Just to keep you on your toes...

I'll bet you didn't think I'd update this blog so soon! But our wonderful weekend excursion has got me all fired up to post another photo report on life in Latvia. So here you have it - I had to sing in a concert in Cesis (a beautiful town about 100 km north of Riga), so we decided to make a weekend of it.
We booked a night in a manor house near Cesis called Ungurmuiza. Apart from its fabulously klumpety name, it is also the oldest wooden manor in the Baltic States. Built in 1720something, it has been restored in a restrained way - not the usual clean-it-within-an-inch-of-its-life way. Much of the original decor has been left the way it was, and areas of restoration can be easily identified as new additions or repairs. We were the only people staying at Ungurmuiza, so the local groundsman who let us in gave us the key to the original school house where we had our room, and told us to look after ourselves - which was fabulous! It felt like we were the only ones in the world to stumble on this remarkable place. In the morning a lady appeared out of nowhere to cook us a hot breakfast of fried eggs and sausages with klingeris on the side and locally-collected herbal tea, all served elegantly complete with linen placemats in the old school room, now the dining room. Afterwards we walked around the ancient oak trees in the park and checked out the "tea house", which apparently was made 2-storey, so that the baron could drive his carriage in underneath the tea house and climb upstairs to take his beverage in comfort. Nice.
Later, we were off with friends Juris and Daina and our new godson Mikelis on their annual springtime excursion to the Līču Langu cliffs near the Gauja river. And what an adventure it was! Juris had warned me that we needed old clothes that could get dirty - and we soon found out why. A barely-existent track ran from an old brick-making factory into the forest, along the river, down some ravines and through lots of muddy creek beds. The boys ran and slipped and stumbled through the track at top speed, and to my surprise, Tiss was the first one to crawl into the sandstone caves that we came across. Oooh, scarey stuff, I definitely didn't go in - there was ice-cold spring water streams pouring out of these caves, and Tiss and the other foolish blokes who went in came out with mud up to their knees and huge grins on their faces. After hours of bush-bashing we came to the last cliff-and-cave-complex, after which we cut cross-country back to the brick factory, climbing over huge piles of bricks to get to the cars. The excursion to end all excursions! Needless to say it, the boys passed out in the car on the way home...

Looking out over the Cesis skyline from the Cesis museum tower

Ungurmuiza - front door

Ungurmuiza school house(in the background), where we stayed. Apparently the baron was a benevolent chap who built the school so that the children of his servants could be schooled alongside his own blue-blooded darlings

Inside Ungurmuiza - the suite or rooms that are often rented our for weddings, parties, anything...

The staircase was complete with carved initials of the baron and his wife

The baroness' bedroom was "guarded" by two painted soldiers - those freaky eyes follow you as you come up the stairs

The tea house

"Kazu grava" ("The Goat's Gully) - probably because you had to hop up that waterfall like a goat on a mountainside

Jem carrying Mikus out of the first cave. No too much mud just yet...

"The tunnel we had to crawl through was THIS SMALL"!

Our godson Miķelis - spent the hours dodging and weaving along the forest track strapped to his mum and smiling nonstop!

The sandstone was very soft and along the way we saw a century of "I woz 'ere" carvings in the rock...

Juris climbs to a cave up high


3 Responses so far.

  1. Fifee says:

    God, can I come and stay too!! I love this place. What a find! The tea house is just superb. And did you take any bricks home? Or are they heritage listed... tee hee. Such a fabulous place. I am trying to find a venue for my birthday party - wish I could teleport to this place! Can't wait to come and visit you again. Much love xx Fiona

  2. Alex says:

    I want to stay here too, it's gorgeous! The scenery is lovely too. Maybe we can all go together...

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