Levadot Latviju

Levadot Latviju

Entering Latvia

Taxi Streets of Milan

2 August 2017

We took a taxi, then a bus, then a plane, then a taxi, and finally Ansis picked me up in the center of Riga at a lovely Hindu restaurant called the Bhajan Cafe. It was an exhausting day, but other than missing our first bus to the airport, rather uneventful.

The streets were beautiful in the morning light. Even from the taxi, we had a wonderful view of the city on our way out.

 

 

Milan Central Station

Because we missed our 7:40 a.m. bus, I was able to take a quick walk around Milan Central Station, which is just incredible. It’s kind of a pity that Omaha turned it’s station into a museum instead of having a bustling center for travelers. I know we don’t have much of an infrastructure for public transportation… but it’s so cool! Even the sidewalk outside of the station is made of tiny tiled brick in a beautiful pattern that looks like a continuous fountain. It must have been painstaking work for some bricklayer.

 

I had one moment of panic when we saw the clock at the front of the bus which said 10:41… I still have no idea what the clock means. I thought maybe it was when the bus would arrive at the airport… so then we would miss our flight. Then I thought maybe it was suggesting when we would arrive at the airport early enough for a flight at that time… none of it really made sense, so we just slept until we got there and hoped for the best.

It was fine. Of course. One thing I wanted to praise this trip for was that every flight was on time, my luggage never got lost, no one had to be put on hold because flights were overbooked. It was all smooth sailing, figuratively speaking.

At gate A11 for the Bergamo to Riga flight, we met a lovely young couple. She was Lithuanian returning home from Italy for a visit with her Italian rockstar boyfriend. He had a hat much like mine, so we were fast friends.

Ryanair

We flew on Ryanair which is the Irish equivalent to Southwest airlines. There is no first class, seats are assigned on an as you come basis, and all the snacks and stuff have to be paid for—very democratic. But the seats were comfortable, and we both slept off an on after watching the lovely view of the alps.

We arrived at the now somewhat familiar Riga airport and took a taxi to

Alps from above

downtown. It was decided that we would have a late lunch and Ansis would pick me up after we finished. Rita found a lovely Hindu health food restaurant called the Bhajan Cafe. We chose to sit outside on the sidewalk, but Riga decided that it wanted to rain, so we went inside. I have to say that despite complaints from the locals about it being a cool summer, I find it so refreshing. It is like walking outside in an air conditioned room. The air is clean and cool. The sun is warm but not oppressive. Best of all, I am not always sweating.

 

Reinis

After the rain started, we moved our cumbersome luggage inside and finished our meal to the beat of some Hindu pop music. The portabella burger was fresh and delicious, and Rita had a pea salad that was also very good. Service was slow and deliberate, but maybe that was part of the charm. The waiter, Reinis, was joyful and kind. We recommend.

Then Rita took a taxi, and I took an Ansis. As always, he was warm and cordial as we loaded up his BMW and began the trip to Sēlieši.

 

Speaking of which, many people have asked for my address in Latvia, and as far as I can tell, this should work:

Sēlieši (the name of the house rather than a numerical address)
Ķekavas novads (the region/nearest town), Latvia  LV2124

Postage from the United State is $1.35, I think. And any correspondence is much appreciated!

My Latvian name is Džefrijs Grīnvalds.

On the way back home, Ansis took me to Rimi, the big supermarket chain and then Elvi a little shopping mall in the town of Ķekeva. We decided fish for supper. His wife, Monta and two of his daughters, Nora and Laura were at his parent’s house, so it would just be Ansis, his eldest daughter, Darta and me for vakariņas (supper). He told me that Darta wanted to stay behind to meet me. I was deeply touched and felt a bit unworthy of her affection.

My Cottage

Arrival to my new home away from home  (mājas projām no mājām) was without fanfare, which is good. Ansis made us a delicious fish dinner after consultation with his mother. The fish was fresh from the Baltic sea with a side of potatoes and wonderful fresh mushrooms. I have said it before, and I will say it again, Ansis is the host with the most. Never too busy to make sure that I am well fed.

 

 

 

Kitchen

I moved my things into my new place. It is the old house which the original owners used as a sauna, and which Ansis and Monta turned into a guest house. It has three rooms: a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It is perfect for one person, like myself, who doesn’t want or need many things. I fear when my crate arrives from America that I will have trouble finding space for everything, especially my clothes, since there are no closets.

 

 

We are still having trouble with wifi, but for the most part, I am settled in and ready to start my Latvian Life.

Up next: Shopping in Latvia

 

 

 

 

 

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