Kolka and the Livonian Coast

Day 7 – 271 km mark.

If heaven was a place in Latvia, it would be here:  Zēņu dīķis.

I have dreamed of a place like this deep in my imagination.  Imagine a lushly green little pocket located somewhere in a quiet corner of the world where everything is so green and serene.  That’s what Zēņu dīķis is.  I only wish I was able to capture the vibe of this place on camera as faithfully as the eyes see it.  Alas, you, the reader, will have to make do with my second-rate photos.

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Zēņu dīķis is only a short distance south of Kolka, which sits on a corner of territory in the north of the Kurzeme region of Latvia.  In fact, the word “Kolka” comes from a word in the Livonian language, Kūolka, which means “corner”.

Which brings me to the Livonians.  The Livonians, or Livs, are an ethnic sub-group within Latvia who traditionally spoke a uralic language that is related to Finnish and Estonia.  To that extent, it is nothing like Latvian.  The last native speaker of the Livonian language died in Canada in 2013.  To date, only about 30 people are said to speak Livonian fluently.  There are a number of others who can speak it to varying extents.

I made my way from Upesgrīva to Kolka on 3rd June, 2019.  It might not seem like the most spectacular place on the planet, but reaching Kolkasrags – Cape Kolka – has been on my bucket list for quite a while.  It’s special place on the Livonian Coast where the Gulf of Rīga meets the Baltic Sea.

Located within Kolka, I took a sneaky look inside a little wooden Roman Catholic church.

Kolkas Jūras Zvaigznes Dievmātes Romas katoļu baznīca, known in English as Church of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, Kolka.
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The next day, I was on my way to visit a former top secret Soviet facility over 50km away from Kolka, as well as spending a night in a former school in a little town that most people have never heard of.

More about the top secret Soviet facility next time!

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