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Latvia!

March 31, 2011
By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

So yeah, I survived the pressure cooker that is Germany. The country itself might be a fairly relaxing place, but my relatives are certainly no such thing. Grandma and aunt started fighting, and so on and so forth, and I of course got in the middle, and then the lil’ cousin got involved, and it got progressively worse from there onwards.

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Köln Cathdral & Shirtless Bike Guy

This isn't Latvia. This is The Köln Cathedral & a Shirtless Bike Guy

So it was with a great deal of relief that I boarded a train to the Düsseldorf Airport, about two hours too early, but hey, what wouldn’t one do to put some mileage between oneself and one’s quarrelsome relations. Besides, I like airports. My pain threshold is about 5 hours of waiting, it’s all fun and games for me as long as there is a steady supply of alcohol (but not too strong/plentiful) and free WiFi. I suppose my outlook would be quite different were I to travel by plane for a living, or at least fly on a monthly basis. Still, there’s always something, pardon me the cliché, something magical about airports. Even more so than sea ports and train stations. I guess that’s because one can go practically anywhere from almost any airport, in a more immediately obvious, almost instantaneous, way, with exotic destinations openly bandied about on the flipsy-flopsy (or more commonly LCD these days) timetable boards.

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Riga to the south-ish

Riga to the North-ish

This time a Bombardier Dash 8 took me to Riga in about two and a half hours, a little turboprop plane that would otherwise have been fine were it not for my German neighbor who looked funny, smelled funnier, and had decidedly unfunny nose hair that made a smooth transition into a nicotine-stained mustache. If all that beauty wasn’t enough, add boogers hanging from his nostrils, dangling precariously from his nose hairs, to the picture & enjoy. The flight itself went quite fine, almost no turbulence, a perfect landing and no delays at either end. My childhood bud Alex met me at the Airport and we took a cab to the Naughty Squirrel Hostel that I’ve decided to make my home for the next three nights. Let me say straight away that it is a nice place. Clean showers, clean toilets, clean and spacious rooms, very friendly staff, comfortable common room, as much free tea as you can drink (and maybe even coffee? Dunno, don’t usually drink), free WiFi, great location… The only problem is that it’s a hostel, and as such is quite a bit noisier a place than a hotel. For instance, I was awoken (although I was barely sleeping as it was, due to some weird throat-related ailment I’ve developed in Germany, feel like I’ve swallowed razorblades)  by some late-night revelries under my window at around 3am (Brits, of course!) and whenever someone would close a room door on the same floor the clapboard walls shook and trembled rather worryingly. Anyway, I thoroughly recommend.

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Riga to the South-ish

Riga to the South-ish

As for Riga… I expected more from the old girl. Moar even, as the kids say these days. Moar oomph! Moar old! The old town is smaller than the one in Tallinn, but that is offset by tons more Jugend housing, whole blocks of the stuff, if you care for it. I’d have expected more picturesqueness, to put it briefly. I’ve climbed the St. Peter’s Church with the aid of an elevator and a young man in a black cape who was operating the said elevator and reading some Russian fantasy at the same time. I then had lunch at TGI Friday’s, visiting that famous chain for the first time ever cos I wanted a steak, and was sorely disappointed. My throat getting worse, I lurched back to the hostel to nurse my distended stomach and sore throat. And here I am, drinking free tea at the common room, wondering how high my fever is, and waiting for Alex, he’s gonna give a talk somewhere nearby on his latest photography expedition to China. Meh, I think I’ll go buy a thermometer now.

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  • Have a link about Riga, tons of interesting pictures and some videos. Riga Daily Photo.

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