200 People Celebrate the European Cooperation Day 2013 on the Estonia - Latvia Road Trip
About 200 Estonians and Latvians got up early on September 20 to catch their bus for Estonia – Latvia Road Trip, an event intended to showcase the examples of successful cooperation between the two countries and to celebrate the second European Cooperation Day. Four busses departing from Tallinn, Tartu (pickup also in Valka), Rīga and Alūksne (pickups also in Ape and Voru) drove a total of 1830 km and took participants through Estonia and Latvia. The Road Trip ended with European Cooperation Dinner & Celebration at Zvārtava Castle in Latvia that is located only 5 km from the border with Estonia.
The bus trip participants enjoyed various activities at altogether 17 different places. Estonia – Latvia Programme part-funded projects exhibited their achievements over the last seven years. Races with model cars, participation in autumn biathlon, trying hand in firefighter craft, tasting local food products, playing autumn hockey, learning how joint prototyping helps with innovative products and showing their artistic skills were just a few activities that the participants could try out during the trip. Throughout the day people could collect stamps for special achievements in their Estonia – Latvia Road Trip passports, which turned out to be one of the most popular pastimes during the trip on September 20.
In the evening all four busses arrived at Zvārtava Castle – a location only 5 km from the Estonian border on the Latvian side that previously had been kept a secret from the road trip participants. Participants were served a gourmet meal, prepared by Tallink Hotel Rīga restaurant Elements and chef Svetlana Riškova, as well as had a chance to share their impressions with people from other busses and brainsrorm about new ideas for cooperation. After European Cooperation Dinner’s dessert and with the arrival of darkness they also enjoyed the art installations in the Zvārtava Castle and surroundings, prepared by Alexander and Alexander from Tartu, and some music from DJ Ivars from Rīga.
All road trip participants arrived at Zvārtava on one of the busses on four wheels (although Alūksne bus broke down half way and had to be exchanged), but four lucky participants had a choice how to go back home. It came as a big surprise to all the “stamp hunters” that the main prize for the most successful ones were four bicycles, purchased as used in the Estonia – Latvia Programme territory, but nicely repaired for the occasion. Marija Novada (Alūksne route), Franciska Maier (Tartu route), Anu Altmets (Tallinn route) and Māra Melbārde (Rīga route) could actually decide after the celebration, how they wanted to get back home – they had a choice now between the bus and the bicycle.
Media representatives and individual bloggers are welcome to cover in Estonia - Latvia Road Trip. Please, contact Estonia - Latvia Programme Information manager Kaspars Rūklis (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0037253331668 or 0037129405048) for more information and photos.
Picture and videos: Estonia - Latvia Road Trip publicity materials by Edgars Noskovs