The Palace Rundale was indeed very beautiful. It is exactly as one would hope for; expertly restored with period pieces and décor. We felt no need to take many pictures. As with our previous experiences, the people who work there are reticent to talk even when buying your ticket! Nothing is self-explanatory. I got in for free being considered handicapped, which in rather common in Europe for museums and such. However, for Elke it was if she was from another planet. Maybe one day we will find out the reason for this unusual behavior.

We spent last night in the National Park Forrest of Gauja. No more farmland! Nice big, curvy hills and broken castles and a lot of outdoor nature activities everywhere. Between Tomtom (GPS) and Google Maps we found an overnight spot on the fourth attempt. Attempt one: we could never get there! (Perhaps a bridge was out…) We kept driving in long distance circles with neither source giving sound information. Second: no camper vans allowed overnight, which is not what our camper guidebook indicates. Third: closed. Fourth: Bingo! Perfectly quiet spot by a river. The rain lashed loudly all night and at 4:30 am several exuberant hikers (or canoers) arrived and began their outdoor adventure. Evidently our idyllic spot is a popular canoe launch.

We ventured into the town of Cesis for it’s broken Schloss and lunch potential. We tried our hand at finding a specific restaurant mentioned in the camping guide. To no avail. One storekeeper had heard of it but the directions were too nebulous. We did find something to our liking. Because both Elke and I are “special needs” in the food department, eating out is never easy. It seems to be nearly impossible (and this includes Germany too) for most places to add “vegetables” to your order. So far, vegetables keep coming back as salad. Now we think we need to say “cooked vegetables”. Maybe that is the solution. Our young waiter was not so knowledgeable (but he did speak English thankfully) and was only a little genervt (annoyed) with us. At least we avoided having Kebob (gyro meats) again!

An afternoon hike along a river and then into the hills was our final sojourn in Gauja. Just like the people and the road signs, the trail markers were confusing. The initial map looked different at every stop and at every junction, while there was lots of information, none was in English or directionally made sense. What to do. Mushrooms were still found and then eaten for dinner. Lecker success!

Tonight we parked in another dreamy spot overlooking the Baltic Sea. But we’ll probably be asleep before sunset (um 22:20) and miss it yet again. Tomorrow is Estonia. Maybe the end of langweilig (boring) farmland. Or not.

A shout out to Peter F of Delray and Wonne of Hannover