About 160 km north-west from Riga lies Cape Colka. It draws us in. From the Latvian capital our way leads us through the popular holiday-resort Jurmala and further along through Kemeri nationalpark. The round-about in Jurmala greets us with colorful flowers. From here the road winds through seemingly endless pine and birch forests. Sometimes cars are parked along the road – the blueberries are ripe and are harvested. The berries are on offer at simple stalls in the small villages scattered along the road.
Always on our side: the Baltic Coastal Hiking trail. We notice several overview-maps and signposts to starting points. The long-distance hiking trail starts out in the south of Lithuania. On 72 stages it meanders along the coast of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to its endpoint in Tallinn.
Arriving at Cape Colka, we feel a special atmosphere. We are at the north-westernmost point in Latvia. Here, the currents of the Baltic Sea clash with the calm waters of the Gulf of Riga. Wooden signs that remind us of driftwood, show the way to the beach. Through an artistic portal made out of sandstone we step into this fascinating landscape. Engraved into the sculpture is the saying “Jüras Panemtiem“. It means “Taken by the sea” and is a warning not to underestimate the power of the sea. Despite a beautiful, sandy beach, it is forbidden to swim. The currents are intense, numerous ship wrecks underneath the surface tell a destructive tale. Mother Nature shows all her power, only to treat us to an incredibly calm sunset only an hour later.
A one-of-a-kind sort of place. We show our appreciation by building a mandala in the woods. Emerging from underneath the pinewood trees, the path leads us to the forest café. We discover a spacious roof-terrace. However, dark clouds are closing in and we decide to take a seat underneath the canopy at the lower level. A short downpour proves us right, but only a few minutes later the hammocks are brought back out and the kids can swing again. What a great service from the team! The menu offers great food for all of us: vegetarian cuisine, freshly caught fish and creative kids-plates.
Along the coast we travel back towards Riga. At the starting point of our hike close to the village of Kaltene rain is surprising us. We change plans and head to the small nautical museum Kaltene. On the upper floor of the community house an interesting exhibition is displayed. We try to spin a rope, learn about fish and birds living in the rocky beach area around us and draw together in the kids’ corner. Back outside, the rain has passed and we hike along the coast. Numerous swans summer here and serenely swim on the water.
In the capital Riga we are delighted about a lucky coincidence: We booked our guided tour “Art Nouveau in Riga” on the same day the Song & Dance Festival takes place. The culture festival is happening every five years only, with about 40.000 participants, many of whom Latvians living abroad, but coming back home for this special day. Choirs, orchestras and cultural groups from all over the country meet in Riga to play music and dance together. We meander through the clusters of people and marvel at the traditional clothes as well as the arresting fronts of the houses. Women wear colorful flower, men finely made oak wreaths. One better made than the other, they are all reminders of the important holiday St. John’s Day (24 June) and the celebration of Midsummer. Accompanied by music we get to know the architecture and the streets of Riga. A touching experience.
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