The Rundāle post was getting too long, so Jelgava is now in this space. If you are keeping track.


Because I am me, and I don’t like going home the same way I got to a place, I decided that I would make one more stop on my trip, Jelgava. I thought it was a good idea because it was only about twenty minutes out of the way, and it would take me through another historically important Latvian city, and it would take me to the A8, a major highway that would surely be plowed and well-traveled. Google maps would prove me wrong.

I again have to praise the CRV for all he did for me. After leaving Rundale, I took a left onto the little highway, following the Google map instructions for my trip to Jelgava. I’m so used to Google maps automatically routing you to the fastest, biggest, most important roads. Usually, I have to force it to show me side roads or more direct routes that aren’t on the interstate. Not in Latvia, baby. Google maps has no fear of sending a stranger onto a gravel road covered in snow for 20 Km, if that’s what it wants to do!


I got to the turn, and I thought, “Okay, this is just a ramp… right

Thanks Google!

around this bend, I’ll see the highway.” Guess what? Drama. No highway. Just miles and miles of tundra. No hills. No fences. No trees. Absolutely no traffic. Just me, the CRV, and drifting snow. Had I not had an all-wheel drive vehicle, I don’t think I’d be writing this right now– certainly not with all of my fingers in tact. But here I am, thanks to the CRV.


No Fear

As I was driving, I realized that I don’t really fear death. I had no fear of being stranded or dying. I think some people might have turned back. Some people may not have even gone out that day at all, but here I was, in the middle of nowhere Latvia cruising along. Exhilarating. I know my brother Paul would agree.



I finally made it to the highway after plowing through a giant drift on a bridge, and following the tracks of some crazy person who had been fishtailing back and forth for at least a mile. I would have liked to see if he was doing it on purpose or if it was just how badly his car was driving. Al can relate, I think.

The A8 was pretty clear, and everyone was driving fast. Back to the normal Latvian roads. I kind of preferred the lonely, snow-covered highway where I didn’t have to worry about the crazy dudes with tall VW vans passing four semis in a row into oncoming traffic just to make a left turn in front of all of us. Love those Latvians. Chris can relate.


By the time I got to Jelgava, I realized that I hadn’t really had anything to eat. The promised restaurant at Rundale was closed. I had a cup of coffee and this really hard, sugary pastry, but that wasn’t doing much. So after a quick tour of the town where I saw a cool Russian church, the palace and river, I stopped at the gas station for some pierogs. No matter how many I eat, they are always good. I got five, and the lady at the counter tried to tell me that if you buy 4 you get 2 free. She kept trying to make me take one more, and I was just like… I’m good.

So it was back to Riga on the A8, trying to beat rush hour. No more drama other than a few ambulances heading in the other direction, probably in search of that VW van driver.

I should probably have calculated how many kilometers I drove and all of that stuff, but I’m no actuary. I just know that it was a fulfilling day, and I was no ready for my meatless Caesar Salad and a glass of Chianti before making the trip back to Ansis’ house in the country. Another snowy drive on a cold, windy night.

Oh, and let’s not discuss the drifts in Ansis’ driveway that prevented the gate and garage doors from opening in the middle of the freezing night that I would get to shovel the next day. Actually, we probably will discuss those things. Just not now.




You must have something to say...