Monday, August 18, 2014

Kuldiga, a cosy town off the beaten track

Kuldiga is a small town, a lot like Tukums I've written about, but still with a difference. In terms of landmarks it's a more packed location, though, all the sights are rounded in one place.

We got there by bus in 2, 5 hours from Jurmala. We even got our bikes in the bus luggage compartment just at 2 euros (give those to a driver) but all the sites are so near and the town is so small we didn't need them much. It's also possible to get there by train or bus from Riga. Both train station and bus station are very near to each other, 7-minute walk.

I've  dreamt about going there because in guidebooks is it called a latvian Venice which, as I see now,  is a far-fetched exaggeration. There is a river making its way through the blocks of houses but it doesn't remind Venice, not even remotely.

On the other hand, the town that used to be a capital of Courtland in the 16th century holds a number of landmarks worthy of seeing.

It has the third longest BRICK bridge in Europe.

The  broadest waterfall (Rumbla) in Europe is in Kuldiga.
On the other side of the Rumbla waterfall there is a small beach, the water is warm and clear, so take along a swimming costume.

The old tradition of catching salmon in the air when it overcomes the waterfall migrating to spawn no longer exists, but in spring the sight of salmon, jumping over the waterfall, attracts tourists to Kuldiga.

In 2007 Kuldiga received the title "European Destination of Excellence" (EDEN) which only goes to locations off the beaten track promoting sustainable tourism.

Apart from cultural impressions you will have in Kuldiga, you will certainly have some culinary experiences.

Don't miss this EDNICA (eatery, canteen), a small inconspicuous house where a couple can overeat at
 just 5 euros.
Not only cheap but tasty, home-made style.

All this costs 5 euros, believe it or not.
I've been to some posh Moscow restaurants, including, for example, White Rabbit. The duck breast I ordered there was stiff (like that of a one-hundred year old duck) and I don't even remember the way they served it. Just want to say, it was a waste of money.
On the contrary, the duck breast in Bangert's restaurant in Kuldiga was unforgettable. The sauce, the orange chips on top, the breast itself. And that's the way they served it.
The restaurant Bangert's overlooks the Venta river and the Rumbla waterfall.
Next to it, there is the Kuldiga District museum devoted to the history of Kuldiga. The second floor is
After having a meal I went to the kitchen to see those culinary magicians who cook better than in most posh Moscow restaurants. They turned out to be these young, but highly skilled girls. They also have a chef in the restaurant, but the cooking that day was done by these two charming cooks (on both sides).
 They also made this chicken,
 and this vibrant pudding.

The check came up to 45 euros (for a couple, with 2 beers, come brandy, 2 starters, 2 main courses, tea, a dessert).
Next to  Bangert's there is the Kuldiga District Museum devoted to the history of the area. The second floor is designed as an apartment of a rich local family, inroducing the lifestyle of Kuldiga residents in the beginning of the 20th century.
We stayed at the Metropole hotel, a standard room at 65 euros, which for Latvia seems to be a bit overpriced with average price range from 30 to 40 euros for a nice place to stay at. The hotel is clean, the service is good enough, breakfast is various and sufficient for anybody.

Finally, some Kuldiga cats


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