Back to visit another old friend in May ’16. Rīga.
It was my 11th visit to the city. The first was in July 1968, when the country was a Soviet republic. Occupied.
The last was a day trip in 2015. A long way for a day trip?
In between I had 8 work visits. I still get a wee buzz when I see the “State Aid Monitoring Unit” sign at the Ministry of Finance building on Smilšu iela where the work was done.
So, an old friend.
This time ice hockey – of all things – took me to the city. Latvia is a top tier nation in the sport. Makes no sense with a population of 2 million, but there it is.
Indeed, I saw a top tier player (now 44 but still sharp) strut his stuff. 80+ international games on his CV. Aigars Cipruss
It was great to be back. It was great to feel at home in the city. I got an apartment through Airbnb. I loved it. Stylish and comfortable. Quiet. It’s in the suburbs, but 10-15 minutes from the centre by tram.
I got a 3 day transport ticket for €10 and jumped on and off the buses and trams.
I ate at a couple of restaurants I’ve eaten at before. I found other new ones. I even ate canteen food at the ice arena (it was cheap and delicious).
I flew on Air Baltic again. Another old friend from the 1990s.
The weather was ideal – sunny and low 20s.
Any downsides? Nope!
ⓒ iain taylor 2016