Kuldiga: One of Latvia’s Gems and the Draudzigs (friendly) Latvians
Disclaimer: Again, I apologize for the lack of Latvian characters.
After we met at the gas station, Bruno took Vitauts while Ansis drove Sue, Glen and me to one of Latvia’s most beautiful and historical cities, Kuldiga. As we were driving, Ansis explained that this town was basically the capital of its own territory way back in time, and that they actually had a colony in Trinidad and Tobago. I had no idea.
We stopped at the touristy train stop by this ancient historic bridge across the Venta River. Ansis pointed out that this is the widest waterfall in all of Europe. Who knew?
While Susan and the rest of them walked down to see the waterfall, Vitauts and I stayed behind to have a drink at the cafe. We found that the bathrooms cost .30 Euros to use, and that drunk Latvian men are very friendly. As we went to sit down, three young men, two with no shirts, cheered at us and held up a bottle of Jack Daniels. While I went for beer, they all sidled up to dad at his table and chatted with him. We are suspicious that they may have been trying to scam the old man, but I think they really were just drunk and friendly.
The one who spoke the best English told us they had been at a wedding party all night and all day. One was so drunk he had to excuse himself, but maybe this was all part of the scam. They offered us their Jack Daniels which Vitauts (and later Glen) happily accepted. I refrained. We chatted for a while and laughed a lot. Dad started speaking Latvian with them, and they were much more engaged after that. I think he surprised them.
After awhile, the walking party returned surprised to find us in conversation with these native Latvians. Sue laughed and took photos while Glen did a shot.
We finished our beers and shook hands and said goodbye and headed for the train. I quickly ran down to the waterfall for a quick look and was happy to see Latvians merrily playing in the water. There were no signs about do not do this or that. No fences. No litter. It was only about 70 degrees, but they were swimming. Sue took a fantastic picture of a local in a skin-tight bathing suit.
I had to hurry back up to catch the train so we could tour the city together.
Kuldiga… to be continued.