The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Latvia and Lithuania

Hi Again:

I am up in the tiny Baltic countries of Lithuania and Latvia. They were communist only a few years ago, and now they are free and thriving. I really like them. They are a little too flat for my taste (I like my mountains) but they are really fun places.

I wanted to show you the farms. They are huge, and they go on for miles with never a fence. I guess they are left over from the days when the government owned all the land in common. Look how big this thing is:

As I was pulling into Lithuania, the southernmost of the three Baltic countries, I spotted this sign at one of the numerous roadside parks (remember those --- we used to have a lot of them too, back in the day when we were willing to pay taxes to have such things.  I have no idea what this sign says, but it looked impressive so I had to take its picture.

The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius. It is quite the place, with a marvelous "Old Town" and a ton of activity. Each and every town has its cathedral, but I like the bell tower of this one. You can see it off to the left, sicking up like a huge candle.

There is always a lot of activity in the Old Towns. There are usually street performers playing for coins. These two guys were putting on quite a show. They were really good.

I have seen these rental bicycles all over Europe. You put your credit card into a slot. Choose the number of days you want. Get a password. And grab (or return) a bike anywhere you see a station.  It is quite the popular thing to do.

I stayed at a campground last night because it was warm and dry for a change, and this man was my next door neighbor. He is from Belgium, and he is headed for a Harley Davidson rally in Estonia. He was a super nice guy. My French is rudimentary at best, and his English was non-existent, but we got by with our conversation.

He left Vilnius, Lithuania, about half an hour before me this morning. He was headed for Riga, the capital of Latvia, and so was I, but we did not try to ride together. But as I crossed the border into Latvia, there he was, along with some other Harley riders. He said he didn't know them; they had just all stopped at the same time.

We all took each others pictures to show that we were, indeed, in Latvia. This on may have to go on the wall at home.

When I got to the campground at Riga, the capital of Latvia, I found dozens of Harley riders there. In fact, some more just came in (I am typing this at 11:30 (It just got dark) and they sound like thunder across the campground. Mostly, they are from Germany, and they are all headed for that big Harley Rally in Eastonia.

What do you think of these vintage bikes from WW II. Cool, huh? I wouldn't want to ride one of them very far though.

I wanted to go visit the "Old Town" here it Riga. While I was there I found this giant stone pig for sale. Only 1700 Euros (about 2,000 dollars). I couldn't figure out how to tie it onto my bike so I had to pass.

I did seriously consider buying this stone purse for my wife. (Just kidding, Patrice).

Look at these people way up high in the sky. I watched them getting strapped in. They are up there enjoying a champagne brunch. I don't think heights and alcohol go that well together myself.

Personally, I'll stick with ice cream down on the ground like these kids are getting.

I'm just kidding. In fact, I had a very unique evening meal. I started with a delicacy: Cold beet soup. It was quite good.

And then I had an excellent pasta with beef.  Wow.

And while I was eating, I noticed all the people sitting around smoking tobacco from a Hookah.

Have you ever tried a hookah. Me neither. Personally, after my dad died of lung cancer and pneumonia, I am very against sucking stuff into my lungs. But, when in Rome --- Etc.

I can report that it was terrible. Ugh. I won't ever be doing that again.

Here is a map of where I am. I will be in Tallinn, Estonia, tomorrow. That is as far as I can go. I don't the proper visas for the Communist countries.

But now it is very late. Time for bed. Gotta head north tomorrow (Maybe with the Harley guys for awhile, but I don't know. There are some things I want to see between here and Estonia

That's all for now.


No comments:

Post a Comment

To comment click on "comment as" and choose name/url. List your name (you can leave url blank). Make your comment and click on "publish". Please keep your comments clean and positive because my students and family also look at these pages. Ron