Saturday, 18 July 2015
Riga to Cesis
Walking round Riga, Latvian museum of occupation, bicycle museum in Saulkrasti and fine castle in Sigulda, Cesis youth on Saturday night.
Walked around Riga old town with the group, going down narrow streets with houses of all ages and large Lutheran churches. There is also other architecture including a huge Art Deco building from the 1950 that was known as Stalin's tooth, KGB buildings and government buildings. I then went into the Museum of the Occupation which is in a very modern building. It had interesting displays about the various occupations and the hope that the partisans had that Latvia would be freed. They also brought out how many Latvian professionals left during WW2, going to the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. They also showed the genocide of the Jewish population which was substantial in Riga.
In the central square was a display of photos about the summer Baltic folk festival.
We had lunch at Saulkrasti village close to the beach and went down to the beach where we saw Latvians having wedding photos with posies of cornflowers and oak leaves. I browsed through a wonderful bicycle museum in someone's back garden with two rooms with over 100 bikes, sad that no one else had been interested, even though we are on a biking tour.
Lovely afternoon ride through gentler rolling countryside, the fields were different shades of green with different crops , barley, wheat, rye, the countryside looks rather empty with few villages and I wonder if there are enough people to tend the farms.
Had a nice cafe stop with an espresso and a bowl of wild berries on cream.
We visited a medium sized castle Sigulda atop a small valley with a huge internal keep . A watchtower to defend the approach and now a large stage for open air concerts. It spoke of wealth but not ostentatious wealth.
Reached Cesis. For the evening, checked into a grand looking hotel, I then wandered around the town and had supper of beetroot soup and salmon salad in an open air cafe.