Heading to where the wind is born…
After our great experience with Latvian rural hospitality, we were mentally and physically rejuvenated. With significant fossil deposits in the adjoining valley, the temptation to stay another night at Plost Krog’s and do some fossicking was high for me (Tim). The attraction, however, was lost on Shazz, and we departed after breakfast the next morning, heading towards Kuldiga.
The mornings ride was some of the best scenery we’d seen thus far. We wound down the P130 through a small valley, following a river on our left-hand side. We passed through the grape-growing village of Sabile and around mid-morning, came across a national park with some waterfalls (Abavas Rumba). The “falls” were more like cascades – and only one of them!! But their size didn’t seem to deter the happy campers enjoying the warm sunshine, frolicking in the cold water, and doing a bit of fishing to boot!
The P130 turns into the P120 about 11 km before the small village of Renda.We stopped for a coffee break at an idyllic spot, overlooking the river. The rest of the ride, across farmland, wasn’t too exciting except for the buses and trucks causing us some concern on the narrow road.
Kuldiga has a well-kept old town, and it was packed and pumping as they were celebrating a festival at the time. The crowds made walking loaded bikes through the crowd a bit of a chore. Add to that, every room in town was booked up, and tempers started to get a little frayed. We decided to find a cafe next to their famous bridge and look for a room on the Internet. Shazz soon found us a room a few kilometers ou,t of town. It was on the road headed south (P112) towards the coast, so it made sense. We eventually spent two nights there as, once again, the weather turned against us, and it rained most of the next day.
Sauleskalni Guesthouse was located a kilometer down a dirt road and sat in the middle of a colorful, sprawling gardens on the edge of a large, shady pond. 46 Euro price tag included a fantastic breakfast and, as we had enough supplies to last a couple of days, we didn’t bother returning to town. Instead, we sat out the rain in front of a blazing log fire. Nice!
The countryside with rolling green farmland cheers our spirits the next day. Vast fields of rapeseed shone golden in the sun as we made our way south to Aizpute on the P112. It was great to see the sun again. It makes all the difference when riding. We made it to the charming little village around lunchtime, and the lady of the hotel (Metras Maja) let us into a room early. Another great little find. Neat and tidy rooms above a stunning gift shop where we were allowed to store our bikes. The kitchen facilities were excellent, and while making dinner, we met up with a lovely family who gave us a taste of the local wild mushrooms in a creamy dill sauce. OMG…to die for!
The next day’s ride down to Grobina (Mainly on the P112, joining the A9 about 8kms out) saw Shazz get chased by a ginormous dog that put the wind up her a bit. Dogs are a bit of a concern for us. Our loaded bikes are so heavy, being knocked off could easily result in broken bones. Not to mention getting bitten! Farms all have dogs and around here the farm houses are all next to the road, which makes us easy targets for these canine foes.
Our destination, Grobina, is about 10 kilometers outside the coastal city of Liepaja. As it has excellent transport connections, we decided to base ourselves here and do a day trip to Liepaja itself. That meant we could bypass the busy road and link up with smaller ones for the next stage into Lithuania. We booked into the Viesu Maja Guesthouse for two nights and spent the next day visiting the busy, seaside city.
Liepaja boasts a big, sandy beach that was in good use when we arrived, even though it was pretty windy. Our mate Nauris at Plost Krogs told us that Liepaja is where the wind is born. It wasn’t hard to believe him!
The next day we left Grobinja and headed for the border with Lithuania. We were hoping to make it down to Salantai, 85 kilometers away, Not to be, however. We turned off the P113 onto a much smaller road at Barta. A section of really rough gravel track slowed us to a snail’s pace. We slipped and slid and tried our level best not to fall off and finally gave up in parts to walk it. It was a grind, especially as every dog in the area run out to the road and roared away at us. Getting false charged by a German Shephard isn’t much fun. At least the traffic was minimal out here. After a couple of near falls, we eventually made it out onto the main road again, although the road wasn’t all that much better!
We crossed into Lithuania about 9 kilometers later, and immediately entered the small town of Skuodas. We asked some locals where we could eat, and they directed us to an excellent little cafe just behind the MAXIMA supermarket on the main street. After lunch and a couple of lazy beers, we didn’t no longer felt like jumping back on the bikes. There didn’t appear to be much accommodation in the villages ahead, a fact confirmed by the lovely owner. With everything taken into account, we didn’t take much convincing to stay the night. Bookings.com, came to the fore once again, and we quickly booked the last room at the Aroma Guesthouse. It proved to be a good decision. When we returned for dinner, we found she had rallied her son, nephew and his girlfriend (who all spoke excellent English) to come and meet us and make us feel welcome. We certainly couldn’t complain about our welcome to Lithuania.
Have you been to Lithuania? What was your favorite experience?
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