From Estonia into Latvia

As with all member countries of the Schengen Agreement, border crossings are now non-events, barely marked by a sign telling you of your transition….but in the case of Estonia and Latvia, that hasn’t always been the case.

In 1917, they started the process of creating a definitive border, and brought in the services of a neutral referee, in the name of Steven Tallents, a former colonel in the British army. The major problem was satisfying all the different ethnic groups, and Tallents himself was accused by both sides of corruption and taking bribes….even of having a Latvian wife and property in Riga. Anyway, the border was finally signed off in 1927, the border (or non-border) we have today.

Ethnic mix is a big problem here in Latvia, especially with the number of Russians still here from Soviet days. There’s an uneasy tolerance between communities, but things could easily flair up given the right conditions.

I found myself catching up with two

Eurovelo routes which happened to coincide. The EV10, the Baltic Sea route, and the EV13, the Iron Curtain trail. Both are just shy of 8000km in length, and both gain most of their distance from weaving in and out of either coastlines or country borders. I have to confess I would find both of them very frustrating to follow, sometimes weaving 100km to get to a point only 50km away. Unlike a river, my basic nature is not to meander…

And I have to tell you I found yet another extraordinary pitch for my tent, just 40km out of Riga. For €5, a young guy has let me use a corner of his constructed paintball battleground, and I’ve found a covered niche amongst the BBQs and picnic tables….because presumably, in these paintball battles, they stop for lunch or refreshments now and again…. Btw, in Latvian it’s called ‘peintbola’….

Distance covered: 90km

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 30, 2019, in Biking the Baltic 2,400km and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Frank, great journey! If you can you must visit the market in Riga, it’s in converted airship hangers,amazing for its variety of fish and pickled cabbage. Keep the posts coming.

    Like

  2. You do find some intriguing places to pitch your tent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the heads-up, Peter….I hadn’t picked up on the market..

    Like

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