Baltics. Latvia. Jurmala and Sigulda (Riga) | CruiseBe
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Baltics. Latvia. Jurmala and Sigulda

Sergey Dolya • 9 minutes read • April 21st, 2016

Today was a difficult day. The morning I started with a visit to the

Orthodox church

and the famous Albert Street. Then I went to Jurmala, and from there, driving back through Riga, I went to Sigulda. Then I dined at the favorite restaurant of Raimonds Pauls, and returned to Riga. On the way I got hungry again and also visited the "Big Lido". My day began early - at 6 o'clock in the morning I went for a walk to take pictures of the sunrise over

Old Riga

.

I spent the morning renting the car and started my trip only at 11 am. While settling in the car, I noticed the large Orthodox church (Holy Trinity Cathedral):

My guide recommended me to visit the Albert Street. They promised me unearthly beauties. Apparently, my high expectations played a cruel joke with me. I was not impressed by this street:

Well, the houses are all different and built in the Art Nouveau style. But I saw a lot of such streets and houses. Perhaps, they are unusual for Riga, but I would not recommend to go there. At once I remembered the phrase "Something is better than nothing":

I was asked: "Well, how was the Baltic?". I find it difficult to answer this question, because it strongly depends on the comparison. If we compare the average standard of living, then here it is higher than in Russia, if not to take Moscow and St. Petersburg. And if you compare it with England, France, Germany or the Czech Republic, it loses. I would compare Riga and Tallinn to Bratislava - the capital of Slovakia: such a small Old Town and a lot of heritage of the Soviet period, expressed in squalid Khrushchev-era houses. The vast majority of the population speaks in Russian. On the streets I heard the Russian language more often than the Latvian one.
Only at 12 pm I managed to go in the direction of Jurmala. The weather was good - it was a sunny day. From Riga to Jurmala I drove for 25 minutes. Sometimes I get to my job longer, despite the fact that I work just in 3 kilometers from the house. At the entrance to Jurmala I had to turn from the main road to the cubbyhole and pay 1 Lat. Inscriptions of this were only in the Latvian language. The fact that I had to pay I realized already after passing the pay-office and leaning before the sign "No thoroughfare"!, near the traffic-cops' booth. Fortunately, they were busy with other cars and I slipped past them into the city. Looking ahead, I was not arrested. The locals were very surprised with how I managed to do that, as I was traveling on the red rental car with Estonian numbers.
Jurmala is a resort town with one main street that runs parallel to the Baltic coast. From time to time, small streets go to the right, along them you can drive closer to the sea. Apparently, you can not get on the coast. After passing through a small wood, I saw the sea:

I got on a huge, endless beach with strolling crowds of people:

Life on the beach was in full swing:

Despite the fact that it was only 1 pm, the sun was very low. The shadows were long and contrasting. This is my self-portrait:

After I managed to spy out the land, I went to the Dzintari Concert Hall, known to us by different festivals and concerts like "The New Wave". I was not let inside, so it was possible to photograph only its little part from the street:

A short path leads from it to the coast:

And you are again at the beach:

I really liked Jurmala. There was a sense of peace and tranquility. It is a pity that we could spend there just a little time, but the daylight hours here this time of year are very short - it gets dark at 5 pm - so I went back to

Riga

:

An hour later I entered Sigulda. This town has many "attractions" not far from each other: 2 castles, a cave and the cable car. Only ruins remained from the first Sigulda Castle:

Inside it is converted into a concert hall:

It offers a beautiful view of the second Turaida Castle:

All sorts of goodies are sold near the Castle:

I was especially pleased with snaps with caramelized milk:

In the center of the castle there is a watchtower, where you can climb:

You have to climb to the top along a narrow spiral staircase:

And there is the views of the castle itself and its surroundings:

Inside another building there are things that were found during excavations:

In general, it was pretty boring and uninteresting. At the exit of the castle there is a public restroom for an extra charge. This is the first restroom, where for my 20 centimes I was given a real ticket for visit to the "WC" and with a "control" detachable stub.
Near the castle, in a ravine, there is the Gutman's Cave:

As the saying goes (in my own words), a long time ago a basket with a girl was left at the castle. She grew up and fell in love with a local gardener. They met secretly in this cave. One Polish soldier with his friend sensed about that. He wrote a note to the girl, on behalf of the gardener, and lured her into the cave. There he make a declaration of love to a girl and demanded the reciprocity. The girl was frightened and asked to let her go. In return, she promised to give the soldiers a magic ball that treated all diseases and revived the dead. To demonstrate its operation, she asked the soldier to stab her so that she could show how it worked. Soldier stabbed the girl and she died. He hanged himself out of grief in the nearby forest, and his friend confessed of everything and served 4 years for her murder. That's the end of the story.
The walls of the cave is a compressed sand. They are covered with a variety of inscriptions, you can do them with any stick or car keys:

I did not understand why everyone considers it as his duty to scratch on the walls of this cave his own: "I was here":

The last point of interest in Sigulda is the cableway over the ravine:

Car, packed with people, goes back and forth every half hour:

Because of the lack of time, the whole day I ate pasture, so after dark I went to the most famous restaurant in Sigulda - "Aparjods". Raimonds Pauls with his wife often comes here to snack. I liked the restaurant because there was a free wi-fi and I was able to read the comments to the previous article about the Old Town. Food was very ordinary.
When I was preparing for the trip to Riga, I often came across a recommendation to visit the Big Lido. This is an entertainment center with a large self-service restaurant and its own beer:

The choice of food is very big and it's just impossible to get out from behind the table without overeating:

On the way to the hotel I made a couple of photos of the night Riga:

In the next article read about my trip to Tallinn.
Author: Sergeydolya
Source: sergeydolya.livejournal.com
Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

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