Erasmus+ in Jaunpils, Day 2

What a day it was today! The 9th of May began colder than we had expected. Once in the bus we drove to Kandava, in german Kandau, that is an old  town in Latvia. As a settlement, it is first mentioned in 1230 in a peace treaty between the residents of Riga and the residents of the Abava valley in Courland. In Kandava we visited a military castle built around 1257 and gradually dismantled over the years. We were at the top of the hill and had a look to foundations in a town park. We walked a long walk through the old city streets and visited Kandavas DEJU skola, askol for dance. There we watched a fantastic dance show perfectly directed and performed with youngsters. After that we went to the bus for further travel to Sabile known for the Wine Hill, the town symbol and has also been included in the Guiness World Record Book as the most northerly vineyard in the world. While we were there it started snowing, the 9th of May! Sabile is almost as old as Kandava, and here there was also a castle from the 13th century. It was snowing so we instantly went home to an artist and female craftsman who made and sold typical Latvian craft products, especially textiles.

Near of the wine yard is a small and strange garden filled with hundreds of pale straw dolls. All the dolls look rather similar in appearance and the garden has over 200 dolls with more appearing each year. Most of the dolls are set about different everyday situations like cooking a meal, cutting down a tree, or even walking up to altar. The dolls are all the creation of one woman. We took many pictures there even though it was snowing all the time. Then we went to Kurzeme, after the inhabitants  In ancient times the Curonians, a pagan tribe, which  inhabited Courland. The Brethren of the Sword, a German military order, subdued the Curonians and converted them to Christianity in the first quarter of the 13th century. In 1237 the area passed into the rule of the Teutonic Knights owing to the amalgamation of this order with that of the Brethren of the Sword.  We went there to see The Venta waterfall (Ventas rumba) which is the widest waterfall in Europe. This 249 meter wide naturally formed waterfall is associated with a number of legends and historic events. We visited also the old brick bridge. The biggest bridge made of bricks in the world? All this is to be found in the town of Kuldīga, in german Goldingen, a town called the pearl of Kurzeme, there the small River Alekšupīte runs through Kuldīga old town, along the walls of the houses. The Old Town around the small river itself is unique: it is the only remaining 17th–18th-century ensemble of this kind in the Baltic states and Walking along its old streets is like moving to ancient times.

The last place we visited was Smārde, a school and a place for rituals of Latvian wisdom and the art of Latvian folk dance.  dinner in ancient Latvian style. We had the opportunity to take part in a ring dance and then we had dinner there, then we went home to Jaunpils.

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