Parnu if often referred to Estonia’s summer capital with long white beaches, pastel coloured houses and big old villa’s. That might be the case but not today, its blowing a gale and even the hardened wind surfers would find this weather a challenge. After a pleasant but breezy walk down tree lined avenues we arrived at the dunes for a morning Baltic blast and departed 2 minutes later fully exfoliated.
We meandered in and around the streets of Parnu looking in the shops and trying to work out if we liked this place or not. There are some lovely aspects to the resort but it feels like the seaside resort is slowly fading away. The once prestigious villa’s are slowly but surely turning in to B&B’s with owners who are averse to a lick of paint. Shame because the area is stunning with beaches, parks, river walks and monuments galore.
Our Bumble Verdict: Parnu, Estonia. On a sunny day good for sunbathing. The town itself, OK for an hour or two if you are passing through but don’t go out your way.
The road from Parnu to Latvia is a new road funded by the EU. The flat tarmac makes a refreshing change after the bumpy country lanes and Vin feels all the better from no rocking and rolling. There is one problem, the straight road is a truckers delight and the Latvian lorries zoom pass by at silly speeds often overtaking multiple cars in one go with no regard or concern for on coming traffic.
We turned off the highway and took the original coast road. Not quite as smooth but a lot more scenic and certainly a lot safer. Following forest trails, picnic spots and free camping places with BBQ and basic toilet facilities. We pulled in for a spot of lunch at the side of one of the look out towers. We had hoped to stay but the wind and sand blast encouraged us to move along to the next town.
A quick stop at a Estonian supermarket to drop off all our plastic bottles before we moved to the next country. Although the ‘quick’ stop was much longer than planned because we could not find the recycling bank…hidden away inside a portacabin located outside and around the back of the store.
We crossed the border from Estonia to Latvia to enter a small village called Ainazi. The welcome to Latvia signs and the border town were nothing like we’d seen before. It was all rather pleasant and inviting. Immediately greeted by tree lined road and modest timber houses with lovely gardens. We spotted a small clearing between the old castle ruins and the beach. We pulled over and got comfy.
Originally, a solitary (Ainazi in Latvian) village until it grew in popularity as a main fishing region before becoming the main naval school for Latvia. That was then but now the Ainiza has moved on and the fishing community and naval school now form part of the village historic attractions. It feels like one huge garden village with buildings – ruins and restored scattered all over the town. In the centre, a small car park with toilets and fresh water along with a very cheap corner store.
Craig prepared our BBQ whilst I nipped to the shop and look what I got for €5.34…milk, yogurt, bottle of white wine, 3 x 1.5l larger and 2 chocolate bars. Wow, loving the Latvian prices. After filling our bellies, we sit at the table with an assortment of beer and wine. Slowly but surely we sipped our refreshments and discussed plans for our next travel route. With so many places to see and so many things to do, we ended up zig zagging all over the world.
Ainazi isnt anything special but certainly a lot better than the Latvian Tourist Board website states. It has a lovely relaxed charm that is really appealing. So appealing we stayed for a couple of days and managed to do all our washing and cleaning in between chilling, walking and playing ball on the beach. A bit of admin too and not good news folks for Santander current account holders, the rate is dropping from 3% to 1.5% from 1 November 16. Grrrr. On a positive, our Ratesetter account, is currently offering 3.1% pa and if any friends and family use our link to open an account we get an £50 for the referral. With admin chores complete one last task…scrub the dogs.
Temperature wise, its ok during the day but pretty chilly in the evenings, we even had to put on the heating one night.
Our Bumble Verdict: Ainazi, Latvia, great village for a relaxing stroll with a few museums, forest trail and beach.
Our sleepy spot for two nights: Quiet little patch situated between the beach and the forest grounds of the old castle (sorry, forgot to take a photo).
Wild Camping GPS position N057.866686 E024.356628
Route: Parnu to Ainazi