ, ลัทเวีย, Latbiya, Letonya, Latviä, لاتۋىيە, لٹویا, Latviyän, לעטלאנד, Orílẹ́ède Latifia, 拉脫維亞, i-Latvia

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