Sigulda and Cesis
Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
143Trip End Sep 30, 2010
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The area is also famous for red sandstone caves with graffiti dating back to the 17th century. All of them have some sort of local legend about the slaughter of innocent Latvians at the hands of Russians or Poles. Hmm. We also succeeded at getting thoroughly lost in thick pine forest (thank goodness we brought the compass) and learnt the hard way that direction signs are not to be trusted in the least.
Cesis, a larger town further into the national park (how you can have towns in a national park I don't know) has a partly rebuilt castle. Here our entry fee got us a candle lantern to climb the winding and pitch black stairs of the tower - an interesting experience. There was also a dungeon to descend into (finally!) - the tourist office really know how to cater to tourists here. Almost as good as the Jordanian castle with the escape tunnel.
Marked nature trails led us to the river Gauja and a beautifully clear lagoon, fed by pure springs and reflecting the red cliffs in the waters surface.