Latvija 2005

We made a beeline for Riga, the capital and largest city in the Baltics. Unfortunately, we arrived rather late and had great difficulty finding the Youth Hostel. We parked our bikes on the footpath and went inside to discover that it was full. While still trying to talk to the receptionist, who spoke no English, a somewhat agitated man arrived and told us to move our bikes. He was concerned for their safety! Oh dear... Jenny found us a nice backyard pension in the end, where the bike was parked off the street. Next day we climbed, well, took the lift up, St. Peter's Church, from where we enjoyed this nice view.

Riga, too, is full of nice old buildings, either restored or in the process of being restored. Here is a small selection:

We spotted this cat on the grass, licking its chops after these nice birds. The birds more or less ignored the cat. When she made a move on them they just fluttered around a little. This confused the poor little cat so much, she had to retreat again. This went on for longer than we cared to hang around.

Which of these cats is not art?

On we went, visiting a few more towns, castles and churches, the names of which I have long forgotten.

When we opened the door to this church the minister stood behind it and welcomed us in perfect American. He was in fact from the US and had spent many years there, even before the iron curtain came down.

This hostel we stayed in used to be a top-secret communications installation. The tower behind it is still in use, the extensive bunker system in the basement isn't.

I am a what?

This is a privately owned reconstruction of a fortified village. We spent quite a bit of time exploring many of the buildings.

And this is the proud owner. Just the phone is a little out of place.