Latvia was never on my list of countries that I was dying to see. To be honest, I never really knew all that much about it. But, it was on the way to my next destination, so it seemed like a good place to break up what could have been a 3 days straight bus journey. With Riga, the capital of Latvia, as a pit stop, the bus journey from st petersburg was only about 13 hours. It definitely wasn’t the best bus ride though. We had to sit in the very back row, right next to the toilet. 10 minutes into the trip, an old man walked in there and unleashed the most foul smell that you could ever imagine. Also, the shocks of the bus really sucked, the roads were really bad, and so the whole ride was incredibly bouncy and uncomfortable. And the seats in the back row don’t lean back, so there was practically no way to sleep. And we got a flat tire on the way and had to pull over for over an hour while they tried to change it. Ah yes… the joys of bus travel. The only surprisingly easy part of the journey was the border crossing. I had been really nervous as to what might happen at the Russian border. Would all our documents be in order? Would they try to con us out of money? Well, luckily, after just a couple questions, they let us pas through. We had escaped from Russia safe and sound!
We spent 2 days in Riga, and really enjoyed our time there. The town is really nice, and pretty chill for a capital. Pretty much anything that’s of any interest is in the center of town which is the old part of the city. This is a fairly small and compact area, and is totally manageable on foot. We took a walking tour and checked out a lot of Riga’s old architecture etc. Other than a sudden thunderstorm that only lasted a few minutes, the weather was mostly pleasant, and the town is full of open squares, small cafes to relax in, and lots of cobblestone streets. The people here also seemed pretty friendly. we knew we were no longer in Russia when we asked for directions on a bus, and 3 or 4 different people all very animatedly tried to give us help and advice. People here speak Latvian, but pretty much everyone also speaks Russian and so it was pretty easy for us to get by and find out anything we wanted. Everything in Latvia was cheaper than in Russia which was nice. We even when to the movies (twice!) and it only cost us 5$ each time! After spending a bit of time here, I really think it would be awesome to come here one day and do a proper tour of the Baltic States and possibly Eastern Europe. I’ve seen a lot of Western Europe, but have never really seen the eastern part and it really seems like a fascinating place.
After just a brief 2 days, it was time to move on. We took a 5 hour bus to Lithuania, where after a quick 1 hour break; we had a 21 hour bus ride to Prague. Ugh! The bus ride sucked. Our seats were better this time, but the ride was just so long! 21 hours!! Or 26 actually if you count both buses. Also, the sucky thing was that the bus never stopped for food. So we had to just sit there and starve after we finished our chips and the sad loaf of bread that we had to eat plain once the 5 slices of cheese ran out. How could this thing not stop for food?! The buses in India, south East Asia might suck, but at least you stop every few hours so people don’t starve!
and here are the rest of my photos from riga.