Latvia, what a nice surprise

I really wanted to camp here and have a swim but the road was calling me ever onwards

Saying goodbye to Russia, I entered Latvia for short ride of only abut 100 miles onto Lithuania and Poland. Within 10 miles of crossing into Latvia I was off road. It was quite a shock, I wasn’t expecting any off road here, I thought my off road endeavors had ended when I crossed the border but apparently not. Maybe it’s just being maintained? But there was no road work signs, evidently this was ‘the’ road. Maybe it’s just a short stretch? But it continued for on miles. Not to worry, it was a lovely day and the off road surface was actually pretty good, not too much loose gravel or sand. Fifteen miles or so later the paved road reappeared, excellent,  thought. The lovely black ribbon weaved its way through the beautiful Latvian landscape: lush green hills with trees, rivers and old wooden farm buildings. Then the paved road then ended, again, and I was greeted, again, by more ‘fire road‘. This continued the whole way through Latvia: sections of paved road divided by long sections of good off road tracks.

Parts of this road reminded me of stretches of the Road of Bones

This was good fun, just enough off-road to make it challenging and interesting but not so much that it would make it an unenjoyable chore, I call it the Goldilocks measure. The scenery just got better and better and just like other moments in my trip I was really in the zone. I felt at one with my bike with everything falling into place perfectly. I couldn’t tell where my hands ended and my bars began. I was the master of my ride and my destiny, I was limitless. I truly felt at peace in the saddle. It was a liberating and numinous, the closest I’m ever likely to come to a religious experience, and as an out and vocal atheist that’s saying something. I felt good. I stopped two or three times to take pictures and the off road track, flanked by trees reminded me of what I would likely have encountered on parts of the Road of Bones to Magadan, had I gone that way. Latvia would have been a beautiful place to camp and I would have loved to spend more time here, especially the by the river, which was warm and inviting, I’m a real sucker for the water. However, I had a destination in mind and the road was ever calling me onwards. I think Latvia will be somewhere I’ll be returning.

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2 thoughts on “Latvia, what a nice surprise

  1. Hi Stephen. Stumbled across your site from your signature on UKGSer. Really enjoying it so far, especially as it’s something I’d like to do in the next year or two. I did a small Ukraine trip earlier this year and it’s wet my appetite!

    Good choice on bike by the way, it happens to be the same as mine 🙂 http://www.elige.co.uk if you’re bored.

    Daniel

  2. Hi Stephen. Stumbled across your site from your signature on UKGSer. Really enjoying it so far, especially as it’s something I’d like to do in the next year or two. I did a small Ukraine trip earlier this year and it’s wet my appetite!

    Good choice on bike by the way, it happens to be the same as mine 🙂 http://www.elige.co.uk if you’re bored.

    Daniel

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