Along the Baltic Sea, from North to West

lighthouse

While I am enjoying the time with my family, you can enjoy another few pictures from Latvia 🙂

In summer 2013, we started our journey from the beautiful, pristine clean fishing town of Salacgriva in the north of Latvia. This lighthouse was built in 1925. It is not operational anymore, but still good enough for a picture. The weather was not summery early in the morning, but we decided to keep to the plan. On our way south the sky started to clear and the sun peeked through the clouds. Natural reserve Vidzeme Stony Seashore was our next stop. We didn’t walk the 8 miles long trail, but visited some sandstone cliffs and caves, and marveled at the huge boulders and pebble-covered beaches, very unusual for the Gulf of Riga.

Even the sand was different, and sure I haven’t seen such a huge spider anywhere else.

spider

After a long walk in the beach and dunes we went further south to our last destination –  The White Dune in Saulkrasti.

I am standing on the top of the White Dune. The weather remarkably improved, and I took a picture of a group of tourists crossing River Incupe on their way to the beach.

river

From this point, the river edge looks like a silhouette of a face.

river

This is another picture from the trip. Me in action 🙂

photographer

This images of an operational lighthouse Akmenrags was taken a week later. To get there we had to drive a long way through the beautiful pine tree forest. The lighthouse was built in 1864 but destroyed in World War I. It was rebuilt in 1921 and then in 1957.  We were so lucky, because the lighthouse was closed for repainting, and open to the public just a day before we came over.

lighthouse

This is a light emitter, but I don’t know a thing about how it works.

lighthouse

The inside of the lighthouse is painted green!

lighthouse

lighthouse

What to do with paint leftovers? 🙂

net

Speaking of green. During our travels we had seen many interesting cars, like this green vintage Volga.

volga

A few words about Liepaja, the city where I stayed. This is an outdoor photography exhibition in the ruins of the riding manège in Karosta, a former military part of Liepaja.

liepaja

This picture was taken in 2010. I came to Karosta to meet with a famous photographer, only to learn that he recently died.

In my previous blog, there is a picture of some pieces of amber I picked up in the beach. What you see in the picture below is a hourglass monument filled with 50 litres ( 13 gallons) of amber! These pieces of amber were donated by people of Liepaja in 2003. I think it was a wonderful idea.

liepaja

I lived in a lovely room with a balcony, facing Liepaja Lake. There was a swallow nest with two chicks. In this picture you can see a mama swallow feeding her offspring a Damsel dragonfly.

swallow

There was a tiny apple tree at the porch. One night I came home late and saw a hedgehog under the tree. I have read that it is a myth that they eat, or carry the apples on their sharp spines, and I wondered what else was he doing there, under the apple tree?

hedgehog

The Holy Trinity Lutheran Cathedral is one of the most remarkable places in Liepaja. Until the 1912, its organ was the largest mechanical organ in the world with its 131 stops, 4 manuals and more than 7000 pipes. The organ was built by one of the best organ builders of that time H. A. Contius. The Cathedral was built in 1750, and the tower was finished in 1860. I made three attempts to climb up the tower, but failed and had to return: anonymous carpenter who made the narrow stairs was a minimalist and didn’t add any handrails. I changed my tactics and mingled with a group of tourists: if you are climbing up in a crowd there is no turning back. The tower is 55m (180f ) high, and I am very proud of myself for finally making it up to the top.

church

church

Every Sunday afternoon I went to the cathedral to listen to the organ: renowned organists and students perform for free for one hour on Sundays ( donations are welcome). I had an unforgettable time there.

One more blog post about Latvia to follow 🙂 Thank you for taking the trip!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

119 comments

      1. Yes, I hope to see it for myself one day. Now we are planning to drive the Atlantic Coast Road in Ireland , real slow. ❤ My irish friend Joan invited me to Ireland 10 years ago, I've been longing to go back ever since. ❤

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        1. Is it this summer? Hurry up, we have a wonderful weather right now 🙂 Don’t forget Malin Head – the North-West. I think it is included in the official route. You will love your trip. xx

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 Pity it was too dark that day, and the following day they all left the nest. Mama swallow is feeding her chick a damsel dragonfly. Huge insect just disappeared in that hungry mouth 🙂

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  1. These photos of Latvia surprise me in the sense there is such a great feeling of peace there…and the dunes and beach (although the spider would have freaked me out a bit). But I do have to say, my favorite photo is of you & your photography…that simply looks fun and the way I see the world too! You vacation the way it was meant to be done 🙂

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Randall! Sorry for the delay with reply – I was traveling home, and it took me 26 hours 🙂 Latvia’s sea border is 500km long, and most of it is accessible. If you walk even one hour, there is a good chance you will have a beach for yourself. The same about the forests (there you would need a compass though). Very peaceful atmosphere. The places we visited were mostly touristy, but without crowds, except may be Gauja National Park. The food is fantastic. I would say, the Baltic States are a great place to visit. Finland and Sweden are the neighbors.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I spent a great time, and visited both the Northern and the Western coasts. The seashore is beautiful, and if you walk long enough, you can have a beach for yourself. I wish I could visit again, but since I started having grandchildren, I don’t go anywhere else but to see my family.

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  2. Congratulations on getting to the top, Inese. Going as part of a crowd was a smart move. I’ve never seen a spider like the one you photographed. In fact, I didn’t even know spiders lived on beaches. I thought crabs had that gig.

    Hmm… What was the other thing I wanted to mention? Oh yes, the amber! I want to look through that vast collection of pieces donated by local people and see if I can find bits with insects in them. Among that many pieces, at least a few must have creatures inside, don’t you think? They’re so much cooler than fossils. It’s not just the impression of something that was alive millions of years ago. It’s the actual creature! How amazing is that! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! To tell the truth, I was almost sick in my stomach when I reached the top of the stairs. So were the crowd. All six of us made it half way and stopped. Then we crawled, because we had no room to turn around.
      I have been to the Amber museum in Palanga, Lithuania. The insects didn’t look prehistoric. Something like these : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palanga_Amber_Museum_-_Inclusions.jpg
      The Baltic sea is the best place to look for amber. No restrictions, free for all. We went to Latvia in October 2004 and took home a small bowl of amber – a right kind of storm brought the amber out of the sea that day. I wouldn’t buy the amber jewelry from the locals though: they often use plastic beads. They can put a mosquito in that plastic bead too 🙂

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      1. I’ve heard before that a lot of the “ancient insects trapped in amber” sold in various places should really be labeled “modern insects trapped in plastic.” I doubt I could tell the difference. I have some some examples in museums, though, and presumably the creatures in these were authentic. I was surprised how modern they often looked. Of course, the fact that ancient insects and modern ones look much the same to non-experts is presumably just another reason why it’s so easy to be duped. I would like to walk along the beach and pick up the amber myself. That way, I could be sure that anything I found was genuine. 🙂

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        1. Yes, it is difficult to tell one from another. The only sure way is to heat and smell amber. I have found a link for you: http://bit.ly/1YIHxET . Yet, there is a risk. WW2 bombs that are still sitting somewhere on the bottom of the Baltic sea have some phosphoric compounds that can be easily mistaken for amber. This ‘amber’ can ignite when it dries. Nasty stuff. If you go for amber hunt, take a glass or metallic jar with you. Don’t put your finds in your pocket.
          Hope you will find an ancient creature trapped in a beautiful chunk of amber some day! 🙂

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  3. Excellent tour and photographs… I noticed that there are several in green and placed by the middle of the post… They truly caught my attention… very nice pics and place, dear Inese…
    Sending love, Aquileana 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Amber is commonly found in the beach, and every family has a bowl where they add the pieces picked up on their beach walks. Splendid idea to put it all together in this monument.

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  4. Gorgeous pictures. I think I need a few years’ holiday to catch up on all the great places. Love everything and I’m with you on the amber sculpture. I don’t like green other than in nature, but I love the car!

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    1. Thank you so much, Olga! I too don’t like green cars 🙂 A silly color for a car, I think.
      Holidays cost a lot of money, unfortunately. I don’t go anywhere without a good reason these days.

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  5. I saved this post for several days at least that what it felt like
    I couldn’t stop looking at that cool car
    Or stop thinking about it’s name
    I used it in a poem
    Great post
    Your photos always take me somewhere nice
    As always Sheldon

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      1. I found the name of the car of this post
        It’s called a Volgo it’s a German car
        I forget now what I found out after looking it up
        But I used that name in a poem
        Thank you Inese

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        1. No Sheldon, it is a Russian car Volga. I did a research on the other car I am going to post this Saturday, and I found out that it is a Volga too, just an older one.

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      1. Now that you mention, he reminds me of the story of ‘The King and the spider’. Spiders are resilient aren’t they? So much to learn from them! This one’s cute and beautiful! 🙂

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  6. Wonderful! I love the dune & the cathedral & the pipe organ. We have 1 castle in Toronto… Castle Loma. It has a grand organ in the vast entrance. It also has a very small winding staircase to the parapets at the top. Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Resa! I love organ music and always attend the concerts if I can. Modern concert organs cannot be compared to these old mechanical ones. You can hear the pipes ‘breath’, and all that creaking sounds of pedals and keys. Do they have concerts in Loma?
      The church is 55m high, and to get to the top one has to walk the squeaky old stairs with no handrails and the wall only on one side:)

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  7. Very beautiful pictures, Inese!!! Especially loved the staircases 🙂 Can´t read the text though today, as I sunburned my eyes yesterday 😦 Will do so as soon as it gets better… Wish you a perfect sunday!!! xoxoxoxoxo

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  8. Inese, my darling, you can blog Latvia till the heavens fade. Lovely post. Personally I love reading about other places on this planet we share. This was a real treat. As for your photographs –especially you in action– they’re amazing. But now I see you in action I can also see why. xxx

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 These days I am not practicing any yoga poses when shooting 🙂
      I know that many people don’t really know what Latvia is, so I thought I would share some of my pictures. They came in handy to fill up the blog while I am chilling with my family. I hope one day you will consider a trip to the Baltics and Sweden. There is a great viking heritage to enjoy there. Vasa museum in Stockholm is a fun place to visit.
      One more week, and I am heading home. Have a great week ahead! xxxxx

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      1. OOH.. well re yoga poses, you look the part in action. Now I am going to tell you that I was on a school cruise once many years ago and we went to Gotland-absolutely stunning. St Petersburg, Copenhagen and Oslo where we saw the Viking Ship museum. When my girls were wee we had two holidays in farm cottages in Denmark. Loved it there. One of the times we went to this centre called the Hollufgard and there was a Viking house there. I squirreled it away for future use. Would love to go back. Latvia looks beautiful, thank you for these pictures. You’re a star, especially when you are chilling with your family. I hope you are having a wonderful time.

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        1. Gotland is only 20km from Latvia 🙂 That was a great cruise, I can imagine how impressed you were. Northern Europe is quite different from the British Isles, and all this viking stuff is so fascinating. I love Finnish and Swedish traditional food, and Danish pastry 🙂 I haven’t been to Norway, except that I changed planes there 🙂 Would love to go some day to see all the beautiful scenery.
          I would love to go to St. Petersburg too. I have been there once, with my dad, when I was fourteen. There are so many places I will never see. Thank you again for your kind words! I won’t argue about who is a star here, because I sure know who.

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      2. Yes, I see how close you are to Gotland. It was a wonderful cruise an opportunity to see so much. I loved Gotland. An amazing island. Yeah, it was all very different. We were quite a few days in St Petersburg. A lot of people went to Moscow by train but that added a lot of money to the trip. I don’t regret not going there. It gave us the chance to see The Hermitage and the Summer Palace of the Czars as well as do stuff on our own. I hope you will share more about Latvia. You know I just have to see Making Memories in my inbox and there you have me. STAR !

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        1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I have another ten pictures ready for my last Latvian blog. After I fight my jetlag I will post some pictures from my current holidays. We didn’t travel anywhere though.

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    1. Aren’t they brilliant? It was like diving in the ocean. The paint was fresh and it smelled too strong. There were only a couple of windows, I felt a little bit claustrophobic, but it was fun anyway 🙂

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  9. Oh, what a wonderful trip it was, Inese! I loved so many of these photos, I think my brain would burst if I tried to choose a favorite. You captured the ruins in a very compelling way — not sure if it was the angle or the lighting… but it’s an especially lovely shot. And all the green! I do love green. So naturally I loved the staircase shots. I appreciate the difficulty in getting them. Thank you, my friend, for this wonderful post.
    No blogs from me this week. I have an interview Monday for a job out west! So send me luck. Then I was asked to speak at a conference Wednesday (out of the blue. I’m not a speaker. But i’m excited and happy to expand my career in a new direction). Anyhow need to do lots of preparation for both.
    Keep enjoying your family, and have an unforgettable holiday. Mega hugs!

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    1. Teagan, I will think of you all the Monday morning. Hope it is finally the time when your dreams come true. The year of the Monkey is very promising.
      Conference talk will go well, of course. You are a brilliant writer, just write it down and memorize 😉
      The light in the pictures is unusual because the storm was coming from the sea, almost black clouds. Also, the pictures were taken in the very late afternoon, when the sun was low. My friend was driving me around, and after I finished shooting, we went to the sea and I took many storm pictures – some of them posted in my blog. If I were rich, I would buy one of those neglected brick houses and made myself a summer haven 🙂 You have no idea how beautiful is the place. It is like you live in an old park under the tree canopy, and to get to the sea shore takes just a few minutes.
      I am having fun with my family, went to the Zoo yesterday. No travels this year, mostly the backyard pictures I will share when I am back.
      Have a great week ahead. Many hugs! xxxx

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  10. It is great to see you in action 🙂 I would have taking that shot too as I like taking picture of photographers in action for some reason. I think it sparks a curiosity in me to see what they see through the camera. I would imagine the out come of the picture myself. It seems that you prepared to kneel down on the sand.

    The light house is also another thing that is always intriguing to me. Seeing the main light bulb makes me wonder how it works now. I will have to do more searching.

    The organ is a beautiful piece of work!

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! It was three years ago, my back was much better then 😉 The light bulb was very impressive, and I did google the light emitters, but they are all different, and I was not sure what kind was that one. The organ sounds fantastic, and the most precious are the sounds of its mechanical work – you would’t hear that in a modern electrical organ. Takes you two hundred years back 🙂

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  11. Again thank you for sharing a portion of the world I will probably never see in person. There is something very arresting about the Karosta photo. I can’t put my finger on it.

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    1. Thank you Bernadette! I have a whole series of Karosta photographs. Here I have shared only a tiny slice of my two months long work. Beautiful brick buildings are mostly neglected. It is the part of the city where the poorest people live, most of them Russian, which is why the city council don’t invest in this area. I think it is very foolish because the place is a gem.

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      1. Liepaja 🙂 I remember a trip to the beach, fine golden sand and the sun that browned the skin and didn’t burn like in Azerbaijan. Vast beach and crystal clear water.

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        1. Oh, that’s cool 🙂 You have to go visit again. I loved to walk miles along the beach. The sand is so clean, not like in Jurmala where the tourists have destroyed everything good.

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      1. They sure do look good – and I know some coastlines here in us bring in rocks and boulders for beauty – but also for protecting an eroding coast line ! So has a but if value too – 😉

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  12. Hello Inese,
    As always, you transport us through your lens to some amazing places. I loved all the shots, especially getting a glimpse of you in action 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying a lovely Spring ❤

    Best wishes,
    Takami

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    1. Thank you so much, Takami! I am enjoying a summer, actually 🙂 It is very hot where I am now. I took some pictures of birds here, but none of them as beautiful as your birds 🙂

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  13. The two lighthouses are beautiful and different from each other. The staircase reminds me of a nautilus shell. The sandy stone beach was so interesting in texture. I liked how the spider had sand stuck to his legs.
    Inese, I see the profile in the water with sandy edge. 🙂 I liked the hedgehog and swallow were fun to see.
    The Holy Trinity Lutheran Cathedral is amazing with its unique organ. They were lucky to have such a rare one!
    The hourglass with collected amber was stunning. Worth the wait!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Robin! The amber is just laying around after a storm. People pick it up and take home. It was a very clever idea to ask the residents to donate for the monument. Everyone feels important 🙂
      The organ is unique, and sounds magnificent.
      Have a lovely Sunday!

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