Published: September 2nd 2009August 30th 2009
this is the (almost) final Riga instalment (30-31 August) - being written on the bus Liepaja-Klaipeda (in Lithuania)- while battery holds out. (and no pics as takes too long - now in Lithuania its 3pm on 2 Sept. and I want out of my hotel!
gee it is starting to get difficult to remember whats what from the Travel Blur! What di I do on 30 August? - well I do remember Diana at the K&G must have helped me with some more Latvian travel details re buses etc - the Rundale palace ones which went to waste (see later). I headed off down and efore I had gone far saw a shoe shop with a sale on (they all do) - myt cheapo Indian travel sandals are on their last legs as heel has worn thru to hollow thing under so have been looking for cheap replacement. I culd have one beter at the Cemtral Market the next day - but these hand made in Portugal (it said) half price (20 lats = $50) funky red and black ones had my name on them - and why wear ordinary ones for 5 or 10 lats I say! I think I just wandered around after that - into Old Riga on the 3rd of 4 days is not the best but finally there. Went into the Blackhead's house - merchant guild with the black St Mauritius as patron thats why the name. Unbelievably built in 1300s or soemthing - and latr detsroyed and completely originbal rebuilt 10 yrs ago as somehow they still had the original plans! only had 20mins there admiring the gold and silver work in cabinets and grand scale of the rooms etc. Then into the moving Museum of the Ocupation next door - in an old Soviet bunker. This recounted the history mostly of WW2 and ocupation by Germans and then Soviets etc - if I had the time could have spent more time there but 1 hour of reading text is enuf. It closed at 6pm anyway. Then down to the river and as there a river cruise (oh dear - on paddlewheeler Misisipi (sic) - going at 6.30 decided to do that. Had a beer - and ready access to a toilet for an hour - but avoiding beer cos of bladder effect after a certain time! - and so it came to pass It got rather cold - it had rained at time heavy showers earlier and so temps were def. headed to 10 deg. So rushed back to hotel to change into something warmer.
Yet another restaurant just closing - so ate at Citi Laiti - closish to K&G- doing Latvian food. So this was a bit more rustic - decided on the meaty end of the cuisine - fried chicken livers with some porky/bacony slices as well in a veritable forest of lettuce. And for a drink - saw something in Latvian in drinks meantioning the local Black Balzams liqueur - somewhat surprised that this was hot toddy like drink - she told me later Balzams + black currant juice - a slice of lemon and hot water - just the ticket for a warming drink on a night that turned definitely coldest yet! Then a baked pork chop with edible boletus cream sauce (so much better than the drop dead poisonous ones!) and potatoes - of course. I shouldn't have - but in the interests of “research” - rustic cake with bilberry sauce which was sorta sponge cakey thing. So that was 30 August - 31 August later?