Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A Winter visit to Jurmala, Latvia

During my Riga research, I found a whole bunch of sources telling me about what a how popular the nearby beach resort of Jurmala is in the summer. Locals and tourists alike flock to the sunshiny seaside town to soak up the rays and frolick in the sea.


There was no sunshiny frolicking on my visit! But, even in the depths of winter Jurmala is well worth a visit - perhaps even more so. After all, nice beaches in the summer are ten a penny, but somewhere you can walk on the frozen sea? That's pretty special!

I woke up in Riga on the day of my intended visit to find that it had snowed overnight - would the weather affect the running of the trains? We'd have had no chance in the UK, but the Latvian trains were running perfectly on time still. Not only efficient but cheap too, with the one-way 30 minute journey costing just E1.40, and a discount for the way back if you buy as a return.



Don't make the mistake of looking for a train to 'Jurmala' though, as there's not a station with that name. Your best bet might be 'Majori', with a tourist information centre and a ten minute walk to the beach.



The beach is easy to find too - well signposted, and there's a big map just over the road from the station if you need any extra help. I was a little wary, as I'd already gotten a bit out of my way that morning looking on the way to the train station in Riga (I took a short cut that wasn't that short....!) but had no trouble at all finding where I wanted to be. 


And then, there I was. Snow on ice, as far as the eye could see! 



I didn't really know what to expect, visually. With fresh snow covering everything, how would I know I was walking over the frozen sea, as opposed to just snow-topped sand? But even under the snow you could see ridges and waves where the water had frozen solid.



That, and I had an excitable old German chap yelling 'Is water underneath!' at me with a massive smile on his face! 


There was a temptation to keep edging towards the (liquid) water, but even I could see the possibilities for disaster there! 




Of course, the fact that everything was frozen should give you some indication that it was pretty cold, so it wasn't too long before I headed back the relative warmth of the train and the comfort of some of Riga's finest hot chocolate but I'll always be grateful for the opportunity to visit this incredible place! 

I'd love to see it in the summer to compare the two! 
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4 comments

  1. Wow! That is incredible. I agree with you, a snowed sea is much more impressive than a liquid one. I would love to visit Latvia and see the frozen sea for myself. Stunning pictures.

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  2. OH wow, a real winter wonderland - Riga looks like a beautiful place too.

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  3. What a wonderful place to visit, even in winter! :D

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  4. This is incredible!! I can't believe THE SEA WAS FROZEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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