Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Riga Day 1

Hey everyone,

We got on a bus this morning at 10:00 and arrived in Riga at 3:00 PM. It was a great bus ride and the sun showed up for a great deal of it, which is nice. We met a really cool German guy by the name of Markus, with whom we talked for almost the entire 5 hour bus ride. We talked about politics, Canada, Germany, the Nazis, and David Beckham's recent move to LA.

I had read about Friendly Fun Frank's Hostel in Riga, which was voted on as the best hostel in Europe. We trekked up and down the street it was supposed to be on and couldn't find it. We finally got to the correct number and there was no sign. We walked in the door and an unfriendly security guard told us to go around the other side of the building. I was beginning to question the quality of this hostel. We walked around the back of the building and saw the door. We rang the doorbell and a voice from the intercom asked why we were here. We proceeded to tell them we required a place to sleep. They let us in and we walked up two flights of extremely steep stairs. There was a second security door which we had to be buzzed into. When we got to the top the lady at the desk was smiling and we felt a little better. We talked to her about our bookings and such, and then she said to sit down and she would bring us a beer on the house. We walked into the lounge and sat down, and had a lovely Aldaris beer with our new German friend.

After this, we went to the Latvian National Opera house and watched a ballet rendition of Cinderella. In short, it was a very different from the story from what I'm used to. It took place in a brothel for starters and was quite strange. It being my first ballet, I really enjoyed the movements of the dancers. It was quite remarkable.

After that we had a coffee at a Cuban themed cafe and headed back to our hostel. Our locker, which was opened fine before we left, decided not to work, so for tonight we cannot get out our stuff. To the credit of the hostel, the girls tried for at least a half hour to get it open. They really are dedicated to the service here at Friendly Franks. Tomorrow they will get someone to break it open for us or a locksmith or something.

Tomorrow we explore Riga...



ajve said...

Vilnius, Riga....would love to be there. When will you be going to St. Peterberg?

ajve said...

HAHA!! Love the story of Shoo-Shoo. A few people have been asking about him. Great explanation of Shoo-Shoo's history. :-)

YourOtherDianeFriend said...

Wow! Talking Nazis and Beckham with Germans! Shifty hostels!! Latvian ballets!!!

The jealousy mercury, but not.


Carla said...

Sounds like you're making a bunch of friends - do you plan to keep in contact with any of them?
Ballet, sweet! Were they doing pointe work (right up all the way on their toes)? What is the story behind Shoo-Shoo? Wow, I'm just spouting the questions today. Ok, that's it, I'm leaving before I think of anything more I have to ask.

Anonymous said...

WOW, that hostel sounds alot like the movie Will, im afraid for you. Good thing you didn't watch it before you left.
Sounds super fun, im a little jealous.

Tamara said...

Tamara is the anonymous, im new at this stuff.

Deener said...

Hey Will! Looks like you guys are having a blast!
I love the pics!
Hows the food?

Nadine (in case you forgot who Deener is)

Will said...

Hey everyone,

Shoo-Shoo has been a bit tired lately. I think he really misses his family. He came out to see the sites in St. Petersburg but as for Moscow, he has been sipping tea and reading the Little Prince book I bought.

Hey Diane,
Yes, it was an eclectic discussion, that's for sure. We had a great time with Markus, and I hope to visit him again in Germany. (He lives next to the town of Engen where my family name may originate from. Some investigating in the future is sure to happen.)

Hey Carla,
Yeah, I will definately be keeping in contact with my new friends. We've made so many! It's incredible how many people you meet along the way and relationships you make that would never have happened if we didn't venture out of the country. As for Shooshoo, I thought I did a blog entry about him, but I can't remember. If I didn't, message me again and I will fill you in. Please, the more questions the merrier!

Hey Anonymous Tamara,
No, the hostel was really quite great, except for the people screaming in agony in the room next to us.

Deener, I could never forget you! I was warned that Russian food was not great, but we have found the food to be delicious. Probably a lot of the food we ate wasn't quite Russian, but we ate it in Russia, so that makes it sort of Russian. Borscht is good and we had some pastries which were quite good. Russia tea, which they call Chai, is good too.

Thanks again for the comments,