After a refreshing shower and a much needed dinner I met up with Andris and Victoria for a chat and a coffee. Later me and Andris went to a friend to have a look at his collection. We was supposed to be back in the city two hours later but time flies when you put three history geeks together with a collection. We got back to Old Riga with just enough time for a handfull of beers and a snack.
Next morning I took a taxi to the airport where I met with Sofia at a coffee place. I ordered a `medium`coffee and came back to the table with a litre deep soupdish of a coffee cup. A very clever descision to make half hour before a long drive in a stuffed car. Suddenly I heard some swearing next to me and I see Talis grab my bag and heads towards the exit. Out on the parking lot the other diggers hang around the car , dressed in camo , ready to dig. We was now waiting for Matt and Ken to arrive from the UK. Matt had been ill at the spring expedition and with him came another guy who also hadn`t been digging for a while. Ken was one of the participants on the very first international Legenda expedition in 2000 and the following years. A little bit delayed they arrived with big grins happy to be back on Latvian soil , or asphalt. We climbed in the car and sped out of the parking lot heading to the forest and Radi Guesthouse.
Before we was leaving back to Radi , Talis came out of the forest with a big bucket of mushroom he had found , so we knew there would be mushroom soup for dinner one of the days.
Back at the guesthouse we had a great dinner and several of the other diggers started to show up.
After a few hours we broke up and drove to another forest. This was a different kind of forest. Bushes and sapplings stood thick as a wall in places. It was very difficult to move around and use the metaldetectors. Some very good finds had been done here earlier so we kept checking as good as possible. The craters and bunkers soon became the preferred spots to dig as people got tired of falling and getting stuck all the time. A Mg34 barrel , some radio parts and part of a Katushya rocket was some of the finds we did before it was decided to change location.
Now we drove to a pine forest again. These are much better than bush thickets I think. One of the diggers had been searching a waterfilled bunker and now with the manpower we could try empty it. With several buckets we started scooping the water out. It was very tiring but when there is lots of diggers working the job gets done. With the amount of work I guess we all had hoped for some awesome finds , but except 20-30 rounds for Mosin-Nagant , a part of a IL-2 rocket system and a mess kit there was nothing down there. The forest around the bunker was full of stuff though. A very complete trench system gave the forest an eerie vibe and was strewn with odd bits and rust.
Happy and tired we went home to Kristina for dinner and a relaxing evening with a few beers and good chats.
Our JCB driver opened up the soil very carefully layer by layer. Just under the surface was several gravemarkers made of stone having crosses carved on them. At a certain depth we could see the soil change color and we stopped the machine and went in with shovels and bayonets as digging tools. In the first section opened the guys soon found bones. When I climbed down Kalnins showed me a handfull of the clay. At first I didn`t understand but then I saw it , the lump was full of hair. Really sombering.
Several sections was opened by the JCB and everybody was working , trying to find every piece of bone from the soldiers. The soldiers Legenda had exhumed here since last summer had been filtered together and many of them badly damaged. We saw the same thing now. Broken skeletons in a jumble mixed in the clay. It was a difficult work. After several hours and many opened pits there seemed to be empty. The JCB opened up several trenches to double check that we didn`t miss another soldier filled ditch. When we had filled back the holes and ditches and cleaned up our mess we filled the cars. We had exhumed around 20 Red Army soldiers , which made the total around 150. Only a handfull of them could be identified through their medals. All of them will have their final resting place and ceremony at a official War Grave site.
In the bunker the other guys had found some nice things. A Latvian Rifleman Battalion badge , some bottles , ammo , German condoms and some other discarded personal effects.
The day had come to dinnertime and we was all quite tired and hungry as we went back into the cars. A stop at Mego to buy some drinks and snacks for the evening and we was soon sat by the table hungry as only diggers can be.
The evening developed from calm discussions and card play till a full blown party as Matt had brought a portable speaker and started his career as DJ Legenda. People were dancing , singing and laughing until the last ones crashed around 02 in the night. A really fantastic evening.
Sunday was the time for `goodbyes` and `see you next times`and we drove to Riga quite early. There we had a good time together and the evening was ended at Ala Folkbar.
Monday morning I thought I had all the time in the world to get to my plane. Little did I know that there would be traffic chaos beyond belief and a full packed Riga airport. It was just by minutes I got through check-in and customs before departure and it was strange to be at home some hours later.
I hope to be back in Kurland again soon:)