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Europe » Latvia » Vidzeme Region » Cesis May 20th 2009

This might be the last Blog . we will be going into Russia on Tuesday for 18 days I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. - Mark Twain May 20, 2009, Wednesday, Riga City Campground to Sigulda, Gauja National Park, to Cesis, Latvia. It was about 50 kilometers to Sigulda from Riga. After strolling around this lovely town we enjoyed a hot lunch at the Black Cat bakery/cafeteria. It rained again last night and the weather is cloudy and chilly 40ish. There is a nice hiking/mountain biking trail that follows the Gauja River, so we hiked for several hours before starting off for Cesis. Cesis is a quaint town, tomorrow we will take a closer look. Meanwhile, ... read more
Trail markings along the Gauja River in Sigulda, Latvia
A hot lunch in Sigulda
Cesis Victory Monument, built in memory of fallen soldiers

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 16th 2009

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ~Robert Louis Stevenson May 16, 2009, Saturday, Mezerers Campground north to Plavinas, it is one strange/weird place. Perhaps, once upon a time, it “used to be” an entertainment/hotel/outdoor attraction for various sports; but today it is a falling apart…”used to be”. Bob didn’t feel safe here overnight, so we are glad to leave. Salaspils, a concentration camp was our first stop. “Behind this gate, the earth groans”, reads the inscription on a large bunker. A very sobering place, from 1941 to ’44 an estimated 45,000 Jews from Riga and approximately 55,000 other people including Jews from Nazi occupied countries died here. Today is a Memorial Day and many families arrive with flowers and children…it is ... read more
There is an entrance to observe black and white drawings of what the area was like.
The symbol of solidarity
A Russian video crew

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 14th 2009

This morning we headed off to the Riga Outdoor Ethonological Museum. This was about 30 minutes out of town on the bus and was actually really worthwhile. However the weather was absolutely freezing!!!! Apparently there is due to be about 3 days of north winds which are not the warmest things in the world. In fact they are down right freezing. So there we were, out in the forest walking all around for 2.5 hours in the ice cold north artic winds. The musuem itself is really interesting. What they have done is gather together all the old buildings from the 18th and 19th century and have located them in an outdoor museum. The museum represents the 4 different regions of Latvia and the different building and living style that they used to have. My favourite ... read more
Inside the old houses
MK shopping for amber
Old houses at the musuem

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 14th 2009

Geo: 56.9465, 24.1048No need for an early 'get up' today. So far the sailing and crossing the Baltic has been remarkably calm. The Captain's blog has not risen past ‘'smooth'. Today was a full day at sea. A chance to ‘join in' and see what activities there are and generally mooch around.I think it was Benjamin Franklin who once said: ‘Nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes!' He obviously hadn't been on a cruise!! The quotation should say: ‘Nothing onboard is certain, except eating and…BINGO!!' The day was going to be based around our meal times and, to give it the correct European name, Lotto! We had a leisurely breakfast on Deck 11 – Tosca in the Cafeteria Le Vele while we studied the daily programme. Bingo started at noon so that was ... read more
Chris, Roisin and Cpt. Ponti
Brrr! Minus 26 celsius in Riga
The narrow streets of Riga

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 13th 2009

Today we had to get up rather early (5am) to get ready so we could meet at 6am to walk to the local bus station and catch the 7am bus to Riga. Now the Eastern European buses are nothing like the Indian Buses which were my most recent bussing experience. The first difference was the fact that there are individual, allocated seats for each person, there weren't 200 people trying to get onto a bus that has a capacity of 50, the seats recline, there was a toilet on the bus, and most surprising of all, the bus was enabled with WiFi. This all made for a very pleasurable 4.5 hour bus journey. The country side between Tallinn and Riga was just lovely as well. It reminded me a lot of driving in the forests around ... read more
2 of the 3 brothers buildings
Art Noveaux decorations
Art Noveaux House

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 7th 2009

May 7, 2009 Bus: Eurolines, Tallinn, Estonia - Riga, Latvia This was my last morning in Tallinn. Today I checked the online blog I've been following, this guy (http://www.leeabbamonte.com) is trying to be the youngest person to visit all 300+ Traveler's Century Club 'countries'. I noticed that his last post was from Riga, where I was headed! I sent him a note, then headed off to the bus station. The long-distance bus station is a few miles southeast of the old town... spent awhile walking down there. The Eurolines bus shows up, very nice with leather seats, and onboard wifi-internet and electrical outlets. I checked my mail again only to find Lee was already in Tallinn! But by then the bus was on the move so I just missed meeting him. The bus ride to Riga ... read more
St. George church
Nesting dolls
Cat building

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga May 6th 2009

Day 4-5 (May 6-7) Next morning we had an early star leaving by 6am. Our hotel kindly packed us a breakfast, and then we were off to Riga by coach. About a 5 hour journey. Coming into Riga it seemed quite a depressing looking city with old Soviet style buildings or older buildings that had been neglected under Soviet rule. The bus dropped us off at the bus station next to the local food market, which was outside and inside 5 large aircraft hangers. The produce looked wonderfully fresh. After settling into our hotel we headed out to get a quick bite at the market, and then met our local guide. Our guide was a retired army officer who had been a language instructor. He was full of history, architectural knowledge and very engaging. We walked ... read more
Orthodox Cathedral
Art Nouveau Architecture
Building 1

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga April 23rd 2009

Depuis Klaipéda, 5h30 de bus à travers la campagne lithuanienne et lettonne m'ont mené jusqu'à Riga, la plus grande ville des pays baltes. J'en avais déjà eu un petit apercu en Lithuanie, mais ici les mannequins défilent dans les rues à un rythme étourdissant. Jamais vu ça ailleurs! Bienvenue au pays du mètre quatre-vingts, des bottines sur jambes fuselées, des déhanchés redoutables, des crinières ondulants sous le vent et des yeux clairs sous les Gucci noires. Comme si cela ne suffisait pas, le pays compte un taux d'alcooliques, touchant avant tout les hommes, parmi les plus élevés du monde; c'est d'ailleurs ici qu'on a enregistré le record mondial... 7 pour mille!! Bref, un paradis sans concurrence pour le célibataire en quête de l'âme soeur ou pour le buveur invétéré à la recherche de concurrents à sa ... read more
Centre de Riga
Marché couvert sous les hangars a zeppelins
Gozer le gozérien n'est pas loin !

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga March 28th 2009

Lativa is another place, like Estonia that has recently been freed from the soviet's (ie 1991) thanks to Boris. But almost 20 years on you can still seem the impact it had on their lives from living in egg boxes, to speak your mind got you 5 to 10 years in the hardest salt mines that can find. The museum of occupation detailing the atrocities and mass deporations that took place from 1940 when Soviets first took over from the switch to nazi Germany and persecution of the Jews and the swap back again in 1944 to the Soviets who held it to the present day. I can't help thinking that the Allies should have listened to Patton (american general from world war 2) and told Russia to get back over it own border line. Sorry ... read more

Europe » Latvia March 24th 2009

In three days I will be traveling to Latvia- the great "unknown." Most people I've informed of my trip are stuck on the country; they have no idea where this Latvia even is. I am excited to dig deep into a culture that I have never experienced before, and rub elbows with some of the locals. Stay tuned...... read more




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