Lauku - the Countryside

Yesterday I went to the countryside with Gatis and my host-great-aunt Baiba and host-great-uncle Andris. We left at 11 and didn't return until 9. The "country", as everyone calls it, is 25 minutes from Valmiera.  I think it's sort of like a time share... there was another older couple and their giant black lab, and a young couple with their baby. It was really like a picture book... chickens were just wandering across the road. (Dirt roads full of potholes, fyi.) I made quite a few "Why did the chicken cross the road?"jokes, but apparently Latvians are unfamiliar with such riddles and my puns were met with stares. Most of the day at the country was spent walking around outside, eating vegetables straight from the garden, climbing the "mountain" (hill) and walking on the ruins of an ancient castle, and more eating. We had amazing crepes that Gatis insisted were pancakes (just because in Latvian they're called pankūkas does not mean they are pancakes!)... They were fantastic, of course, especially with biezpiens and jam, but they were definitely crepes. I think I'll have to make American style pancakes to prove him wrong.

I also tried the sauna... it was... strange, to say the least. I passed on getting hit with branches from a birch tree. Usually everyone goes in together - the entire family, naked - but for my sake Baiba and I went separately (me with a towel. Hah.) It was very relaxing afterwards, but my face felt miserable in the burning heat. I only lasted about a minute... Anyway, here are some pictures from the day.

Me on the lake.

Some unidentifiable sour berry
Canoes on the pond
A frog Tēvocis Andris caught.
The house - inside there's two bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting room, kitchen, and sauna.
Stork just sitting on the telephone pole... That's just normal in Latvia.
The stove is heated with an actual wood fire.
Gatis and I on an awesome Latvian swing.
The lake whose name I forget.

The cat eating
Tractor! With special potato-digging-attachment.
Outside the house
Homemade berry cake
The pond
Boats on the lake

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