Tag Archives: Latvia

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Latvian train Mind The Doors Warning

In fact, on account of the lack of engineering refinements on board, the whole railway journey experience seemed fraught with danger and this was well illustrated by a sign on the heavy metal doors that seemed to indicate that male passengers in particular should be careful not to trap delicate bits of their anatomy in between the closing doors as this could be very, very painful indeed.  And to emphasise this the letters can be rearranged into that well-known warning ‘tite bals nastie’.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

latvia Riga Snow covered roofs

Riga from the Church Tower:

Next stop was a trip to the top of a church tower to see the city from an elevated perspective and from here we could better appreciate the patchwork quilt of coloured roofs and pastel facades looking even more attractive under the snowy mantle that decorated them.  Luckily we didn’t have to climb to the top and there was an attended lift that raised us to the summit. 

We had ten minutes at the viewing platform which was about nine more than we really needed considering how cold it was with a bitter wind that felt like icy needles being driven into our faces; so we were careful therefore that we didn’t miss the descent when the lift came back to collect us and return us to the ground floor and back to the street.

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Riga, Grey Skies and a Quick Thaw

Riga Snow Clearing

When I woke I could hear the sound of the old lady snow clearer scratching away at the pavement below and I thought this sounded promising so I rushed to the lobby where I knew Micky would be waiting following his early morning walk.

He assured me that there had been some snow but unfortunately it had recently turned to rain and this had washed away the two or three inches that had fallen earlier that morning.  Was he teasing? I couldn’t tell but a step outside confirmed that the old lady was simply scraping away the dirty brown slush that remained in the taxi rank.  I certainly would not have predicted this but the temperature had continued to rise and the snow that only two days ago looked a permanent feature had almost completely gone.

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Riga, A Brilliant Taxi Idea

Art Nouveau Riga

That evening as we walked back into the city for dinner it was obvious to us that the temperature was beginning to rise rather more quickly than we liked and the firm snow that had been a joy to walk on earlier was turning to a rather unpleasant watery slush.  Whilst crossing a road Kim did a doctor Foster and spectacularly stepped into a puddle, not quite up to her middle but certainly up to her ankles.  We all assumed that carried away by the beach experience earlier she really did think that she could walk on water.

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Riga, Frozen Beach and a Health Spa

Riga Jurmala Frozen Beach

After breakfast we took a mini-bus taxi to the seaside town of Jurmala, which was another bargain at only 15 Lats.  It was a sunny morning and we walked through some houses in various states of disrepair and renovation towards the beach.  The houses were fascinating, mostly made of timber and in contrasting styles that suggested that the owners had had fun building them in a competitive way each determined to eclipse the efforts of their neighbours.

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Riga, A Russian Taxi Driver’s Perspective

Riga Freedom Monument

For evening meal we choose the out-of-town Lido amusement park where we had been before on our previous visit.  Kim was certain that it was a very precise eight-minute walk but we were all pleased that we overruled her and took the twenty-minute taxi ride instead.

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Riga, A Pedestrian’s Guide

Riga Latvia Freedom Monument

Replenished with hot food we resumed our walk through the city and made for the old Jewish Quarter called Little Russia, which took us through the market on the way.  This area of the city was interesting for consisting of buildings constructed of timber that are fighting a losing rearguard action against decay and neglect and caught in a catch twenty-two situation, too expensive to repair and restore and too culturally important to be demolished.  If something isn’t done soon it is almost certain that Mother Nature will have the final word on the matter.

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Riga, Winter Snow in the Old Town

latvia Riga Snow covered roofs

In the morning the sun was shining and the roofs of the buildings opposite were still covered by a white blanket of thick snow with a cold frosty sparkle that just shouted out ‘Winter’.   Outside the hotel front door an old lady was efficiently clearing the snow from the taxi rank and the footpaths by scraping away with an oversized plastic shovel that seemed to be difficult work but most effective.

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Riga, a Baltic Winter

Latvia Riga

After the first visit to Riga I made myself a promise to go back to Riga one day but I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon.  Returning to a place for a second time is something I have vowed not to do if I can possibly avoid it mainly because there are forty-five countries in Europe and I have only so far been to thirty-0ne.  But with cheap flights helping me to shorten the list of places left to visit I decided that it would do no harm to take another look at Latvia.

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Riga – Festival of the Family and a BBQ

After lunch we wandered out of the square in no particular direction and for no particular reason and at one point I had a very lucky escape when a seagull overhead singled me out for target practice.  I know that a bit of bird excrement on your shoulder is supposed to bring good luck but there is a world of difference between a little bit of sparrow dropping and a full  load of seagull deposit.

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