And those were our days in Riga
This is Marianna.
Not the smiling cheery woman on the left, the cool I-don’t-look-at-you-while-you-are-taking-my-picture one in the middle. But dont prejudge her, she is actually a lot of fun.
The favorite parts of this journey for me have been closely connected to people. I dont usually write about them as I am not sure they would like me doing it. But Marianna gives me a chance to do this, as she is already out there, having written a personal blog for even longer than me.
After one evening spent with us, she dreamed of me with a small baby that is going in the nearby water and I allow it without any worry, all the while she is stressing about its safety. That is how relaxed I seemed to her. I don’t know about that, as I would never be caught in the costume she adorned to be part of the Baltica Folklore Festival procession. Now that is relaxed.
She and her family have been the cherry on top of the delicious cake that Latvia turned out to be.
This part of Europe is quite different in its relative capitalist innocence/amateurism and lack of suffocating tourist interest. You would hardly get to improve your alpine skills on the sky scraping, jaw-dropping 200m high…hmm.. bumps around here, but you will eat more sour cream than you ever wanted to, see more green than you thought you wanted to and feast on manicured gardens all over producing delicious morsels for your taste buds.
It is peaceful here. Slow. There is also spark in people’s step, as they are enjoying the few weeks of good weather per year that are mainly served right now, and invite others in the area to join them for the fun. For example a good reason is the largest traditional culture festival in the Baltic states, which was hosted this year by Latvia.
Riga is beautiful, no doubt.
It has plenty of cobblestone to stride on while enjoying the old buildings around. Enough cafes to take a break too.
The city is tidy and clean, charmingÂ with green parks and convenient public transport.
And lets not forget the churches with tops we had not seen before in Europe, which is an achievement in itself.
But none of it can compete with the delight of watching Jeremy crafting bubble art in the backyard with his own hand made tools.
And best of all, joining him. Pssst…the kids somehow scored one of those giant bubble makers and now we have a Jeremy original in our possession. If it was a mistake, sorry mate, we are not sending it back!
Or the dinners around the big wooden table with mismatching chairs that appeal to me so much and big people plates for our enjoyment. They have worked hard to turn this old house into a home and it certainly felt like all the effort was worth it.
The city is worth seeing, no doubt. But wherever you go, do find yourselves a family like Marianna’s , it makes for a more memorable experience. Always.
Then you might end up walking the night streets with torches stolen from the Baltica festival…
..or enjoying rain and sun on the beach with a new friend.
And that you cannot buy.
Thank you Marianna, Jeremy andÂ their boys Mik and Teese (or more affectionately known as Mac and Cheese), who ensured that we barely saw our own kids. If you want to read about life in Latvia with a lot of traditional flavour, take a peak at her corner of the world – Hello Latvia. It is a wonderful read, which is of no surprise, because it is about a set of wonderful people.
The bubble sticks were definitely a gift. Enjoy!!
Thank you for saving our reputation. Although the world traveling thieves has a certain appeal to it..
SOOOOO glad staying with us has returned your blogging mojo…. inspiring, hey ;) It was great having you guys!! See you on the next loop around!
That looks great – how does he make them? Time for a quick little bubble maker tutorial, between border crossing and country hopping? Pleaaase… ;-)
Marianna, but of course inspiring! :)
Jenny, I can make a guess how he made them, but maybe he will make a better tutorial than me, especially keeping in mind how slack I am with writing lately.
Lovely post. So how can we stay with Jeremy and Marianna? I’d love to now more about how you decide on where to stay (on a budget). Always enjoy your posts and pictures. Thank you.
Marianna has perfect teeth (sigh).
Double sigh, Liz.
Travelmomma, the process of deciding on where to stay is quite varied, so I guess it is yet another post that I should write. Jeremy and Marianna are not a guesthouse, just kind people that offered to host us.
Tripple sigh, on the teeth. :)
Your blogs are wonderfully real. I’d love it if you create a very practical “how to” , but no pressure. I also enjoy everything you write. I have especially enjoyed how you stand up to suggestions that you make everything cheery. I have been positively affected by some of your thoughts such as, distance is what keeps us from giving, or how dreadful a certain train ride was in China, and yet, how you loved it.
This site shows more or less how to make the bubble sticks. I dont use the Eye hooks just tape it onto the end of the sticks. Also use overlapping electrical tape on the dowel to give it a good circus look. Remember to add a washer, you need to basically get a triangle shape happening.