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Published: July 14th 2010
July 12 part 1 - Happy Birthday me. I was saving today's day trip for my birthday in the hopes that it would be a good one. It was. I decided to get up early because I was hoping to make it to two different towns in one day. Really ambitious for an old lady, I know. I got on the 8:10am bus to Sigulda and was there by 9:15. I knew it would have to be a good day as the song I heard playing on the bus when I got on was The Never ending Story, from the movie of the same name. Love it. The bus station had a mini version of my favorite place, the info office, so I asked about the best route and she gave me a map and highlighted the best way to go to see all of the main sights, upside down for her, as all of them do. Never ceases to amaze me, as I have trouble with maps even right-side up.
The route started with some walking and then a castle ruins. Apparently nearly everyone does this as a tour, since no one was really walking between places, but I
enjoyed some quite time. There was not so much left of this castle but it was cool to see. It also offered my first glance at my final destination castle. Like a fairy tale. Then I went over to the cable car and had to wait twenty minutes for the next one at 11am. First I went down the wrong street but realized there was a look-out at the end, so I continued. Not so impressive, but there was a port-a-potty. Not the best I'd ever seen, but better than paying for a toilet, which seems to be the only option in Latvia, so I used it. Haha! I bested you, Latvia. The cable car was about a ten minute journey with me and a Russian family all falling over themselves to take pictures and videos of baby's first cable car ride. The ride offered some nice views as we crossed the river.
On the other side of the river there was another set of castle ruins. Well, more like a wall. From there was a forty minute hike or so to the museum complex with the fairy tale castle, with a stop at a cave along the way.
There was a group of singers in the cave when I arrived, along with a guy playing a flute. The flute player was there for the tips, the group was some sort of choir who was also visiting. Apparently they stop and sing along the way. The cave has a history of a sad sad tale of a woman who was killed there by a man she refused to marry because she was in love with the gardener. He lured her there to rape her because his feelings were hurt. She offered him instead a magic scarf that would protect him in battle. He didn't believe her so she suggested he try the sword on her while she was wearing it. He took off her head. Apparently, she had been lying and it wasn't the best approach.
From the cave, the route was no longer clear and I ended up walking the road, instead of a path, on the way there. At that point I walked with an Austrian woman for fifteen minutes or so. Once I got to the museum complex I realized you couldn't just take pictures of the thing - you had to pay to get
that close. It was almost 12:30, the last time the bus came to take me back to where I started before 2:25pm, according to my schedule. I wasn't sure if I should stay or if I should make a move to get to the next town. I am so bad with decisions. But I decided to stay, so I spent the next two hours walking the castle grounds and going inside everywhere it was possible to go. It was very cool and I'm glad I stayed. A lot of it was dedicated as museums about the castle and times. It's still hard for me to imagine that these things were built in the 1200s. How did they do it? Amazing. I also climbed to the top of the tower for a good look of the whole complex. It was about 5 floors high up a twisty staircase. A little cooler inside than out. It was over 90 degrees outside and I had been sweating since 9am. That was the hardest part of my day. There were no free bathrooms anyway after my port-a-potty experience in the morning, even at the castle complex. They actually had a pay bathroom there, after
you had already paid to enter the museums! So I wasn't about to pay them for a pee, but it also meant I couldn't wash my face. Bummer. As I walked back towards the beginning, there were also other buildings to see about life at that time. I went into one, a sauna, and it was great. It had dried herbs covering the walls, and it smelled amazing. I'm really glad I went in, but not sure why I didn't get a picture.
Finally, it was time to get the bus back to the bus station. I ended up meeting an 18 yr old girl from town and she walked me over to where I would need to find my bus to Cesis. There are not many buses along the way that stop at the Sigulda bus station, so I would have to go out to the main road to get one. Luckily there was also a grocery store there so I stopped and bought a sandwich, a coke, and my second 1.5 liter bottle of water for the day. We sat together until the bus came at 3:15 and then said good bye. She was very sweet and
wants to be an English teacher.
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