Lost in a green immensity

By campodegelo

After returning from my trip to Spain and being thrilled with the guitar riffs, dance moves and unmistakable voice of the Rolling Stones, I was back on my mission: to find an internship to graduate.

Find a company, write a resume, write the motivation letter, but where is the motivation to work on something irrelevant?

Discouraged by the applications and rejections in the form of automatic replies I made the mistake of opening the Ryanair page, and minutes later the trip to Latvia with return from Lithuania was booked.

1 week between the capitals of these two Baltic countries, which few people know about or even where they are located. Among the places the mission was to find accommodations with couchsurfing and travel at the base of rides (tell me something new).

When I flew over Latvia, I was struck by the green immensity, since almost half of its territory is covered by forests, offering many parks and nature trails.

Krista and Armands, a friendly and creative couple, accepted me for 2 nights in Riga, but I would have to wander around the town until late at night, as they had a few issues to settle.

No problem. I had free time to do what I like best: walk the streets of an unknown location.

The historic center of Riga has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the city is particularly notable for its Art Nouveau architecture mixed with some Soviet-style buildings.

18 km of walking through narrow streets, and a heavy meal based on potatoes and pork then it was time to have a beer to relax and wait for the moment to arrive at the Latvian couple’s apartment.

I always say that when traveling alone we are always accompanied. The need for a conversation, a comment, or a request for information makes us approach even more unknown people, and that day was no different.

Armed with my backpack and a mug of beer I was approached by 3 young man who lived in the neighborhood for some years already. A bit of converstaion later and I was invited to the house of Kiran and Richard, two friendly and welcoming Indians from Kerala.

After a few songs, Indian chocolate and good stories I had to say goodbye and go to meet the good souls who made themselves available to receive me.

Nowadays it is still possible to notice some animosity towards Russians or Poles. Due to a history of conflicts and conquests on both sides, especially the older generations still hold a certain grudge, which tends, or at least we hope that it will diminish over time.

I usually do not like to comment on tours or provide tourist tips, after all there are countless blogs with them (even though do not feel inhibited from asking me anything), but I need to mention the name of Jānis Lipke, a port worker from Riga who saved more than 40 Jews by hiding them in his home during World War II. A memorial was built in her former residence and a visit to it renews the hope we have in the world.

3 days later it was time to start hitchhiking through the Baltic countries.

Following my tradition of not planning much to go to, I applied to stay in other Latvian cities, but also in some Lithuanians, and got accepted by Monika in Panevėžys, Lithuania.

Before leaving Riga I decided to send a postcard to a friend in Switzerland, and for that I needed a stamp. What was apparently a stationary turned out to be an old map shop, and from there I came out with an original map of the region of Curitiba made by Russians during the 70s. A true relic for 3 euros!

With this new artifact, a sign indicating Lithuania, my big toe and a smile on my face, I set out for another new country, number 56 on my list and on my back.

This entry was posted in Europe

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