During April and early May I put my mind to deciding where I would go to be outside the UK on 2 June. Several republics came to mind. France and Ireland were hot favourites for a while – nice and close.
I noticed that airBaltic had started a summer service between Rīga and Edinburgh, but Latvia seemed like quite a long trip just for a few days away. On the other hand, a whole week in Latvia seemed like excellent therapy. I booked.
I flew to Rīga on 31 May amid a media frenzy about meltdown at the UK’s airports and at a few of the airlines using them. My experience was quite the opposite to the media’s projections – check-in took about 2 minutes and security about 5 minutes. The flight left slightly early, and arrived 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Flying with airBaltic was great – on a half full, brand new Airbus 220-300. I pre-ordered a hot meal, and it was excellent.
Passport control at Rīga took 2 minutes (in spite of being a 3rd country national now, thanks to England dragging Scotland out of the EU against its wishes). Of course like any other 3rd country national, now we are questioned about our entry into the EU. What is the purpose of the visit? How many days? What will your address be?
Anyway, my bag was waiting for me once I got past immigration and Ivonda from Bolt was at the exit waiting to whisk me into the city centre to my apartment. €13 well spent. Because I know the city I would have taken public transport had I arrived during the day, but at 22:15 I just wanted to get there quickly and in comfort.
My temporary address is in the “new” part of the city centre – “new” being early 20th century. I hardly know this part of Rīga at all in spite of many previous visits. That was the plan – explore places I have not been to before.
What else can I say?
Well, it is great to be back after 6 or 7 years.
It is also great to be missing the medieval nonsense going on in the UK this week.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2022