So since Curly buggered off to France or elsewhere, me and my 3 other friends Julie, Ksusha and Katia decided it’s time to explore some local Latvian beauties that people tend to postpone for later and go to Egypt or Turkey for vacation instead. We got a car from Julie’s grandmother, which shared the age with her, but nevertheless was serving us really well and headed towards the coast in desire to escape the 35 degree heat in the city.
Girl and volkswagen beetle power brought us in 3 or more hours to Kolka, which is a point where sea waters meet bay water and waves smashing into each other create nice patterns on the surface. It took us a bit longer to get there, since we couldn’t resist stopping here and there for a picture and here and there at the villages to get some locally smoked fish. So by the time we actually got there, contemplating on the refreshing swim in the blue waters of the Baltic sea and fish picnic on the sand, the weather had swung around and changed from 30 to about 23 with rain and wind and a typically grey sky. However, it didn’t get our spirits down, nor our appetite, so skipping on the swim we tore fish apart in and devoured it in 15 minutes.
Continuing on the road in search of free or very cheap camping we got to one of many camp sites with a price list written in English letters and numbers. Turning around in disappointment we almost ran into a guy on a bicycle who turned out to be the owner of the place. After 10 min cheeky bargaining performed by our cunning lady Julie, we agreed to stay at the place for 10 lats per night, for all of us including our little beetle car.
The place was a 3 min walk through the forest and dunes to the magnificent secluded beach. It had showers and a big pond with lilies right in the middle of the camp site, which might make it a little difficult for drinking visitors walking around at night… Nevertheless we pent a lovely evening and crawled into our 2 person tent for a good snuggly sleep. The next morning to make the day more interesting and entertain ourselves in the sad grey weather we put our pretty dresses on and strolled down to the beach for a photo session.
Julie (aka pulemetchitsa); it would never be possible to make a trip without her, since she is the one who you call the glue or magnet of our team. She brings us together. Also without her cheeky bargaining and wit it would never be as easy and good as it was. The other qualities of character of this independent and strong (lol) woman I will list elsewhere or I will run out of space here.
Katia (aka salfetnica); without her jokes, temperament and skills to notice second hand shops it would never be the same either.
Ksusha (aka kluchica); the laughter and positive attitude to life of this gorgeous lady is irreplaceable and fills one’s life with joy and laid back carelessness.
And me! (aka visstulbaka)
Looking at this pictures now, being thousands of miles away from home and from them makes my heart shutter and miss them enormously. I feel eternally happy, grateful and privileged to have such people that I can call my friends.
Enough of the sentimental stuff! Back on the road – we packed and went along with the rain to Ventspils. It’s a neat and pretty city, which met us with sunshine and crowds walking down town. Surprisingly we arrived just in time to witness and be part of a big celebration. Ventspils made an attempt to build the longest flower road and get into the Guinness World records. WTF? yes, i know people do strange things in Latvia. A great opportunity to walk around in our pretty dresses and have a cold beer while listening to live music on the big stage. The love to raid second hand shops and wear each others clothes made this trip epic dress up week. More so when we went to a local crafts shop where they had old times dresses and costumes, which you can put on and have a photo session, pretending to be a descent lady or gentlemen from “back then”. Normally the shop charges money for photographers services, but as I was there as a pretend one, we did it for a donation. The shop itself is an awesome place, where you can find all locally made crafts and arts. Beautiful “real” things, although not always affordable for a simple backpacker traveler.
Not wishing to pay any more extra money for camping sites we found a park near sand dunes on the outskirts of Ventspils and put our tent out near the wood, which actually was right next to the official camp site. Losers! Feeling the vibe and while being still in the company of Katia, who was leaving back to Riga the next day, we decided it’s time for our treasure to be buried. In our childhood, when each of us went to kindergarden, we used to bury our treasures and put a piece of glass over them, so that next year we could dig ’em up and look at them through the glass. So we gathered all our treasures and wishes and buried them and put a flower on top to symbolise our flowering lives and friendships. The plan is to come back in 5/10 years dig it up and see if our wishes came true.
After we put Katia on the bus to go back to Riga, we continued on to Jurkalne, where very high dunes meet the beach and Baltic sea. After having few red bulls, a quiet evening on the coast turned into hysterical laughter and silliness, as it does. Out of Jurkalne looking for a place to pitch our tent was a mission. Each and every track we drove down was private property, which is illegal to stay on and fines are big. Going past a half burnt half broken stone building we all thought, ‘that looks weird’. A quick turn in the middle of the highway and we were there:
This place was absolutely magnificent. There wasn’t a building, just a big green field and a dramatic coastal drop to the beach, but it had wooden swings, a fireplace and… an old shack full of hay and an old parachute. The owner said we were most welcome to sleep on it which we did. The place had a magical feel and nice atmosphere to it, so after negotiating with the owner we stayed there for 5 lats!!! That was a highlight of the trip and a shame Katia wasn’t there to share the warmth of the fire and cheeky vodka shot to go along with improvised dinner. The full moon kept us company along with a big nasty storm that went past above the sea in front of us. Night was spent in an aromatic hay shed. We got up very early and very quickly, thanks to a massive dog that came in the shed in the morning to sniff around us, also Ksusha got bitten by some sort of insect and got a fat lip disease from it :). The dog was friendly, but a little too friendly, wink wink, so we had to chase him away and failing that we hid in the car to wait for him to go. When it was safe we arranged our mats on the juicy grass for some yoga. It was blissful and absolutely stunning to watch the sun coming out lighting up the grassy paddock and the dew on leaves shining like millions of pearls accidentally dropped here and there in the field. It was a good and early start to the day.
Back on the road to Liepaja. We made it there just in time to see the left overs of a massive music festival that was on all weekend, while we were quietly enjoying Latvian nature. We strolled around the grey hung over city for a little and then moved on away from it to the picturesque area about 20 min drive down towards Lithuania. It was another free camp for us in dunes and 2 min walk to the beach, where we, as usual, had a picnic. Waking up at 6, I enjoyed a not as spectacular sunrise as the day before and went back to cuddle up with the girls for more sleep. The decision was made to get back home to Riga and we took off from Liepaja stopping on the way at some wheat fields to take pictures.
That was an amazing time for me and i am looking forward to the next one, whenever it might happen, 5 years or 10 later. 🙂
More pictures here.