Friday, August 24, 2012

Parks a Go Go

Every now and then I am amazed by what goes on in Riga and Latvia, and this week was no exception. This week has seen me have some weird "Park" experiences - from "strange" mushrooms, kernel smoking and a lady called GaGa singing.

The first Park experience was at Terevetes Dabas Park ( ) which I was visiting for the first time. Located near to the Lithuanian border, this is an unsung park filled with with magical features, where you can find not only wooden sculptures of fairytale characters and those of writer A. Brigadiere–Sprīdītis and Lutausis, the Forest King with his court, Annele with her friends, a large family of dwarfs, but also "live" characters from fairy tales.

It is a unique place for children, but setting aside my age I had a great day out, but anyone thinking of visiting ( and I do recommend) be prepared for a full day out and a long walk to see all that the park has to offer - personally I was greatful for the fact that when tiredness overcomes you, which in my case it did after nearly fours hours, you can call upon the roaming "train" to collect you and return you to the information centre.

"Magic" Mushrooms - they grow them big in Latvia

Not sure what he is smoking - but but he seems real happy

My second Park experience took place on Thursday when having my annual visit to Riga Zoo, I heard the dulcet tones of this Lady GaGa - rehearsing for her show in the Mezaparks Open air Amphi theatre that night. Now I still have to meet anyone you can sing or even hum one of her tunes, but with an expected crowd of 30,000 for the show, she obviously has something to offer. But at least now I can claim to have heard her sing live !!

Finally a picture to gladden the hearts of all men who would be boys - taken at the Kiwibar, J..... ( Latvian/American - with silver decorations) and V... ( Australian/Latvian - Builder of high repute) - playing with their toys.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

T'is the time to be Hanseatic

This weekend has seen Riga get wearing its best Party Hat, with the annual celebration of Riga becoming a member of the Hanseatic League some 730 years ago !. With events spread right across the Old town and the adjacent parks inluding craft fairs, music (lots of loud music !), Food and drink fairs, and although not quite of the same vintage the annual vintage car rally. And just to make the day the sun actually came out and temperatures rose into the mid twenties. So with free public transport the town was simply buzzing. This was definitely Riga at its best.

This weekend also saw the start of the new "The Rugby Championship" with Argentina joining the elite teams of the southern hemisphere. So with coffee and a bacon sandwich in hand I sat down at the Kiwibar (where else ?) to watch Australia play New Zealand. Good game and a foretaste of these upcoming games, but I suspect we will have to wait awhile before Argentina gains it first win. Now as the only football team that I will give the time of day for - Reading ! - were not playing until 5.00pm (local timke) I spent a few hours exploring all that the "Rigas Svetki" celebrations had to offer.

Medeival Basketball Court outside the Riga Opera House

Would be Cinderella with carriage

A few weeks back I took the opportunity of visiting Rundale Palace, not so much to see the palace itself, although it is spectacular - but to view the largest collection of roses in Northern Europe, whilst they were still in bloom

Allways amazed at the names given to these roses ! - Remember Angela Rippon ?

and who could forget Sexy Rexy

Now returning to more mundane matters, I thought it was time to give some publicity to the current ladies of the Kiwibar - take a good look, as by the time anyone reads this blog there will be some new ones!

Now as anyone who lives in Riga knows we do have a small Irish contingent, but recently we had new addition, albeit for only a week. So the question is in the pictures below is it :

A. Father and Son ?
B. Uncle and Nephew ?
c. None of the above ?

And finally to the many thousands who have asked - Nielsons is still alive, depite my many threats to have him exterminated - but this is him playing dead (Honest - just playing)

So did you work out the relationship - Of course the answer was C ! - they are brothers - The Little and Large of Ireland. (Apologies to J.... - Irish - seller of addictive machines)