Touring the Gaujas National Park

Friday 25 August

The other major town in the Gaujas National Park is Sigulda. But to get there we travelled via Līgatne.

Līgatne has the last hand operated punt on the Gauju River, in fact it is the last hand operated punt in the Baltic states. We were on and off so quickly it was nearly impossible to capture the experience on photos. The punt, made up of two parallel steel boats and a board connecting them, uses the force of the stream to move smoothly from one side of the river to the other.

The punt replaces three bridges that were destroyed during World War II and has become a favourite crossing point for locals and tourists.

From the paper mill town of Līgatne, we toured through the beautiful countryside to Sigulda.

Like so much we have already seen, Sigulda is in a state of repair. The old castle and the new castle were covered with green mesh cloth while these major tourist attractions are rebuilt.

We came to the conclusion that we should come back in 2018 or even later, when all the reconstruction is finished.

We watched the cable car that crosses the river. If you are particularly brave you can do a bungee jump from the cable car when it is over the Gauja River, midway during its crossing.

There was also an adventure park where you could paddle a toy car or go hurtling down the hill in a miniature sled on rails known as an Alpine Coaster

One young girl had decided to do the Tarzan rope ride. She was pretty nervous about it but bit her lip and took off on the first section. Somehow, half way along the second section she came to a halt and there were plaintiff cries for help. We assume someone came to assist her.

Sigulda, like many other towns we have been through, had its row of flower sellers. It is quite common to see these older ladies, sitting out under an umbrella, surrounded by buckets of flowers. I hope they don’t have too many left at the end of the day.

As it turns out I think we’d made a good choice to stay at Cēsis rather than Sigulda – although smaller with less accommodation and eating options, it held far more character.

We got held up while a bike race powered through. After waiting ten minutes for them to arrive, with police flashing lights proceeding them, they were all gone in about a minute. The leaders and then the peloton with the motor cycle cameramen and the support cars carrying spare bikes.

We laughed when we asked Cyber Sereena on the TomTom to find Riga for us. As we were driving into New York City, Cyber Sereena had told us to look out for signs to ‘Ny City’ (rhymes with ‘my city’). This time she called the signs to Riga by spelling out the letters ‘RIGA’.