Wednesday saw the arrival of my new best friend, Anna. Long-time readers will know that Anna and I have been following each other’s blogs for a while now and have become friends through lengthy comment and email chains – mainly bonding over unreliable boys and always-reliable booze.
I met her at the airport and we taxied back to my place. I was afraid that if she got a taxi by herself, she might just turn it around again when she saw my beautiful street. But luckily, my Russian princess turned out to be not such a princess after all, and had packed enough clothes for her 6-day trip into a bag the size of my make-up bag.
First up, it was time for second breakfast at Double Coffee, overlooking the park, canal and opera house. Breakfast cocktails were also on the agenda. We Russian and Irish ladies don’t do things by halves – even at 10.30am.
Sufficiently fed and vodka-ed, we made our way to the meeting point for the 2.5 hour cultural walking tour of Riga, which I’d never done before. I highly recommend it if you’re only in town for a couple of days, as it hits all of Riga’s main sights, including the Art Nouveau district, Old Town and several parks. And, best of all, it’s free, though tips are appreciated. Even after living here for close to four years, there were still some tidbits about Riga that I didn’t know.
The weather was absolutely perfect and Anna took approximately a gazillion photos, totally charmed by Riga. She was not so charmed by the tour guide, however. The commentary went something like “Latvia is the best, Russia is evil, Latvia was the first to…, Russia is evil, Latvia is amazing, Russia is evil.” Whenever she said something unflattering about the German occupation, she apologised to the Germans on the tour. Anna got a “You have something to say me?” I was secretly hoping Anna would pulverise her but she was remarkably restrained, and limited herself to some growling and gripping of my shoulder.
After walking for almost 3 hours, we’d definitely earned a pint, so it was off to Rozengrals, Riga’s medieval bar/restaurant. I’d sent Anna a rough list of places we might go and things we might see, which she’d turned into a military-style checklist – complete with map. She then proceeded to circle each thing we managed to do. Rozengrals was on the list. Circle.
Now, as any Latvian knows, one of the things you have to do to any visitor, is torture them with the local paint-stripper, Rigas Balzams. Anna was no exception. We headed to the Black Magic café, where Balzams is almost three times more expensive than any other bar, but these things have to be done.
I could write a description of how absolutely vile the original Black Balzams is, but Anna’s reaction, in pictures, sums it up far more eloquently than I ever could…
From there, it was off to Moloney’s for a quick pint before soaking up the booze with probably the best burger I’ve had in four years’ living here – thank you, Street Burgers. After a quick trip to Ala to spy on Latvian folk dancers, Anna had had enough so we called it a night and went back to my place.
The next morning, we were up at the crack of dawn and off to Cadets de Gascogne in pretty Berga Bazars for a light breakfast of pastries, tea and Blackcurrant Balzams. When in Riga…
Then it was off to take in a couple of sights that the tour hadn’t covered, including central market. This would prove to be a mistake. It turns out that Russians love nature every bit as much as Latvians. If you ever want to see either nationality orgasm over a mushroom, take them to central market in September.
Once every goddamn mushroom, berry and flower ever picked had been photographed from every conceivable angle, we hopped on the tram to “big” Lido, so that Anna could eat her own body weight in traditional Latvian fare.
After gorging ourselves on food – and beer, it was back to THE LIST. Cocktail hour at the Skyline Bar was next on the agenda.
Unfortunately, this is where things took a bit of a nasty turn. Over the course of the two days, we got chatting to a lot of people of a lot of different nationalities. Everything would go swimmingly until Anna said that she was from Russia. Then the badgering and the abuse started. I can understand that Russia is top of most people’s minds right now and that people are curious about the Russian viewpoint; what I can’t understand is just how RUDE people can be, persisting in interrogations and accusations when it’s perfectly clear that it’s causing offence or upset. “I think Putin is worse than Hitler” is not a good way to open any sort of meaningful dialogue. Back off, people. In the end, Anna just said she was from New York. Then, she only got blamed for shooting John Lennon.
Anyway, we didn’t let it ruin the rest of her trip and after a quick bite at the ever-wonderful Flying Frog Café, we hit the bars of Old Town one last time.
Anna, thank you so much for visiting and I hope you enjoyed your time here as much as I did. Latvian Tourism Board, you’re welcome.
should we start a link-up of posts dedicated to our Russian princess? including photo shoots of her downing shots. a Russian and an Irishwoman walk into a bar…at 10am. I’d need to practice to keep up with you two! military-style checklist….sounds exactly like Anna.
Ha ha! We had such a great time! The Balzams will need some practice though – luckily for you, I’m in Germany now and drink is decent here!
My friend better not see this, I didn’t do any of these things with her! Glad you ladies had a great time! Can’t wait to see what you get up to in Germany 😉
Tut tut, Heather! I’ll be reading what you did with your tourist and feeling very smug 😉
Hating a random russian person on the streets seems a bit inane.
But you have to wonder, if Latvia was not part of NATO and EU… would this country even still exist today? After what we’ve seen in Georgia and Ukraine, the answer is probably not. So I think people are justifiably alarmed.
And what exactly have YOU seen in Georgia and Ukraine if I may ask? I hope you’re not going to reiterate mass media propaganda though.
By the way implacable hatred towards Russians is not insane in this country: it has been institutionalized at various levels as much as EU legislation permits (Latvians will deny it, of course:). NATO and EU are so intrinsically good that all the good things are somehow always associated with them and they need no further proof whereas Russia is so bad that the sole purpose of its existence is to occupy the Baltics, no proof needed either. Basically the teenage guide summed up pretty well, like 2000 years of Latvian history for dummies, lol!
Oh wow, how delusional are you? OK, I guess from your viewpoint, if Latvia weren’t part of EU and NATO, it wouldn’t have been invaded by Russia, it would have been “liberated” by Russia from all the lies and propaganda of the west. Sure.
I though you wanted to share with us what you saw in Georgia and Ukraine, Ed? Nonetheless, the belief that Russia is somehow interested to invade the Baltics is actively propagated by NATO to camouflage their expansionism TOWARDS Russian borders and drift tentative France and Germany further apart into closer alliance with less and less popular USA, especially now when Nobel Prize winner for Peace B. Hussein Obama authorizes air strikes again in another sovereign territory, this time Syria (obviously, not as heinous as supposed Russian “aggression” as peace and democracy are America’s main export goods:)!
P.S. Sorry, Linda. I know you hate politics in your blog but I couldn’t resist to grab and keep the situation to my advantage while you’re temporary vulnerable on the move. Old Russian traditions die hard, never mind:)
I’m not on the move any more 😉 But the comments are open to anyone who wants to comment so you and Ed can go at it if you like!
No worries. Kremlin is open 24/7 to manufacture inebriate trolls talking shit about the best nature in the world:)
Herzlich Willkommen in Berlin:)
Cocktails with breakfast, sightseeing, pastries, and more cocktails….sign me up for Latvia!
Damn, it’s a shame I’m leaving now everyone wants to come and visit! 😉
I’d never have even considered it if it weren’t for Anna and your blog!
See? I do good things sometimes, Latvia. Listen to Jenna! 😉
If you say that even Russians can’t drink Black balsam, then probably you didn’t try pure absinthe or Becherovka (Czech variant to Jägermeister and Black balsam). Actually it’s even less “can’t drink that stuff” than Laphroaig PX Cask single malt.
I did try pure absinthe… wow.
that type of stuff just needs to be mixed with the right ingredients. Im not talking about cocktails neccessary but tea/coffe you know like bailey`s liquor. or maybe Im wrong. I would just never drink any balzam pure.
Latvians mix it with coffee and tea all the time. I don’t drink coffee and I like my tea ‘pure’, with milk 😉 Might take a little bottle with me to knock me out on the bus…
SO. LINDA. Thank you SOOOOO much for an amazing experience – from balsams, to art nouveau, to keeping me bar hopping into the wee hours of the night, to epic burgers, to getting me into trouble WINK WINK! SO MUCH FUN. I passed out on the bus to Tallinn in minutes!
I must say though, by the end of day 2 (which felt like at least 5) I was actually craving some black currant balsams, and I actually regret not buying more!
PS – I am so impressed that you posted all those Beautiful Riga pictures, and didnt spontaneously combust!
Ha ha! I managed to compose myself 😉 And you are MORE than welcome! I had a fantastic couple of days with you! And glad you had fun ‘solo’ in Tallinn as well 😉
Till the solo part ended I was walking around feeling all lonely and lamenting you not being w me, and how much more awesome it would have been if you were!
Awww, that’s so sweet! I knew you’d manage to have fun by yourself though 😉
Linda, you’re killing me. I want to hang out in Latvia with you too. Honestly, when you come over to Berlin, you and I have got to go back again. As tourists. In Latvia.
Anna, must have had a great time with you except for the Russian-hating. What’s all that about? Enormously lame. It’s like saying ALL Americans are stupid and can’t read, when Bush was at the helm!
I like the sound of the walk and the boozing, and the noshing. Yep! Just up my street.
Ha ha! Give me a chance to get settled in Berlin first! I hope you’re devising a similar itinerary for me – pressure’s on 😉
Totally! Give me a heads up when you’re ready ‘cos I don’t want to let the side down. Berliners forever n’ all that LOL!
Big love for blog mates meeting up in real life 🙂 Was Anna exactly how you expected??
Pretty much! Apart from the tiny luggage! We’d skyped the week before as well so we’d sort of ‘seen’ each other as well – all in all, it couldn’t have gone better! 🙂
Abuse of alcohol, pastry treats you both are a damn couple of hedonists.:)
About an attitude to Russians from Russia… Well it’s said that your friend had to experience that kind of attitude. But the media of Latvia work hard to persuade their consumers – Russia the root of all evil. Nothing doing.
You say abuse; I say appreciation 😉
they did not abuse the alcohol….. they abused themselves with alcohol martins! linda how can you leave Latvia in this state of english language ? your job here is not done you must stay)))
As far as I’m concerned, my work here is done 😉 There are plenty of other English teachers 😉
Anna’s reaction to the Black Balzams is priceless. It looks vile. How nice of you to take her for a taste test. 😉
Here’s hoping those mushrooms are not the magical kind.
I didn’t have any – just to be on the safe side 😉
As for the Balzams – it’s part of the Latvian experience! They even have a sign in old town that says ‘if you haven’t tried black balzams, you haven’t been to Riga’! 😉 I did her a favour really 😉
Is that Rozengrals like, you know, a theme pub? Was expecting photo six in the series to be Anna chundering – timed correctly, with the right amount of flash/exposure, the shots can be spectacular.
There was no puking thank god! Though it was probably close 😉
Yeah, I guess it’s a theme pub – not sure if it’s part of a chain or not though…
That looks like such a fun visit!
We’re hoping to get to Berlin for a long weekend — we’d thought maybe next month, but now it looks as if it needs to be put off until next year some time. I’d enjoy meeting for a “Prost!” moment. 🙂
Are you ready for your move?
Oh, I’d love that! Be sure to let me know!
I’m sort of ready – still need to get rid of some stuff, pack everything, tidy up the flat… 😉
You action photographer you. Quite the series on the expression.
Yeah, the Russian thing is, well thank goodness for people’s inability to a) dissect accents and b) take more than a passing interest in anybody. Makes life easier sometimes. Would have thought the tour guide would be a bit more professional…
You must be off soon!
I am! Tuesday! 🙂
The tour guide was young so I guess her diplomacy skills hadn’t fully developed yet!
Yeah, diplomacy, that’s a late developmental milestone. Some people die before attaining it. Not all of them are short-lived people, either.
Too true! At least Anna is safely back in Moscow now! 🙂
There are jobs where people cannot express themselves freely of say what (and how) they think. Jeremy Clarkson is to say goodbye to Top Gear. His politically incorrect jokes too expensive for BBC. 21st century.
I’m not a fan of accusing people by their nationality, religion or sexual orientation but ones rights to accuse somebody should be prior to other person’s inability to tolerate it.
If somebody hated jews or black people a couple of decades ago – the person was able to tell it. Due to a political correctness the number of people with prejudices might not have lessen (who knows); what has happened is people just keep their inappropriate opinion to themselves. Concluding – I rather prefer direct, vivid or straight language than elusive, smooth and boring speech.
*raises hand* I see the Bavarian, I see her!
Looks like you had an action-packed couple of days, and Riga looks gorgeous in the sun! I’m a total sucker for all that Art Nouveau architecture, so I’ll have to head up that way some time. Also love the photo series with the Balzams; that is priceless!
Side note to Anna: is that a fox on your sweater or a cat? Either way, it’s awesome.
Oh, that is too funny! I got in trouble for thinking it was a cat!! It’s a fox 😉
I might turn that into an anti-ad campaign for Balzams 😉
You are such a fun guide! And Anna is my kind of girl…..I went to Budapest last year and flew some airline that only allowed some bag half the size of a carry-on for free…well….that is what I brought. She is my kind of traveler……Anyway…Looks like y’all had a great time.
Yeah, I don’t know how she did it! I definitely would have had a wheelie case! I thought maybe she’d been robbed when I met her at the airport 😉
These are the prettiest pictures of Riga I’ve ever seen on your blog! Also, you’ve ruined me for life now that I know about Breakfast Cocktails.
Ha ha! I’m not sure Breakfast Cocktails are really a thing – but they should be 😉
And yes, I thought I should end it on a high note! Well, there will be one last post but it will be a goodbye and good luck 😉
Good for you and a bit surprising that you can see and show others also the beautiful side of Riga, not only the ugly.
Oh come on Zane! I’m a realist but I’ve been here for 4 years! You think I can’t put together a nice tourist itinerary for a couple of days!?
Honestly – don’t know as you have never spoken about that.
Yes I have 😉 I’ve written several posts about visitors coming here! What do you think I do with them!?
I am in total agreement…these pics were so pretty……
Thanks Diana! 🙂
Breakfast cocktails are ALWAYS a thing!
There she is! 🙂
BTH, why did i miss this live action ??! *facepalm*
2 all: it’s not _that_ bad being russian in LV. i know quite a lot of them. as long as you do not stress, that you’re actually _from_ Russia, it’s pretty easy. and, many complains usually stop after “you know, i’m already gone from there, i do not plan to get back soon”. there are a lot of people uselessly bitching about everything, so just do not give a damn. after all – around 2/3 of my friends are local russians. on the other hand, i do not communicate much with local folk in their 50ies, so, probably, i miss out a large protion of gossip and political bitching.
it’s good, that you both enjoyed this visit 🙂
Yeah, it was mostly other foreigners/tourists that we had issues with – Irish, German, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian…
The Irish and the Germans weren’t too bad – just lots of questions. It did tend to take over every conversation though!
not stressing that I was actually FROM Russia was really hard when they asked where I was from. And that’s when the fun kicked off…
A list… and a map to circle? Are you suuuure Anna is Russian and not, say, German?
That breakfast from the first day. Aaaaaah! I’m drooling!!
Ha ha! I know! It was really good 🙂
Anna and her list and map was probably good practice for me – better get used to it! 😉
I DID discover a particular weakness for all this German on this trip…
DO tell us more, Anna 😉
Well, the Bavarian ladies, for one, were very chivalrous about defending Russia’s honor (or, you know, at least calling out Latvians on the “Latvia was a great nation for 2000 years and then Russians ruined EVERYTHING but we still treat them with love and equality!” BS).
Those ladies were taking no BS from anyone 😉
What? Is the ‘2000 years’ bit what the guide said verbatim?
Pretty much. Might have been 1500. They loved going back to ancient heritage and traditions. ALL ruined by Russians of course. Funny thing, all this folk dancing and music flourished a few centuries ago as a way to defy foreign occupation. Specifically Russian occupation. That didnt take place till mid 20-th century.
(Coughing diplomatically) Russian empire did rule here from 1710, you know. And Swedes and Poles and Germans before that.
The issue didnt seem to be w the Empire (esp bc it was “in charge” thru mostly German barons so viewed as more German rule still), just the Soviet years 🙂
(Coughing a little more) Even inside the Empire, most of today’s Latvia was still under the control of German nobility until mid-19 century (who even after that remained very influential until the independence and land reforms), except for Latgale, which was gained with the first partition of Poland in 1772 – and was directly incorporated into the Empire’s Vitebsk Governorship.
Regarding the guide – I am slightly happy to say that you apparently encountered a somewhat unusual and cerebrally special specimen. They don’t teach such shite at schools – there’s plenty of ethnic bias and ‘those 50 years’* mythology, but never this bad.
(* – ‘and if it weren’t for those 50 years, we’d be like Finland.’ Yeah. Look at 1930’s Fascist dictatorship in Latvia and weep. Look at Finland’s exemplary ethnic minority policy which has been working since 1920’s and weep even harder.)
LOL. Thanks for the diplo cough 🙂
The guide in Estonia at least had a sense of humor about it – like, we here like to complain about stuff! So it made all the ‘blame the Russians’ stuff a bit easier to swallow.
In the period between the two wars there were minority schools in Latvia – German, Jewish, Polish, Belorussian, Estonian and Lithuanian, which were all closed after the Soviet occupation and only Latvian and Russian schools remained. After regaining the independence the minority schools have been reopened again. And the Constitution of 1922 has established that “Persons belonging to ethnic minorities have the right to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity”.
Please don’t be biased and don’t distort the history.
The minority schools were closed whole-sale during Ulmanis’ dictatorship. The fact that some of them weren’t reopened in Soviet Latvia is a pity. I wish to see a Latgalian school reopened someday (you know, before the language goes extinct).
And look up the Finnish ethnic/language policy – it goes far beyond a sentence in their constitution.
Moreover, many of the minorities mentioned simply didn’t exist or significantly shrank in size by the end of the 40’s due to emigration (Germans and Poles), or were quite efficiently exterminated by the old gentlemen we see parading in March.
Totally Russian, and totally Soviet fault.
Also, why are you talking about schools to begin with? That’s not the issue!
Whoops, this was supposed to go into the Ilze thread.
No, of course it’s not Russian, it’s totally German fault. And Latvian. Or that’s what you would like to think and that would be ok with you because you’re not a German or Latvian. Don’t take it personally. It’s history. Live now and let others live. But don’t spread around Soviet/Russian propaganda (No, minority schools were not closed during the times of Ulmanis – talk to some people still around from those times. No, Jews were not exterminated by the old gentlemen parading in March – read some history book. No, Germans did not leave by the end of 40ies, they left in the years before the World War II – simply reread what you have written and think it over before you push the Post Comment button. The minority schools were not reopened during the soviet times not because something went lame but simply because communists had no intention to. And minority schools are a real, existing part of minority policy.)
My initial comment was to Anna who couldn’t understand how anyone here can speak of Russia’s oppressing policy before the mid 20th century. Well, bBecause I don’t believe that Russification carried out in 19th century was the doing of German barons.
Making me want to come for a visit! Very curious about this mysterious Black Balzams…
It has to be tried! Once 😉
Yeah, i remember some realy mysterious mornings after drinking balsam 😀
Ha ha! You probably don’t remember much from the night before though 😉
I remember my workmates and me bringing Black Balsam and some blackcurrant juice to a colleague in hospital recuperating from sinusitis.. (the Black balsam is just like medicine, you know) She did not drink it. We did. It was one of the funniest hospital visits ever, although I’m not sure the woman sharing her ward would agree..
You should have given her some too 😉
Have you actually tried the mushrooms on the picture? 🙂 They’re not just pretty, they are utterly delicious, too. The only reason I’m not running to the Central Market to buy them is that with 10€ a kilo my internal Scrooge McDuck wakes up and doesn’t let me.
I’m sure they are – Anna was squealing when she saw them 😉 Unfortunately I don’t eat mushrooms!! But they did look quite impressive!
We did buy raspberries though and they were DELICIOUS! 🙂
Yes, and for the piddling – what was it – 3.50, 4 € a kilo? You’d be lucky to find raspberries in a supermarket – and never at a price lower than 2.5–3 times than this. 🙂
I’m sure when Anna gets around to writing her post, it will be mainly berry and mushroom porn 😉
And berries and mushrooms certainly deserve it. 🙂
Now, I’m almost psyched to go to the market and buy these babies (not sure if it isn’t too late):
Super-yummy when fried – and oh my, has it been 12 year since I last tried them? 🙂
You’d better get moving then! 🙂
of course putin is worse than Hitler. he s russian after all. and yes I fully supported ukrainian side of the conflict untill they went berserk on the internet screaming how everyone must treat russian tourists like scum because “they have no place in a civilized world”. kill those damn russians whenever you see them is the biggest slogan on the ukrainian social network profiles right now. I love all slavic people but with this war going on Im simply starting to lose my faith in humanity. now I only support good and sensible people. anna was lucky she did not meet any ukrainians abroad or may have faced a beating or a singing of ukrainian international hymne at every corner.
Jesus, thank god we didn’t! Yeah, for some reason, Russia always seems to be perceived as MORE evil than any other country. Glad I don’t visit Ukrainian social networking sites.
And the reason is that the Cold War mentality perseveres – both in the media and in people’s heads (on both sides, actually).
sure I will… and for now lets look at the gorgeous stunning and vivid cornfields…… covered with many marvelous beautiful and welcoming butterflies…
The MOST WELCOMING BUTTERFLIES IN THE WORLD! 😉
I have relatives in the Ukraine who are half Russian/half Ukrainian. I wonder how they’re faring at the moment?
The whole thing is just out of control. Hope your relatives are OK.
Yes, it’s wonderful how the current civil war in Ukraine is presented as a Russian aggression (getting half a million refugees is a worthy goal), as if the real underlying conflicts there, which actually caused the war and still fuel it, didn’t exist
dude, I love russia but they have started the war. just accept it. Im against the discrimination of russians but you guys have to accept the reality and admit your mistakes. thats it, no more politics talk – i dont wnat to spoil linda`s blog)
Thanks Emmi! Now, everyone look at the pretty pictures of Riga 😉
Okay, I’m not making an extensive response to this: Emmi, don’t you feel any cognitive dissonance in what you’re saying? Look at your initial post – do you seriously believe that these attitudes are new? (Just as a hint: no.) Also mind that the people who came to power in Ukraine after the last year’s putsch are tolerant of these attitudes at best, and have them at the core of their policies – at worst. Why do you think it’s so fashionable to voice them now?
I’m not continuing this: take your time to think about it – and realise that what’s happening there is far more complicated than just two countries fighting for resources or territory, or whatever.
What are the odds that I just posted about taking a tour of your city and mushrooms? Strange.
Ooh, I’ll pop over now and take a look! See if your mushrooms are better than my mushrooms haha!
Another brilliant post. I can sympathize with the badgering Anna received. I have to choke back the rage when people crucify me for the things Obama does (or doesn’t do) so I know how maddening and rude that is.
I know – it was the first time I’d witnessed anything that harsh first hand. Felt so sorry for her. It’s probably naive but I wish people would remember that, at the end of the day, people are people and politics are politics. Stay tough! 🙂
When I was American in Estonia, I did get some good-natured “this building is older than your country” jokes, but that was it :)))
“BerLinda”? Love the new name!
It looks like you had an amazing time. I suspect she might send a hit squad after you for posting the Black Balzams photos, though!
Nah, I did warn her! She wouldn’t look at them though so this will be her first time seeing them 😉
The BerLinda thing was a bit premature – thought I was changing only the German site – didn’t realise it would change on the Latvian one too! 2 more days 😉
you want to open a new blog called berlinda? I give major thumbs up for that! just make sure you finish this blog and then open another one. I cant wait to read your take on germany which is one of my favourite countries and also one of the weirdest places Ive ever been. btw germany has some major cake action going on. I could recommend the lukas bakery as your first stop (they are everywhere) and than there are more awesome bakery chains as well. go for those who have less simple pastries less sugar sprinkled donuts and more fruity-jelly-creamy-chocolatey fancy cakes. from the simpler deserts I recommend: Apfeltasche, Quarktasche, Windbeutel mit Schlagsahne (delicious)from the more complicated ones – Schwarzwaldkuchen and Himbeerschnitte. If you can pronounce them)))) waiting on your cake report soon as well as everything else.
for another funny blog ideas – definetely visit a german sauna. it is worthy a trip because men and women there bathe together – just like in my homecountry. I would love to see your reaction on that.
Ha ha! You have to be naked, right!? I might be too shy 😉
But I can definitely eat the cakes – I can always point if my pronunciation sucks!!
Looks like you had a cracking time!
We really did! She’s such a great girl 🙂
🙂 And the perfect guest – I’m a big fan of people who want to eat and drink their way around a city 😉
wait.. you havent visited at least ONE museum or picture gallery while you were there? isnt travelling supposed to be about getting cultured? you guys. life isnt just about booze and cake. there are other things there too)
The weather was too nice for museums and galleries – besides, she’s from Moscow! I doubt there’s anything Riga’s museums/galleries do better than them! We did go in and out of a couple as part of the walking tour though if it makes you feel any better 😉 Also, the architecture is like an outdoor art gallery… (clutches at straws) 😉
sure.. I completely forgot about the stunning, marvelous, welcoming, gorgeous palaces of Riga….. that is the Paris of the north…..
Ha ha ha! Emmi, how could you forget that!! It’s emblazoned on my mind 😉
It´s weird doing all the touristy stuff after a few years in Riga innit? I had to do that with my mum earlier this year and we hit all the same places. (You coulda taken her to Daugavgriva!) I know how Russians must feel, I had all that crap living/travelling in England in the 1990s about the IRA and when I dated an American in 2004, the height of the Bush era, I was shocked and annoyed at how people would start lecturing her about American foreign policy in Iraq etc. Also, I wish people would get a sense of perspective. Not a fan of Putin either, but Hitler comparisons are just insulting to people who lost family to the Holocaust.
Skaidrs. He did come over and apologise afterwards but it was too little too late.
Damn, Daugavgriva next time 😉 Anna really missed out there!
Not just the Holocaust – we’re talking up to 85 million worldwide total for WW2 with a third of that belonging to the USSR. But, you know, no perspective. “Hitler is considered evil only because of a cultural misunderstanding” – I kid you not, those words were said to my face, followed by the Hitler < Putin evilness comparison.
Great story and a perfect 2 day agenda! Balsam drinking made me smile. My swedish friend asked for “something local” – guess what his face looked afterwards. 😀 But i gave him 2 cocktails. BB with hot and BB with cold blackurrant juice. Nobody recalls what was his favorite.
Anyway – it is kinda harsh to make someone drink pure BB for the first time! 😀
p.p.s. NancyTex, we locals enjoy being assholes. Ask Linda! Hehehe
Glad you approve of the agenda! I think we covered pretty much everything – a bit of culture and sightseeing and a lot of food and drink 🙂
I made two Irish guys and an English man drink pure BB the following night – more interesting faces 😉
Oh dear. 🙂 Mix it with hot blackurrant juice 1:3, tastes better.
That would definitely help 😉 The blackcurrant version is actually quite nice!
Best damn thing you’ve every done. Buddying up with a Russian. It’s amazing just how tolerant they are. Me screw that tour guide, that Latvian witch would have had a broom stick up her arse.Oh, and about the mushrooms, I went mushroom picking here……..and……..well…………you just got to understand………we have a love affair……………. with these little morsels. Personally I’ll take a Russian compatriot over an American one any day.
She was so much more patient than I would have been! I probably would have punched that Danish guy 😉
The funniest thing about the tour guide was that she wasn’t even born during Soviet times 😉
I realized after reading the comments I probably would have had a few words with the “Danish muffin” as well.
Would have plucked the jelly out of the middle without leaving a hole.
Of course everyone has an opinion but I just don’t get how anyone could say that to a total stranger. It’s like just because you’re Russian, you’re automatically a punch-bag.
I so agree, guess I get my dander up when it comes to my friends, but darn it. How about they stop and at least see that Russians are just like everybody else.
Exactly. She was just a girl visiting her friend in a new city, not answerable for what’s going on in the world today.
So, the next question has to be when will you visit the motherland? Promise, you will never forget it or regret it. Some of the greatest people you will ever meet.
Germany is my priority right now but maybe I’ll visit some day! I was in Saint Petersburg before and really liked it. Such a beautiful city 🙂
Look out Germany, the Expat eye will be in your neighborhood soon. Good Luck. Will you be blogging from there as well.
Yep! EE on Germany will be live next week 🙂
Oh, I have goosebumps just thinking about. I’m just wondering will you feel the same way about the Germans as you have felt about the Latvians? They are a different sort all together.
From what I’ve seen of the Germans, I find them cheerful, polite and helpful – but then, I’ve never lived there 😉
no no you have to call your new channel berlinda like you promised! smth like : berlinda takes germany or linda`s quest for world domination…
I think there are enough people questing for that 😉 I’ll settle for Berlin 😉
Looks like it was a great visit, and the perfect send off for you. You’re leaving THAT PLACE soon, right???
p.s. There is only one Russian Princess, and I own the exclusive rights. Diva, through and through. Even her car’s license plate is something like RSNPRNC – and it’s not a vanity plate. ie She was assigned that plate. Honestly, she is a piece of work.
p.p.s. That’s just awful about the locals berating Anna on the Russian thing. Assholes.
It wasn’t actually the locals – the guy who said the thing about Hitler was a Dane. The tour guide was a bit OTT though 😉
Love that your friend was assigned that plate!
And yes, it was really great to do all the touristy stuff one last time! Leaving on Tuesday, sniff, sniff 😉
Safe travels! I’m SO excited for you!! xoxo
Thank you! Me too 🙂
She survived 🙂 Oh man, I want myself some of them mushrooms… sigh.
Not you too! Sigh. 😉
Sorry. ’tis a Bavarian obsession, too. My dad used to be unofficial village mushroom monitor. People would bring their pickings round for him to check over. Most survived their meals 🙂
Thank god I’m not moving to Bavaria 😉 Ha ha at – unofficial village mushroom monitor.
Glad you all managed to imbibe all manner of disturbing things. I was wondering how it would go with a Russian in Latvia as I can imagine they’re a bit tense. It seems like she was smart enough to keep her job *coughRussianspycough* mum or she’d have been out on the first day!
Also, Slavs and their mushrooms. WTF.
I know, right? It’s an obsession!
We didn’t really meet many Latvians, but if they’d heard her speaking, they’d have assumed she was American anyway. But of course there are plenty of Russian speakers here too!
I’d be dead the first day…