Friday, June 8, 2012
When I went to my on-arrival training for my voluntary service, they reminded us not to focus only on working. I couldn’t agree more on that. I know for a fact if I don’t have a way to relax somehow, I’ll go crazy and won’t be able to work properly. So when I was asked to go to Riga, capital of Latvia for a few days, I jump on the occasion as this city was one of the things on my list of prospective visits.
(Side note in the middle of the text : one tip to remember in which order the baltic countries are located on the map if you mix them together. You have to take them in alphabetical order –Estonia, Latvia & Lituania- and place them from north to south on the map, next to the border with Saint Petersburg, in Russia)
I also didn’t hesitate to come as my friends already took care of the accomodation finding someone for couchsurfing. I didn’t have a clue about the cost of living there until I met this group of american students who came to Pärnu for a Choir Festival. They told us the exchange rate was 2USD for 1Lat. i found later for €, it was 1.4EUR for 1Lat. So In decided to be on a budget time. Luckily for me, one of us knew the city and showed us where to go eating for a cheap price. Next to the bus station there is this huge market where in one of the four halls, you could find some bakeries which offered snacks for a cheap price. We went there for our breakfast and some time for some of the other meals.
Concerning the visits, we essentially went to the old town on Thursday afternoon and nothing much the rest of the time as it was very cloudy and rainy. It’s sad as I wanted to see the different parks in the centre. Unfortunately there isn’t much very old building due the bombs in the 2nd World War. The remaining building are still very nice to see. On a lot of them, we could feel the russian influence. They are in serious need for a renovation. They already started but i twill take time to renovate everything.