Originally me and my mom were thinking to go to Ventspils, since none of us have ever been there. But I thought it would be best to visit this city some other day and by car; the bus trip would be exhausting, because it takes over three hours, if I’m not mistaken.
We chose a little town Sabile instead. Don’t remember why though. But to be honest it didn’t really matter where to go. Change of scenery always feels nice. So, one day before the trip we went to Autoosta (Rīga international bus terminal) and bought tickets to Sabile. The price for one-way ticket was 4.75 euros.
Unfortunately, my excitement wore off as soon as I saw the town. It was super small and there wasn’t really much to see there. “Okay, what’s next?” thought I. Well, at that point we had only two options: we could either stay here and see everything Sabile has to offer in an hour or two, or we could buy tickets to Kuldīga, which is much bigger town, with more things to explore. We chose option B without hesitation and purchased tickets from the driver; 2.20 euros per person.
Kuldīga Orthodox church:
I’ve been to Kuldīga before. My school often arranged trips around Latvia, when I was a kid. But for some unknown reason I don’t remember much. Same with Kuldīga. The memory is vague. Only thing I was certain of was the fact it’s where the waterfall Ventas Rumba (Venta Rapid) located. That’s all. So, basically it felt like I am discovering Kuldīga for the very first time.
When I look at these houses, I can easily see similarities with Finland and Russia. Central Europe even. And if someone showed me these pictures before this trip, I never would have guessed they were made in Latvia.
What else to see in Kuldīga?
Well, first of all the waterfall on the Venta river, of course. The widest waterfall in Europe!
If you walk over the Kuldīga brick bridge…
…you’ll end up in the restaurant “Pīlādzītis”. And if you are meat lover like me, then you might like the traditional shashlik. Best served with local beer or kvass.
I also enjoyed a walk in The Town Garden, a beautiful green park with sculptures:
It reminded me of Sapokka Water Garden in Kotka.
Another way to see Kuldīga is to take a touristic trackless train ride. It’s cheap, easy and fun way to see most of the town in just 20 minutes. They also have a video guide that introduce you with a short version of Kuldīga history. The price is 5 euros.
Things that surprised me on this journey
As it turned out, the farther you go from Rīga, cleaner surroundings are. Also, being 150 kilometers away from the capital made me feel like I have traveled to another world, a world where people are friendly, welcoming and helpful. People that are smiling and look happy. Something what you won’t see in Rīga almost at all nowadays. And to say I was astonished by this contrast is the understatement. How is it possible that people from Rīga and Kuldīga are of the same nation? It’s a mystery to me.
The rhythm of life was different as well. It’s more calm and easygoing here in Kuldīga, rush-free and stress-free. The town definitely has some vacation mode vibes, at least that’s how it felt after the busy-busy Rīga.
But most of all I was surprised by the number of cranes and storks. I’ve never seen so many before, especially storks. There were dozens of them! Some were walking in the fields, some were sitting in the nests, some were flying over the bus. It was awesome!
Summing it all up
I remember seeing a sign that said, “Welcome to Kuldīga – a town with a soul!”. I wanted to roll my eyes when I read it. I thought it sounded so cheesy. But after spending few hours in this incredible place, I realized that it’s not cheesy, it’s true.
Kuldīga is a lovely place, charming and authentic. It has a character. It is also one of the most photogenic towns in Latvia. Every street looks like a vintage postcard. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. Well, technically at second, since I’ve been here before. But it was love, nevertheless.
Hope you enjoyed it!