Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Post Valmiera, Pre Stockholm

Exciting past few days, I’ll say that right off the bat.

Saturday I made a “latviesu maminu" dinner (Latvian mother dinner, as in the food kept coming and coming) and had two of my friends over in my "ghetto". One of them felt right at home, seeing as she lives in a similar apartment complex area about ?? minutes away, depending on the mode of public or non-public transportation you're using. We laughed, we ate, we drank some good wine I got on sale at Stockman (Gallo sauvignon?).

Sunday I drove with relatives to Valmiera to climb the Zilaiskalns (blue hill/mountain), which is called that due to the bluish haze or fog that often sits around its top. It was there a bit on Sunday, but the weather was once again gorgeous (jealous yet, Mid-West?), so not too much haze. The hill is a geological/sacred ground with all kinds of crazy energy flowing in and around it. There are 5 or so points marked out on the hill, one huge central one and at least 4 off to the sides, each marked with a circle and then with a centre point. You stand on the centre point of each circle and just sort of feel what’s going on. On the first spot we went to, “Imantas peak” or mound (not much peak there), I kind of felt my right arm start to raise, and the necklace my relative had definitely swung in circles when she held it over the centre point. I am well aware that we are influence not only by nature but also by the cosmos, blah blah blah, and I understand that the necklace wasn't moving on its own. Think of it like a subconscious energy movement. In the biggest circle under this watch-tower they have set up there, my relatives all felt "nice", their pains were alleviated, etc. I got a sickish pressure in my head and had to back up off of the thing. I refused to go near it for the rest of our stay on the top of the hill (which is, by the way, 66 m tall). A different side circle made me feel totally relaxed and like I didn't have a care in the world – definitely a good place to stand before finals week if you’re a student! The last circle sort of amplified everything about the nature around it; the birds sang clearer, you could smell the soil, and the wind seemed closer (if that’s possible). We decided that, even though it wasn’t the main circle, it was definitely the most powerful one. All in all a cool trip. On the way home we stopped at Diklu pils (Diklu palace - though it was more of a manor) for an expensive but tasty lunch. Then I slept on the way home, as I had promised to do.

Monday on the way home from work I stopped into Gastronome, this fancy deli-type place with a good salad bar and all kinds of delicious foods and spirits. I bee-lined it to the spirits. On Sunday I had learned that this absolutely to melt for after-dinner French wine could be bought there. So I bought a bottle, around 12 LVL. Basically, I bought a $25 bottle of after-dinner wine. I am SO adult now.

This week is a short week for most everyone in Latvia - Thursday and next Monday are holidays, making Wednesday kind of a half day (so one of my colleagues told me). Wednesday night my friends and I are taking the ferry to Stockholm! It's a 16-hour trip, but we're really excited for it. We really lucked out with the hotel, too. It’s right across from the Central metro station and a quality place. Normal prices are insane, but we managed to find a good deal on Priceline.com - the only issue was that Priceline would only let us book Thursday night, not Friday's as well. So we booked Thursday and I called the hotel to speak with the woman I had spoken to before. She asked why, again, had we done that, and I told her, then she put me on hold. When she came back she said she could give us the Priceline price so we could book the same room for Thursday and Friday and not have to switch floors. I assumed the Friday price would be their standard rate, but then she said, "Oh, no, I checked, it's okay. I can give you the Internet price.” HUZZAH!


From when I started to write this post to now, I’ve had lunch at a restaurant called "The Flying Frog", made a half-dozen phone calls, and re-organised the transportation to Stockholm. The game plan now is as such:

Take a bus from Riga to Tallinn;

Spend 12 in Tallinn doing something to make 12 hours pass bearably;

Take a ferry from Tallinn to Stockholm;

Get to Stockholm;

Spend one-point-five days in Stockholm;

Take a ferry from Stockholm back to Riga.

Confusing, no?

Anywho, at least we’re going to Stockholm (the reason all of this round-about-ness is taking place is because we waited a bit too long to book tickets for the Riga-Stockholm ferry, but managed to get spots on the Tallinn-Stockholm route. Genius!)!

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