The log cabin at Ranka,Latvia

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July 2nd 2013
Published: July 8th 2013
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The BBA V2 felt it was time to get back to nature and up the adventure a bit so we booked a log cabin for the night in rural Northern Latvia.Yes,believe it or not, does list properties such as this!

We had had a very comfortable night in Daugavpils and enjoyed the English channels on the 50" TV set but it was going to be a good drive onto what we expect will be rural roads especially as we get closer to our destination and it was time to get going.

We hadn't been able to stop to get a picture of the Russian warrior just before the bridge coming into the city yesterday so drove back and found a place to park and then walk to find the statue again.Well that turned out more difficult than we thought and after walking over the bridge complete with rusting plates covering what we assumed were holes in the concrete we gave up as the statue wasn't where we thought it was.I got Gretchen to walk in front of me on the return trip over the bridge citing that I would at least be able to tell if she disappeared then I would know that the rusting plates wouldn't take my weight.She wasn't so keen on the idea!

To find the statue we thought the only other way was to take the car and retrace our entry from yesterday.That worked and we got our photos with a couple of locals looking on probably wondering why we were making such a fuss over their ex communist statue.We have seen these type of statues before but ones of this size were in an outdoor museum in Budapest.

The car was overdue a wash and we found a service station on the outskirts of the city to complete the task.If only we had known just how dusty the roads were going to be that we were to travel over today, we wouldn't have bothered.

Our direction today was north west and the road initially out of the city was two lane in each direction together with lots of patches!Latvia doesn't appear to have the money to spend on their roads that fellow Baltic nation of Lithuania had.

Latvia also doesn't appear to have the same amount of cultivated land that Lithuania had and a lot of the land that had been cleared along the route we were taking on the A6 was in grass but again there was a noticeable lack of animals outside.

There were not a lot of towns or villages on the road which followed the Dauga River and it was only when we got to Jekabpils that we came across a town of any size.

Knowing that our accommodation overnight was in a rural area we found ourselves a supermarket and topped up the grocery box and bought ourselves food for dinner and had a stop for lunch.

The river divided the town with one side having buildings that were principally disused and the other where the town had developed with the usual apartment blocks and some industries.

Just north of Jekabpils the map showed that the road split to either take you through the town of Plavinas or around it.We expected Vicky,as she usually does,to take us through but to our surprise we ended up on a dusty unsealed road avoiding the town.Then of course we remembered we had programmed in the shortest route.We do have fun with GPS!

Now our direction was more northerly and it wasn't long before the tar seal ended and the dust started to flow behind the car as the surface of the unsealed R33 was good and we were able to maintain good speed with virtually no other traffic.

We had reset our GPS to our final destination after Plavinas and we noticed that the time to get to our destination had lengthened dramatically to nearly 5 hours from just over an hour and a half.Was this because there were less satellites above us giving back the information to our GPS or was it because of the unsealed road meaning slower travel or worse still....a car ferry ahead over a river without a bridge?We drove on in anticipation.

There was so little in the way of other traffic that we got a surprise when suddenly ahead of us were two fellow travellers.......on bicycles.Gretchen did slow down as we approached and passed them to try and limit the dust they would experience but they still disappeared in our mirrors after we went by.They seemed to be very adventurous to be taking the rural roads like this one on their bikes.

Eventually the tar seal returned and suddenly the time to destination reduced to what we thought it should be and then our destination came into view.

The log cabin we had for the night was the genuine model built without any nails showing and the logs dovetailed into each other.The roof was thatched and curtained felt like the genuine article.There was dried moss stuffed in and showing between the logs and the advertising for the cabin had said that the cabin would provide a restful nights sleep because of its construction.

There were 10 cabins in total and over half of them had occupants for the night.The whole complex,which included a restaurant,was spread over several acres with a childrens playground and a pond formed by a small river than ran adjacent.One of the family's staying in another cabin were down there having a BBQ when we took a walk around with the father of the family getting out of the brackish water after having a swim as we went by.They are a keen lot in Latvia!

It had been a good days travel and the car was as dirty as it was before we washed it in Daugavpils!We shall leave it for another wash until we can be sure of no more unsealed roads.

With the promise of our restful nights sleep and dark wood interior to reduce the light from the never ending twilight outside we retired to our beds.

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