I left my arse in Liepāja

Last Saturday was my friend Guna’s birthday. You can imagine my excitement when it was announced that we would celebrate it by having a girls’ weekend in Liepāja. 

Lazy day on the beach + biking to the restaurant for dinner, followed by crazy dancing at the beach discos…biking around the night town…

While I could well imagine that the biking would take place, I was skeptical about the crazy dancing. Any time a Latvian has ever said to me “You just wait til you see us party – we’ll still be going in the morning!”, I’ve found that by “morning”, they meant 12.01 and were tucked up in their beds by around 12.03. Still, never one to let my cynical side get the better of me, I was looking forward to it. 

I was to be picked up by Guna and Gunta between 8.30 and 9.00. I threw a few bits into a bag and at 8.30, knowing there was no hurry, sat down with another cup of tea. Sure enough, it was close to 9.30 by the time they arrived. In high spirits, we hit the road, the issue of me moving to Germany foremost on everyone’s mind. Or rather, how to stop me moving to Germany. By the time we’d left Riga, Guna had hatched a cunning plot to pin me down and get me impregnated by a Liepājan Jānis. I briefly wondered if rolling from a moving car into a ditch was as easy as it looks in the movies. 

A couple of hours later, we arrived in Liepāja, met up with our friend Ginta who lives there during the summer, reserved a few bikes for later (sigh), and hit the beach. 

Blue flag beach - Liepāja

Blue flag beach – Liepāja

A blissful few hours were spent, discussing hot topics of the day such as “Do you have yogurt in Ireland?”, and turning over every 30 minutes or so. At around 5pm, we packed up and headed to the information centre to pick up our bicycles. As I looked at them, all I noticed was that they were red and had probably been around since Guna’s grandmother’s day. It was only when I was already moving that I realised there were no brakes. 


Devil bike

Me: Where are the damn brakes?!

Gunta: The pedals! 

I’d forgotten that bikes like that existed. After almost shooting over the handlebars a couple of times, I eventually made it back to our apartment – wobbly but in one piece. Quick showers were had, glad rags put on, and soon we were ready to go to the restaurant. We rode around to Ginta’s place over mainly cobblestone streets. Needless to say, the seats weren’t very well padded and shock absorbers hadn’t been invented when these bikes came into being, so it was a bit like sitting on a vibrating concrete block. (And no, that’s not a good thing.)

Brave little soldier...

Brave little soldier…

We cycled to the wonderfully-located Libava restaurant and took our reserved table outside, overlooking the river. At this stage, I was so hungry I could have eaten a small child, but I settled for the roast pork, which was excellent. (So excellent, I ate it before I could take a picture.) After a while, a speed-boat full of Jānises pulled up and they sat at the table next to us. After some accidental flirting by yours truly, a bottle of wine was delivered to our table. I may have underestimated Jānises.

Still, we had to leave, as Ginta had reserved another table for us at a beach bar where a “concert” was taking place. My dismount at the end of the wooden ramp to the sand was less than elegant. In a bid to calm my nerves, and for the location that was in it, I decided I’d have a “Sex on the Beach”. To my dismay, it was listed in the non-alcoholic section – “Safe Sex on the Beach”. I decided to chance my arm and asked for a “Safe Sex on the Beach without the safety”. This actually produced a giggle from the bar girl and, more importantly, it produced vodka. It turned out I’d need it. 

2014-07-19 20.51.14

Sure that I could feel Elvis spinning in his grave, I took myself off for a little walk. I was rewarded with this nice photo – and my desire to hear again returning. 

2014-07-19 21.09.47

After a while, it was time to head back to the rather fancy Promenade Hotel for dessert. At this point, Ginta, being 4 months pregnant, decided to call it a night. My arse and I also decided that we’d had enough of the bike from hell so a new plan was needed. We went back to the apartment where I deposited my less than trusty steed. The girls were to cycle back to the beach to check out a singles party happening there – if it was any good, they’d give me a call and I’d hop in a taxi and join them. If not, we’d call it a night. (It was just before midnight…)

Watching them disappear into the night, I did what any sensible person would not do and took off for a wander to kill time. I was sure there had to be a party happening somewhere in this town, and just as sure that I would be the woman to find it. Hello Fontaine Palace. Gunta had just called to say that the party was crap so they were having one drink and heading home. The call of a live rock band (and possible fun) calling me, I paid my €3 and walked into the cavernous bar. 

2014-07-20 02.01.54

I ordered a pint and within a couple of minutes, a guy danced over to me. He turned out to be the drunkest German sailor in the world. I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying over the music; also, I had to keep turning away to discreetly wipe his over-excited saliva off my face. Still, he was kind of entertaining and he told me my German was very good so he was alright by me. 

While we were talking, a guy behind him kept on catching my eye and then turning away. I figured he was Latvian – no smile and a man bag. After the German fell out the door, I was amused to notice that he’d moved one seat closer. He’d go to the bathroom and come back, sitting down another seat closer. This went on for some time until finally he was sitting next to me. Latvians…

Anyway, he turned out to be a nice guy and, as an insanely loud band had now taken the stage, we moved outside. The rest of the night passed in a bit of a blur. I was always ready to leave “after this pint”, but then someone else would come over, a conversation would start, and I’d end up getting another. I even met Latvia’s answer to Matthew Gray Gubler, who, although he’d been drinking for around 3 days solid still managed to look hot…

Up a bit, up a bit...

Up a bit, up a bit…

At around 8am, I decided it was probably time to call it a night day, and headed for home. Waking up at around 1.30, I was relieved to discover that a) the bikes had already been returned, and b) we were still in time for the infamous brunch at Boulangerie. 


Regaling Gunta and Guna with tales of my adventures the night before, we stuffed ourselves with omelettes, lasagna and crepes, washed down with copious amounts of milky tea – OK, that was just me. 

A few hours later, back at my flat in Riga, I came to the conclusion that although my arse hadn’t enjoyed the weekend much, I most certainly had. Thank you ladies (and Liepājans) for a weekend to remember. And no, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t get impregnated by a Jānis…







About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Food, Humor, Humour, Janis, Latvia, Latvian people, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to I left my arse in Liepāja

  1. 1WriteWay says:

    I’m so glad you had a nice time (finally). Hope your arse is feeling better. I’ve ridden on not-so-good bikes before … the pain can linger for days 😉

  2. Ilva says:

    When I saw that you have been in Liepaja, I was expecting something much worse – about the angry, depressed people, and stuff… But this is a really nice story. 😀
    Glad you had a great time in my hometown (apart from biking hell). He, he.
    By the way, there are no rivers in Liepaja, it is the Trade Channel, that you were next to, while being at Libava (my father would say – for an accurate historic reference).

    Have a wonderful week and stay safe! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oops, sorry 🙂 You’re the first one who’s pointed that out!
      Liepaja is fine in summer. I was first there in November – that was a different story 😉

  3. Kristine says:

    “While we were talking, a guy behind him kept on catching my eye and then turning away. I figured he was Latvian – no smile and a man bag. After the German fell out the door, I was amused to notice that he’d moved one seat closer. He’d go to the bathroom and come back, sitting down another seat closer. This went on for some time until finally he was sitting next to me. Latvians…”
    Ok, this is something between funny and cute. He probably read it in the “Latvian Lad’s Bible: how to strategically approach a woman”

  4. CrazyCatLady says:

    There are some very cute guys in Latvia (albeit rare) but most have drank themselves stupid, and by the time they’re 30-35 they look like Boris Yeltsin. Such a shame …

    I’ve a question for you – since you were in Liepāja, the city of music (so they say, and by “they” I mean many musicians and locals)- I wanted to know your take on “New Wave” (“Jaunais Vilnis).
    We found out about the existence of this “shedevr” when we endured an hour of it on TV in Doma Square, mere two hours after landing in Riga. Memories of it haunt us to this day…
    *curls up in a dark corner and starts rocking*

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! To be honest, I have zero interest in it. It’s been ‘sold’ to me as aging Russian popstars miming to their greatest hits 😉 But if wealthy Russians are willing to pay for that then good luck to them 😉 I guess that’s how Jurmala makes its money for the year!
      And Yeltsin – hahahahahah! 🙂

  5. Diana says:

    whooohooo! what a fun night!!!!! Love Jude’s comments…my sentiments exactly, but I could have never expressed it in such an articulate way….


  6. Frank Castle says:

    There might be still few dreamy boys left in this town! But i think, soon they will be gone.. 🙂

  7. Astra says:

    Hmm, strange – we call Liepaja the sea of alcochol, because you can never get out from parties and drinking there before 3 days at least (even if you just went to see a theatre show). All of these trips are full of excitement and end up with legandary stories. 🙂 And hangover because of these Fountaine burgers (not the millions of drinks you have) is a must… Maybe the company was just too polite. 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, well I certainly didn’t leave before 3! I probably would have stayed there until 3 the next day if I hadn’t had to go back to Riga 😉

  8. Giving Latvia a good sendoff then. It’s not a job for just anyone so glad you’re around and willing to do it 🙂

  9. Cindi says:

    What a fun weekend girls trip. No impregnation by a Jānis is just the icing the cake! 🙂

  10. NancyTex says:

    How is it possible that Gunta and Ginta didn’t take a video of you riding that bike???

    p.s. My favourite thing about the pic you posted on FB with the girls on the bikes is how wee you are in comparison to all the rest. 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      There were a few motion shots – awkward doesn’t really begin to cover it 😉
      And haha, yeah – it’s not like they’re big girls – not at all! But I’m still like a Lilliputian in comparison to most people! 🙂

  11. You thought biking and drinking was a good idea before you saw how terrible your bike was?

  12. bahahaha ‘up a bit…’ a little more….almost there.. 😉

  13. pollyheath says:

    Hmm, why are they keeping all the good ones in Liepaja? If only I didn’t already have a tall, half-drunk Eastern European…

  14. Germany is going to be boring after all this…I’m jumping on board the “get you pregnant with a Latvian baby” train, hehehe.

  15. freebutfun says:

    I’d clearly fit well in Lithuania being known for wanting all parties rather to start at 3pm than later so that I can get my fair share of party before falling asleep at midnight 😉 too bad this is rarely honoured (apart from birthday celebrations for children).

  16. rower says:

    *wiped off a small puddle of saliva*.
    sheesh, you either should publish your “vacashion wish Anna” plansh in advansh (*another wipe*), or publish it ash a beshtsheller afterwardsh! (*yet another wipe*) 🙂 just remember to attach some kind of 16+ (18+ or 21+, or.. whatever PG rating you feel appropriate) warning, and, voila!, it’s done.
    actually – Liepāja is wunderfull small (or rather large – around 100K ppl?) town. port, some higher education estabilishments, generally warm people (and more or less about half of them – of russian origin). you should really look for someone local (not from riga!) to show you places there.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ginta spends every summer there – and her mum lives there so she’s almost a local 😉
      I think the pop of Liepaja is only around 70,000. There are around 100,000 in Daugavpils and that’s the second city…

      • rower says:

        checked with english wiki… ahem, yes, my data is a bit outdated (i’ve studied in early ’90ies, and then population was around 100-110K.). now it’s around 75K, indeed.

        let’s move there, together ? 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Is this part of the ‘impregnate Linda’ plan?!

      • rower says:

        is it an offer ? -_o
        i kinda like that place, you kinda like it too… why not spend some quality time together? 🙂 still, my _previous_ offer is valid, too.
        p.s. there is no such thing as a latvia-wide conspiracy to impregnate Linda. and if there was, i wouldn’t tell, or i’d be a subject to internal affairs investigation.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I think I probably am already 😉
        I like it there in summer. I was there in November and it was possibly the most depressing, empty place I’ve ever been! I’d need a kid just to keep me entertained 😉

  17. Paul says:

    Quite the night out EE. I lost track of the number of drinking stops along the way. One quick question, how come the pics show most of the venues to be very lightly populated or empty?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah 😉 Well, Liepaja isn’t that big… most of them could have been tired after riding their bikes all day… there was a big festival last weekend so a lot of people might have been there… that, or they’re all in Ireland 😉

  18. Sharn says:


    İ love that you suck out anyway. Sounds like something I’d do!

    Glad you ended up having such a good time. Bikes aren’t too bad. When they have proper breaks and suspension 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I’d been on one every day for the previous week and it was fine – but then that bike was a gazillion times better than this one 😉 And yeah, it can be hard to make me go home 😉

  19. expatlingo says:

    It might have been a crap bike, but you wear it well! How many days left in Latvia?

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t have a definite leave date yet so I’m more counting in ‘lasts’ – last time I ever take that bus, last time I go to that building, etc. 🙂
      And thank you – the tan helped! The motion shots were AWKWARD 😉

  20. barbedwords says:

    My god, I feel exhausted just reading this post…don’t think I could make it till 8am unless there were several Matthew Gray Gublers revealing themselves to me 😉

  21. M.E. Evans says:

    Also, I would encourage getting pregnant by the Latvian Skarsgaard. Do they have him in mail-order variety? I have a friend or two who would be interested.

  22. M.E. Evans says:

    As usual, hilarious. I’ve never wanted to visit Latvia until I found your blog (oh, which I just plugged in an interview, I hope you get some traffic from it!) I missed the post about you moving to Germany. Why? WHY NOT ITALY? I know I’ve made it sound like heaven for you. Chest hair, eh, eh?

  23. heatherinde says:

    Is that a cardigan with athletic shorts on that young gent? Still manages to look good, well played, sir.

    And OMG the bikes with the pedal brakes! My boyfriend recently fixed his mom’s old bike for me and my maiden voyage on it was slightly terrifying. Pedal brakes for the back wheel and a hand brake for the front. I. Am. Not. Coordinated. I said we’d see how it goes, but those brakes combined with its skinny little tires make me very nervous in any possibly dangerous situations. Eek.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, he was pretty damn hot 😉 Even in a cardigan and shorts!
      Yeah, I probably could have coped with it during the day but the thought of cycling from bar to bar – just NO. Plus, I didn’t fancy ending up in Latvian prison for drunken cycling 😉 I’d forgotten that backpedalling existed – needs to be relegated to history, along with backcombing 😉

  24. Anna says:

    OMG He looks like Alexander Skarsgaard! Sounds like such a cute day out and you make Riga sound so charming – any place that has brunch cant be that bad! We’re doing brunch when I get there. 6 weeks to go!

    PS – I cannot handle manual breaks on bikes. Backpedaling is what it’s all about!

  25. Jude says:

    Ha-ha, I was giggling through this whole post! How does one accidentally flirt? Please also note that I was doubling over at your choices of super saliva German man or seat slithering Latvian!

  26. wasd says:

    Damn, missed good oportunity to have a beer with you :/

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