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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 57.1552, 24.858
We hit the road right after breakfast. It was easy to find the road to Parnu. we drove through the suburbs -- nice, cozy houses. Very, very middle class. No socialist architecture in sight. What have they done with it all? Or did the Russians not build in Estonia?
The landscape is fairly flat and pastoral. The farms are tidy and seem prosperous.
We take a short detour to an historical site marked on our map ... Varbola Jaanilinn, a "ritual stronghold" from the 13th century. We're the only ones around, which makes it a little eerie, as there are carved statues of wolves and other oddities. Still, fun.
At Parnu, we stop for a good pizza lunch, then walk on the beach. It is a very flat, almost muddy beach. The waves break a long way off shore. Many people seem to be enjoying this lovely afternoon. The spa-hotels have that 1960s look to them -- more sanitorium than resort.
No problem crossing the border to Latvia. The main road here is under construction with EU funds (in Estonia, it had been recently reconstructed using EU funds; the EU must like the Estonians more than the Latvians.) This delays things
a bit but not too much.
Upon reaching Sigulda, we have some difficulty finding our hotel (Aparjod's). It is worth the effort though; very charming; appears to be traditional, though, since I don't really know what traditional Latvian architecture looks like, they could have built an igloo, and I'd believe them.
We decide to walk to town for dinner -- but this is a mistake. Despite what the map and guidebooks say, there isn't really a town center, just a collection of streets. It is very pretty, but empty. We had heard that the "castle" had a restaurant, but there is no one there, even though it looks a bit like a dining room. As it is getting late, we opt to return to the hotel, where we had a very tasty dinner in a lovely atmosphere ... and great conversation with the kids, talking about history and politics. And laughing a lot. Perfect. This is why I travel -- a bit of cognitive dissonance capped off by good food and company.
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