Sunday, September 11, 2011

Land Trip - Europe (Day 27-28: Riga, Latvia)

27 Aug 2011 (Day 27)
Took an overnight bus to leave the former Soviet Union and St Petersburg (MY CITY, remember?).

Arrived in the capital of Latvia slightly after 6am. It was cold at that time. Very cold. I asked around and found my Hostel in Riga in less than 15 mins.
Riga is the largest city in Latvia but small compared to St Petersburg. In the day, it is a peaceful and quiet town. When night falls, the city comes alive! Clubs, bars and pubs are jam-packed with people. Especially in the Old Town. It didn't earn its reputation as having the best nightlife in Europe for nothing.
Had early breakfast and went to the train station to buy tickets to Majori - a major beach destination in Riga. Majori is the centre of Jurmala - the largest beach resort in the Baltic States.
The train ride took close to 30mins and I was greeted by cool sea breeze and tranquility when I got down.Walked along the beach in polo-tee and long pants!!! Talk about being overdressed?
Jurmala has 32 km of white sand beach and it was a beautiful stroll for me. Of course, I didn't walk 32km. It was entertaining for me just watching people, the sand, the sea and the activities that were going on.
Took the train back to Riga and bought a train ticket to Sigulda. Sigula has a huge national park and is the place to do outdoor activities. Me? My purpose of going there was do Bungee from a cable car!

When I got there, the staff at the ticket booth wouldn't let me buy the ticket. And she couldn't speak English. So I had a hard time understanding her. Then I read on a notice that says tickets for the Bungee will be sold only 5 mins before the stipulated time of the jump. The first jump was 6:30pm. I was there at 6pm. I waited till 6:25pm but it still wasn't open. At 6:30pm, they started the sales of the tickets but guess what? People had to make an online reservation before they could buy the tickets. What? I didn't know that.

Then the counter staff told me that the only way that I could get the ticket was to wait and see if there were any no-shows. I will then be able to take their place. I traveled all the way there to do the Bungee and now I might not be able to do it? I crossed my fingers.

Finally, when the cable car came up, there was still a place for me!!! Thank God!

Hopped into the Cable Car and off I went to the centre of the Gauja River. When it came to my turn, I got a little nervous. Just a little. Hey, after all, I did a Bungee Jump in Auckland before. I counted to 3 and jumped off the cable car to experience free-fall for the second time in my life!
(In the Cable Car - Before the Bungee Jump)
The experience was somewhat different from my first jump. But it was still exhilarating! Definitely worth all the trouble, time and money getting there.

Explored the Old Town in Riga to see the nightlife and went back to sleep.

28 Aug 2011 (Day 28)
I wanted to go to places where the locals go to so I went to Central Market. It kinda became a tourist attraction already. But it is still a market where locals go to get their groceries and other necessities. 

The thing that I don't understand here is that 80% of the stalls were selling the same items. Watermelon, grapes, oranges, apples, etc. And the next stall beside it was selling watermelon, grapes, oranges, apples, etc.
(Central Market)
I decided to join a free walking tour of Riga and rushed to the meeting place at St Peter's Cathedral. Got there just in time. Had a crash course of the history of Riga & Latvia and I enjoyed the tour. It was free, duh. 

Heard that there was a street that was good for taking pictures and I went there immediately after the tour. Alberta Iela is a place full of buildings with interesting architecture. 

Walked to the Freedom Monument, a landmark in Riga, to take some more pictures.
(Freedom Monument)
Went back to my hostel and prepared for my bus ride to Warsaw, Poland!

After doing Bungee for the 2nd time, MY LIFE WAS NEVER, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE......................EEEE.............................EEVER, THE SAME AGAIN!!!

1 comment:

lingcat said...

Thanks for this lovely post. Very helpful!