Published: September 5th 2008September 3rd 2008
So we cheated!
It appears Baltic train services are quite what they used to be when Mr Stalin and his pals were in charge. Trains aren't what one would call "regular" and quite often although the tracks are there no vehicle ever travels down them. We decided that instead of three 3-4 hour train journeys, a few hours in Vilnius and then an overnight stopover in a place that our guidebook doesn't even mention we would take the two hour bus across the Lithuanian/Latvian border. We cheated but stumbled upon Leipaja.
Leipaja is Latvia 3rd City and was once a major naval port for both the germans and the soviets during the WWII. Nowadays it a mixture of crumbling Soviet decay and new sparkling buildings that are being built in the wake of it being dubbed Latvias Rock Capital.
The reason for this: An old stadium thats had gigs since 1968 and Latvias First Rock cafe, a four floor monster club that sits in the middle of town. There are a few festivals each year notably the Fontaine Festival which is run by our hotel owner Mr Louis Fontaine a former Danish rock musician,who we'd never heard of!
When We booked the eurostar this wasn't what we had in mind!
hotel was an interesting place: from the soviet bric 'a' brac gift store downstairs to our room with old army furniture and a balcony looking over the rough end of town. Downstairs there's a well fitted kitchen where lucy cooked up a chinese feast before our night on the town; this involved flowing conversation with an english photographer, helped along with one or two flaggons of the local foaming ale!
All in all, a quirky little place that i'm sure would be rocking the house down during festival season, but for us now not a bad stopover on our way to Riga.
There are more photos below