Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Day Trip to Jurmala 8 July 2013

Jurmala is a 32km stretch of beaches along the Latvian Baltic Coast about 30 minutes train travel from Riga. It was a favoured playground of the high and mighty of the soviet era including Kruschev and Brezhnev. It is still frequented by Russian tourists but it is also a favoured destination of Latvians especially from Riga residents on hot weekends. There is some fairly exclusive accommodation especially near the shoreline but it is  a very inexpensive day trip for Riga residents.

We decided to travel the cheapest way - by train about $2 each way per person. It was a bad mistake as train carriage entrances are about 1m above platform level and accessible by three very steep and narrow steps, It was a real struggle not only for us but also many of the local aged persons. Apparently nowhere has raised platforms not even the central railway station. Needless to say we will never attempt  to catch a train in Latvia again.

Well, they do have beaches and some very nice sand. There are no nasties as the salt level is too low for sharks, jellyfish etc in the Baltic Sea (which is also why it readily freezes in winter),  The water is shallow for quiite a long distance and there are no real waves. The water was fairly dirty where we took a look at the beach - Dzinteri beach probably the Liepa Rivr flows into the Baltic nearby. Australia's beaches they are not but they are far better than English ones and, most importantly, they are nearby and readily accessible. The streets in the major town at Jurmala, Majori, are spacious and the main stretch is a very nice mall. There's a couple of casinos we spotted and there's a number of sideshow stalls. In other words, it's a typical  tourist trap for sunshine lovers. Photos in their own album.

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