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Holidays with a bike ride along Velna alu to Krimulda

The holidays continue and there are so many desires to see and experience everything that you have to go on another short trip to feel the closeness of nature and the pleasant feeling of a travel adventure.

Not wanting to get lost or experience unpleasant surprises, I chose the direction and route, which I have already tried and which is not complicated. Since I'm not very fond of cycling, because I only do it once a year or even less often, and I don't have my own bike, I started my vacation from a rental point in Sigulda. When I have chosen my bike, covered the first few meters and the excitement of not knowing how to ride starts to subside, I gradually find the right direction where my bike ride will go. I made a small detour in the city to start following the signs of the bicycle path and look for the direction of my intended route. And soon I was on the right path to go down to the Gauja coast and the Devil's Cave.

Leaving the city behind, the sweetest part of this trip is taking the country road across the meadow and soon entering another world that resembles the Open Air Museum. There are a few farmsteads located here, which radiate peace and make you leave the city with its anxiety behind, feeling Gauja National Park the calming and invigorating atmosphere. This place is like a dividing line that separates the city from the countryside almost in an instant. All around the "san" meadow with its many inhabitants and the pleasant summer breeze of the sandbank.

Devil's cave

Leaving this idyllic place, the road goes down into the Gauja valley to take you to Devil's beer. A bit of coolness and the shade of the trees, going through the forest, and very soon the expanse of the Gauja and the pedestrian bridge opens up to the view. Although on this trip, I have planned to cross the Gauja before going over it, this time I choose the gazebo in front of the Devil's Cave rock to see the familiar view from there. I've never been to the Devil's cave itself, but I like this typical red sandstone rock that is so characteristic of the Gauja National Park.

The rock of the Devil's Cave does not bring me special associations with ancient Latvian beliefs, and it is difficult to imagine it as a dwelling place of some mythical creatures, because the atmosphere here is completely ordinary and pleasant, even light, perhaps for those who have stayed in the Devil's dwelling, it is different. The vastness of Gauja opens before my eyes with small, very light waves blown by the wind and the wonderful rock. I made a short break to wash my hands in the Gauja water before going back across the Gauja into the forest.

After having a small lunch from the delicacies we brought with us, we go on the second stage of the short journey, which also involves some physical difficulties, as we have to get back up the mountain. However, there are opportunities to stop to see the charming Gauja valley. This is my favorite part of the trip because for cycling, there is a wonderful forest road with several scenic places to stop and a gazebo to view the Gauja Valley. This stage is another opportunity to enjoy the closeness of nature, to look with your eyes to see if you will be able to see a squirrel in a tree branch or running across the road, until, just like out of a fairy tale, a forest cabin appears.

The place is called "Hunter's Lodge" and the building may have survived from the manor's time. It has large stone foundations covered by fern roots. This is another boundary to gradually return to civilization, because after only a few hundred meters, you will be able to reach Krimulda Castle with its wonderful Swiss atmosphere of Vidzeme. Very gloomy clouds gather near the lodge and we have to flee, because it seems that the rain will end this trip. However, this time we are lucky and when we reach Krimuld, the rain clouds disappear, the sun shines brightly in the sky, allowing us to sit on the terrace of the cafe to enjoy the magic of this place.

The road does not end here, although the unique Krimulda manor complex and its ancient buildings are a wonderful place where there are not many people, and it seems that for a moment you have entered another, completely different reality with a historical breath. Here is the beginning of the most active part of the road, as there is a drive down the Serpentine road to the Gauja bridge. Finally, the wind whistles a little past your ears and you can rush down the hill, where the paved path makes the trip pleasant, but the serpentine bends are interesting. "Vžžžžžžžzzz", and soon the Gauja bridge was reached.

 After crossing the Gauja bridge, both for safety reasons and to avoid having to go up the hill, I choose the lazy way - to go to the park "Tarzan", so that you can easily get back to Sigulda by lift. Here it is pleasant to feel the vibrating atmosphere of the "Tarzan" park and receive a completely different charge of energy. Music is playing in the loudspeakers and everyone is driving in all possible directions, leaning, climbing, crawling, lining up at the ticket offices. We are back. In the confusion, returning to the people - I crash - almost falling off the bike, and I'm back. We only have to go through the lift ride and we are at the Svetku Square.

Hike to Vējupīte ravine in Gauja National Park

Paparde Gaujas Nacionālaja parkā

In the Gauja National Park, a forest path opens to the view, along the edges of which stately hundred-year-old fir trees stand and sometimes it seems that there will be a chance to go into history, where around the next bend, just like elves carried by a light wind, in long silk dresses under parasols decorated with lace and lace, countesses will walk along the path from the 19th century, when Count Kropotkin promoted the former development of Zeegolde and prosperity by building the Hotel Segewold, as well as installing viewpoints, canopies and paths with wooden stairs. Olga Kropotkina spoke about these places with great love and in her memories gave these paths a romantic atmosphere, which one would like to compare with the inviolability and fragility typical of the women of the 19th century aristocracy.

However, this time I wanted to go for a walk around Gauja National Park nature trail and feel the closeness and mighty power of nature, as well as get to know the wild Vējupīte ravine, which is only a few steps away from the center of Sigulda. Here, too, there are sandstone outcrops formed 300-370 million years ago, but I like this place so much because of the bright greenery, the constant babbling of the small river and wet feet.

I started my walk in the forest near the Kropotkin family cemetery and soon I was fascinated by the charming fir trees, fern groves, some stumps inhabited by ants and the edges of the cliffs. My almost 2-year-old son came with me, and he couldn't get past any ant castles or large spruce roots. In this way, we could see and admire the forest, feel its fabulous smell, pick cones and see the magnificent play of light created by the sun through the branches of giant oaks. We followed the trail to the first viewpoint at the Raven Gorge and then on to the romantic Painters' or Paradise Hill.

Despite the fact that I spent all my summers near Sigulda as a child and I considered eating delicious ice cream to be my favorite tradition here, only a few years ago I discovered Paradise Mountain and its romantic view, which truly takes your breath away and makes you feel like you're in Little Switzerland.

We had walked about 850m when we saw the view of the Painters' Hill, and its enchanting scenery attracted us with an almost magnetic force. Through the forest we could see the gazebo located here and beyond the unique view over the valley to Turaida Castle. The first thing we tried was the swing set up here, swinging in which we could go forward to admire the view, as well as gather strength to go down the Vējupīte ravine. This was pretty much the only place where we met a bunch of other travelers, because contrary to the idea that there might be a lot of tourists here, due to being so close to the city, Mount Paradise is not overcrowded.

Sitting on the steps, I considered whether my companion and I would have enough strength to go down into the ravine and back along it to Kraukli Gorge, however, Sandris pointed to the steps and the desire to walk down. After eating the apple we took with us, we went on. After the hard climb down, we had reached the Vējupīte ravine, where there is a pleasant coolness and freshness on hot summer days, and there is a kind of slight pressure in the head from the sides of the ravine, which seems to me to be more than imagination. However, every time I've come down here, it seems that it's precisely because of this pressure that I feel like I've stepped into another fairy-tale world.

We both pass the road sign and gradually start to admire the flowers, stones, fallen trees, until we find ourselves wading along Vējupīti with wet feet. Here, little Vējupīte has banks covered with various grasses, ferns and tree roots, as well as places along some sandstone outcrop. Finally, after walking a little bit, we start to feel tired. Sandris settles into a piki-paun for me, and so we walk some more until, without even noticing, we have reached the Raven Gorge and the pink cliffs of the Raven Cave. Lightly tired and satisfied with our hike, we can look at them and prepare for the climb up. Both Sandri and I are a little afraid of how we will manage to overcome the climb, but we decide not to lose heart and overcome the last stage of the hike.

Profusely sweaty and a little out of breath with Sandra in piki-pawan, who feels pleasantly high and excited, I get out of the Raven Gorge and we can both drink the water we brought with us, as well as look at the view that opens above the Raven Gorge. Walking back, I feel that both I and my traveling companion are pleasantly tired, have enjoyed and discovered something new for ourselves. Although we have only done a walk of up to 2 km, it has given us a new experience, made us challenge ourselves a little and test our strength, and we have both earned ice cream.

Koks pie Vējupītes

Rest house - Jaunlidumnieki

Autumn and winter are good times to devote time to needlework. At this time, it is possible to create various decorations. A holiday home is a suitable environment to place decorations from nature's bounty. Also, when waiting for Christmas, it is nice to indulge in decorating in a calm atmosphere. This time I made only an advent wreath and a small light decoration. But the satisfaction was not only created decorations, but also the time I spent creating them. Making them was like a little meditation and preparation for the celebration.

Continue reading “Atpūtas mājiņa – Jaunlīdumnieki”

Gauja National Park - a place for great walks

Did you know that the Gauja National Park is the place where you can find the widest network of trails in the Baltics, as well as that they are available in the application and therefore much easier to walk, because not only a map will take you on a walk along them, but also a digital guide created by Enter Gauja a guide?

The Gauja National Park offers both longer and shorter walking trails and bicycle routes that will be suitable for different travelers and their goals. There are trails that are more suitable for a 2-hour walk - e.g. Vēpūpīte Ravine, as well as trails that will be suitable for a several-day hike. One of the examples of a 4h cycle route for everyone – bike ride along Velna cave to Krimulda.

Continue reading “Gaujas Nacionālais parks – vieta lieliskām pastaigām”

On the way to Mālpili – Ropaži hill

This place is quite small, but from the road you will notice the tidy environment and the small castle ruins. This is one of the first settlements that was built in Latvia and the construction of a castle was started.

At the moment, only a few stone walls are visible, but this will be a pleasant place to stretch your legs when driving from Riga to Mālpili

Continue reading “Pa ceļam uz Mālpili – Ropažu pilskalns”
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