Hurray, a spot of sunshine. We moved to the main car and paid our €3.50 to an unauthorised looking person before heading to the gates of the estate. Entry fee to the Turaida Estare is €5 pp and dogs permitted. Mac n Tosh were well chuffed. For the next few hours we wandered around the grounds of the estate looking at the castle, the jail, various museums, church, sculpture park and endless apple orchards.
The historical centre of Turaida started to develop in the 11th century when the wooden castle of the Gauja Livs was built on the Turaida Hill Fort. Near the castle on Jelgavkalns Hill of Dainas (where the statues are) the village of the Livs was established. The ancient name for the area is “Garden of the God Thor”.
We exit the last building on the estate, the fish house, we look up as the skies darken and we have just enough time to dart across the gardens to the car park as the first rain drop falls from above. For a few hours their is nothing much we can do but sit, eat, drink and chill. The dudes woof their biscuits before curling up in their basket for a snooze.
Our Bumble Verdict: Turaida, great value for your money and easy to spend a good half a day or more in and around the building and estate grounds.
A break in the weather, so we make a move via Surgeda. A pretty town with parks and children’s play areas but more a good base for exploring the area. Unfortunately, the bed started squeaking again but this time from a different place. We had a quick look, checked and tightened all the bed bolts the did the wiggle test. Clearly we’ve fixed one squeak but suspect we may have created another. Craig has a plan but we need some wood…another day.
The main road to Riga is in dire need of repair with more pot holes and ponds that would put a bmx circuit to shame. We slowly bumble through dodging the craters and ignoring the ambitious 70 kmph signs. The road side dotted with the odd sleazy motel, graffiti bus shelter and an array of headstones. Headstones? Yip! The selection ranged from classic stone to polished granite all with brass name plaques. A slightly weird place to advertise headstones, which made me feel rather uneasy given this death trap road.
As we enter Riga it was one big construction site with road works everywhere. Craig noticed the foundations. Sand as far as the eye could see, oh dear, no wonder the roads are as bad as they are. The outskirts were typical of most cities around the world, ugly concrete buildings with dodgy and unsavoury characters. This is why we always make sure our doors are locked when ever we set off, so we know people cant get in.
As we entered the city we hit grid lock and sit in Riga streets for 2 hours. To pass time and entertain fleeting commuters we put on a Punch and Judy show with Mac n Tosh as the lead characters. Mac did a dance and wiggle act whilst Tosh wrapped his head in a yellow scarf and smiled nicely as passers by. The scornful faces changed within seconds and you could see the joy on their face.
We arrived at Riverside Camping a site we found through Camper Contact. A small site located about 3km outside of Riga and right on the river side. The chap in reception was so helpful and friendly providing information about the site (services, toilets, showers, wifi, garden area and pool, which is currently closed). At a fee of €8 per motorhome plus €2.50 pp. we parked up and settled down.
Our sleepy spot: Riga, very simple riverside site with great views of Riga.
Paid Camping GPS position N056.965159 E024.081890
Route: Turaida to Riga