Tuesday 29 January 2020
Just over 24 hours ago, we arrived in Riga bus station totally unfamiliar with our surroundings. After a four and a half hour journey, we descended the bus, loaded up our backpacks and began the walk to the Old Town in search of the apartment that we had booked for four nights.
I felt a certain lethargy – that semi-sleepy feeling after being cooped up for too long. Don’t get me wrong, I have no complaints about the bus (LuxExpress) and the journey. In fact, it was comfortable and efficient with free hot drinks available as well as a personal screen with enough choice of entertainment to please anyone. Actually, I was quite pleased to finally watch ‘ Darkest Hour’ which has been on my watchlist for a while.
Once we arrived, it felt good to get off the bus and stretch, but trying to get our bearings in the dark early evening took a little longer than we wanted as we stood in the cold damp drizzle. It was exciting to be somewhere new but there was that sense of uncertainty of where the apartment was, what it would be like and how easy it would be to find.
Now 24 hours later, we are already referring to the Cuba cafe (an absolute find of a bar a couple of streets away from the apartment) as our local; we have done our ‘mini weekly’ shop at the nearby Rimi supermarket and we have booked tickets to the opera – yes, the opera! This is on top of the 19,000 steps of sightseeing, which included taking in several places, such as the Freedom Monument, the Museum of Occupation, the Town Hall Square with the House of the Blackheads and also the orthodox Nativity of Christ Cathedral amongst others.
It’s odd how one day you can feel like a complete stranger in an unknown city walking down roads that are totally unfamiliar that you have to keep pausing to check the map, read street names and/or look back to assess your bearings. Then, the next day you feel such a sense of familiarity and you can wander around without your nose stuck in a map (well, almost!).
Wednesday 29 January 2020
This morning, we went for a run around the local park area and tonight we shall be sitting in the dress circle watching ‘Turandot‘.
When packing for this trip, I asked one of my daughter’s if I should take a particular smartish shirt and she said yes because there may be an occasion to look nice if we go out in the evening.
This may be the first and last time that I attend the Latvian Opera House so this is the evening that I shall make some attempt to not look like a backpacker. I certainly can’t guarantee posh opera clothes (no way do they fit in a hand luggage sized bag!) but at least I have ironed my shirt and I shall endeavour to comb my hair.