A treasure hunt, discrimination & Hostel 3?

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Jul 29, 2009

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Flag of Latvia  ,
Saturday, July 11, 2009

We arrived in Riga at 21:00, in the middle of an electrical storm, and spent 30 minutes deciphering the instructions to our next hostel. John was like a hyperactive kid attempting to decipher the riddles on a treasure map. We soon discovered that the direction "…with Chanel on your right" did in fact refer to the Riga channel (a branch of Dugvhar river that encircles the old town) and not the designer boutique. Damn language barrier.

With only one night in Riga city, we dumped our gear and went to explore the old town in search of well earned sustenance after our mammoth trip. Even though it was a Saturday night, we were both exhausted and were home, tucked up in bed, by midnight.

We were a little amused at the stated rules of the hostel, and in particular, the final statement “Prostitutes are not welcome” (even if they pay for a bed? Isn't that discrimination?).  It all became clear when we stepped out the next morning and discovered that our next door neighbour was in fact the “Pussy Lounge” (continuing the trend of staying in the less desirable suburbs).

We had a great idea to spend two days chilling out at a new hostel on Lake Baltezers (just outside Riga). We found the hostel in the middle of a pine forest and on the edge of the lake.  We quickly came to the conclusion that the hostel’s old use has lent its name to the local bus stop (sanatorija). It turned out that we were the only guests, and upon inspection, the interior had clearly had a lick of paint and would’ve been fine had anyone else been staying, but finding ourselves alone in a big old house in a Soviet-era prospekt we felt that we were likely to fall victim to the next installment of the hostel horror movie series – and we hadn’t brought any sweets for the kids… After looking around we were both decidedly uncomfortable (should read “sh*tting ourselves), and quickly checked in to the nearby four-star hotel, the Baltvilla.

Once in the safe surroundings of our new accommodation, we felt brave enough to venture out in to the forest and to see what the lake had to offer. Our journey was short-lived when we realised the entire lake was saturated with wealth and all lake front properties had own their own private jetty and boat (ferocious guard dog or two included!) which were impassable to us.  Luckily the hotel had its own private lake frontage and terrace bar. 

Next stop... Vlilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
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