Visitors Galore

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.

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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.
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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!2015-06-22 14.41.32 2015-06-22 14.39.06

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Riga Craft Fair

Last weekend Cody and I headed for the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum to spend some time in nature and see some handicrafts made by locals. I had never been to the museum but it is in a huge park situated right next to a lake. The walk through the dust and the forrest with crafts every we looked reminded me a bit of the Oregon Country Fair. Actually, the more time we spend in Latvia, the more we realize that Latvia is very similar to Oregon. There were wood crafts, weaving, wicker work, ceramics and much, much more. We found a place to get some food and found our favorite local brewery, Labietes. With our beers and shashlik, we sat by the lake and hung out in the sunshine. We bought some gifts for friends and family back home and headed out after a few hours there. It was truly a Latvian experience.

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Riga Marathon Race Weekend

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.

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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! IMG_2025 IMG_2026 IMG_2027 IMG_2028

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. 20150517_132252 IMG_2031 IMG_2032 IMG_2033 IMG_2036 IMG_2037 IMG_2038

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. IMG_2039 IMG_2041 IMG_2042

Scotland with New Friends

So in April Cody headed out with Micah and Paul, his old high school friends, and I decided to head to Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. I was lucky enough to have three friends who also love last minute plans, so we bought tickets and a week later we were hiking and biking in the beautiful national park. Cal, Shaun and Mikyla were wonderful traveling partners and I hope that over the course of our time in Latvia, we get to do it again.

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Blog Hibernation is Over

Hello friends and family. Cody and I have come out of our winter slumber alive and well. Yes it was difficult, and yes it is supposed to snow tomorrow but at least we have some light. We can’t seem to find the rays of sun, but at least it is light when we leave and arrive home from work.

Since our winter slumber we have had lots of amazing adventures and interesting times in Latvia. Spring break is tomorrow and Cody and I are off on separate adventures. He is meeting some high school friends in Croatia for a road trip and I am heading to Scotland with three really cool co-workers for some hiking, pubs and fish and chips. Before we pick up the blog full swing, I wanted to share some highlights from our hiatus.

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October Road Trip Day 1: Kaunas, Lithuania

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With October break coming up and our trusty new Volvo purchased, we decided to take a road trip. We had one week and endless possibilities… what the hell… Auschwitz! Cody decided on a route with some stops along the way and we were off. Car packed, snacks in the back, map in the front and at 4:30, vroom, vroom. Pulling out of the parking lot from work the weather was chilly and clear with a few hours of daylight left.

After a quick three hour drive through the flat forests of trees dropping their colored leaves and we had arrived at our first destination, Kaunas, Lithuania, the second largest city in this Baltic state. We were tired and hungry but so excited. Kaunas is a cute little river town that is pretty easy to spend a few days in. We checked into the nice Kaunas City Hotel and headed for the window to see our view. Not only did we have a balcony, but we were right over the main walkway through the center of the city. Pretty great!

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Cody found us a great italian restaurant Piccola Italia, actually the best restaurant rated on Tripadvisor and it did not let us down. The place was packed but after 1/2 a drink at the bar, we had ourselves a table. I ordered some cheese-less pizza and Cody had some risotto. It was delicious and it was fairly authentic; they even had limoncello and sambuca on their dessert menu. We had a leisurely dinner and headed back to the hotel to have an early night.

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After an adequate hotel breakfast I convinced Cody to lace up his running shoes and head out to see the city by foot. He found us a running route and we were off, through the city, in search of Kaunas Castle. We found some graffiti, a skatepark, some wonderful old churches, cobble stone streets (that are very difficult to run on) and some cute coffee shops. Our chilly run through the city was great and the ultimate destination was beautiful in the misty morning.

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Right next to the castle there was a photo exhibition that focused the general public and their personal castles. The photos were great and the best part was not the castles, but the people posing. I wish I had a house, because this would  be one of my first projects. Forget the gnomes, just bring on the brick and mortar plopped in the middle of a moat.

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A quick stop to admire some of the best city wall art to this day and a stroll through a great farmers market and we headed back. Time to cut out (we decided we would be back since it was only 3 hours away) and make a run for the Polish border. Warsaw or bust!IMG_4068 IMG_4070 IMG_4071

September Fall Festival

Last weekend we joined some friends at an outdoor market right in the center of Old Town. It was a brisk, windy day which resulted in me buying a 20 EUR hat (hand knit, but way to expensive… I felt bad for the old lady selling them and was freezing my butt off). It did not help that I had wet hair too, but that is besides the point.

In Dome square, right by the cathedral there were booths set up selling foods like honey, cured meats, jams, bread, ostrich and cheese. They were also booths with crafts such as wooden toys, woolen knit sweaters, capes, hats and scarves, amber jewelry and iron items. I wanted to buy a lot of things, but we were on our way to play poker at a friends house and couldn’t pick up a bunch of stuff, so we just looked.

The city is rather small and when you go to an event like this you see people you know at every turn. Within a minute of showing up, I found Cody, who had been out since earlier in the day and we got some beers and decided to walk around. The winter brew was so delicious and the costumes at the booth really made the experience great. We found friends in the beer line, friends to our left and friends to our right. It is fun when it happens like that.

The music was Latvian folk and we watched the singing and dancing for a while. Afterwards we hooked up with our friend Ieva and headed to a favorite bar. Quite a fun day and boy are we loving this city!

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