The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Latvia:
Gas leaks: 04
If you catch a day with nice, sunny weather, take a day for hiking in the Guja valley. In a day, you can see four castles, two caves and enjoy the unspoilt woods in the Gauja valley. Start at Sigula train station, walking to the north. At the northern end of the town, you will see Sigulda’s church as well as the two castles of Sigulda: The ruins of the old one, and the new one from the 19th century. Behind the ruins, take the path downhill to the bridge. After passing the bridge, use the path on the right hand side to walk through the woods. Next stop is the red Turaida castle. Spend some hours there, then make the way back to Sigulda. Use the main street (Turaidas Iela) and keep on the right hand side. Here, you will see the two caves, Viktor’s Cave and Gutmanis cave. A couple of meters after Viktor’s Cave, you will find a way uphill to Krimulda castle. Go back to Turaidas Iela or use the cable car to get back to Sigulda.
You will find signs all over this area, but a map is recommended. For details on the spots mentioned in this tip, please check the respective tips in my Sigulda page.
Below few words that you can use while traveling in Latvian:
What is the time, please?: Trîs biletes uz Tallinu, lûdzu
Where i can pick up my luggage?: Kur es varu sanemt manu bagâpu?
Where is the closest money exchange point?: Kur ir tuvâkais valûtas mainas punkts?
I would like to order a taxi please: Es gribçtu pasûtît taksometru, lûdzu
Please take me to ... hotel: Man, lûdzu, uz viesnîcu ...
How much does it cost?: Cik tas maksâ?
Good day: Labdien
How are you?: Kā tev iet?
Thank you: Paldies
My name is...: Mani sauc ...
Right: Pa labi
Left: Pa kreisi
is situated in the most picturesque part of the primeval Gauja valley. Reddish devon sandstone forms steep rocks and caves on both banks of the river. Because of this, since time immemorial Sigulda has been called the Switzerland of Vidzeme.
Fondest memory: Sigulda began to flourish in the late 19th century when the Riga – Pliskau road and the Riga – Valka railroad were installed. The dynasty of the Kropotkins developed Sigulda into a recreational area that was popular throughout the Russians Empire. Convenient links to Riga led to herds of tourists. People could hike the so called “ Alpine trails” inspect castle ruins and caves, take rides in horse – drawn wagons, and ride down the Kristin family’s bobsled track.
During World War I many of the wooden buildings in Sigulda suffered serious damage. These buildings had been put up to resemble the style of structures in the Swiss Alps. During the period of Latvian independence, the baronial estate was confiscated, and the central building was turned over to the Latvian Association of Writers and Journalists, which set up a recreational facility there. After 1923 all building in Sigulda was governed by a city plan, which regulated the size of building lots, the direction in which street must run, and the establishment of parks and squares.
The Livs in the area where the Birini castle is now, and they called the region Koldeselle – “a hill of standy dunes”. Birini as such was mentioned for the first time in written documents in the 13th century, and we know about it thanks to ancient chronicles and legends. The most vivid phase in the history of the castle is associated with the rule of German noblemen in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Their baronial estate enjoyed economic and cultural growth, and the barons built all of the buildings, which today make up Birini historical complex. A graveyard dates back to 1819. While the castle itself was built in 1860. It is one of the most ornate buildings in Vidzeme from the style of Histtorism. The design was by Wilhelm Friedrich Hesse. The beautiful castle is only expanded by the extensive forest park, which was established by the same nobles. A sanatorium was housed at the castle in the mid – 20th century.
The tourist office in the Sigulda Hotel seemed to be closed so they sent us to the National Park Visitors Center near the Sigulda Church.
Be sure to stop here and pick up a map if you don't have one and get information on the sites.