About Latvia 2014

Dear followers!

You will be soon able to follow me on my new project, starting on 1st September 2015.

I will cross again this wonderfull country but in a different way and with a new purpose.

Discover this new exiting adventure here:



Sorry for not posting anything untill now. I use a tablet for everything. I can have access to internet and even download my photos from the camera, which mean that I can easely post some photos here.
But I have lost, or perhaps forgotten it somewhere. So, now I only have a smart phone. Calling an electronic device "smart" is a bit over exagerated. Ok, it' no more juste a phone, but in anycases, it only does what it is programed for. "Those who call a spade a spade should be forced to use it".
I would rather call it a mini computer with limited abilities, or at present maybe my best traveller friend.
So, back to my adventures.
After a cold nigh, I woke up with the walls of tent frozen. The inner tent was sparkling white, due to condensation. It made me feel like those houses you see in Siberia where extremely low temperatures create a layer of ice inside poorly heated houses.
After I packed my stuff, I get back on the river. As it was cold, a new but thin layer of ice has formed over the thick one, creating a space filled with water here between. Waking was made harder for the thin layer was cracking under my steps and has the ice was too thin, the pulka wouldn'd slide on it but worked as an ice breaker.
This river was narrower the the Balta river and was not frozen on all its surface. At some point, I had to jump on from drifting big ice blocks to another and then reach hard ice. I felt like a white bear on the ice-floe.
I even felt once through the ice, up to the hips, but I was fortunate enough that the pulka stayed on ice.
Later, the river was fully open due to strong stream. The only passagr was then hanging ice narrow line created by the expansion of water during the freezing process. The only thing was that there were many broken trees kept by the ice, so I had to make my way throigh using my saw and hatchet. It became obvious that I wont be able to continue like this, to tirering and far too dangerous.
The map was showind a bridge over the river on the road from Balta to Kaleti. I decided that this would be my exiting point from the river.
Just buy the bridge, I found some cottages and a farm. I thought that the barne would be a great place for the night and went to ask permission to the owner.
There lives Arvis and his familly, his wife Linda, cute little Gustav and the grandmother.
There were sharing a meal with relatives, Anits, Arita, Edgars and Liga.
As I would expect it from a 30 ysars old man, Arvis was speaking a perfect english and his wife Linda too.
i explaned him what I was doing in Latvia and ask for permission to sleep in the barn.
Insteed, they ofer me to stay in Gustav room and invited me to eat local farm product and to drink an amazing home made apple juice.
Talking with Arvis was a pleasure. He is the futur of Latvia. A very hard working man with a desire to succeed here, in his country. It would have been easier for him to go and get better salary or life abroad, in Germany or Ireland, but he believes in the potential of Latvia. But as he said, "to win the lottery you must at least go and buy the ticket". Nothing comes for free, it involves will and hard work.
Arvis is breeding meat cows, some 40 heads. I told me that he desperatly need someone to belp him, for he also manage a forest. But he can't find anyone who wants to work hard for less than 300€ per month in such a remote (minimum salary here; while it is 1500€ in France and 1800€ in Luxembourg not far from where I live).
But all this doesn't anihilate his enthousiam, and I'm sure he will succeed.
The next day, a big decision has to be taken. No snow and no practicable rivers or roads for pulling the pulka offered me two alternatives: postponed my expedition to another time, or continue on foot.
Arvis encouraged me to continue on foot, and this is what I am doing now.
Nevertheless, it is impossible for me to cross through fields and forest for the most direct lines.
It is all muddy, unpracticable. I can only walk on roads which make the trip much longer. Then I'm walking an average of 26/27 km per day. I cant make more because of my much too heavy bag, over 25kg, bag that is not made for hikking.
You can imagine that my shouders are suffering and that, at the end of day I am exhausted.
Tonight, I am 8 km after Bauska.
Walking on asphalted roads is heasy, hard and clean surface. You get a good pace.
Of course, it involves more caution due to traffic. However, there is not so much cars.
Nevertheless, I have noticed some interesting behaviour amongs categories of drivers.
Everybody knows that when walking on road, one must walk on left, facing the traffic. And drivers are supposed to notice you and make a swerve, a gap between you and their cars.
So, This as if course no scientific bacground, it is just my observation.
All women make a swerve. Men with women on board make a swerve.
Men alone don't do it often, and men with men on board never do (espacially if in big German 4X4)😊
You can make up your own conclusion.
Important: all lorry drivers are very cautious and I greatly thank them for that.
So far, I have only walked through "field landscape", huge crops fields, no forest, sometimes looking like Mongolian steppe The Zemgale region is mainly agricultural. The next, Latgale, will be the wildest part.
If landscape was a bit always similar, I made great encounter with "humans", highly hospitable people, who all take care of me as a member of their family.
I'll tell more later. Bear in mind that I can't write easely everyday.
See you, and thanks for following me😊


  1. Salut Stephan
    Bravo pour ce beau roman d'aventure que tu nous offre, trés passionnant à lire.
    J'essaie de suivre sur google earth, c'est plus facile bien sur que sur le terrain.
    Que c'est dur de planifier un itinéraire, y a pas de neige donc pas de traineau;
    Tu es obligé de suivre les chemins sans boue, d'où plus de kilomètres à faire.
    Et la tablette qui disparait, ça fait beaucoup pour un seul homme.
    Heureusement qu'il y a de belles rencontres.
    Merci de nous faire réver.
    A plus, ton oncle André

  2. Thanks for the news, Stephan!