Log building school, on the road again, moving to Ergli

I managed to enter log building school in Ergli (www.ergliarods.lv). Usually courses last 10 months for employed, but since I am unemployed and receive a grant, then it is four months (640 hours) until the end of June, and I must be there, in other words, no distance learning, except for practice, which lasts about two months. So I move to Ērgļi until beginning of May.

First I had to get a schools signature on my learning voucher, then bring it back to agency in my home town. I arrived here first time by foot in the night after a mask-folk-festival in Salacgrīva. Friends took me 30 km close to Ērgļi, so it was not so much for me to walk. I entered the town in the middle of the snow storm night like a ghost and was taking a look around for some time. Town was asleep, the only life were street lights. I waited until morning to see almost no people on the street anyway. Streets were long with quite a distances between buildings. I could hardly call them streets though. It was more like a skiing-park-tourism-town with high hills, old trees, many rivers including river Ogre (read, Uo-g-re, no connection with Shrek or something) and a lake. Old railway was dismantled a few years ago to sell rails.

Anyway, the first impression of the school was that of a military base. Some square concrete buildings on the top of the hill, hangars and garages, flags and projector lights, and just forests and fields all around. HQ building to the left appeared to be a school itself, barracks to the right appeared to be a hostel, hangars and garages appeared to be the workshops.

Only some small decorative log buildings and a renovated demo-corner of the school let understand that this is the place. Also some kid-graffiti on the walls of hostel with eco-slogans like “one day this shall be an eco-hostel”. So the place is still growing into its’ new form. Later I found out that in future they plan to introduce strawbale building course as well.

The very first lecture I had was a presentation of linen oil based paints www.painteco.eu. Linseed oil is a good thing as far as you have patience to mix it slowly while  in the sunlight and wait until it oxidizes. Otherwise, if you’ve money, just buy the ready one from that enterprise.

Somebody drop his tools in the school yard:

I also found some lost keys another day. I was walking around hangars and school asking people if they know something, but useless. I went to the local police station but it appeared to be closed afternoon. I went there next morning, waited an hour while some guy was complaining to the officer about theft of chainsaws. Good I had some book with me to read meanwhile. Then I gave those keys to the officer. He asked me who I am, since he never saw me here before and I told him my story. This again proves how small this town is. As far as I understood even this officer was not local.

I took my bicycle here as well, so that I could travel the country around here. As usual I downloaded the list of Latvian organic farmers and then sorted out an Ergli region, took a look at certification institution website for a phone numbers and called some of them. People here are definitely nice – I got me some vegetables for free along with possible opportunity to participate in building process in spring and some almost free cheese and milk with delivery to hostel doors.

About hostel. I like it. It still has something from those old good 80’ies. It’s like traveling back in time. Except for wifi of course.

I heard rumors they are going to renovate it all in the end of this spring. So it’s exclusive now.

Note: photos were taken month after most events described here.

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About Pavels Melnis

Independent ecology activist, family farmer, gardener and forestkeeper. Musician: violin, guitar, singing. Hobbies: traveling by bicycle, learning to play different music instruments - accordion, piano, recorder flute, harmonica, drums; languages, theology, prehistory, logbuilding, repairing and recycling. Religious. Ecological. Love all things ethnic and traditional.
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