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:


Viežakrūgs and the horse farm

This morning was very dry but not sunny. Exiting  Feimani, I stopped for a coffee break and get some cakes.

Latvia has 3 big chains of supermarket, but they are mainly in big cities. In country side, one can only find little market, kind of family business. In some places, there is only one 20km around. In Latgale, it is sometimes impossible to find one at walking distance from a remote location.

In Latvian they are called "Veikals", which simply means "shop", without any other sign or emblem. They sell almost everything, bread, fruits, dairy products, vegetables, alcohol,  kitchen utensils and other cleaning product.

Leaving Feimani, I entered into a forest area. At first it was a scattered bunch of trees mixed with fields.

At some point, I decided to make a stop. I always make stop at places where I can easily seat without having to take my bag off my back, the best places being benches at bus stops and lying tree trunks.

I found the perfect place and sat there, looking at the amazing scenery around me.

While eating a tasty apple, I was surprised by a Belgian shepard, a beautiful light brown dog. I had one when younger, and those dogs are very attaching.

It was obvious that this dog wasn't a stray animal, it wasn't aggressive at all despite barking at me. I guess it was as surprised as me to see me there.

Nevertheless, I was asking myself where this dog comes from, since it seemed to me that this place was empty of any habitation.

A man came out of the other side of the big pile of trunks and addressed to me in Latvian. Again, I explained him in Russian what I was doing here and where I was going.

The man kindly offered me to come home for a cup of tea. In fact, there was a farm corpus just around the corner. The house was very beautiful and big, made of wood, of course. The basement was painted in green, and the first floor, under the roof, was in a king of orange-brown.

The house was surrounded by a barn, an underground cellar and a sauna.

The man was serene, in his manner of speech but also in the way he was moving. His name is Gunats. We entered the house and sat at the kitchen table. His wife Valentina, was not present at first but joined us later.
We shared some food and talked about the Latvian economys and the cost of living, here and in France. We also compared the situation of pensioners in our respective countries. I found this talk very interesting.

In morning, after a copious breakfast, Valentina, Gunat and the dog accompanied me on the path in the forest. We took some pictures and said goodbye to each other.

I then entered a beautiful forest, covered with a very thick green carpet of moss. In some area, the snow was still present on the ground, even ice. A slight veil of haze was slowing dissipating at the top of trees. A very pleasant flavour was evaporating from the ground, a blend of grass, moss and lichen with a hint of rotten bark pine.

The way indicated by the GPS soon dissipated on the ground, no traces of a path could be seen any more. The map was indicating a clearing from where I could get back to a large path. I made my way through the trees and bushes till I reached this clearing.

There, I found some trunks to seat down.
Around, were a couple of old barns and a house, which seemed totally abandoned. I didn't see any sign of life, except a satellite dish. I stopped there for a drink and eat some of the tasty sandwiches Valentina had prepared for me.

Sunny spells were indicating a change in the weather. I decided to quite my parka to wear lighter clothes. From this day until the end of my trip, the sun would be my companion, unveiling new colours and clear horizon, and warmer temperatures.

Right after this place, were a tiny settlement of 4 houses by a wonderful lake. the lake was surrounded by several little cottages, probably used exclusively in summer time.

The path along the lake was relaxing and lead me the a large sandy road drenched in sunlight.

At a crossroad, I decided to stop again at a bus stop. It was long since I last saw a bus stop, and as the scenery was so beautiful, why not enjoying it. After all, time was on my side, no need to hurry, and I was getting close to the end, so those stops became more and more regular.

I quickly left the sandy road to engaged into a narrow muddy path gong up and down hills, ending in a dead forest of birch trees.

A quite unique scenery. Hundreds of trunks were standing without branches in a middle of a pond.

This enchanting, otherworldly scene was a mixture of lament and hope, denunciation and sublimation.

For  photographic eyes like mine, it became obvious that this would be perfect object for a fine art photography, which I made in black and white, using different adjustment and tuning on Photoshop to achieve a dramatic tense and increase the feeling of desolation.

After catching up an asphalted road, I soon reach the village Lipuski. The village is locted on the banks of a huge lake. The lake was still totally frozen and people were walking on it.

By 5PM, I reached the place I wanted to be, the horse farm.

I was welcomed head in the path by an old German shepard. The dog was obviously used to visitors. Many people were busy taking care of horses. Kristina, a young woman came towards me, and even before I ask anything, she said that she saw me on TV, were they expecting me?

They warmly welcomed me, introduced me to all the people who were there and offered me hot drinks and home made sausages and potatoes.

Kristina is still studying at school, but helps her parents at the farm. he lives here with her grandma too.

Before night came, they took me around to show me the horses. They are raising the only endemic Latgalian horse breed, along with all the other animals you expect to see in a real farm, chicken, goose, pig, goat, rabbit...

If you ever visit this region, make sure you pay a visit to those nice people. The place is easy to find and indicated by a sign on the main road (P56) between Lipuski and Lesinsky [latitude  56°16'51.43"N; longitude  27°30'58.27"E]

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