Latvia – local experiences

LATVIA

 amarillo Carpenter’s House “Namdaru darbnica”
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The carpenter’s workshop offers special excursions and theme programmes. Under the guidance of a craftsman it is possible to try out working with traditional wood-working tools and get to know ancient games. A tea break in a romantic cottage. Visitors can buy souvenirs made of a juniper wood.

The programme includes:

  • Finding out about the tree species in Latvia and the traditional use of wood for various household purposes.
  • Seeing in action and trying out, under guidance of skilful craftsmen, the traditional woodworking tools like sawing with a two-man saw, making an accurate roof shindle with a drawknife, and trying one’s hand at carving a trough.
  • Trying the old-time outdoor game equipment made of wood, like walking on wooden stilts, driving the puck, and other.
 amarillo Birch sap production facilities

1) Birch sap brand products Birzī from the Labanovski  family

From May till October visitors are invited to visit the birch sap production facilities with cellar where sparkling birch sap is produced.  Sap is especially tasty when it’s fresh in April and beginning of May, but in order to maintain its refreshing and valuable qualities, during many years the Labanovski family has developed new recipes. The products are organically certified. All products can be purchased on site.

The programme includes:

  • The hosts telling about birch saps with video projections and photos from birch sap harvests in springtime.
  • Tasting different kinds of birch sap from fresh to sparkling with various flavours, and the unique birch sap syrup, as well as wines from birch sap or dandelion.

Website: www.birzi.lv

2) Bio birch sap products from the Liberts family

A tour of the cellar in which the owner produces fresh birch sap, fermented birch sap lemonade with hint of peppermint, sweet and tasty birch sap syrup, birch sap still wine, sparkling wine made with traditional champenoise method with second fermentation in bottle, birch sap spirit, frozen birch sap (for cosmetic and beverage industries). Products can be purchased on site.

The programme includes:

  • The hosts telling about birch saps, harvesting and production of drinks.
  • Tasting different kinds of birch sap products.

Website:http://sula.lv/

 amarillo Adzelvieši hemp farm
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In the fields of Adzelvieši hemp is cultivated, from the seeds of which hemp butter and rough grinding is produced. Exposition of traditional hemp processing tools. Hemp is an ancient Latvian cultivated plant, which has been cultivated more than 1000 years. The programme includes:

  • A story of hemp cultivation history.
  • Tasting traditional hemp products: rough and fine hemp spread, hemp sandwiches, pressed and toasted hemp crumbs, hemp oil.
 amarillo The Vienkoču landscape park
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The Vienkoču park islandscape park by the Līgatne river. Theme trails, models of historic manors, wooden sculptures, ethnographic buildings, log-boats, tar kiln are all to be found in the park. Visiting an ecologically built sand-house in Latvia, finding out about its building philosophy and the process.

The park also houses a Woodcraft Museum, arranged as a historic carpenter’s workshop. It is possible to find out in the museum how the craftsmen of old times mastered wooden things. A special attention is being paid to the research of process of making the log-boats.

The programme includes:

  • Guided excursion in the park.
  • Guided excursion in the Woodcraft museum.
  • Optional workshops for visitors to participate.
 amarillo Avotiņi herb farm
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Open-air functional exhibition of medicinal plants introduces visitors to a “green pharmacy”. There are more than 300 different plants. Every healthy lifestyle enthusiast can find the secrets of fitotherapy and learn to use the plants in many different ways – making sauna besoms, aromatic pillows, healthy teas, bath scrubs.

The programme includes:

    • A tour of the medicinal plant garden and collection.
    • Tasting green cocktails.
 amarillo Herb garden and country style lunch (stopover Riga-Tallinn)
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The distance from Riga to Tallinn is more than 300 km and it takes ~5h by bus. Therefore we suggest to make  a stop on the way for a brief excursion in a herb farm and lunch in a country pub.
This stopover place is in ca 1.5 hours’ drive from Riga, just on time to stretch one’s legs and diversify the trip. It will give an insight in the country lifestyle and it may surprise the visitors with how Latvians live closely with nature, knowing and using herbs for food, health and beauty. After excursion, the group will have lunch in a country pub serving meals from natural and locally grown ingredients.
The whole stopover package with an excursion in the herb farm and with lunch  (incl. drive) in the pub will take 4 hours.

 amarillo Indāni natural farm
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Visitors will see an example of natural farming of today. There are farm animals, a collection of ancient tools, a country sauna.

The programme includes:

      • A tour of the farm introducing the way of life in the countryside.
      • A tea break drinking herbal tea with honey, tasting carrot buns and other traditional pastries.
 amarillo Ķoņu mill
Website

This is one of the few places in Latvia to offer a look at industrial equipment from the 19thcentury that is still in good working order – a wool plucking and combing apparatus, a unique spinning wheel and a windmill used to grind grain.  Visitors can track the processing of wool on equipment that is 100 years old, watching how blankets and pillows stuffed with sheep wool are produced by hand.  There are souvenirs for sale.  The owners organise celebrations of Summer Solstice, the Latvian traditional pagan festivity.

The programme includes:

      • A tour of the mill.
      • Optional: a programme with traditional singing and dancing performance.
 amarillo Ceramic workshop and country style lunch (stopover Riga-Tallinn)
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The distance from Riga to Tallinn is more than 300 km and it takes ~5h by bus. Therefore we suggest to make a stop on the way for a brief excursion in a ceramics workshop and lunch in a country pub.
The stopover is in ca 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Riga and it consists of 2 components – a visit in a pottery  “Cepļi ceramics” by Ingrīda Žagata and lunch in a cozy country pub “Sidrabiņi”.

 amarillo Bread baking workshop and country life in the country house “Caunites” (day tour)
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Bread baking is one of the most honoured traditional skills in Latvia as bread has always been one of the most important staple foods for Latvians.
“Caunites” is a country house that keeps Latvian traditions and shows them to visitors. The hosts master many of traditional skills in handicraft, music, making food, and they offer specialised excursion and workshop programs to groups and individuals. The house is designed and decorated in traditional Latvian style and carries authentic ambience while having modern facilities.
Bread baking is the most popular programme. Under guidance of the hostess, visitors bake their own loaf of sweet-and-sour bread in a wood-fired bread oven. Traditionally in Latvian families, it was one of the main duties of the mistress of the house, to bake a week’s supply of bread for the whole family every Saturday morning. Everyone was proud of her own best recipe and passed it down to her daughters and granddaughters through generations. There are many traditional beliefs, sayings and riddles linked with bread in Latvian folklore. Today, there is great interest in old recipes, bread baking methods and use of ecological ingredients as many families go for healthy lifestyle.
The “Caunites” country house is located 40 km from Riga, the capital, and it can be easily reached by train or private transfer car. The time of the visit and programme should be booked in advance.

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