Sigulda calling

Tallinn wore us out with its huge array of history and souvenir shops at every corner. The next day we headed West and met up with an English family doing a year long meandering car trip to Australia. Its always fun to say ‘morning’ to people you hear speaking English as there are not many of us out here. We have seen yet more manor houses and castles. Alatskivi castle is meant to be based on aspects of Balmoral and Sangaste castle is inspired by Windsor ! We got distracted into going further South East than intended by a folk festival at Voru. We spent a day and a half lounging in the heat listening to loads of accordian playing, folk groups and dances from different countries – it was very good. Ian also got to do some more lake swimming. The temperatures have been over 30°C for a week now and I am melting. The view of the lakeside could have been at the Mediterranean, the facilities were great and there was a 5 a side football contest and sandcastle competitions.

The other day it was 36°C and we did 55 miles ! That day we had a pleasant midday siesta at a small brewery and met a group of 80 cyclists going the other way doing the Latvia/Estonia newish cycle route in 2 weeks. There was an English chap there who was a friend of a friend – its a small world. Tent pitching involves the compass now to detect where the morning shade will be. It makes the difference of waking up at 8 or 6am gasping for breath. We have relapsed into a guesthouse for 3 nights while we visit the area around Riga. We have stayed at some odd places recently including a ‘campsite’ that turned out to be a B&B where you could pitch in the garden with all facilities (inc. DISHWASHER) in the garage, and a holiday village where we were the only guests – a bit spooky.

We are possibly suffering from city overload, but Riga does not seem as historically interesting as the others we have been to. We visited the Museum of Applied Arts (amazing tapestries & Latvian geometric designs) and went up the 75m tower of St Peters church.

There are less mosquitoes currently but we are plagued by nasty bitey bee/fly things that are known as Bremsen in German.

We have tried a variety of Estonian foods including crispy pigs ears (at least 2 pigs must have died for this dish), homemade cheese, blood sausages, kamajook (slightly sweet sour milk drink with various grains added, like a thin porridge), potato/barley porridge with bacon and onion sauce. Its all been very good. Cakes and puddings were more disappointing though they are improving in Latvia.