Note that there are no photos by Margo available for this section, as her camera now lies at the bottom of a river. The sad story will soon told.
2013/06/03: 87 km to Ozolmuza
We made our way to one of Riga’s train stations, and took a short hop to Sigulda so as to avoid the hack out of Riga. We rode on fairly good roads, and pulled in to rest at a tiny ethnographic museum that was closed, until just the right local happened to pedal by on his bike and was kind enough to open it for us.
We were directed by one of T’s tourist information office forays to a camping site near a small lake in the village of Ozolmuza. Suzanne and I washed the sweat off ourselves with a leap into the peaty lake, and we stoked the coals left by a group of locals so as to grill our chicken pieces for a better-than-average camping supper.
Chris was getting a bad cold, so we turned in for bed early in a damp field hopping with toads, woodfrogs, and even a tiny scampering lizard.
2013/06/04: 103 km to Karski
We stopped for lunch at Rujiena and, rather than the usual picnic, we had a hearty workers’ lunch in a café which was excellent value. Afterwards, we paid our small entrance fee to a local park so as to use the “swimming hole” which had been played up as idyllic by the tourist information office lad. All we could find in the location to which we were sent was a swamp with a hovering cloud of mosquitoes, so we pedalled quickly away having made a donation to Latvian parks.
At the Estonian border was a striking sculpture of a row of silhouettes with joined hands. It represented the key moment of the Singing Revolution when the famous chain of about 2 million people, hand to hand, ran through here to form The Baltic Way.
One person in three in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania participated in forming this peaceful melodic demonstration; the total population of the Baltic countries is about 6 million. Considering how many would have been unable to participate because they were infirm, caregivers, or working in essential services, the number of participants is telling of the strength of the population’s conviction.
We arrived to meet T’s cousins and friends in Karski, and were welcomed with a hearty dinner. I found myself nodding off at the table, but I was realizing that travelling in Estonia with T, who was born in Canada of Estonian parents, was going to be something special that would show allow us to see and hear more than most visitors would.