Another trip that we took whilst in Latvia was to the town of Sigulda and the Castle at Turaida. Another cheap return from the central station in Riga and just over an hour ride on a train that was never going to be stopped by a bit of snow on the line, we arrived in the very snowy Sigulda.
We knew that we needed to get a bus to get us into the Gauja National Park and the Turaida Museum Reserve. But when we arrived there were just lots of somewhat ancient Minibuses. We eventually worked out which one we needed to take, paid 50 cents each and we were on our way. We wound our way around the windy roads – it was so snowy, so very snowy. The driver stopped, opened the door and looked at us – it was our turn to get off.
For the princely sum of 6 Euros for both of us, we entered the reserve. Snow crunching underfoot we set out to explore the site. There was so much to see from the Turaida Stone Castle, Rose of Turaida Memorial, Church and Church Hill, Folk Song Garden and Hill.
The view from the top of the Castle was spectacular – looking out over the snowy Gauja National Park in all its wintery goodness. The building itself, despite being a reconstruction, was beautiful too.
Our favourite part of the reserve was the Folk Song Garden and Hill – it was full of the most exquisite sculptures, nestled perfectly in the snow. There was barely another sole making it a serene and peaceful place to be.
After we were finished at the reserve, we hung out at the bus stop with no time table and hoped that a bus would appear, which fortunately it did! We made our way back to Sigulda to explore the town.
It was so nice to see a very different side to Latvia in comparison to the capital of Riga. A small bakery captured our attention where we bought a variety of delicacies to try with some hot coffee to help warm up. Absolutely delicious and a good fuel stop before heading for a wander around the town. Big open roads, wooden houses and wide open green (well snowy) spaces.
Outside of the train station were 2 boats – filled with giant ice blocks that each contained different items from feathers to ice picks and apples to fish – such an interesting concept and beautifully done too. We even saw lots and lots of people Ice Fishing. It was then time to head back to Riga for our last night in Latvia.
Overall, we are so glad that we ventured out of the Capital – we love seeing a different side to a country.