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Published: September 3rd 2014
Ventspils & Kuldiga in NW Latvia 31 August 2014
What an interesting day we had today in western Latvia....weather fantastic, roads mostly good, lovely neat towns, helpful people and amazing landscaping, both hard and soft.
We had a smooth trip from Riga to Ventspils, which is on the western coast and hosts one of busiest ports in Europe. This town is known for its white sandy beaches (main one is called Blue Flag Beach) and its harbour terminal for commercial purposes, including passenger terminals for ships coming from Stockholm in Sweden.
The extra feature of the town is its parks, summer entertainment, ancient narrow gauge railway, cow sculptures and the medieval Livonian Order Castle. There are Adventure Parks and other sporting venues which are well used all year around. Some towns just 'mould around you' and this is one of them.
We saw a lot of young families enjoying the parks, church, amusement areas and markets. There were a lot of quirky features in the parks to entertain the kids (& parents!) - see photos. We could also see why the town was a popular place for summer holidays because even down on the sand there was
plenty of things to play on or just lie around. The cow sculptures were everywhere. It's the town's uniqueness. There were flowers everywhere and the port-side was a spot where a lot of people were wandering along on this warm, sunny Sunday.
We had some lunch and then drove SE, slightly inland to see the widest waterfall in Europe (246m) at Kuldiga which was about 80 kms away. It was only about a metre or two high but that it their claim. They also claim to have the highest waterfall in Latvia but as it it is a relatively flat country and as they have built a weir on the river flowing through Kuldida, this gives them the 4.5m waterfall. Hey, every town has to find a marketing spin!!
We found an old wooden 2 story building in Kuldiga to have a coffee. The place was buzzing as was the town square. We walked through their parks and gardens and along by their river. We saw the Guard House at the entrance of the Old Brick Bridge across the Venta River and the old Castle that isn't on the tourist list because it is closed. Some of the
roads were cobbled. It was yet another little town in Latvia that we were impressed with.
We then drove another 100kms to Liepaja which is back on the western coast of Latvia, almost to the border of Lithuania.
We will spend Tom's birthday here for a couple of nights. We have really enjoyed Latvia. I can't remember if I have said in previous blogs, but the country has used the Euro since 14 January 2014 so they have adjusted very quickly and this gives them a more stable currency. So it is now off to Liepaja.
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