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  • Latgale and a Journey of Discoveries - Day 2

    Latgale and a Journey of Discoveries - Day 2

    During a second day visiting the unusual Latgale region of Latvia I learnt about two traditions – bread and pottery. I visited Aglona Basilica, the only basilica in Latvia and tasted bread at Aglona Bread Museum. After lunch at Arendole Manor, I enjoyed some quaint and curious attractions in Preili Village – the Museum of Dolls, the Nestor Custom Moto & Metal Art Gallery and the more traditional Ceramics Studio of Polikarps Čerņavskis.

  • Autumnal Ramblings in Dorset During Week 27 of Lockdown

    Autumnal Ramblings in Dorset During Week 27 of Lockdown

    It is week 27 of lockdown in the UK due to the COVID-19 and local lockdowns are failing to control the rapid increase in infections. New, nationwide restrictions are put in place this week but I feel distanced from reality as I spend another week on the Dorset coast enjoying walks on Sandbanks Beach, through Durleston Country Park in Swanage and around Brownsea Island.

  • Back in the UK for Week 26 of Lockdown

    Back in the UK for Week 26 of Lockdown

    On my return to the UK I spent a few days in Hertfordshire before going back to Dorset. I experienced some of the changes caused by COVID-19. John Lewis, a major department store in Watford had closed down. I discovered a lovely walled garden and old orchard in Shenley village. I ended the week back in Dorset spending a day in Swanage and walking on Brownsea Island.

  • Week 25 of UK Lockdown and Wonderful Walking in Italy

    Week 25 of UK Lockdown and Wonderful Walking in Italy

    My diary records a second wonderful week in Madonna di Campiglio a mountain resort in Italy. I am finding the COVID-19 restrictions liberating because everyone follows them. And if they don’t there will be trouble. Nevertheless, the number of confirmed cases is increasing and Italy has been moved from the green list to the amber list by the UK government. Even if I do have to self-isolate when I get home it will be worth it and I am prepared for this possibility. 

  • A Second COVID-19 Italian Adventure

    A Second COVID-19 Italian Adventure

    As the UK enters week 24 of Lockdown due to COVID-19 I am very happy to be going back to Madonna di Campiglio in Italy for another two weeks. I am looking forward to seeing my friends, staying at the fabulous Hotel Lorenzetti and walking in the Dolomite Mountains. Italy remains in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and safeguards remain in place including the wearing of face masks in public places and maintaining a social distance. I feel safer here than I do in the UK where a spike in cases appears to be the result of non-compliance with safeguards.

  • Latgale and a Journey of Discoveries - Day 1

    Latgale and a Journey of Discoveries - Day 1

    Latvia is a land of surprises and none more so than the eastern area known as Latgale. This small region is famous for its many lakes, hence the name. I spent two days exploring Latgale discovering unusual attractions including Vasergelišķu viewing tower overlooking Daugavas loki nature park. I learnt about the Old Believers in Slutišķi, ate a traditional Latgalian lunch at Klajumi Ranch, explored the Kraslava Castle complex and ended the day with dinner at Lielborne Manor.

  • Week 23 of Coronavirus Lockdown and I Shelter from Storms in Dorset

    Week 23 of Coronavirus Lockdown and I Shelter from Storms in Dorset

    During week 23 of lockdown due to the coronavirus real storms rage across the UK and controversial issues cause outrage in England. The government is campaigning to get people back to the workplace to revive city centres. This is not popular with those who would prefer to work from home. Parents are anxious about the re-opening of schools causing the government to do another U-turn. I stay in Dorset, watching the storms raging from a safe distance.

  • Blown Back to Dorset for Week 22 of Lockdown in the UK

    Blown Back to Dorset for Week 22 of Lockdown in the UK

    It is week 22 of lockdown in the UK and some parts of the country continue to emerge from lockdown. In the north of England, the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing and the process has slowed down. I am delighted to be back in Dorset enjoying some invigorating walks by the sea. Gales in the wake of Storm Ellen batter the coastline and keep the crowds away while the residents enjoy empty, windswept beaches.

  • Daugavpils in Latvia – a River, a Fortress, a Lily

    Daugavpils in Latvia – a River, a Fortress, a Lily

    Latvia is a fascinating and unusual destination. The northern region of Latgale is rich in history, culture and traditions unique to the area. In Daugavpils, I tried the local spirit, Šmakovka, celebrated in a museum. I visited Daugavpils Fortress, home of the famous Mark Rothkit Art Gallery, and toured the historic and unique lead shot factory. All unusual and interesting attractions.

  • I Escape from Lockdown Restrictions on a Trip to Latvia

    I Escape from Lockdown Restrictions on a Trip to Latvia

    Latvia is a small country with a small population and it was not badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It started emerging from lockdown as early as May and by the time I visited the country the only restriction was the closing of nightclubs at midnight every night. I found it very strange not to be wearing a face mask, sanitising my hands all the time and keeping a social distance. The news from the UK is not good as the number of COVID-19 infections is increasing again.

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