In the land of storks
We left you at the gates of the Latvia... Finally, doors, It is a big word!
With the entry of the countries in Europe in 2004, the border, it has become a large white sign written Latvia and flags of the two countries; that's it! Not even a hut of customs! It died for our collection of stamps on the Passport.
Arrival in Latvia
Thanks to Europe, many modernization projects have been completed, as discussed on many signs: "realized with the help of the European union". In short, some are also underway, as the motorway that we borrow from the start. But tired by vehicles that flip the tape of an emergency stop when there are double, and alternating traffic linked to the work, opting to make a detour to the East.
Quickly, the road becomes runway, we drive only to 10 km/h. IEA... Is that all roads are like that in the country - as we did hear a cyclo? This is crevant, we advance not; We start to doubt... Finally, after an hour on this ground... Phew! There are tar - fright! So not! Secondary roads in Latvia are not on track, although sometimes not very smooth, but they remain correct for roll. Note to self: never rely on first impressions on a country.
Quietly, one discovers the Latvian countryside. The first days, we cross a number hallucinating of storks: there are all 200 m! Sometimes they are just by the roadside, reacting only to the passage of cars, but frightened to our approach. We have never seen so closely, nor so many storks!
The landscapes alternate: fields... grown herbs... fields of ferns... forest,... and new field grown herbs mad, etc... The time is pretty grey but not too wet.
After 3 days, we arrived in Riga, capital of the country. Our arrival by a large Park North of the city is just like the rest of the city: green and very pleasant. It moved in a hostel that had recommended us and that it had therefore booked... And there, concern: bicycles must remain in the street: "that sucks anything, there is always someone at the bar that has in its angle of view!" … Oh no, we do not want to take that risk. others have already seen their bike disappear like that (Yes, René, spoken you – sorry to remind you of this painful episode!). Finally found a solution with the nearby Youth Hostel that keeps us our bikes warm. Hostel in the passage much (Yes, much) more nice and pretty than where we are... Short seldom reserved in advance: we remember why now!
In any case, seeing the crowd at the bar the night we are relieved our bikes away!
At Riga, we will spend a very good time with a small family of Warmshower: they couldn't accommodate us in their studio, but they make us discover places beautiful and non-tourism of the city by bike: wooden houses, parks, cute streets... There is also an evening canoe trip on the Daugava River, the river of the city, and small surrounding channels. Channels, very nice: areas full of water lilies, a very wild landscape, a few minutes from the Centre of the capital. But the river however... of side wind, waves, large boats not far away... Hard! I wasn't the quieter... Thomas him had a great time.
We will also visit the old tourist centre. And take the time to finish the film (finally!) of the Mongolia.
Ah and then also, in Riga on meeting other riders! Kris and Amélie, of tourdumondiste beginners who will do a little the same route as us, but upside down. In short, we spend hours discussing and we meet again 9 months earlier. We also met a woman who had made a world tour by bike for his honeymoon over 20 years ago (1993). She told US about China at this time...
Beautiful meetings short!
Quick tour of the Interior
After these 2 days busy in Riga, we leave! A bicycle allows us to leave the city by the forest; then on the coast we drive on a nice road which runs through the villages. Arises the evening in a forest, where an area furnished with table, home and dry toilets. We grilled sausages on artisanal skewers! In addition, the area is surrounded by thousands of... Blueberry plants! Too good! Told there really lucky!
We leave the edge of sea in the morning, to cut through the inside of the land; There are fields and sometimes the forest. We cross a lot of trucks that make the forth between the forest and the surrounding sawmills. Wood, here is also an important activity!
In the evening, were looking for a place to spend the night. Turn a little, the sky is more threatening... Ah, shelter kind beginning of House ever finished! At the moment even where it enters the first wheel of a bike... the rain starts to fall! Ouch, Just on time!
The night is very rainy, but we are dry, a treat! The dry we are much less the next day on the bike where we take good showers until late morning.
In the beautiful town of Kuldiga, we stop eating pancakes in a small restaurant, where the waitresses are not the amount of swallowed pancakes; EH Yes, a cyclo, it eats! (And € 2 the crepe, we are not going to deprive ourselves!)
When we left the city, we pass by one of the few roads in the country who plays for roller coaster - normally it is all flat! And after 80 km at a good pace in this hilly landscape, you will Jurgala well exhausted; a new free camping site allows us to grilling tonight yet.
The storm per tonne in the night. In the morning, we take mega showers on the first kilometres then the day will be between showers and Sun, on a flat and monotonous road. Suddenly, on file, and you arrive early enough at Liepaja, where it has an appointment with a Warmshower for the night. It is a very nice couple, with a babypriestley a year and a half. They make us discover drive the Russian district of the city: old military place in the USSR, inhabited today by the Russian population of the city. The district has tunes of our French cities where evil Russians retreated integrated in Latvian society and thus relatively unloved. In the middle of this poverty, an Orthodox Church with a roof covered with gold leaf... No. how.
Not far away, the waterfront is bounded by a series of centuries-old blockhouse which progressively topple into the sea as it nibbles the sand. With a beautiful sunset, it's really photogenic!
At dinner, we exchange much, on our respective countries, wages, the cost of living... For example, the minimum wage is around € 300 in Latvia!
Yet a country's past...
Yet one Good bye... and roll in the direction of the Lithuania... which is not the most relaxing. On a good twenty kilometers, traffic is alternated on portions of 1 km: distance we cannot browse the green light time, what makes us juggle between the road and the roadside, the arrival of cars and trucks behind and before... In short, it is crevant nerve!
At the end of this road... the Lithuania!