Latvia: Reflections and Practicalities
Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
90Trip End Apr 19, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
do not like Latvians. Granted, this is based strongly on a surly
receptionist in Sigulda, rude waitstaff all over Riga, and nearly
getting kicked out of a club - but if you're going to work in touristy
areas, you're going to encounter tourists.
Five days in Latvia was not enough to see all of the country, but
without my own wheels, it would have been neigh on impossible for me to
visit the national parks of the southeast or the wind swept western
coast. For all of its attractions, I found Latvia lacked character. No
part of my trip struck me as "Latvian." It was kind of like staying at
a Best Western: exactly what you'd expect and nothing memorable.
Practicalities: Travelling in
Latvia is much like travelling in Estonia - pretty easy. Latvia lacks
Estonia's affinity for putting tourist signs in English, so you would
do well to learn words such as "castle," "square," and "church" in
Latvian. That said, unlike Estonian, Latvian doesn't throw excess
vowels in all its words, making it easier to read. Latvian buses and
trains run on time. Sometimes the bus is faster, sometimes the train
is. Neither dream of approaching the Western definition of fast or even
average. I drank the water all over Latvia and paid for restrooms at
stations, all of which had toilet paper. I had no issues travelling
alone as a woman. If anything, the Rigans hated me less for it.
Accommodation was $20-40/night except in Riga, which has a solid hostel
scene. Frank's was $10/night. Food was more expensive in Latvia.
Dinners in restaurants were at least $10. Cover at clubs was $6-10 and
some simply refuse to let you in if you don't speak Latvian or Russian.