Before I moved to Latvia with my wife Leila, I wasn't even able to show you where Latvia was situated on the World map.
Now I call myself an expert on the country, yes I said it, I am travelling up and down this small Baltic country like I run a small tour company here.
I guess the nature person in me always wants be unleashed no matter where I find myself, nature calls.
Today on this beautiful Sunday, my parents in-law Edite and Dzintars (who by the way love travelling up and down as much as my wife Leila & I do), picked us in the morning and we drove past beautiful villages and lush green nature for breakfast at a castle called Jaunmoku pils castle.
On our road trip I saw beautiful Latvian farms with horses and cows, fields of corn, strawberries and raspberries.
Jaunmoku pils (Jaunmoku Castle)
SIA “Jaunmoku pils” is a recreational centre offering a versatile range of services outside the rush of the city — in a quiet, hilly scenery of Kurzeme. By preserving the values of cultural history of the area and introducing ever new products of cultural tourism, the Jaunmoku Palace has become one of the best known places for relaxation in Latvia.
Here we stopped and had a hearty breakfast and explored the surroundings.
The estate consists of a 9.8 ha large park and 6 buildings from the original structures have been preserved: the palace or the masters’ quarters, the dairy shed or “the milk building”, a stable, a granary, a carpenter’s workshop and a blacksmith’s workshop.
The buildings of the Jaunmokas Palace Manor along with the park have been included on the list of architectural monuments of national importance.
I begged my family to leave me here and pick me in 2 days but of course they didn't listen, so after breakfast off we were again hitting the roads (which are amazing by the way).
Kandava Old Town
After a longer drive in the car we stopped in Kandava Old Town and explored the old town on foot admiring the old architectural buildings.
Our new stop my tour guide Edite (mother in-lawif you forgot) said we will be travelling through the small Switzerland of Latvia.
Well I expected to see big mountains like the Alps but since Latvia is a rather flat country I should have known.
We passed a few hills and more beautiful farms and we decided to stop at this amazing view point with a killer view.
On we drove through this lush nature and in my head I was thinking, mhmm how can I ship some of this animal feed to my dry motherland Namibia where we always experience drought.
As I was lost in my thoughts, Edite reminded me and Leila that we will quickly make a stop at the wine hill of Sabile.
The Valley of Abava River is one of the most expressive ancient valleys in Latvia. It has formed as a result of melting ice waters during the ice age.
The Abava River is considered to be the oldest river in Latvia. The Valley of Abava River has formed naturally and is one of the most beautiful places in Latvia. When Rainis and Aspasia lived near Tukums in 1930s they called it „The Switzerland of Courland” for a reason.
The Ancient Valley of Abava River is 2 kilometres wide and 30 metres deep. Today’s Abava River is 124 kilometres long. To preserve all this, in 1998 the Valley of Abava River was included in the List of 100 World’s Most Endangered Cultural-Historical Sites.
The Valley of Abava River comprises the historical part of Kandava, part of Kandava and Matkule City in Kandava County, Sabile, Abava and Gibuli City in Talsi County and Renda City in Kuldiga County.
Wine Hill – the symbol of Sabile
Sabile Wine Hill can be definitely considered the symbol of Sabile; moreover, you can see a bunch of grapes in the coat of arms of Sabile.
Sabile Wine Hill is unique, because it has been registered in Guinness Book of World Records as the most northern open-air vineyard in the world. The peak of the hill is approximately 34 metres above the city and the level of the Abava River.
The total area of the garden is 1.5 hectares. New vines are regularly being added to the existing ones, there are approximately 30 different varieties of vines and about 800 plants there. The majority of varieties have been created by the famous Latvian plant breeder Pauls Sukatnieks (1914-1989). The variety named “Zilga” is the most popular. You can also find such exotic plants as peaches, apricots and walnuts in the Wine Hill.
In 2018 the landscape of Abava River Valley from Sabile Wine Hill was chosen as one of the 50 Latvian landscape treasures in the project “Landscape treasures”.
History of the Wine Hill
Sabile Wine Hill has been formed twice: first in the German time (14th – 16th century) and after that it was completely restored in the period of Free State of Latvia in 1936. During the reign of Duke Jacob the grape crops in Sabile were supplemented with new varieties, so the grape growing has expanded.
When we arrived in the town of Kuldiga I was quite surprised how by the sheer number of visitors and tourists. We all looked at each and decided to avoid the congested places.
We once again left the car behind and walked through this charming little town.
We basked in the hot sun while walking through atmospheric cobblestone streets lined with restored timber houses, babbling streams and green parks.
I expected to see a big mighty waterfall but this one is a dwarf compared to the Victoria Water Falls in Southern Africa.
We decided after all this adventure it was time for a late lunch and had to walk for quite a distance to find a cozy empty restaurant, since the others were all full.
But after a long walk we settled into a nice empty restaurant with a beautiful garden where we chillelaxed for the next 2 hours or so. They served me the biggest pork chops I have seen in Latvia and I had to do a take away as I didn't managed to finish it. It was a hot Sunday afternoon and the shade did us all well.
In the early evening to decided to call it a day and drive about 60Km back home to Riga.
I was feeling tired but filled with new adventures. On our way we stopped at an old Evangelic church.
Tired but happy I fell onto my bed at home and decided to quickly write down my thoughts of the day for your reading pleasure.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed my day.
Like Ice Cube says in the movie Friday: "Today was a Good day".
Tomorrow my work from home week starts, and I wish You all a good week ahead - Stay Blessed.