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Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga August 31st 2014

Riga Latvia 30 August 2014 We arrived in Riga on good roads, at about 4.00pm on 29 August and found Camping Riga which was on the island across the River Daugava which winds its self through the city. It was an OK-appointed camp site which had everything we needed. We got to our GB and German neighbours. In fact, the next morning we took a 90 sightseeing bus trip around the city and 2 couples from Germany came to. They had both been to Australia so we chatted about their times in our country. The bus trip gave us a good overview of the city and how beautiful it was with its many German Art Nouveau buildings. Gosh I love those buildings. It is the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the world. Riga is ... read more
Outside St Peters Church in Riga Latvia
Where we had our cold afternoon drink in Riga Latvia - great entertainment and decore (3)
Extreme Sport event in Riga Latvia (7)

Europe » Latvia August 31st 2014

Well this is it. The start of the 3rd week of school. I always say that the 3rd week is the determining week, when the kids are the craziest, your plans and to do list are highest, and it seems like it will never end. Our school is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. We had a big celebration the first day, with guest speakers, a flag raising ceremony, and cupcakes for everyone. It was simply nice. We will continue to celebrate throughout the year. Dave and I are getting better at learning our schedules and sharing our room. Everyone has been helpful and understanding as we work in our new school, new curriculum, and new country. Some of the things that make it purely different from last year: 1. Latvians give flowers for everything. It ... read more

Europe » Latvia » Vidzeme Region » Sigulda August 29th 2014

Sigulda near Riga in Latvia 29 August 2014 After finishing some emails and blogging and watching all the group Dutch motor homes slowly leave the camp site at Cesis, we drove to Sigulda which is about 50kms NE of Latvia's capital, Riga. And hooray, the roads were excellent. Located in the picturesque Gauja valley, with its steep banks and cliffs, Sigulda has become known as the 'Switzerland of Latvia'.....without the mountains. We got our maps of the area from the tourist office again. We saw the following: Turaida castle was about 4km outside of Sigulda. It's been rebuilt in the Soviet area and now houses exhibition space and a small café. It also has fabulous views over the valley and the river. Gutmanis cave lies half-way between Sigulda and Turaida castle and has a little creek ... read more
Sigulda Castle complex in Latvia - the old castle (9)
Gutman's Cave and Guaja National Park in Sigulda in Latvia (1)
Gutman's Cave and Guaja National Park in Sigulda in Latvia (3)

Europe » Latvia » Vidzeme Region » Cesis August 29th 2014

Madona & Cesis Latvia 27 & 28 August We are now in Latvia after 2 hours going through the border at Terehova which is near Zilupe. It has been so very different being in Latvia compared with Russia; back to our alphabet, more English spoken, many camp sites for motor homes, excellent sign posting, easy to fine tourist offices, not the big distances to drive between towns, beautifully landscaped villages, back to the Euro, our GPS loves Europe(!), and lots of maps and information about special places to visit. I don't often compare countries because they are usually so different that it is unfair to compare, however we have immediately found it so much easier as soon as we entered Latvia. In saying all that, we wouldn't have missed seeing Russia for anything! As it was ... read more
Cesis Medieval Castle Latvia (12)
Madona eastern Latvia (1)
Madona eastern Latvia (2)

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga August 25th 2014

I'm a tad disappointed this morning, as today was supposed to be an enjoyable day of sightseeing in the renowned old city of Riga. Alas, some deplorable weather set in overnight, and to my dismay had not abated when I woke. So it looks as though I am destined to spend the day indoors at the shopping centre instead. Yet another reason to be disappointed is that my tent did not perform as strongly last night and my sleeping bag and thermarest ended up a little damp in the morning. I'm praying for some dryer weather this afternoon so that my tent and sleeping bag can dry out before tonight, it doesn't look promising though. So, to the riding. After staying the night in Parnu, I had a solid sleep in due to the soreness of ... read more

Europe » Latvia August 9th 2014

The famous Central Market in Riga has 5 repurposed zeppelin hangers, all in a row, that have been converted into a market. Each one has a specialty, although we saw a lot of other goods for purchase in the various areas. Fish, meat, dairy, fruits and veg, and grocery. It was fairly overwhelming, with all the people and business, but fun. I have a very vivid picture in my head of one of the glass meat counters, which the ladies where leaning into and over the meat, and one lady had her phone out and was probably on facebook. :) Very casual. There is also an outside area, with stands of all kinds of seasonal goods and crafts. We barely missed buying from a lady that had been picking forest raspberries, much smaller than normal, but ... read more

Europe » Latvia August 7th 2014

Yup. The most adorable toilet paper ever, with bouncy, cartoonie sheep running around. There are probably other regions of Europe with decorative toilet paper, but this was too cute not to mention. Unfortunately, like using cheap paper towels. On the up side, I've never seen a toilet yet over here that could plug. And like other parts of the world, there are two buttons, so you can use the appropriate amount of water to flush. :) Still having the hottest weather yet. I believe that our principal said that yesterday was the hottest day in Riga EVER, and that today would probably be another record day. I mention this because when we arrived at school today, there was no AC. We were operating under this monstrous delusion, Dave and I, that the school would have AC ... read more

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga August 7th 2014

Travelling in the Baltics is easy, traffic is light, public transport is generally excellent and efficient although the bus trip from Saiuliai to Riga was unpleasant due to the heat and lack of ventilation. When I arrived at the bus station I was a little disoriented, after wandering around for awhile I was getting frustrated so I took a taxi to my hotel, I hate taxi drivers, he could have pointed to the hotel which was only about 100 metres. It makes me angry that I wasted 10 euro. I wandered around the old town a little that afternoon, Vilnius old town was more lived in, where as Old Riga stunning as it is, is more tourist oriented. My map wasnt great, so after getting a better one at a tourist information centre, I wandered around ... read more
one of the churches gracing the old town
One of the many cobbled lanes
The academy of the sciences built 1961

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga August 5th 2014

We crossed the border into Latvia without any problem, in fact we didnt see any border controls. Close to Riga we stopped at Rundale Palace where we had lunch in the beautiful rose gardens before taking a tour of the interior rooms. The palace was constructed in the 1730s but suffered serious damage in 1919 during the Latvian War of Independence. After World War II, it came under Russian control and a grain storehouse was set up in the premises and later, the former duke's dining room was transformed into a school's gymnasium. Only in 1972 was a permanent Rundāle Palace Museum established. Later that afternoon we arrived in Riga in time to walk into the Old Town where we found a jazz band playing in one of the squares. We decided to stay and listen ... read more
Riga, Latvia
Ron enjoying his beer sampler
Gardens at Rundale Palace

Europe » Latvia August 2nd 2014

First of all, I would like to point out that we didn't know at first either. It would probably be like asking someone from Latvia to point to Wyoming on a map. Texas? No problem. Wyoming though... Arriving at the airport in the dead of night, (very lucky actually as Riga was still experiencing a heat wave in the dead of night), there were two baggage carousels, which was nice actually, no guessing games here. ALL the luggage arrived, also very lucky, and some school personnel were waiting for us. Worth mentioning is that there is little to no air conditioning, at least not like we are used to. Hotel room? No. But there was a fan, so Dave and I cranked open the window and fell into a zombie sleep. We were able to walk ... read more




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