Located in the Guaja National Park our first major destination in Latvia was Cesis. Although just a sidenote in our Eyewitness guide, Lonely Planet described it using an unusually personal tone saying how they "really liked" Cesis we made it our first major stop-off.

Having raised some eyebrows with the locals as we parked our van in the main street (it was free parking, what were we supposed to do!) it was clear that this clean and well presented town has not yet made it as a major destination for tourists. We made our way to the Castle we had spotted on our way in making a brief de-tour to the ATM machine to get to grips with yet another alien currency.

At the entrance we stared at the prices. £1.70? No, can't be right. Maybe it's £17? We approached the desk clutching a 5 LVL note and concious of the fact we hadn't looked at the phrase section in our guide book since crossing the border we asked for two tickets in the typical brit-abroad way. "Sure, where you guys from?" said the girl behind the desk.


The price was indeed £1.70 each and as we walked into the court yard we were handed a candle in a wooden lantern. We wandered around the grounds, this 11th century castle and grounds was seriously impressive and we'd have paid £10 or more to get in. It was not over-restored and the candle indeed came in handy for the narrow spiral staircase up to the top and really added an authentic feel to the experience (the kind of authentic that usually costs £17 per person back in the UK!).


 The visit was topped off with a climb down a steep metal staircase into the Dungeon below the castle which is something unseen anywhere else we have visited and got some bemused glances from onlookers as I climbed down the hole!


The gardens were equally impressive and was home to another Russian Orthadox church and a pair of Black Swan's with 6 grey signets.


We spent the night Wild Camped in a little car park in the town centre (57.31262,  25.2737) figuring it was only polite to have something to eat locally we managed to eat two courses with drinks for £18.

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