Our vacation notes near the Baltic sea

When going on a vacation with almost three year old, doesn’t  matter far or not, we as parents can’t expect that our toddler would adapt more to our plans than we to his. If total balance turned out 50:50, i think it is good and also fair.

Our family has other priority expences, so we don’t plan far or expencive trips. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t travel. Last summer we went to Lithuania West, in winter we took a budget skiing trip to Ukraine and this summer we decided to stay with Toms’ grandpa in Liepaja and travel each day to different destination – like Ventspils (Latvia) and Klaipeda (Lithuania). So now i am going to share our notes about what we saw and how we liked those places.

 

On Tuesday we headed to Liepaja, but this time with a little detour. In Pūre (if You are not Latvian and haven’t heard about Pūre, then You should try some of “Pūre” produced chocolate) we bought a lot of last strawberries, cherries and plums. We drove through centre of Kandava first time instead of just going highway and turned out there is a beautiful old town inside!

 

Next stop – Sabile and rodel truck. We bought 6 rides ticket and took Toms on 4 of them. He enjoyed it so much he wanted to ride again and again! We liked that helmets of all sizes are awaylable here. Tasty lunch here, kids playground, original wooden checkers tables. Best of all from toddlers point of view was a rabbit house – hardest goodbye was to them. Oh, and piece of a history – milk car from my and my husbands childhood!

Kuldiga. Our tummies already full (that means we have to pass trying out some of Kuldiga’s best cafes), so we just go to Bandstand park and it is so much better than we could have hoped for! Beautiful playgrounds and the best thing, that all of them are also suitable for adults. We had a lot of fun there, later we did a little evening workout on outdoor trainers. Very late in the evening we reached Liepaja.

 

On Wednesday we have planned a trip to Klaipeda Delfinarium. For me the hardest part of holidays is dilemma between wish for peaceful and slow morning and need to be packed and ready in the car as soon as possible. Second is more likely for my husband and usually it ends with somewhat middle variant – not the peaceful morning neither we hit the road on time. We arrive in Klaipeda at 1pm. Hard to decide weather it would be better to go to ferry with a car or on foot. We consider option to go to Nida later in the noon, so we stick with going by car. When we get in a line, it seems we made a worse decision, but there is no way back now. Turns out its not that bad at all – ferries goes one by one very quickly and soon we are on the other side of channel. Ticket for a car and driver is 11,05€, adults 0,80€ both-ways.

  

At Delfinarium we buy tickets for both shows – sea lions and dolphins. We have half an our before them and we spend that time in Sea museum. We are disappointed that Aquarium is closed, because Toms would have loved it. Luckily few animals – penguins, seals – live outside of Aquarium building and we can take time to see them. In Sea museumt there is a beautiful exhibition of ship models, but Toms gives each of them a whole 1 second and pulls (literally) me further. Only model of cargo ships port can take more of his attention. And with that the time has come for us to go back to Delfinarium. To remember for the next time, when Aquarium will be open – half an hour is not enough to see all Sea museum and Aquarium. Now it was right on time.

 

Turns out that sea lions perform in open-air arena, but dolphins in indoors arena. Show program in both shows is very similar, but biggest differences except for premises are: sea lions perform for 15 minutes (ticket  3€), dolphins for 35 minutes (ticket 10€); in dolphin show trainers go into water together with dolphins; stage lights and projectors are used in dolphins show.

Toms is very happy about sea lions, he enjoys their performance a lot! But he gets tired of dophin show already in the middle of it. Maybe because its the second one, maybe because he gets sleepy, maybe because seats are numbered here and kids have to sit in parents lap. After show we want to take a walk to nearby breakwater, but Toms falls asleep on dads shoulder after few minutes. We walk towards breakwater, but it would be too hard to walk on it now. Going back to car we talk how two shows are too much for three year old or younger and we would suggest to choose one of them, maybe even sea lions. Its almost 6pm, it gets a little cooler and its too late for trip to Nida. Maybe if the entrance fee wouldn’t be 20€… Another time.

On Thursday morning we hit the road to Ventspils, where entertainment options are so much its hard to choose. We first go to Adventure park and want to start with Rope track, but all instructors are busy, so we postpone and at the end of the visit don’t return to that thought. We have a lot of fun in “Bumper boats” – we are throughtly wet from our heads to toes! Its a little better for kids, because they have to wear life jackets. After that Toms enjoys digging with kids excavator. He wants to go to tube sliding track, but offer is for 30 minutes and that isn’t for us – we already now, that Toms would slide once, say he liked it, but doesn’t want anymore. If there would be a chance to buy 1 slide, we would try it. Also here are dancing fountains (free of charge), but this time we have had our fun with becoming wet. We climb the stairs all the way to hill top to view area and turns out the most attractive object for our toddler is construction site with excavator on the other side of mountain. Of course, all the city is seen from here and it is a very beautiful view! Next adventure for us is a narrow gauge railway, taking our swimsuits and towels with us, because we plan to go to Beach waterpark (there are two waterparks in Ventspils – one open-air, other indoor). In the train we have to sit in closed carriage, because open ones are full in seconds. When we take off, we leave to the beach. Weather is that good we would love to stay here instead of going to waterpark. Especially Toms – all he wants is to play in sand. At this point we regret not taking sun-screen creams and Toms’ toy tractors to the beach in a hurry. We are not the always perfect ones, but it is the hottest part of the day. So we don’t change our plans and slowly head to waterpark.

 

We are hungry and catch to advertisment “burgers ->50m” – its more like 150m or more and kebabs we choose here are kind of silly in their size, so its not a surprise there are so few visitors. Well only view to yachts is nice. Half fed we find waterpark. Although this waterpark is quite small, it is very suitable for little kids. There is kid’s pool with ship in the middle and slide (only in our opinion with needless water jets which just frightens kids). It is afternoon and not the hottest one, thats why all the small jacuzzi are full all the time – we also have our chance to warm up in them few times (temperature is just right for kids – not too hot). One of water slides is very slow and it is allowed to use it together with a kid if sliding with float ring, so it is a good chance to try out the slides for the first time without getting scared. We like that there are 3 types of changing rooms – women, men and family. We spend hour and half here (standart ticket) and it is completely enough. Evening, we are tired, we go back to car by foot (train’s work hours are over and we wouldn’t want to pay for it second time) and we have to carry Toms almost all the way.

 

There is so much left to see and some of it we still want to manage today. We drive to port and walk through promenade with asleep baby on our shoulder. We fail to wake him up even for ice-cream, but once we get back into car, he wakes up – what a surprise?! If he is up, we drive to watchtower near breakwater and take a look to the port from top. Finally Toms gets his chance to play in a beach sand with his tractors.

We want to have nice dinner, after all today is our 4th wedding anniversary. Clock isn’t merciful, it is half past ten and only yet working place to eat (if we don’t count fuel stations) in Ventspils is Tex Mex Klondaika. We are a little sceptical, won’t it be too loud there, but at the end we can suggest this restaurant as a good place to go eat with kids also in a time of day when other restaurants work. Its not loud here in a workday evening. Offer is quite wide (mostly below 10€ per portion) and food is really tasty, portions large enough. We are delighted about kids menu! It starts with two different chicken and vegetables soups for about euro and half and all the other foods we don’t really look at, because we have already decided to take soup. We choose meatballs soup – portion is large for a toddler, he eates almost all meatballs and half of soup. So good of a choice!! Only expensive part is juice – it coasts more than that soup. There is a whole play room for kids with large car to get in, kids table with chairs, paper, pencils, many cusions and TV. I am pleasantly surprised when waiter turns on my favorite childhood cartoon “Thumbelina”.

Friday. As much as we would love to stay in Liepaja, we have to return home to our cat and greenhouse. In the morning we manage to go to sea, because we know how much Toms loves to play in a beach sand and we want to have a little sunbath. Water is so nice today also!

 

On our way home we have one last tourist attraction left – Rīga Zoo branch “Cīruļi” in Kalvene, which we visit in two hours. This Zoo is definitely kids friendly, because there are special wooden carts to ride kids or belongings.

  

  

Bears, horses, goats, donkeys, poultry, lamas, blue cows, sheeps, yaks, kyungs, birds of prey, alpacas and wolfs. Most impressive experience was watching wolfs – they live in a fenced forest. We go quietly, as quietly as it is possible with carts. Wolfs don’t run away, they walk their paths and You can feel they have noticed You way before You noticed them. Some of them always is watching You. Some of them lets You take a photo. But at the same time they live in their natural environment, in their pack and with their inherited instincts. I ask Toms: “Which animal do You liked best?” He says: “There weren’t any pigs.” Thats true, because of swine fever threats, there are no pigs left, nor domestic, nor forest.

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