Sunday, May 24, 2009

Trip to Latvija :)

Last week I spent the week in Latvia with Liga, Ina, Remco, and Eva! Best vacation ever, for real!

The night before we left it was international night at the Studenterhus, and that was lots of fun. I got one of my Danish friends Jens to come as he lives very close!

On Wednesday at lunch time I headed down to the train station to begin my journey to Latvia. Liga was already in Latvia, and the others were going by bus, but since I had a train pass I went for free to Copenhagen. The train ride was fab, had a little nap and met up with them at the airport in Copenhagen! Had to run for the plane as we were busy looking in shops and didn't realise the time. The plane ride was the worst plane ride I have ever had!!! Not that I have had many, it was only my second flying experience ever! I had a sinus cold, and the pressure was soooo bad, I thought my head was just going to explode. Was the worst feeling ever, the flight attendants and the man next to me helped me lots though and I was VERY happy to finally make it to the ground, even though I had hardly any hearing in my ears for two days after that!

Once we landed in Riga, Liga greeted us and we drove back to her flat in the city! It was gorgeous and huge, 5 bedrooms as it used to be a home for the whole family before they built a new house! Now it is just Liga living there, and her roommate Didzis! He was very cool!
On Thursday we woke up and went to the Western part of Latvia. It took about 3 hours to drive there, but we made many stops- at waterfalls, castles, an Open air art-museum (slightly boring and odd.. was a museum with modern art in the middle of a field ), and we went on this cool toboggan/bobsled thing. It is normally a ski hill in the winter time, but in the summer months it is like a toboggan thing. Very fun! We also passed a city called Jurmala at the beginning, where Liga has a summer home, which is like 200 m from the most gorgeous beach ever! It is like 15-20km of straight soft, sandy, beautiful beach.
When we were in the city, Kuldiga, in the western part of Latvia, we got to walk around a little bit and see the "widest waterfall in europe", as well as a really pretty bridge and got to eat at the
FAB restaurant that probably only cost me about 10 dollars canadian for a full meal- including appetizers, drinks, meal, and dessert. so good! I love Latvia and its cheapness!

That night we hung out with Didzis and Liga's sister's boyfriend and relaxed. Very fun!

We all got Latvian names as well while we were there. I was "Kate", totally pronounced different than Kate in english, Ina was a Latvian name as well, Eva became Ieva, and Remco, well, there was no similarity in names, so he was called Raivo.
On Friday we walked around the capitol of Latvia, Riga. It was really fun, and we got to see looottss of stuff. Liga was a fabulous tour guide, she knew exactly where to go and what to show us, and cool Latvian traditions and stuff. We walked down to the 'Old town' and saw the very old part of Riga, as well as went to the market (HUUGGEE with so much fresh food), and up a church tower to see the whole city, as well as walked past many things like the Riga castle, the river, the canal, the Freedom monument statue, the Opera house with a pretty fountain, and this really cool display set up in one square downtown called "One day in Latvia".. it was like 50 huge blocks that had pictures on them, and half of the pictures were taken from around Latvia in the 1970's , showing all aspects of Latvia, and then they did the same thing again a few years ago, to show how the different aspects of life changes throughout the years. It was really cool!!

That night we met Liga's friends, and went over to one of their houses, his name was Janis, as is every other boy in Latvia. haha. It is the most common name EVER! We went out for a little bit to a couple of different places downtown and then headed home pretty late that night, it was fun!

On Saturday we went East of Riga to a place called Sigulda... and went FLYING! Yes, really flying. We went to a place called Aerodium where there was a huge fan/engine thing that shot air fast upwards, and you literally jumped onto the air and then FLEW! sooo much fun. We had to put on these hilarious costumes, complete with earplugs (which fell off during the flying), and hairnets. We were only "flying" for two minutes each, but it was totally enough. The first minute I actually got up, and it got a little scary when you could feel yourself keep going up. The second minute I sucked haha, and hardly got up at all, but hey, it was still fun! Liga and Remco were pro's!!

Right after flying, we decided to be even more adventurous and go to this thing called "Wildcat" also in the same city, which is a HUGE high ropes course. like obstacles very high up in trees, and the levels just kept getting harder and harder. I think theres something similar in NB, tree-go? Never been though. It was incredibleeeeeee.. and SOO high, i was scared for my life at several points. Although i was secured very well the whole time. It was so terrifying at the harder parts of the course, it was only me and Remco that did this, while the girls went into the city and explored and looked at some castle ruins and had tea and stuff. very happy I chose the adventurous route. Just knowing you were up soo high and it felt like you could fall any second was terrifying. I think remco even took a video of my legs just shaking at one point, out of pure terror. hahahaha. So good

That night was "night of museums" which I totally thought was going to be boring as I am the most non-museum person of life. But it actually wasn't that bad! All the museums in the city were free, and at every one you got a sticker saying that you were there and you put it on your jacket or something so everyone could see it. As you walked downtown though the streets (which were totally crowded with people for this night of museums), you could look at everyones jackets and see how many museums they'd visited. We visited 5 I think.. and only certain rooms are open, its not like you had to go through the whole thing. One of them was a theatre, which was fabulous, you got to go backstage and they had little skits going all the time with the actors. That one was my fav. I think we probably got home at like 2:30 or so.. rebels.

On Sunday we began by watching a little bit of the Riga marathon, followed by watching Ligas dance club's in a competition. It was amazing, for real. Its such a different style of dancing thatn I have ever seen before.. it was so traditional. Girls with the long dresses so that when they twirled it looked like it was an umbrella or something, and there were SO MANY BOYS. I think canadian boys should watch that many many times, and they may have a different opinion about dancing. There were even some dances that were purely boy dances. Like, several! With like 20 boys in each of them! It was really good.

In the afternoon went to Liga's parents house. It was FABULOUS. that is the only word to describe it. They lived right outside of Riga right on the river, with their own private beach and dock. gorgeous view. they had a huge lawn, with a garage, shed, SAUNA HOUSE (where we stayed.. complete with 3 bedrooms, 2 floors and a kitchen and of course a sauna), and then her absolutley stunning house. It was paradise. In the afternoon we played croquet like posh people, which was great, and then Ligas stepfather cooked us smoked fish, in his own little smoking house or whatever its called. It was intense. I hate fish and it wasnt even bad!! Very impressed.

That night we went in the main house's basement, complete with real zebra-skin rug that her stepfather hunted, and a real bear skin on the wall, and real leopard skin on the wall as well.. ahhh! ridiculous. absolutley ridiculous. We played "novuss" , similar to pool but on a square table, and Russian pool.. very small holes, and the balls on the pool table wern't striped and solids either. it was a weird game.. very weird. i sucked. After game night in the basement we went in the Sauna!! For like two hours. My first sauna experience. it was fabulous. and then jumped in the lake at the end. was great!!

The next day, Remco left in the morning, so it was girl-day. Starting with new haircuts for me and Ina (fabulous), we went on a .. 5? hour shopping trip to the biggest mall of life. It was great! Soo much fun, Liga was with us the whole time and had the best fashion advise ever, as she is the most stylish person ever. I got some new outfits! We left in a rush because Liga's cute roomie, Didzis, called her and wanted to hang out with us! So we rushed home and met didzis, had a fabulous photoshoot with our new clothing. I straightened Evas hair which looked gorgeous on her, and then we went go-karting! Well me and didzis did, the girls didnt want to. and i didnt have remco to go also, but it was really fun! and i kicked his butt at it, i was so much better :D hahah. It was fab! Then we went down to the river and had a little picnic, at like midnight. and eventually went home and went to bed. It was a good night... but not a good morning!

It was me and Liga going to take the plane in the morning, the other two girls were leaving the following day, and Didzis was going to drive us to the airport, and we were going to wake up at 4:30.. leave at 5:30.. get there at 6, for a flight leaving at 7. Guess what time we woke up at? 6! AH! apparently we ALL shut our alarms off. soo sketchy. i just randomly woke up when I had a dream thinking, i wonder what it would be like to miss the flight.. and then i opened my eyes and looked at the clock and like, almost screamed. i ran to liga's room, was like, ITS 6 AM GET UP!!! .. woke up didzis, and in 5 minutes we were down in the car.. got to the airport and through security and everything (keep in mind gates close at 6:45 am for a 7am flight), and we got there with like 5 minutes to spare! SWEET! we are pro's. it was soo stressful. but we did it! and flight home was much better than flight there!

That was my great trip to latvia. Best trip ever, with best tour guide ever and fashion adviser and GREAT people! Best trip ive had so far :D I love latvia!

The bobsled sliding things we got to go down! Lots of fun

The typical Riga pose.. in front of the fountain the the Opera house. Girls in pink!

Me FLYING! ahhh!!

Liga and her roomie Didzis!

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