Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Riga

Had a really good long weekend away with my old uni friends, and I think it was just what I needed. Leading up to the weekend had been quite draining emotionally with getting this job and other stuff and despite feeling like the last thing I wanted to do was go away, it was a great time.

On arrival we took a taxi to our apartment, but we were taken to the wrong street, so another taxi was required. Once settled we headed in to the old town for a delicious meal of Latvian fare. A huge meal for less than £3, Jonah and Nick then took us to a bar/club they'd visited earlier in the year and we had a great time. After a few drinks we headed down to the dance floor where we danced the night away in the company of some very beautiful and pleasant Latvian girls.Dancing to a mix of english, russian and latvian tunes was good fun. I even danced to cotton eye joe by Rednex for possibly the first time since 1995, Nick organised a bit of a ho down which went down a treat! We left at 4:30 and dancing was still going strong.

Woke up to a fabulously sunny day, wonderful blue skies, so spent the afternoon exploring the city including a trip up to a viewing platform in the steeple of St Peter's church. The panorama from this point was amazing, I took quite a few pictures, and it was interesting to see a bit of history about the building with the steeple being rebuilt in the late 60s after the original was destroyed in the war. I think Latvia must have a very interesting history, a country that has often fell into occupation.

We had intended to watch the england football match in a bar, but we left after the first half. The problem being our fellow country men who had entered the pub and who were chanting in loud and abusive manner whilst being quite disrespectful to the waitresses. It's such an embaressment to know that they are from the same country. What is it about football that makes it become this very tribilistic occasion?

Saturday evening was extremely quiet in the old town, and we later discovered that the influx of tourists had made all the bars too expensive for the locals, and I fear that it could result in a beautiful city being turned into some kind of stag party haven, which would be horrendous. Cheap flights make it easier to visit these interesting places, but the tourism it brings, although bringing much needed capitol, merely serves to make the place less accessible to those that live there.

Tried some Absinthe as I was sure that it would inspire me artistically like Toulouse Lautrec. In reality it burnt right down to the stomach and made me feel a bit ill the next day - although that might have had something to do with the tequila as well, and i was trying to be good.

Boat trip on sunday afternoon was nice and relaxing, before a final latvian meal and heading off to the airport.

One of the other things that struck me about the place was how it immediatly reminded me of Crime and Punishment that I'd read last year. There's still something about the place that has a very different feel and is something I'd love to explore. Perhaps travel from the baltics up to moscow one day.

click below for more photos, and on the page that loads click on the link that say Riga under tags on the right of the screen for all the pics.









1 comment:

Sally said...

Ah, absanthe makes the heart grow fonder :-)

Glad you had a good time.