Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Riga - day 1

Friday I hurried the kids to sadik and rushed back to the house because the taxi was arriving at 9:30am.  We got to the airport and checked in. Boarding, arriving, getting cash from the ATM, taxi ride with a driver listening to Russian radio got us to the hotel - all smooth as silk. We grabbed a drink and snack at the hotel and waited excitedly for our other friend, who we expected any minute.

This is how the ladies' weekend began. Travel with one small carry-on bag, reading the magazine on the plane, moving easily from one thing to the next.  Terry had his turn last month when he visited a friend in Sweden, and this weekend one friend from Petersburg and I met another friend from Lithuania in the mid-point of Latvia.

By the time our friend arrived at the hotel to meet us, it was Happy Hour at the hotel bar. Her travel SNAFUs dictated that we take advantage of the buy 1 get 1 free cocktails (well, in Latvian and English it said BOGO. In Russian, interestingly enough, it said buy 2 cocktails get the 3rd one free. Hm)

The in-flight magazine highly recommended a restaurant in the old city not too far away so we went. First, the building was adorable (seen below). Appetizers were phenomenal. I had a cream of chestnut soup with duck, I forget if it was roasted or smoked but anyway it was delicious. One friend got an elk goulash and the other had beef carpaccio. Then the mains came. I am so glad my soup completely filled me up, as my pheasant was so dry and overcooked I  could barely swallow a bite, and actually had to take a sip of water to help it go down. One friend's catfish was undercooked although the asparagus that was the real reason she ordered the dish was perfect. The third friend, just like Goldilocks' littlest bear, had a perfectly juicy lamb.
 After dinner we stopped at the wine bar a few doors down from our hotel and ordered a bottle to share. The proprietor was extremely cordial, especially as we were the last people to leave the restaurant and had only bought a bottle of wine.

On the way back to the hotel we saw this interesting Riga phenomenon of bicycle rickshaws. As I never saw anyone riding in one, I wonder what kind of business they get. The rickshaws each have a blanket to keep you cozy in the snow and they all pipe out pretty loud music.

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