Characterized by a great bio diversity, variety of landscapes and geology, natural springs and unique nature wonderlands, Gauja National Park stretches over 90000 square hectares and protects one of the most beautiful parts of the Gauja river. As soon as we crossed the border in between Estonia and Latvia, we drove towards Gauja and decided to start our journey with:
Cesis Medieval Town
A 800 years of History medieval town and one of the best preserved in the Baltics.
Its castle is located in the heart of the city and is very enjoyable to visit. Not equipped with lights, they offer you candles to walk around the castle corridors and explore its History, which puts you in the mood instantly.
It was sometimes spooky, sometimes amusing, but quite cosy and worth it, especially to climb all the way to the tallest tower and enjoy the view on the old town and the castle’s park.
Once out of the ruins, we walked through the garden and red more about its life, back then.
The sun was shinning and it was simply a nice morning. After that we hopped back in the car and drove towards our next destination…
This old town built around its former Ligatne Paper Mill, had once been one of the oldest and richest paper producer in Europe. This old Paper Mill is located in the middle of the Nature, giving this picturesque fusion a strange look.
We could walk around the small chambers which were used for workers back then and climb the slippery stairs to enjoy the view. We also noticed some strange caves on the other side of the river and went to check it out. We learned that they were privately owned caves hand dogged in the cliff by the population and that there were around 300.
Some are simply used for storage and as wine cellars while some others are cults locations. Finally, time was ticking and it was time to drive to our final destination of the day!!
Under the Ligatne Rehabilitation Centre (precisely 9m under) lays the untouched 2000 square meter soviet bunker which stopped being secret only in 2003 while it was build in 1980.
We had to meet our leathered covered guide at 17.00 and decided to arrive slightly earlier, only to hear from the receptionist that she was already in the bunker with the rest of the group. We thought we missed our chance but she simply and casually said: “Just go down there on your own and find them“. That was pretty cool! We almost wanted to explore on our own but got a bit scared with the official aspect of the place and decided to meet our pairs. The bunker was extremely impressive knowing that all the objects dated from its active time. We went through a lot of rooms, from the political reunion room to the cantina or the bedrooms and could even stay at the end of the official visit to ask more questions on what we had missed.
I can tell for a fact that we barely saw Gauja National Park and that, with the small amount of drive we did through it, it would be totally worth it to go back and explore its nature. Nevertheless those three visits were super cool experiences that I strongly recommend.Jeetees