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Published: June 29th 2017
Geo: 56.9465, 24.1048
Today, the Latvians celebrate the Midsummer Night Festival for the longest day off the year. The sun rose around 4.10am, and wouldnt set until nearly 11pm. What a day for it too; Crisp clear blue skies and a pleasant 28C day. Thankfully throughout the day, I got progressively healthier and stronger as my sickness faded. Sone rest, medication overkill, sunshine, exercise and magic water just about have me on the road to recovery. More on that latter antidote later. In store for us today was a long, but enjoyable tour. We were first off the boat around 7am, and the last back aboard before a 3.30pm departure.The tour offered a good variety including Riga the capital, and two other regional towns of Turalda and Sigulda. The sights on display were never exhilerating or breathtaking, but constantly, quaint, pretty, and interesting. 40% of the entire country is thick forest and so the vast majority of the countryside is lush and green.First stop, Sigulda Castle. Well, the ruins of anyway. The castle has fallen into disrepair over the years, and is the site now of ruins and a more modern manor house. It was initially the residence of Teutonic Knights from
the 12th century. Oh, its also worth noting in Latvia, they refer to a toilet stop as a 'magic stop'. Eventually, that gets weird and confusing.Next stop, the Goodmans cave, home to the famous local Romeo and Juliet story of Turaldas Rose. Here we could see inscriptions engraved into the rockface over the last couple of hundred years. Aside from the moderately amusing recorder skills of a busker (yes.. recorder), an interesting point here was a supposed magic spring of mountain water. Supposedly drinking this water would increase longliviety and cure disease. It was delicious, clean, fresh water, and felt great and soothing on my sore throat. A miracle cure! Maybe!Next stop, Turulda, home to another old castle, once seat of the bishop, and a muchly different architecture to the previous castle. There were some interesting museums here with some nice old artifacts and info on display. We also climbed the the main tower for spectacular views of the area. Included in the tour was a great three course meal at a local restaurant in a log cabin. Included was a glass of Aldaris, a local Latvian beer. From here we piled back into the bus for the drive back
to Riga. We spent the rest of the tour being guided around the capital. With no space in our luggage for real souvenirs we attained our custom keepsake. A magnet and lowest local currency note, as we do in each country.Feeling better by now, I even thrashed out a good gym session with Nat on the boat. We played another tense scrabble game and enjoyed dinner at our 8.45 seating in the Aquarius restaurant. It seems weve again managed to get away with free wine.. a glass each. Tomorrow we have a casual day on our own in Talinn, Estonia, apparentlynone of Europes oldest cities.
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