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Published: September 30th 2017
Mary was upset that her "Pinos" water was finished.
Geo: 56.9465, 24.1048
Off to the bus station - on the way, we stopped to pick up some more of those donuts, pastries, and an open-faced ham sandwich for the ride to Riga. I had some Estonian Kroons to blow, so it was spent on bottled water, chocolates, and cough drops (or throat drops, as Yvonne would say) for Mary.
I wasn't feeling too great this morning - perhaps it's because I haven't had my usual morning cider yet. As Mary and I listened to my iPod, U2's classic "With or without you" came on. She asked me if I liked the song and I responded that no, I actually fill my iPod with songs that I hate so that I can constantly torture myself. Ahhh ... sarcasm ... the only thing in life that I am good at!
We arrived in Riga - it's a sprawling city. It was quite the trek from the bus station to our hostel. On the way, we ran into the Hong Kong ladies from Kuressaare. The hostel isn't in the best location as it's far from the action, but we decided to stay here because it sounded like it was quieter than most
So she crushed it with her hands ... I think she's been educated by Lorena Bobbitt.
of the party hostels in Riga. The hostel is actually fairly nice, but they have an odd no shoes allowed inside policy. Perhaps this is in order to keep the premises clean, or perhaps the owners have a foot fetish.
The first stop was St. Peter's church in Vecriga (the old town) - the temporary art exhibit inside was more interesting than the church itself. The focus of the exhibit was the artist Ulgis Roga, who had a very unique style.
After, we stopped for a quick lunch at a cheap cafeteria-style restaurant, and then continued sightseeing. So far, Riga is definitely warmer, livelier, and less tacky than Tallinn. There is a vibrant café culture here, especially in its myriad busy squares. Our tour continued at the Cathedral - its cloisters were in ruins and disappointing. Hopefully they are able to gather enough donations to restore it to its former glory.
Riga also has a number of lovely parks - perfect places to stroll and enjoy the beautiful sunshine today. Trees, canals, and grassy areas to enjoy the shade or sun ... perhaps we could have enjoyed it more if I wasn't always in such a rush to
This truffle was crap. I also had a piece of cake that was little more than glorified fruitcake. The ham sandwich wasn't bad but really, how can you screw up a ham sandwich?
get to the next destination!
The Jews in Latvia museum was surprisingly good once you got to the more interesting sections. The focus was on Riga's most famous Jewish citizens, but I really wasn't that interested in the lives of bankers, lawyers, athletes, etc. The most intriguing parts described how some locals shielded Jews from persecution, and the brutalities that the Jews endured in Riga at the hands of the Nazis.
A little more English information would have been nice, but we can't always expect everybody to cater to us English-speakers. Admission to the museum is by donation only, but they are pretty aggressive at soliciting donations. I think they should just start charging admission rather than guilting visitors into coughing up.
We continued on to the Art Nouveau district and then stopped for some tea at Goija Tea House. The soothing and funky electronic music gave the place a nice vibe. My yerba mate tea was way too sweet. I also developed a wicked headache after and was glad that Mary carried Tylenol with her.
The castle was quite disappointing. We actually had trouble finding it because it looks more like a mansion than a castle. Of
A bunch of lazy birds, lounging in the sun. They must be visiting from Spain.
course, we didn't actually go inside to see the History Museum of Latvia so it's possible that we missed out - but I doubt it.
Dinner tonight was at Velvets. It was a little bit chilly, but still a fairly nice night. I tried Lacplesis, a local brew. Not bad, but definitely not as good as the sweet, sweet cider I have been having in Estonia. Luckily, a touch of sweetness was added to the meal by the cute waitress!
We took a stroll after the mediocre meal. Pat and Mary Asian Circus-Sideshow Freak in the Baltics Moment #6: We passed by a casino, where the creepy security guards starting yelling stuff at us in Latvian. Perhaps it was racism, or perhaps he was hitting on Mary. It's a good thing there wasn't any trouble because each of those guys could have snapped me in half with two fingers! Oh, how I exaggerate ... those guys probably could've snapped me with only one finger!
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