Our Over-Walk in Latvia

The Latvian word for hike is a compound word, translated into English it means “over-walk” (or maybe more correctly to walk over.)  After 20 kilometers of walking along the Baltic Sea coast, we thought that “over-walk” put it perfectly!  Every year Zanda, my friend in Latvia, has a girl weekend with her friends, where they escape to the coast and spend their time walking along the beach, having a few drinks, and catching up with each other.  This sounds innocent enough, but these ladies take their walking and drinking seriously.  Zanda was told that having two friends (one being male) visiting from the US wasn’t a good enough excuse to miss this years gathering, so she brought us along.

We took a beautiful drive from the capital of Riga through the countryside to our first campsite on the coast.  Latvia is a beautiful country with big fields, meadows, forests, and lots of storks.  There are only 2.2 million people in the whole country, and 1 million of them live in Riga, so the countryside is very open with a few farmhouses here and there.  Apparently 30,000 people is a city in Latvia, and a big city has 100,000 people.  We drove out on some fun 2 lane roads, and passed Europe’s widest waterfall and fascinating wooden towns.  When we reached the campsite on the coast we setup our tents and met the ladies.  After some drinks and a late night swim, we settled comfortably into our tents.

The next morning we shuttled our gear by car to our destination campsite, and set out on our walk.  The ladies only had a rough idea of how far we were going.  “When we hit the lighthouse, we’ll know that we’re there.  Yes, but I don’t see a lighthouse!  Don’t worry, it’s probably around a bend or two in the coast.”  Sarah and I have spent the last 9 months walking pretty much every day, but over 20km in the sun on the sand qualified this as an over-walk.  Despite it’s over-walk status, we had a ton of fun.  The scenery was beautiful, and this part of the Baltic coast is practically deserted.  Any time that we got hot, we could just jump into the refreshing but not too cold Baltic.  (Or we could grab a beer, snack, or harder drink from the pull cart that we took turns pulling along.)

We will fondly remember the our over-walk and the “roses” that we met in this beautiful corner of the world.

–Gabe

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