Latvia so far has proved to be full of surprises and the countryside was no different. We had spent the morning exploring Cesis castle but the afternoon proved that wildlife is elusive even when you can blatantly hear it!
I found out about the Ciruilsi Nature Trail on Pinterest and it was surprisingly easy to find, only about 10 minutes from our lodge. There are lots of walks and off road cycling you can do in the area.
Today felt like a 5km walk kind of day.
We parked up, got a map and started our walk through a campsite right on the river’s edge. Note taken to potentially come back one day and stay here, very chilled out vibe.
The path continued along the River Gauja before curving back into the forest. As we went round there were signs explaining what types of wildlife we might see. Plus we knew that there were still wild bears in Latvia. Spoiler alert – we didn’t find any bears.
We stopped at a popular beaver spot hoping to catch a glimpse of one. As were were pretty much the only people on the trail we sat quietly for a while, using binoculars to scan the water edge. Nothing.
We saw signs of beavers but not the little fellas themselves.
There were a few routes you could take which made the path a little difficult to follow at points but nothing too strenuous. Half way round we came across a natural bubbling spring bringing fresh new water to the surface.
Enticingly there was a cup next to the spring and a sign saying you could taste the water. Which of course I did. It was very fresh, Stu was less convinced but by the cup not the water. You only live once right!
We eventually made it along the river bank to a wild campsite and the edge of a bobsleigh/skiing resort. Obviously not being winter it wasn’t open but still interesting to see where the slopes are formed.
As we headed back to the start we could hear this tap tap tap tapping on the trees. It took a little while for us to realise what we were hearing was a woodpecker! We spent a good while trying to spot it but they remained elusive. A little infuriating to be honest but made for a good 20 minutes of standing in silence staring up at the trees.
Wildlife 2 – Tourists 0
Just before we returned through the campsite we stopped at a hollowed out rock. Legend goes that a bride was trapped inside the rock during a war, the two men protecting her were killed which stained the rock red. It had tons of “Bonnie Prince Charlie hiding out in Glencoe” vibes about it.
After an afternoon of fresh air and failed wildlife sightings it was time for another sauna before our adventures took us into Estonia!
Latvia beat my expectations, with a quaint capital city, beautiful bog walks and the river Gauja carving it’s way through the middle. What more could you want!? Latvia is firmly on the ‘must visit again’ list.