The day starts with breakfast on the balcony, the alternative: having breakfast in the hotel-assigned restaurant was not so tempting in comparison, despite the voucher.
The selection is plentiful and enough for all of us and a small rest is shipped to Su’s topcase bar, as a tactical reserve for the day. nearby
We enjoy the calm and stress-free start to the day, slowly we manage to adapt to the area and leave our hectic everyday life behind us completely. Similar to pilgrimages, the “monotony” of the daily routine is very meditative and creates a unique atmosphere.
So we start the day very easy by throwing the luggage over the balcony parapet to the motorcycles and shortening the towing around the block dramatically and since the “packing up” is already routine, we are on the road very fast despite all the silence.
The sun is shining, but it’s still quite fresh (17°) and we are happy to have a few more layers underneath the motorcycle outfit. Shortly we meet extremely low “clouds”? that sometimes float away within reach, and sometimes lie like fog over the landscape.
In the shade it is even cooler, so we hold it again to increase our layers even more.
So we drive through slightly hilly terrain in Siauliai and then a short distance to the north on the A12, in order to turn right again. So quickly we have reached Kryziu Kalnas, the mountain of crosses.
The parking lot is almost full and the first buses arrive already, so we leave the souvenir shops on the left for the time being and enter the toilet (the first and last time on our trip, where it really costs something – is also tip, top. That’s really the only thing I envy about male bikers, zip down, do business, drive on.
Nevertheless, the bus mob is still behind us and so we can almost undisturbed take the first lap on the narrow paths through the enormous accumulation of crosses.
There are large, small, old, new, wooden, stone and metal crosses and all this shows, despite the mass, a certain deep spirituality that exists here in Lithuania, despite, or even because of the oppression during the Soviet period.
We also see a family (which despite the ban) erecting a new medium sized cross.
As far as I can understand, it is probably dedicated to a child who died about 1 month ago. Greepy. I distance myself spatially from the mountain, in order to let the whole thing affect me with a little distance, it is simply too violent from close up.
The temperature has meanwhile risen to 25° and so we get rid of ourselves on the way back to the motorcycles of our shifts, in order to drive now around some more freely to the north, towards the border. But before we enter the souvenir shop and finally we manage to buy patches and stickers from Lithuania.
Once again we stop at the border crossing, which is also picturesque in the area and with its shady shrubs offers protection from the warm sun.
In good tradition, this border crossing is also documented for the loving ones at home, before we continue on our way.
And again we turn off from the Direttissima to Riga and drive eastwards, parallel to the border to take a closer look at the castle of Rundäle.
The castle complex of Rundäle is a classical baroque summer palace with a park. Little Schönbrunn, so to speak. The small, but subtle difference?
The grounds are very spacious, with parks and cafes and beautifully shaped. The whole complex shows the efforts to restore lost values of the past and to incorporate the changing history of the Baltic States into its own history.
During our tour through the terrain, a large black cloud stretches in the sky to the north. We know the sign nowadays only too well, that means putting on raincoats or taking an alternative course as soon as possible.
We decide for the second one and start off towards Bauska to stop there for a short while and have a look at the partially restored castle of Bauska before we swing on our motorcycles for the last time for today and head towards Riga.
This time the navigation doesn’t leave us in the stick on the last kilometres and so we arrive at our hotel Mercure Riga Centre.
A view of the hotel and our booking leaves us in doubt?
130, – € for three persons and 2 nights, incl. breakfast? Probably the broom closet at the attic and mattresses on the floor to sleep? Hmm, that reminds me of my wedding night in Bergen, where we, soaking wet, because of a wrong booking by the travel office, have been accommodated in just such?
Okay, let’s get rid of the thought. We’ll see about that.
And what we see is a huge room with a view over the square in front of us, huge beds, a monster tv screen. And, an enormously large bathroom, which we turn into a laundry room right after showering, with crisscross stretched laundry lines. In any case: It doesn’t look that noble anymore. ; -)
Afterwards, a short rest is called for. Su sews her new patches on the robe, Renate checks the extra bed and I write these lines.
When the hair is dry again, we leave for the old town. Since it will be dark at almost 24:00 anyway, and we don’t have a day of driving tomorrow – yes, we still have our reserve day completely unspoiled and so we will use it for an extensive Riga tour. This evening it can take a little longer until we get to bed….. ha, ha, ha… as if… (but we don’t want to know that anyway).
On the way to the Oldtown we pass the main railway station (incl. huge shopping mall), the canal (old town moat) and the National Opera House. And take pictures of a historic tram set that circles around the city, before entering the narrow alleys of the old town.
There’s a lot of activity, all the places are full of guests. We decide to visit the Steiku Haoss because of the hot live music in front of the restaurant.
It takes a while, the restaurant is also full, but from our place we can hear the music well and we see the musicians in action all the time, so there can be no boredom. An astonishing number of staff is on, too. No one in Austria could pay for these personnel costs, it seems that personnel costs nothing compared to the well-off European prices on the menu.
After a – longer – while the steaks (upps entrecote) arrive and they taste delicious!
On the way back we briefly raid a souvenir shop so that we also have Latvian stickers and patches for our collection, and we watch the rowing boats in the canal as they glide quietly over the water with lanterns.
A truly atmospheric end to a wonderful day. (And, not a single raindrop!)