My last day in the Baltics…for now. It was a pretty relaxed morning. Kristine made us these lovely pancakes where the main ingredient is cheese. I didn’t even know that was possible!
Because it was Saturday, the kids had school off, so Kristine found us a couple attractions we could do with them. The first was the Riga Radio and TV tower. It turns out it’s the largest tower in the EU and also kinda looks like it belongs in a Star Wars movie.We rode the elevator in one of the legs up to the the observation deck. It was a bit cloudy, but the view was still wonderful. Next up was the Latvian National Museum. You’re supposed to pay 2 euros if you’re not a Latvian citizen, but I just stood by Kristine and made sure to keep my mouth shut. They let me in without me having to show an ID. The library was opened in 2014 and is a pretty big deal to the locals.
They even had an American Culture Center! Lots of TIME magazine and pictures of the military inside.
This cool map of Latvia for those of you unfamiliar. Riga is the orange concentration of dots in the middle.
I gave the librarian a chuckle after the kids had both gone up for coloring pages and I sheepishly came after and asked for one too.
After the library it was clear the kids were too tired to continue, so Kristine dropped me off in downtown Riga. As a follow up to the poetry museum I found a statue of Janis Rainis in a square downtown. We learned at the museum that they still have an annual poetry festival in the same square. After that I spent the rest of the day walking around the beautiful little city.
I stopped by a little Latvian bakery at the suggestion of a woman and tried out some different things. I may have overdone it a bit though, because the plate full of goodies left me with a sore stomach. You could still argue it was worth it though.One of the places I wanted to make sure I saw was the Riga Central Market, the largest market complex in Europe. I had heard bad things about the likelihood of something getting stolen so I made sure I took extra time to pack everything in. Ironically enough, by the time I got there things were starting to shut down. I ended up buying some bananas off a woman and strolling through the warehouses. I unknowingly walked into the fish one and it took everything I had not to start gagging.The rest of my night consisted of a lot of travel. And by a lot, I mean a lot. My bus back to Kaunas left at 6 pm. 5 hours later I arrived in the city only to discover that the next bus back to the airport didn’t leave until 4 am. My flight was taking off at 6:15 AM so I didn’t want to cut it close. Instead I went back to the hostel I originally stayed at and woke up the poor front desk worker so she could call me a taxi. I then taxied back to the airport where I stayed and tried to catch some zz’s on the airport benches. That lasted until 4:30 AM when the whole check in process started. Plane took off and I finally touched down as the sun was rising. Quite the weekend. Here are some of my takeaways from my travels:
- I’m incredibly thankful that numbers are internationally recognized. That you will see a 5 and it will be a 5 wherever you go (for the most part). Even with the different currency it makes menus and grocery store prices comprehensible.
- Like I mentioned, eating by yourself is weird, but you get used to feeling awkward.
- Traveling alone as an extrovert and a verbal processor presents a challenge. You can still have endless conversation with strangers, but you don’t really get to process bigger thoughts.
- Having friends to stay with (old or new) can really benefit your experience. They know what’s good in town and you can trust you’re getting to see some of the best sights.
- Traveling alone is scary and cool and embarrassing all at once. It’s freeing when you have no one else’s agenda to be concerned with, but also reminds you how thankful you are for the people you do have.
Anywho, that’s all for now. Until next time, God bless all you lovely folks. ❤