Not one to waste the opportunity I checked out nice and early on Monday morning and hopped onto the bus to Sigulda, a village the guy in the tourist agency had recommended me to visit. With a small map in hand I strolled off down empty streets in the spitting rain and light fog. The village itself isn’t so large, there’s a few cafes and hotels but most of whats worth seeing is a few km walk away. As it was so empty, with the rain and fog it felt a little isolated but beautiful in a slightly creepy kind of way. It felt like you could just reach out and grab the wisps of cloud drifting by, while getting tangled in bare tree branches, their moss dripping with raindrops. There’s an old ferris wheel, a ski-lift with a few slopes, a castle, a cable car across to an old palace complex (now used for rehabilitation) surrounded by woods (probably the creepiest part since I was so alone), old castle walls, a serpentine trail and a view down along the beautiful river valley to another castle.
The cable car takes about five to get to the other side where, if I’m to be honest, looked like a horror film waiting to happen since it was so deserted and the weather couldn’t have been more suited (I can’t help it if halloween is on my mind!). But maybe it was more beautiful because of it.
It might also have been my fault for watching some horror films the week before (or the dramatic camera settings), but I was reassured that my bright red rucksack would be found whatever happened. It didn’t stop me from wanting to walk back down the winding serpentine trail which takes you down and up, back to the other side of the river valley. However time was of the essence (the only bus which brought me back to Riga in time to catch my flight left shortly) so back on the cable car I went with the only other passenger, the operator.
The town also contains a bob-sleigh track, some statues which are highlighted along the tourist trail and a brand new tourist office where you can get all the available information from friendly staff. Some of the sights seem a little bizarre – the key monument, the walking stick display (the yellow sticks from the picture near the top), the theater (not really beautiful) or the clock at the train station (beautiful but a little out of place), but there’s some hidden gems in there, probably more so in summer and especially if you leave the village and head out to the caves and castles etc. It seems like the perfect place for a bit of light hill-walking or cycling especially in autumn, although wet weather gear might be a good idea (I managed in my coat and woolly hat thanks to strategic route planning)!! The odd person I met was super friendly (even if it was just a passing acknowledgement) and I would return for the moss covered trees alone – I think I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with forests!