A few days after Cathy and Rick arrived we headed to Athens to start our Greek adventure. We stayed at a great AirBnB in a great location. The home was in walking distance of great local food, markets, Mexican food and the Parthenon. Well, I guess the last is debatable, but yes, we walked everywhere, including many km up and down hills to the Parthenon. Good thing we all had some sturdy walking shoes, which came in handy not only for comfort but to dodge the rubbish all over the street.
The first day out we explored the city and found some great little shops and got our bearings. It was fun to just walk and explore the city while catching up and chatting. We were shocked how dirty and run down the city was, but then you have to remember that in addition to the financial crisis, the city is freakin’ ancient.
The next day we did it up big, starting with a delicious breakfast of burritos and margaritas. Then to an antiques market and a snack of halloumi and tzatziki. Our table was on the roof overlooking an archaeological site and it was amazing to see the process of excavation, although no one was working at the time, probably due to the crazy heat.
Next, we headed to the Parthenon through the park and up the hill. It was a long way, but completely worth it as I have never seen something so epic before. It rivaled Anchor Wat but with the dry landscape, it seemed so grand where in Cambodia, the jungle makes it seem cozy and secretive. It was really spectacular and I am so appreciative that I got to see Athens up close and in person.
One of my closest friends from high school came to visit us recently. Sam and I have been long, long friends and it has been great seeing him in Riga. Unfortunately he was here for the last two weeks of school so it was a really busy time for us. We got to take him around a bit and he has been trying to see the sights on his own.
His visit has also overlapped with Cody’s parents. It has been 7 years in the making getting them to our house but finally the time was right and it has been just awesome. They arrived the day after school ended and it has been non-stop fun since picking them up from the airport. We have been eating and drinking ourselves all over Riga, playing games, taking some road trips and all the while, trying to stay out of the rain they brought from Oregon.
Tomorrow we are off to Greece, but Latvia has been a great first stop. Yesterday we traveled to Cesis to visit the castle and then headed up to the Valmiermuiza brewery. The country side is beautiful right now and we took advantage of the slight break in rain. After that we headed downtown to Cody’s favorite restaurant, Folkklubs Ala, for dinner and some drinks and then headed back with friends to play Saboteur, a card game we picked up here. It really has been a wonderful start to the summer!
Festival season started on the weekend of the Riga Marathon. I grabbed my girlfriends and we went out thrift shopping for the day. Somehow we ended up at a city park with music, food, crafts and beer. The weather has finally gotten warm and it was one of the first sunny warmish days. At the festival we decided we had to pick up some flower headbands for the race and Mikyla and Rebecca had to try them out.
Race morning stated with rain and clouds but Cody and I laced up the trainers and headed out to meet some friends. I was doing the 5K with some friends and Cody did the 10K. I had wanted to run the 10 with Cody, but I have been dealing with an annoying knee injury so I didn’t want to push it. I saw Cody off and then headed over to try to see him on the bridge. Instead of seeing Cody, I saw a students sister instead!
The ladies and I met for our race start, pulled up our hoods and headed out. One of the friends I was running with was a race virgin and did great. I ran/walked with her and it was so much fun. Along the race route there were some bands, choirs and people cheering us on. I loved the high-fives from the ladies in the traditional Latvian dresses. It was really uplifting at the end of the race.
At the end of the race we decided to get dry in our favorite pub, Folkklubs Ala. Our friends met us there and we ordered the party platter complete with pickles, traditional garlic bread, pickled herring, smoked meats, cheese and veggies. It was perfect for a post race meal. It was a great weekend to start the summer season off.