Last Saturday continued my odyssey to Kolka. Picking up where I’d left off the previous week in Dzeni with my sidekick Eddie coming along. We caught the earlier bus to give us more time and, after getting off, made a beeline for Karle, where I’d finished the previous week, for a kick start coffee. I was relieved to see that the waitress had changed and the service had picked up a bit.
The weather was perfect. Blue skies, sunny and +23. We hit the beach nearby trying to kid ourselves we were in the Med or the Carribbean.
The beach, as usual, was totally deserted. We followed it down towards the headland behind me. Thereafter the going got tough. The beach began to disappear
and eventually we had to tiptoe our way over rocks which made for slow going.
After a while of this, on top of the small hill above the “beach” we spied a group of kids, nonchalantly strolling along. We mutually groaned at the idea that, all along, there was an easier path.
Following this along past Veczemi, we’d reached the day’s main destination: Vidzemes akmeņainā jūrmala (Middle Earth’s Rocky Coast.) My thoughts on seeing this place for the first time were: why hadn’t I heard of this in all my long years in Latvia? Why on earth don’t more Latvians talk about this place? It really is a hidden gem. Small rocky cliffs, dotted with numerous caves.
How can people miss this and why aren’t the Latvian Tourist Board doing their job at promoting it? Answers on a postcard!
We hit the path again and came across another semi-hidden gem: Rankulrags, a small cafe/restaurant in the middle of the Klintis (cliff) campsite. The campsite struck me as a bit pricey 70 euro for some of the small cabins, but the food and service were shockingly good and cheap.
Suitably refreshed, we hit the beach again and were relieved to see that it was less rocky
though there was one bit where we had to hop over a small river
A min version of the rocky coast appeared later
but we started to find the going heavy again for a different reason. Walking along sand for a few metres might be nice, plodding along it for several kilometres is tiring.
Ed reckoned there might be a path above the cliff. He scrambled up and sure enough there was a path, sort of.
It meant pushing through undergrowth and ducking under branches at places, but it got us moving again. But the path soon ended at someone’s back yard and we were forced to hit a rocky beach again for a while.
Luckily round the corner we were able to head up pick up the path again on the edge of Kurmrags, with a sign advising me that I’d done 32 km on this trip and the previous one from Salacgriva.
The weather was so good that, after a while, we fancied hitting the beach again, but it proved impossible with numerous signs advising us that the land was private. This went on for several kilometres, frustrating us. Can’t they just put a small path between these houses to allow access to the beaches which are, after all, public?
What were they hiding? Eventually tired of being able to pass we darted across somebody’s land anyway and found this
A pristine, if empty beach. A real scandal that they’re blocking this off with walk-10km-that-way restricted access. After following this, we came to what had planned to be journey’s end, the back lanes of Tuja, which contained some nice private housing.
Despite having done 20km over some rocky terrain, we still found we had reserves of energy and pushed on down the main road, hitting one of the towns on my original list.
At this point, we’d done close on 25km, so we flopped down at the bus stop to catch the penultimate bus of the day.
There’s a way to go, but by my reckoning, I’ll be over halfway to Riga and a quarter of the way to Kolka after the next walk.