Purtsi to Valga, Estonia by bike – Valga to Riga, Latvia by train

It was cold and sunny at Purtsi this morning. We stopped for breakfast at Torva where the centre of town has been partly modernised with a big plaza and the rest has extensive road works in progress. It was a pleasant surprise (1) to find a cafe and (2) that it was open. Many Estonian towns have only a Coop or Konsum supermarket and little else.

We saw one stork today as it flew close by us with a stick in its beak, obviously doing some home maintenance before setting off for Africa.

Our destination was Valga another 30km down the road. As we approached Valga the road followed the Latvian border which was marked with black and white bollards.

The town is divided between Estonia and Latvia. It has an orthodox church of St Isidor with a cluster of onion domes and a huge bright white railway station. The big Maxima supermarket has a good fish selection, and in the entry a woman was selling delicious smelling smoked sausage and pork laid out on a long table.

We took the 2.37pm to Riga, a three hour trip at speeds we are accustomed to in Australia. It had wifi though and space for bikes. There is no integration of train services between the Baltic countries with each terminating its lines at or short of the border.

Arriving in Riga, our accommodation plans fell through and we had to make last minute arrangements before finding a Latvian beer in a shady park and a slightly overwhelming but good value buffet restaurant – too many food choices is not such a bad problem!

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