The Road To Riga

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Aug 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
Centurion XXL

Flag of Latvia  ,
Monday, August 15, 2011

This morning was cool and dark when I woke up but I was actually glad of that because Tallinn was such a grand experience that I didn't think I could leave. The cold made it easier.  So, I got up slowly and packed my suitcase and got myself ready for my next journey.

When I checked out, the receptionist was kind enough to call for a taxi, which arrived promptly in less than 5 minutes.  The short ride to the bus station was only about 6 euros and less than 10 minutes.

At this point, I was quite tired and was happy to relax in the lobby while I waited the 1-hour for my bus to arrive.  It was a large, luxury bus and without realizing it, I had bought a ticket for the "lounge" which was the back section of the bus and the seats were arranged around tables in a casual fashion rather than simply in rows. When I found my seat, there were 3 French people in the 3 remaining seats and I was a bit uncomfortable having to sit so close to a stranger for the 4 hour ride, but, when I pulled a lever on the side of my seat, trying to recline, I found that my seat pivoted away from the center giving me more room and comfort.

On the bus, I was quite comfortable except that the girl sitting next to me insisted on putting her feet up on the table and some American girls in the seats at the very back, were behaving quite loudly and boisterously, screaming every time the bus turned and then, there was an Italian woman sitting across from me, who was applying lipstick about every 5 minutes. She must have added about 99 layers of the stuff, I felt sorry for her lips!  Although I was a bit annoyed, I tried to diminish the feelings of irritation by reminding myself that I was once young and probably twice as difficult and disrespectful...and obnoxious!

Anyway, The bus pulled out at exactly 1:00 and headed south directly through the countryside of Estonia. Along the way, I could see a lot of development in the same fashion as in Tallinn, for example, the use of former stone warehouses being turned into modern facilities of many different types.  I found it quite interesting until I was slowly lulled off into a rather pleasant nap.  And knowing that I talk in my sleep, I probably got "revenge" on the others in the bus with my own, special type of annoyingness.

After a roughly 2-hour sleep, I awoke to the sunny skies and amazing forests as we passed into the Latvian country along the seaside.  The road was lined on one side with green forest and on the other with glistening sandy coastline speckled with campgrounds and cabins here and there.  I was struck by how beautiful it all was and I felt quite happy that I had decided to travel in this way; taking the bus, traveling in style.

The bus ticket for this ride was a mere 25 euros and the bus was more than comfortable during the 4-hour journey. In fact there were bathrooms, and a kind of mini bar for water, snacks and tea of which I took none, simply because I didn't want to fill my stomach while in motion.

 It was now about 15 minutes to 5 and we were starting to head into the outskirts of the city of Riga.  The little gingerbread houses were becoming more and more frequent and the stores and shops were getting larger and closer together as we got closer and closer to the bus terminal.

Once in the city, I could immediately see how lovely this place was going to be.  There were parks and trees and cute cottage-like houses and in the distance, modern buildings and statues that I could already see from the bus.  I was so impressed even from the bus that I felt myself sort of pushing myself out of my seat with my nose to the glass like a 10-year-old boy watching out the window.

We arrived at the station at exactly 5:00 and I changed my money in the bank at the main station, then walked the only 3 blocks to my hotel, checked in to my very luxurious room and then went for a walk, in which I was very quickly impressed with the sights along the way.  

The town is sweet and small, therefore I reached the center very quickly, making it easy for me to get a sense of direction, find maps and stuff like that.  I really only spent a little while, poking around, looking in shops and the like, then I got hungry and stopped in a small shop for a sandwich before taking a nice relaxing bath and hanging out in my hotel.
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