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Blurred memories Memoirs of a lost and bewildered Australian chick through Europe.

The Latvians tried to kill me!

LATVIA | Sunday, 5 October 2008 | Views [471] | Comments [2]

Now that got your attention! So….Latvia. What can I say? Watch out that you don’t get food poisoning- this is coming from personal experience, I honestly wanted to die, I felt so ill. It was utterly dreadful.


The day started in Russia in Velikie Luki. It was a quick drive to the border with Latvia. We were optimistic, but realistic on how long it may take us to get across this border to get out of Russia. The tour company had never crossed here before because they used to go via Belarus rather than through Latvia then Lithuania- so really we did not know what to expect. We had to unpack the whole damn bus and have everything x-rayed! In the end this only took a bit over 2 hours which is apparently pretty brilliant for a border crossing- but not quite as good as the first one. It was in unpacking and repacking the bus that we realised just how much crap we had bought! So after a successful border crossing into Latvia we were off again- and boy what it different! For a start the border crossing to go into Russia from Latvia had a line-up for at least 10km. There was so much trucks and traffic lined up to go across and obviously the line didn’t move very quickly at all. The whole line was basically ‘parked’ and they even had porta-loos every 500m or so. It was like they knew that there was going to be a ridiculously long wait and had decided that by the time it was your turn to cross the border they didn’t want you to be in a foul mood and in desperate need of a pee! Put it this way- I was very glad looking at that line that we were heading in the opposite direction. Apparently our driver heard that another tour bus had waited at least 7 hours there!


Latvia, as I have already said, was like being on a whole different planet compared with Russia. Almost directly as soon as you get across the border the road improves. It is newly tarred and smooth (it’s as though the Latvians are rubbing it in the Russians faces quite pointedly to say ‘you used to be in charge- then we kicked you out and look at us now! Don’t we have nice roads that aren’t so bumpy that you feel like your kidneys are going to bounce out of your body?! Jealous? We hope so!’


We drove for a while and stopped at a small shopping centre to get groceries and the like. I bought an ice cream and some apple juice. We pushed on and arrived in the capital of Latvia – Riga in the late afternoon (I can only thank my lucky stars that we didn’t arrive at midnight!). We checked into our quite nice hotel and I had one small drink (vodka and the apple juice I had bought earlier). Not long after this, on our way into town I started to feel ill. Very very ill. I thought I was just tired from travelling and was maybe a bit dehydrated. We did a little walking tour of the centre of town- which is really quite pretty- and I continued to fell worse and worse. Dizzy, pukey, monster headache, sweaty that sort of thing. After the walking tour we all split up to go for dinner. Me and a few others went to a traditional Latvian restaurant which was quaint, but had a very limited menu. By this stage I was feeling delirious and had to get up to dash to the bathroom at least 5 times to vomit. I felt utterly, ridiculously dreadful. My meal arrived (a salad which was basically cucumber and tomato). I had about 3 pieces and revisited the bathroom a few more times. The world was spinning, and I had to get back to the hotel before I puked on the waitress! Then, to fully top off what had been a truly dreadful evening the people I was with somehow stuffed up on the splitting of the bill and no one would own up to not putting in the right amount! In the end I got jack of the fussing and arguments and I paid the equivalent of about 15-20 quid for about 3 chunks of cucumber and a small piece of tomato because I had to get out of there. I think it was one of the most ridiculously expensive meals of my life and I didn’t really get to eat anything (well it didn’t stay down longer than 5 minutes!). Someone who I dined with had a very cheap meal!


I got back to the hotel and successfully managed to not be sick on the bus (it was an effort!) I went straight to bed (via the bathroom). And proceeded to work out that I must have food poisoning either from the ice-cream or the apple juice and that I would feel a whole lot better if A) the world ended or B) I died quickly because this was a very slow and painful death! I couldn’t even keep water down.


My roommate turned up a little later and tried to save my life. Right through the night she bullied me into trying to drink water. She even woke me up at 6am to make me have half a sip. I really do need to thank her (Naomi, I owe you one). It was a very long night.


I woke up the next morning feeling dreadful still, but not quite so in need of euthanasia. I had half a glass of juice for breakfast and even managed to keep down most of it! I was on the mend! It kinda sucked though only having that for breakfast, because they actually had quite a good spread in this place. But at that stage I honestly didn’t think that I could keep down any more. It was quite nice juice though.


After breakfast some others and I caught a bus into the centre of town to have another look around in the daylight. Riga is quite a pretty place and not all that busy considering it is the capital city. I guess it is a bit like Canberra in a way! Anyway, we had a proper look around the city. One definite highlight of the day was a trip to the museum of Latvian resistance of the occupation (or something to that effect). It was a museum all about what the Latvians went through when they were occupied by the Russians and the Germans. It was really interesting and ultra depressing but an absolute must visit if you are ever in Riga. I never realised what the people in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia had been through during the wars. They seemed to absolutely forgotten by the rest of the world. It was definitely a real eye opener and I intend to read more into this when I have the chance. All they wanted was their freedom, what they got was many years of oppression. So definitely both thumbs up!


That evening we went out for a pretty damn good meal (which I ate without throwing up any of it!) and I had an early night after the events of the night before I really needed it!


Tomorrow Lithuania.  

Tags: latvia



I am glad you survived.

  dad Oct 6, 2008 8:24 AM


Dad's comments are always inspiring and to the point aren't they!

  Your Big Blister Oct 7, 2008 11:25 AM

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