Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lauču akmeņi - a couple of big rocks

It was on a day trip from Saulkrasti that we found ourselves bouncing down a gravel road somewhere between Zvejniekciems (‘fisherman’s village’) and Dunte, where the infamous Minhauzena museum is located. We were following signs for the Lauču akmeņi, the rocks of Lauči, wondering if were chasing a legend as elusive as the truth was for Minhauzens, and if it was going to be worth the trip.

Turns out finding the large stones wasn’t going to be a problem, as signs guided us straight to the parking area for the Lauču akmens restaurant/camping/recreation area. As luck would have it we arrived while parking was still free, and soon we were descending the stairs leading down to the beach. And there it was – the Lauču akmens.

There are actually two rocks, Lielais and Mazais (big and small), both of which appeared on the Baltic seashore in the spring of 1853 along with a multitude of ice. Lielais is in the books at over 10 feet tall with a circumference of about 40 feet, while Mazais is a little over 6 feet tall and 31 feet around. Worth flying out to Latvia to see tomorrow? Not quite, but definitely worth the side trip from the Rīga-Talinn highway; although these rocks might not be the size of Stone Mountain or Bald Rock, the Lauču beach is a gorgeous yet unique aspect on the shores of the Baltic.

Not Mazais Lauču akmens... but just as fun to climb

The section of coast between Tūja and Vitrupe is known for the rocky seashore, with unusual boulder clusters, rocky headlands, cliffs, bluffs, small grottos, pillars and other natural formations. However even south of Tūja where the Lauču rocks are located the shoreline is interesting, with the large rocks and steep wooded shores preceeding the beach. The boys found a tidepool of sorts, and were soon busy stacking rocks, digging channels and exploring the rock-strewn strand.

The restaurant's playground, restaurant decor and wildlife we spotted on the drive in

We weren’t the only ones on the beach on a sunny summer’s day, although we might possibly have been the only ones there to see the rocks... As morning turned into afternoon we grabbed lunch at the restaurant (if we did it again I would skip the meal rather than dining there again), checked out Mazais Lauču akmens (not as impressive as Lielais) and finally bid adieu to the the oversize stones before continuing our trip north – to the Veczemju cliffs. 

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