Jelgavkrasti was the first destination. I stopped off for a coffee in Sidrabiņi, a small place that me and Ed had thought about visiting the previous walk. A nice little place, even if it was deserted on a Sunday morning. At least the waitress spoke Latvian to me.
Across the road, I’d spotted a cemetery and figured there’d be a way round that to the beach. I followed the road, only to find it curling back to the main road. I didn’t fancy plodding along the main road, so I had a decision to make. There were no obvious paths through the forest, but it didn’t look too bad
I figured if I pushed through for a while, I’d soon hit a path. Big mistake. After 45 minutes I was still flailing around in the pathless undergrowth, my hoody now protecting me from insects and my sunglasses doubling as makeshift safety goggles. I ‘d lost my directions and could no longer hear the road, nor hear the beach. There was nothing for it, though, but to push on.
Finally, after a tiring hour of this, I came upon a road, but my right foot was already hurting. This hadn’t been a smart move. The road at least offered better scenery, with lush green fields.
and I even got to cross a little stream on stepping stones. The child in me was delighted.
I still hadn’t seen anyone but after finding another road, I started to head the sea and finally hit Riga Bay again. It had taken me nearly two hours to get there. As usual, despite the pleasant weather, the beaches up this way were virtually abandoned, apart from the odd fishing boat.
As I followed the beach along and got closer to the village of Varzas, I spotted a group of Latvians in the distance.
As I got closer, I saw that they were older and, despite the weather being nearly 20, were dressed in autumnish clothes. It’s one of the mysteries of life in Latvia why people aren’t more accustomed to the cold.
The beaches were getting rockier here and they soon gave up and went inland, leaving me on my lonesome again.
I soon took the path on the tiny cliff and came to the town of Laci, with its lighthouse
and fields of flowers beside the sea. A really nice sight.
After passing Varzas swimming place and village, including a golf course, I was back on the main road, which though boring, provided me with a happy sight:
Over half way to Riga from my starting point north of Ainazi.
The road was a bit monotonous as usual and I had an awkward moment when I came to a crossroads and had to decide to stay on the road or take the fork to Saulkrasti. I chose correctly and reached Skulte. The end point of RB4. I’d done about 27km on this one and got the bus back, marvelling at how anyone could wear a thick wooly hat on such a nice day
The following week, I picked up where I’d left off, taking Elina with me.
After pounding down the road from Skulte, we reached another landmark
Saulkrasti (“sunny coast” often a misnomer!) the biggest town between Riga and the Estonian border and a popular holiday home and summer weekend beach destination. After many kilometres padding through deserted forests and empty beaches, it was a bit of a shocker to walk through an urban zone with people around. We didn’t plan to stay there long, though. Hitting the beach just past Skulte wood port.
and passing through the mostly empty Zvejniekciems (fisher men’s town.) We weren’t sure what had happened but there were lots of dead fish on the beach.
The beach at this point was still largely free of people but at last we saw signs of progress, as the coast started to curve round toward Riga, the halfway point.
The weather was really nice, so we’d changed into shorts and, after having to wade across a knee-deep stream, the t-shirt and boots went as well
At last, there were people on the beaches (without scarves!) enjoying the sunshine.
Eventually, with our feet hurting from walking barefoot along the sand, and a larger stream coming up, we headed inland, exiting Saulkrasti and reaching Incupe, the first time we’d passed a railway station.
The only real thing of interest on the road was a memorial to a Finnish junker downed in 1943.
South of here, the woods became hillier and we could see the after effects of the storm which had occurred two days earlier
We hit the beaches, finding that most of the people had disappeared and preparations were under way for Latvia’s midsummer celebrations.
We alternated between here and the forest path until we were startled by a guy nonchalantly walking along naked, we’d come upon a nudist beach.
Recovering from the shock, we fumbled around in the forest, struggling over a few hills and losing the path. The broken trees didn’t help. But we came out beside the train line and crossed it to find we’d reached Lilaste, one of the planned destinations.
Lilaste was one of the nicer places we’d come to, with Lilaste lake
and Porto resort for refreshments, with a nice lakside terrace where we spotted someone that Elina thought was a local member of parliament.
We’d walked the whole of Saulkrasti county and were now at Carnikava county, the last one before Riga.
All that was left was to catch the bus from the charmingly named Medzabaki (Honey Boots (!)) stop.
Only 40km now to Riga and within 2 or 3 walks, I should be halfway.