Road tripping: Vasknarva and Lake Peipus

Greetings, dear readers! Summertime hasn't allowed me to open my laptop during those few spare weekends we've had so at least there is someone or something to blame for my absence. As always, obviously. But today I'm going to talk about a slightly gloomy road trip we took already more than a month ago, on July 11 (wow, seriously, who knows where the time goes???). We discovered Vasknarva and its unique village atmosphere and tested the warm waters of Lake Peipus, the fifth largest lake in Europe.

So, let's start with a few facts and illustrative material. Vasknarva is a tiny village located at Lake Peipus, next to the head spring of the River Narva. Entirely 830 people lived there in 1934 but in 2011 the number had decreased to modest 40. So it indeed is one very small and very special community. The village has a very tight little shop (see below, next to the last church photo), a castle (or actually parts of it) and an enormous, very fancy church.

The castle was built between years 1427 and 1442 and it had extraordinarily thick limestone walls (even 2.6-3.6 m!). From my photos below you can see some parts of the historical ruins. Amazingly thick walls indeed, don't you think? And on the opposite river bank behind me there is Russia and its Skamja village.

The very fancy and grand Orthodox sanctuary is called the Church of St Elijah the Prophet and it also holds a small nunnery. The church has such a beautiful and well-designed garden and even a sweet little apple orchard. But as mentioned before the weather was hazy and rain wasn't far from us so unfortunately I didn't get too many photos.

And then, last but most certainly not least we dipped our toes in the warm waters of Lake Peipus. Its empty, silent beaches are always breathtakingly beautiful. And although we didn't swim there this time I already have another batch of Lake Peipus photos from August 8 when we spent a lovely lunch hour there, swimming and sunbathing and simply enjoying the true Estonian summer August has finally offered us.

So I hope you guys enjoyed the photos (the last one makes me drool like a dog right now). And if all goes well I will probably put together a decent haul post for the next time. Cool thrift shop treasures, unexpected fancy prizes from Facebook, sale finds, a few beauty products and even more! I just have to somehow dig through the numerous photos and make it happen. Oh and one more important thing before I go. Beginning from tomorrow it's vacation time! Almost three weeks of freedom, countless plans, events and road trips, woo-hoo! See you in the next post!


Summer vacation tales: part 2 (June 25 in Cēsis, Latvia)

Hey! It's finally time for the late part 2 of our summer vacation tales and today's blog post is almost entirely dedicated to Cēsis, a charming Latvian town that got its town rights astonishing 809 years ago (for comparison-my own hometown just celebrated its 77th birthday). And by the way, our summer vacation, conjointly the first vacation of 2015, ended approximately a month ago. But today we are already coming close to our second, even longer holiday, unfortunately also the last one this year. I know I certainly need it because life lately has been one crazy eventful roller coaster and therefore considerably exhausting as well.

But let's talk about Cēsis now. The first 8 photos and collages show you Cēsis New Castle (built in the 18th century by using the forepart of the Medieval Castle walls and defense towers), Cēsis Medieval Castle (built in the 13th century) and the beautiful, scenic Castle Park. The Medieval Castle ruins are some of the most impressive castle ruins in the Baltic states and I always wonder how the hell did people back then build such amazing castles with their bare little hands? I know they did, obviously, but I still can't quite imagine how. Anyway, we could climb down to the basement of the southern tower and see a real medieval prison for example, cold and bleak. The prisoners had to be slim by the way because the way down was really tight and not everyone could fit in there. It certainly was a thrilling experience for us!

And the Castle Park was truly delightful. I especially loved that fine carved dollhouse style pavilion and the wide staircase (built in 1936) bordered with R. Aboltins' romantic sculptures. We also met somebody at the park. He was with an old lady but felt like breaking free and so he vigorously did. He ran around like crazy and marked every single tree he possibly could. When the lady started anxiously calling "Putsi! Putsi? Putsi!" we knew who that awesome bundle of joy was.

Next 8 photos and collages show you how we took a quick walk in the Old Town, stole a glance at the Square of Roses and St. John's Church. The latter, by the way, is one of the oldest medieval monuments in Latvia, built at the beginning of the 13th century. And there is this beautiful illuminated fountain in the centre of the Square of Roses. Too bad we didn't see it in the dark this time. Or actually now we have at least one good reason to return because Cēsis is really worth discovering. It has the most beautiful parks with cool fountains (I love fountains!), ducks and black swans (May Park for example). And the Old Town feels incredibly cosy and fascinating. I hope my photos reflect what I was trying to describe here.

But that's not all! We also visited a place called Big Hell (or Great Hellhole or Liepa's Hell), a slightly tinted sandstone cave that has emerged as a result of mechanical rock erosion. It was first mentioned in 1791 but the cave is actually one of the oldest tourist attractions in Latvia, possibly even more than 7000 years old! And it's an ancient cult site too.

amber necklace from Cēsis, Latvia | thrifted nümph dress | thrifted vest | thrifted Beverly Feldman shoes | thrifted Zara TRF faux leather jacket | Emporio Armani sunnies.

So, through my last photo you can even peek our kitchen and of course our Latvian purchases that are almost 100% edible and drinkable. Except my amber necklace from Cēsis and my brand-new Cēsu beer glass (because E broke the one I brought along from Prague). I hope you enjoyed this very photo heavy post and I'm always looking forward to reading your thoughts. My next post will probably reflect another road trip we took sometime in July so see you then!