After passing the border with Latvia, which was just a signpost, the landscape doesn’t change very much.
Sandstone cliffs of Sietiniezis
That changes, when we reach Sietiniezis in the Gauja National Park. On a length of 500 m, 15 m high sandstone cliffs have formed here. In a shady setting with built-in barbecue areas, you can spend hot days in a pleasant atmosphere.
This has been recognized by bees, which build small holes into the cliffs, thus making them look like a sieve.
This gave the cliffs its name, Sietiņiezis means sieve rock. The rocks were shaped 350 million years ago.
Less pleasing are the graffitis left by irresponsible visitors in the rock.
After a short drive, we reach the old town of Cesi, first mentioned in 1224. As a successful trading city, it joined the Hanseatic League in the 14th century.
When we enter the city, we first see the ruins of the ancient Ordensburg. From 1237 to 1561 it served as the residence for the Order’s Master and thus headquarters of the order.
During the siege in 1577, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan IV of Russia. After reconstruction, it was finally destroyed in 1721 during the Great Northern War.
One built a new castle right next to it. It now houses the Museum of History. Adjacent is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu Alus brewery.
A large square in front of the St. John’s Church, built in 1281, forms the town center.
We stroll through an old settlement, past a Byzantine church, to the castle grounds.
Our penultimate stop is in Sigulda. Here we visit the Sigulda Luge and Bobsleigh Track.
It was used for world championship races and is a replica of the Olympic Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track. Also without snow and ice, it is an impressive building.
At 21.30, after an almost 13 hours drive, we reach Riga. Olga drops us at our hotel. She has done extraordinary work. Despite her circumspect way of driving, she has explained the country, the lifestyle and the history of Lithuania and Latvia.
She was both a driver and a tour guide in one person. Thanks for this exceptional ride, which we can only recommend to anyone.
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Dieser Beitrag in: Deutsch