Latvia

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We were surprised to find that Latvia was quite different to Estonia. The towns and villages were better cared for with well kept community spaces such as parks and playgrounds. The language was very different. It was also a lot cheaper, a bottle of beer costing 0.5 Lat about 60 pence. There were excellent bakeries selling all manner of delicious cakes.

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DSC00978We expected that it would not be as good for cycling as Estonia had set such a high standard with well signed routes good roads and considerate drivers. Signing for cycle routes proved to be virtually non existent. The roads are very poor to awful. We did get a map of cycle routes which took us onto smaller gravel roads. These often degenerated into sand or corrugations where there had been a lot of traffic, in both cases making the roads unrideable. On top of this cars would still pass you at high speeds leaving you coughing in plumes of dust. You constantly had to be looking behind you watching out for the next car to come hurtling by. If you ventured on the larger roads you were jostling for space with huge lorries buses and Latvian drivers who thought nothing of overtaking the cars coming towards you.

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Latvia itself is full of forests, we stopped off at one of the national parks and hired a canoe for the day floating down the river away from the cars and the lorries. Seeing kingfishers, and mergansers, banks lined with trees and sandstone cliffs.

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DSC00970Latvia is a beautiful country but not somewhere that is good for cycle touring. You need a mountain bike and no luggage to cope with the roads and the tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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