Honey, Where Are You? Ah, you're in Riga! Alrighty then. Better get up early. Take the car to the bus. Catch the bus. Get to the airport. Board a plane. Read a magazine. Land. Stand in a ten minute queue to the way too small but otherwise pretty luxury bathrooms at Riga International. Get into the city. Buy six packs of pollen, some wax, some honey bread, some honey, some Black Balsam and green tea, get back late night and ride the commuter train tired, lights white and bright, memories from a brief visit that almost seem like a dream flickering through my mind. Have I really been abroad at all?
It didn't take much longer to get to Latvia than it usually takes me to get to work, and just a little longer on the way back, in a small SAS 2x2 seats/row plane.
In Latvia the sights were bright and wonderful - blue skies and sun away from this week's unbreakable barrier of cotton-gray cloud here in Sweden. We toured the Old City, the parks, a bridge covered in padlocks, ate raw food at a new school cafe, visited the market, and supermarkets, and barely managed a quick dinner at the airport - mozzarella sticks, fries and beer-brewed onion rings before our departure. Not as cheap as city-food, but good!
They had some Black Current ice cream bars too. Interesting fish. Huge watermelons. The people were humble and serious, and seemed to have lived a harsh life without much English education. I hadn't learned much Latvian either. Communication was... interesting.
I bought a dice made out of amber as my one souvenir and potential lucky charm for the future. The city was nice - with old, pompous, but somewhat rundown buildings. Masterful architectural remnants from the Russian occupation looming in the distance, along with modern skyscrapers in shimmering metal and glass. Quite a contrast.
I didn't really expect it to be so much fun to travel, but I hope and look forward to going back to Riga again. Maybe for more than a day next time. Maybe with a bit better lingual skills in the Latvian language too. As it was, the only thing I could remember was Bez Glutena (without gluten). I should've memorized Baldies at least. Thank you. Had to look up that word after each awkward conversation, and the next time... Placebo? Please? Labile? What was that word?! I ran through my phrases-to-remember the day after the trip (the trip was Tuesday btw), and plan to go through them again in a week. Repetition on day 1, 2 and 7 days (or was it 14?) is supposed to be a surefire way to commit something to mind. Pondering getting an audio guide too.
Needless to say though, though I've said it already: it was a good trip! We took a minibus to and from the airport - which is just half an hour outside the city, and didn't stray too far from the city center - admired the view over the river, and then headed back. The weather's been hella gray and depressing all of this week in Sweden, so it was really the right time for a trip! Here's a few photos: