Out of the gray sullen mists of a Latvian forests came the shrill scream of distant remorse. Lost in legends this wraith of spirit of the wilds is said by many to be the warning sound that announces that death of a Baron. Here in the green flat landscapes of rural Latvia know as Lettland through out lost centuries it is the land of the Lett and the tribes of Germanic Kelts.Riga the capital was built by German Knights and traders.
Riga showing the old airship hangars since then international markets .Each massive glass and iron building houses food stuffs in sections and finest goods in European trade can be found alongside an array of good Latvian grown and fattened goods. Many stalls set out in lanes inside and outside of buildings give every chance for every pocket. You can buy anything you desire here for that table and kitchen. All you need is good legs and lots and lots of time. Breakfast and coffee cafes in every corner even a good dinner can be found. we shop and rest .meet up with friends and have a good day being happy with what one can buy. Supermarkets have nothing on this place. Even though at times we use them too. The oldest town part dates back to 1200 but my favourite is oldtown itself.
Part of Riga old town.
This tale is of a noble Baron of Tutonic birth. His roots deep in the past of Knight from Germany who formed bands of robbers and when rich enough built their castles in Latvian vales and mounds to protect the stolen lands of their bloodline. The Castles built around 12th century to 14th.
Baron Hesstle was something of a gardener in mind and so we find his mighty gardens all grown over today. Occupation of German army and in 1945 the Russian over lords brought down the idea of Churhills words of fear for the Baltic lands when he said an Iron Curtain has fallen over Europe .One that will not be lifted in our life times.God help them.
Russia wrecked the property and heritage of Baltic nations and Latvia death camps existed and can still be seen. Many parents torn form children marched to trains to be sent to salt mines in Siberia. Homes given to Russian peasants with jobs on land of those dead Latvian families. Never a free live for youth right up to today many have never heard of King Arthur or movies with Errol Flynn or even Micky Rouke.
The legend of death is perhaps the fate waiting for those who perished in Siberian cold. However the forests today are not as many as then as Baltic timber was sold all over the world as best. Now old forests exist less but can be found easily on walks. A land of beauty wrapped into a mantle of such a bitter past.
That Baron died in his sleep long ago in 1900. He was the last of the Tutonic Knights of old. His family grave iron fenced in all holy state .Stones carved with names and dates but ransacked by grave robbers, bones strewn over the plot and ivy breaking stones makes it hard to read the brass inserted information. Latvian poor thought jewels worth the effort of midnight pillage of the dead but revealed nothing. So the wrecking of graves was revenge. Sad but people will stop at nothing to be rich. All the riches on earth can be the chains of woe around your own neck ,forever weighing you down, down to your broken knees. Latvia is hot summered and little rain some years and in others warm wet and English in style. Mostly it s in the 90f all day. Winters same .In past cold Siberian Artic down to 30cel minus. If snow falls it can be deep but protective of garden plants. Not that Gardens as English or Americans know as Gardens though it is possible to build them in true classical fashion if dedicated and skilled.
Here it is free and easy in the main and many many other nationals from other nations flock here as it used to be very cheap. Not so now but still cheaper than well occupied counties such as said . I would say food is cheaper so they have it right one can live well with a little planing.
Jobs are not all well paid and even though Government have raised the average wage up to 450 euro a month for unskilled only self employment is on offer for the average no skilled. Saying that a Doctor is on less pay here than a Milk man in England. Pensions robbed by previous Governments pay out now poor to starvation levels . 120 euro per month is average level of pay. Many I have spoken to on less. A man called Dom Brosky a now EU minister is blamed for the pension raids on Latvian workers many tell me. Brosky was in Latvian department before gaining a place in EU.
For many who come here it can be an eye opening situation but with freedom financially those can expect a good life here more than many other countries on earth. For the Latvians are friendly helpful and not a problem in the main though no one will work without some form of pay of course. One finds a bottle of something is the cost for some to cash per day for work for many others.
There is a wide divide here between the city life and income to countryside which is poor to down and out. No life outside Riga Valmera or Sessis. Cities lager than villages smaller than a town in England. Long open lands between all places tends to have effect on locality. Costs in these towns can be higher than countryside but some can be cheaper in some areas of value. Latvia boasts one of the best coastline in Europe .Blue sea ocean and 70 kilometers of white sand bay around a cobalt none salt natural Riga Bay. Forests all over help to protect both land and sea here. A public place at weekends yet any day in the week in hot summer one can find the sand empty of people at work. Local folk hardly go but City people drive out to fill the beaches all weekend. I have walked it all .Red sandstone cliffs to Riga shops and bus back home exhausted from market bus terminus. Cost of 2 euro 23 cents one way 50 miles the way bus goes.
Red deer Elks and badgers wild hawks and now Russian brown bears hunt in deep forest but hardly ever are seen. One morning in April last year I opened my curtains to see two massive horned Elks wander over my lawns .Him and Her just ambling over the land .Lovely sight so massive and peaceful. I went to inspect later not a single proof they had ever been there. I have a pair of read legged Grouse come through iris bed into lawn and watch me feed them standing stock still. Once I go to place to watch them behind glass doors in lounge they feed and bob around before off again through flowerbeds to forest I think. See than often in early summers.
My near neigbour over the fields has had an attack of wild boar take a row of potatoes out of his veg gardens, making a bad mess too. Yet to date over 8 years never seen a boar here as too near the road and boars come from wild forest right into his gardens where we are some two miles off him.
Today from early morning stair rods of heavy rain making it cooler and garden plants dont need my efforts today. Having built an arts and craft pleasure gardens on 3 acres and walled gardens gated folly gardens on 2 acres with massive gates that may terrify wild animals thankfully even the veg gardens at side of house are not touched by man or beast. I also have a brick columned iron gated hen yard and palace for my Chinese Pekin Bantams all golden and bright eyed. I allow them out onto one lower lawn at 5pm for last hour grass nibble for doctor greens keeps well fed girls in good shape .
So for now that is it really. Latvia brews top notch beers that cost about 67 cent a litre in cans or bottles.Less than 30 pence. Not a drinker or smoker myself just thought to mention its why so many Swedish coaches pilled in to our area not just for its natural beauty but for the very cheap drinks. Shop keeper are happy to see and greet them.
Thank you for reading my account, as seen by me alone.
Yours always Sir K
COPYRIGHT 2020 KevinParr Bt