About Latvia 2014

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You will be soon able to follow me on my new project, starting on 1st September 2015.

I will cross again this wonderfull country but in a different way and with a new purpose.

Discover this new exiting adventure here:


Barbele to Viesite

From the tiny village of Barbele, I made my way to Viesite on a muddy path that was leading me to the forest. The GPS never tells you what the road will look like. As it was raining with a temperature of 2 degrees I was expecting to go on mud and puddles...  all day long.

I was going for some 25km to stop for the night in a small place called Krasti. It is located on the bank of river Memele, which is the border line between Latvia and Lithuania.
The trip was easy despite all the mud, and even very pleasant because of the scenery. It was partly in forest or prairies. Regularly, I had to cross lovely little hamlets. Again, numerous splendid wooden houses made me stop for a photo.
Climbing over the little hill that was leading to a remote place called Staci, I found a woman working at her daily tasks.
I introduced myself and she recognized me from the Bauska's news paper which made an article about me.

She asked me to sit on a bench that was along the wall, went inside her home and came back few minutes later with a full plastic bag of apples and a big dried sausage!
At first, I was concerned about the weight of this unexpected goods, but it was impossible to refuse such gift. Believe me, even days after I remember the taste of the home made sausage, and the sweetness of those apples which were a blessing when having a break.
Soon after this place, I entered the forest and was attacked by three wild dogs.

I was warned by people about those many wild dogs roving the country.

In fact, it this was the second attack I had to deal with. The first was on the way to Elija.

As I was passing a farm, a big white dog swooped down on me. It was totally enraged and made all possible moves to bite me.
I had many dogs, big ones, and I know how to deal with them.

The most important is to show confidence. If you are scared, the dog will feel it. Never turn your back and always stare at it. Keep calm, and show some aggressiveness too.

But this dog was not about to let it go that easily. So, as the best defense is attack, I let it come to me and at the right moment I stroke him in the mouth with my heavy mountain shoes. It didn't ask for more and flew away.
With 3 dogs, it's another business. They attack you from all sides. The key is to spot the leader. As in any pack, there is a dominant.

I quickly grabbed a branch on the floor and used it to keep them away. I was always keeping eyes contact with the dominant and walked backward turning on myself to have them all on sight. I is how I managed to go away without injuries.
I arrived in Krasti in darkness. There, was a lady, Annija, loading her car by her house. I went to see her. She was speaking a little bit English, so she called her 17 years old daughter Anna, who was speaking a better English.

I asked her for a place where I could sleep. She called her husband. He had heard about me on radio, and proposed me to stay in a house he has, where is brother Aivars lives.

They offered me some drinks and snacks, and we had a little talk.
Annija is teaching Russian and Anna dreams of going to live in California. I wish her to realise her dream.
Annija proposed to drive me there because of my impressive big bag. In fact, it was just 70 meters away.

Aivars is unemployed, has many men in Latvia. He lives here in quite modest conditions.
He is in the forties, very gentle and has a beautiful smile. We drank tea, talked a bit, looked at my maps to see where I've been and going.

Aivars was listening the radio, mainly Latvian song. It was delightful. Latvian language is very beautiful when singing. I really enjoyed it and wish I had knew who those singers were.
We were already sleeping when around midnight, a man walked into the house. The man was obviously drunk. It was a friend of Aivars, who has, as it seemed, its habits  there.
I guess he was as surprised as me to see me there.

For some 2 hours, he questioned me about my trip, but couldn't believe I was doing it and for what reason.
After he suddenly felt asleep on the table, Aivars had him to leave. But in the very morning, he appeared again with bread and sausages.

Once more, he tried to understand why I was doing this.

After breakfast, I left them. They were both standing on the front door landing, watching me walking my way, wrapped in my rain clothes.
From there, I walked 5 kilometres on a sandy and muddy road. At the end of that road I entered the forest for what was to be a very hard day.

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