Updated: Apr 5, 2020

by Nessy Shimwafeni - Yesterday my wife and advisor told me we will be cycling to Jūrmala, Latvia situated at the Baltic Sea.

Being a car riding person I am getting used to the fact, that residents here cycle a lot. I guess it's healthy but, yeah, please give me time to get used to it.

I am new in Latvia so I will keep updating Latvia as I go along...

Jūrmala - First Town to Vist

(beach crowded before the Corona pandemic outbreak)

Our first town to explore since we arrived here, is locted by the Gulf of Riga and stretches along 26 km of coastline with modern relaxation and resort facilities.

This fresh air reminds me of Namibia, and the long stretches of empty space are addictive.

Jūrmala becme the largest resort area in the Baltics as well as a popular location for international conferences and meetings.

The city is characterized by its wooden architecture with woodcut accents, cottage-style buildings and resort centers of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Romantic streets and wooden cottages surrounded by pine trees also nowadays create the vision of the olden days.

The wooden buildings of Jurmala are significant and unique cultural heritage.

Jurmala buildings are made unique by the fact that historicism-style wooden houses are quite rare.

Jūrmala is divided into 14 residential areas - Priedaine, Lielupe, Bulduri, Dzintari, Majori, Dubulti, Jaundubulti, Pumpuri, Melluži, Asari, Vaivari, Sloka, Jaunķemeri and Ķemeri. For example, Dzintari is famous for the Dzintari concert stage, unique in Europe, which regularly hosts outstanding artists and ensembles. Majori and Jaunķemeri - for the Blue Flag beaches, Ķermeri - for the Ķemeri National Park.  Jūrmala – the place to meet, the place for love, the place to come back to again and again.

I was blown away as I didnt know what to expect,

Well pictures speak more than a thousand words so you let me know what you think!!

Leila & Nessy(


Latvia; Latvian: Latvija, Livonian: Lețmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika, Livonian: Lețmō Vabāmō), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states.

It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west.

Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi).

The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

The Baltic Sea moderates climate, although it has four distinct seasons and snowy winters.

After centuries of Swedish, Polish and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away from the Russian Empire and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became increasingly autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis.

The country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, and the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 (Courland Pocket in 1945) to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years.

The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover.

It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990 and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991.

Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic and performs well in the United Nations Human Development Index.

Its capital Riga where my wife and I live, served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014.

Latvian is the official language but most of the people also speak English. But trust me if you are a foreigner and look different they will stare at you, I feel like a superstar or weired at times.

Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia.Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages.

Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions.

However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, 26.9% of the population of Latvia are ethnic Russians,[21] some of whom (10.7% of Latvian residents have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.

Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews.

Latvia is historically predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.

The Russian population is largely Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Latvia is a high-income advanced economy and ranks 39th in the Human Development Index.

It performs favorably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance, living standards, and peacefulness. Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats.


Latvians share a common language and have a unique culture with traditions, holidays, customs and arts.

The culture and religious traditions have been somewhat influenced by Germanic, Scandinavian, and Russian traditions.