The 800 year old town of Cesis took a bit of battering last night and this morning every where is drenched beyond drenched. Despite grey rain clouds looming we leashed the dogs and set off for a wander. A small town square with cobbled streets lined with wooden and stone buildings. Some very beautiful and elaborate whilst others quite tatty but equally, appealing. Not a soul around.
The ruins of the 13th century castle stand loud and proud over the town. This was once home of the former Livonian order until Ivan the Terrible shelled it in 1577. The majority is still in ruins but they have restored sections which include the tower and the jail overlooking the beautiful gardens and small lake. You can grab a lantern and explore the towers or hop on a lake boat for a few Euros and float around with the ducks.
Or just wander around and gaze at the Orthodox church on the hill.
All in all rather pleasant and beautiful. Back towards the main road to the new castle, the former house of the family of Earls Von Sievers. Inside the towns art museum and varying exhibitions but we didn’t bother as the dudes said no.
Across the road May Park with a lovely lake and a rare black swan. Don’t think we have seen a black swan before but looks ever so elegant. This 19th century park had more nice gardens, plenty flowers and a few fountains. The Latvians do like their gardens and they are all beautifully decorated. The heavy, grey rain clouds appear and on the way back to Vin, we took shelter from an instant down pour. When the rain eases we tramp over the sodden grass and water logged car park. We dry the dogs and warm up with a nice brew before we sit and watch the world go by.
Our Bumble Verdict: Cesis, not much to the town but the castle and parks aee well worth a toot.
Once the rain stopped we set off to Araisi through beautiful forests, meadows and farmsteads. It wasn’t a long drive but enough for the bed to start squeaking..loudly. Once in Araisi the rain clouds moved and blue sky returned. Craig took the opportunity to investigate and eliminate the squeaking overhead bed. Armed with a small but perfectly adequate tool box, he disassembled the plastic side arm covering and shaved off a few millimetres of the chaffing plastic. Lets hope that solved the squeak.
Araisi lake is now home to the ruins of a 9th century fortress after archaeologist for the remains on the bottom of the lake. Entrance to the site is €2 and includes access to a dozen wooden buildings with bark roofs. All in all in takes around an hour to walk around the lake and buildings.
We sat with a cup of coffee watching folk arrive in their car. Not loads of people just the odd few to form a nice trickle of visitors, creating a sense of interest. Pace of life in Latvia is gentle and with the sunlight twinkling on the brown lily pad pond, feet on dash, our eye lids become heavy. Time to make tracks and find a spot for tonight before day closes in.
Our Bumble Verdict: Araisi, simple little place and nice for a walk around.
We moved on a few kilometres to a nice quiet spot opposite the Toraida estate. We joined an Australian camper, tucked away behind an old Granary Store…until at 11pm when 2 campers turned up with 500 kids that played until early hours of the morning.
Our sleepy spot: Turaida, nice wild camping spot over looking a small lake and fields with Tiraide reserve park to the side and ready to explore tomorrow.
Wild Camping GPS position N057.065415 E024.400646
Route: Cesis to Turaida