In 2014 we went hiking in Latvia and Estonia for two weeks and stayed at a campsite for another week. There were many scouts from Northrhine Westfalia who met in Dortmund first. Together with two big busses we drove about 30 hours to Latvia. When we arrived we split up into small groups in which we would be hiking the next two weeks. In my group we were nine people. Some more experienced than others. For the young ones it was their first so-called "Fahrt". The groups could individually decide which rout they want to take, where to sleep and how much per day they would walk.
The first day after we split we decided to walk over to a river and put up our tent which is called Kohte. It was really warm so we went swimming nearly every day. The people were really friendly but just a few Latvians were able to speak English which made it hard to communicate sometimes. Still we managed and had a really nice beautiful evening with singing, playing guitar and lots of mosquitoes. Even though we put up our tent we slept under the free sky which is just a great feeling of freedom. We only had an emergency phone and no other electric devices. There was nothing to worry about. You could just focus on the people around you, the nature and yourself. This feeling is hard to describe. You can just enjoy all the little things.
To-do for the following day: shopping. Our goal was hiking approximately 8-10km per day. We didn't reach our goal in the first few days because we had to get used to walk with our heavy backpack. The younger ones had problems to adjust their backpacks to their back. But at some point, they wouldn’t ask for a break ever 20 min because their backs hurt.
After they learned how to adjust the backpack to their back we had to get going. We continued walking on a street for a while but wanted to get of it as soon as possible. That's why we walked over small paths off the main streets with lots of flowers.
On the next day, we found really friendly people who owned a pavilion on a small lake, where we were allowed to stay for the night. In the continues days we just tried to get to the river as fast as possible and found people who actually understood us and let us sleep in a small wooden hut in their backyard. It was directly at the river so we decided to cook, eat, swim and relax a little there. In the next days, we continued walking along the river and came to Riga the capital of Latvia.
We stayed in Riga for a day to do some sightseeing. It’s a really pretty city and really clean. It was really hard to find a place to sleep, but we kept asking people and also friendly police officers, but they all wanted us to go to a campsite where we would have to pay but we managed to find a beautiful spot right next to the main bridge of Riga.
There was grass and a spot with sand so you could go swimming there. We couldn't find a sign where it was forbidden to sleep there so we just laid there without tent in the capital of Latvia next to a beach and next to a bridge.
As we were making a plan for the next days we decided to go to the beach outside of Riga. We bought train tickets and some hours later we were on our way out of the city. It was a beautiful beach, just a little cold. We still went into the sea and we took a day to wash all our cloth. There was one shower where we cleaned up everything and right next to the shower there was a beach volleyball field which was perfect for letting our cloths dry.
We slept without a tent again because the weather was just soo beautiful and the sunset was just stunning! We enjoyed the fresh breeze but all our things were full of sand which wasn't that awesome but still the gorgeous sight in the morning was priceless! The next day we took a train into the national park!
We followed a hiking path, which was really exhausting but really nice! We found really good possibilities to put up our tent and we had the chance to go swimming nearly every day which was always a wonderful refreshment! It wasn't always easy but in our group, we had really much fun and we wanted to make it as nice as possible, especially for the young ones because it was their first experience to go hiking!
We continued this path for several days and sometimes it was quite difficult because we had people in our group that couldn't walk anymore. I had to go to the hospital to get my knee checked which was really difficult because so few people understood what I wanted to tell them. But we managed and took one day where we didn't walk that much and had the opportunity to sleep into a scout house for one night. The tennis club next door allowed us to take a shower so we could get cleaned up.
Then we went to Estonia and everyone was excited to go over the border. We were really lucky with the weather the whole time except one day where it started raining but we didn't need to walk far that day.
We found another nice spot in Estonia at a river. The last days we didn't need much because we were on our way to the campsite. It was always fun and we managed to keep the mood up really good!
On the last day on hiking we met really many other scouts and we directly started to exchange our experiences and it was nice hearing their experiences and they all had a lot of mosquito bites. We also had some but not as many as some of the others. Then finally we went to the campsite where we would spend the last days. It was still really warm and we were all really glad to have a shower at the campsite! So many stories to tell and people to see again!
I don't exactly know how many people we were at the campsite but it was really nice seeing everyone and sitting there in the evening at the fire and singing scout songs! We played a lot of games and had to achieve challenges and a lot more. One day we also went in an Estonian city called Tartu. It was really nice walking through the city and to answer questions about the city. Really many people here could speak English because there was a big university. While we walked through the city we found one quote on a lamppost and on this post-it was written "Life isn't about getting and having, it's about giving and being"-Kevin Kruse. I really like this quote and I totally agree! In those three weeks, we had so many new experience and all we had was a little money and our backpacks with some cloths.
We had to drive 32 hours to get back to Dortmund. Still with all the scouts the atmosphere was really fun and we always had something to laugh.