Spending each night in a different place can be quite tiring, so we took a break from the road when reaching Latvia and spent a few days at the beach in Jūrmala.
When I first walked up on the beach there were people in bathing suits to one side and people with coats and hats to the other. 10 minutes later I was wishing for a hat too – it was quite windy.
But it got nicer and warmer every day and we were able to fully enjoy and appreciate the Latvian beach culture with the cafes/bars in the tents along the beach.
And the sometimes quite impressive new and old buildings along the beautiful tree-lined roads.
Of course we also spent time in Rīga – a beautiful city, full of history and wonderful (art nouveau) architecture. Also full of tourists, mostly in groups… and you can tell at every corner that the city lives off those tourists. I found it a little overwhelming at times.
Next stop: Kuldīga, a small city (ca 12,000 inhabitants) in Western Latvia: very charming.
They also feature two prominent waterfalls and quite impressive sandstone caves in a village nearby. And yes, in case you were wondering, we did do the walk across the river just above the falls.
Just as nice as staying at the beach and visiting the cities was driving through the country side on small roads.
Finally crossing back into Lithuania… I walked…
The little town of Kuldīga in Western Latvia offers several superlatives (according to our guidebooks – and they look “impressive” in real life too).
There’s the brick-lined bridge over the river Venta – it was built wide enough for two carriages to pass each other easily in 1874. Not sure what the superlative is exactly, but I read something about one – somewhere…
The waterfalls Ventas Rumba right next to the bridge are the widest in all of Latvia: 275m across (300 yards). They are only about 1m high (3 ft), but who cares about that.
Just beyond the bridge the little creek Alekšupīte empties into the Venta – forming Latvia’s highest falls right there: 4m (4.4 yd)
What can I say, it’s a small country too… but charming…
There’s also an medieval square somewhere in town where the first potatoes were sold in all of Latvia – yet to be discovered by us.