During the last few days, the internet access has been very limited as we have been camping slightly northwest of the middle of nowhere.  We had read in our guide-book that a place called Cape Kolka was supposed to be very special with a desolate moon landscape. This sounded very interesting to me so we checked and rechecked how to get there which, the place being so remote and desolate, was rather hard. Eventually we did find a bus to take us there as well as a campsite willing to rent us a tent and some sleeping bags and off we went.
Now, it might not be so interesting to go there as Lonely Planet makes it out to be, but anyone wanting to go should definitely check out Usi Camping in Kolka township, ask the tourist information in Riga about it.

The bus trundled along on small country roads, making stops in places that seemed not to be much more than a concrete bus stop by the road and now and then we could glimpse the ocean between the pines. Finally the bus driver dropped us off  outside a small grocery store but not before telling us he wanted a small fee for having taken our luggage in the luggage compartment instead of having it among the seats (on the way back we opted to take it inside the bus to avoid the fee).

Our map of the place was a large-scale road map so we had no idea of where to go but walked along the road for about ten minutes until we saw the camp site. It was a pretty small place, a private place with a wooden shed at the gate as the reception and a large lawn behind the owner’s house where we were allowed to set up our tent anywhere we wanted. Having made camp we went for a stroll along the beach northwards towards the cape. There is a path just on the edge of the beach, clinging to a ledge about a meter above the actual beach. It looks as if some enraged giant has walked that very ledge, knocking over trees on the way because the beach itself is litter with them, lying where they have fallen, leaving a ragged drop at the edge of the path.

Fallen trees along the beach

Artsy fallen trees

Walking towards the tip of the cape

Artsy photo of some rocks near the cape

Tip of the cape

It didn’t take long until we came to the cape itself, a small stretch of sand forming a tip where the Baltic sea meets the calmer Gulf of Riga.  It is far less spectacular than the guide-book suggests but still a nice place. We hadn’t brought our swim clothes, so we continued exploring the beach southward on the other side of the cape then crossed the forest back to our camp site. Since there are no restaurants in the are we headed to the little mini market where the bus had dropped us off to see what we could find to have for dinner.

The result of our shopping trip was bread, some kind of minced meat patties, ketchup and pickled cucumbers as well as a bag of charcoal and some starter fluid. We made a small fire in one of the camp site’s fire places, fashioned some primitive grill forks from wood and made a nice barbecue dinner. After dinner we went back to the cape to see the sunset but to no avail, it was too cloudy, this time the walk became longer and when we came back to the camp it was more or less time for bed.

Improvised barbecue in the camp site at Cape Kolka

Today we started with a simple breakfast by our tent then walked out to the cape for the third time to go swimming. The water was cold and too shallow to actually swim but I did walk around the cape, stopping for a long time at the boundary, watching – and feeling –  the waves from two directions coming together, the crests crashing against each other as they superimposed for a moment then continued their path.

Me sitting on a fallen tree in the bright sun

Fallen tree in the sun

Having more or less done everything to be done at Cape Kolka we packed our stuff up and got on the bus around lunch. When we got back to Riga we took another long walk through the city and it wasn’t until then, at Elizabeth street, that I realized what they mean by Art Nouveau; in a small part of the city nearly every house has some kind of decoration, one more absurd than the next. It is a few minutes walk from old town but well worth it just for the general strangeness. This is all for now, moving on to Tallinn tomorrow.

One of the most extreme art Nouveau facades in Riga