First Outing on Rhodes

After Athens we headed to Rhodes, a Greek island close to Turkey. We arrived to our hotel, The Ixian Grand, after a short taxi drive and discovered that it was not only beautiful, but right on the water with spectacular views, especially at sunset. You could look right across the water and see Turkey.

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For our many days there we spent time going between laying by the pool with books in our hands and heading out on day excursions. Cody and I rented bicycles and also did a few afternoons exploring the local town 5 minutes away. It was completely relaxing and just what we all needed to get our minds off of the real world.

One of the first day trips we took was to the larger city of Rodos. It was a hot day, but it was wonderful to walk around the old fortress walkways and see the castles and hidden secrets of this ancient stronghold. The city is a must see and has lots to offer in terms of sightseeing. We loved just exploring by foot and seeing where alleyways would take us. It is really amazing the history that Europe has compared to the US and it is hard to think how new our country is in the grand scheme of things.

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Athens Greece with Cathy and Rick

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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.

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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. IMG_2283 IMG_2291 IMG_2292 IMG_2294

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. IMG_2295 IMG_2298 IMG_2301 IMG_2305 IMG_2307 IMG_2314 IMG_2323 IMG_2331 IMG_2333 IMG_2340 IMG_2341 IMG_2342

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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