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.