Monday, July 17, 2006

Bear with me

What can I say about the 8oo'th celebrations in Cesis at the weekend - brilliant. Same atmosphere as at Riga 800 celebrations, just smaller. The weather held up, albeit a little cooler than in previous days.

The town center was totally closed off from traffic, and on every street and park there was something going on. As ever there was all the usual "traditional folk" goodies for sale, one which caught my (but not my wallet) was items made from stone - mugs, plates, ornaments, earings - but all of them from natural stone. The pint mug got my attention, as it took all my strength just to lift it - and it was empty.

As ever Mr Raimond Pauls was in attendance to lead, a 200+ choir. the main stage was in the Cesis town centre, and at a guess 10,000 people packed in to join in - being a man of a mature age, my legs were not up to standing for over 2.5 hours, so I sat down just of the square and enjoyed the music and the atmosphere - and watched the world go by.

As anyone who has visited Latvia, you quickly learn that they love to sing and dance, and this is irrespective of age - so I watched in total admiration at a group of dancers, who's average age must have 70+ - and they danced there hearts out.

I have mentioned some time ago that you can play a game in Riga, of "spot the ugly one" - females that is - and how difficult it can be to find one. Well now I know why - they are all in Cesis - or perhaps they were just tourists. (Apologies to anyone in Cesis - it was just an observation)

To avoid having to travel up to Cesis in wee hours of the Saturday morning, I had decided to stay in a hotel, in nearby Ligatne. So anybody considering venturing outside Riga, and looking for a really nice hotel - I recommend this one to stay at - but not to eat in ! - the food is well awful. Do not know why - as the menu looked good, but when my fish dish arrived ( patience is virtue here) - it was tasteless, and the risotto - was at a guess made about a month ago, and can best be described as stodgy. The wine I ordered arrived at perfect room temperature, but as it was Semilion Chardonnay - I suggested that an ice bucket might be in order.

The hotel name is Luca Miga (The Bears Den)

It is set in middle of the Gauja National Park, which is itself well worth a visit.

But back to the celebrations, well after the concert finished in the square, headed towards the stadium, for the Hansabanka Disco night - and as you might guess my anticipation knew no bounds. Who could resist "Right Said Fred", Bellinni, and of course Lou what-his-name - well as it transpired - ME - managed to stay the distance until about 11.30pm ( well past my bedtime) - having endured Bellinni three girl singers who sing a cross between Samba and Rap. so having enjoyed my day it was time to head back to Riga and bed.
Sunday transpired to what can only be described as a lazy day, and so it was with some effort I dragged myself of to the old town, to indulge in two of my favourite Sunday pastimes - read a book, over a pint of beer. But tragedy the pub was closed !!! - all that indicated that all was not well, was a small sign saying " Temporarily closed to enable refurbishment" - What did it mean ? - were they going to raise the floor behind the bar, in order for J.... (smallish Cork'ish type of a person) to be able to reach the top shelves ? or are they going to install a separate smoking area ? - or extra toilets ? - all will be revealed after tonight's visitation.

Speaking of this establishment, It has pointed out that I still have not spelled the pubs name right - so for the last time - The pubs name is de Lacy's ( note the dramatic difference from my last spelling correction) - small d - to go with the small j....... no doubt.

Ah well a new week has once again begun, which will see me off to the UK on Wednesday - but today has again seen the temperature rise to a forecasted 24 degrees, and similar for the rest of the week.

My apologies for providing mis leading info re the Riga Gay Pride parade - it is next weekend - my comments remain the same as in previous blog.

Finally an old friend arrives in Riga this weekend A... (English and does not have drink problem) - so I will catch up with him when I get back. But for anyone who remembers him from his time in Riga, he will no doubt be found in - Sams - de Lacy's and /or Dickens. He is the one with the Guiness in front of him - and given half a chance he will lead the Karaoke.


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