Eating Our Way Across Rīga

By Jane Mountain | July 19, 2013

4280 km so far.

Last night just before bed, we got an email from Daniel, who we met a few days ago. We had been planning to go with him to Positivus, but it turns out the friend he was staying with didn’t want any extra people on the land – or at least not people they didn’t know. Fair enough. If there was a giant festival near my house, I’d probably feel the same.

So today, instead of riding up the coast, we are still in Rīga. This is actually great, because it means we have time to get a few more things done and a few more restaurants tried before we leave.

Me Time

This morning, Stephen went off to meet Inga to talk about yoga, share a few things he’s learned from our amazing teachers in LA and Tucson, and maybe practice a little too. This means I had the apartment all to myself.

Something you may not know about me: I love to be alone. I don’t just love it. I need it. If I don’t get some time where it’s just me in a quiet space, I go a little crazy. This trip has really tested my boundaries, since it’s a rare time when I am truly by myself.

What did I do with this glorious time to myself? Folded the laundry, packed up our bags, posted a bunch of blog posts, edited photos, and did some writing. But most importantly?

I booked our ferry tickets to St. Petersburg!

The entire time I was filling out the (unnecessarily complicated) online order form, I was having minor heart palpitations. In order to book our tickets, we have had to plan the next two weeks down to the day. Anyone who has cycle toured will tell you how impossible this is. You just can’t predict the weather, the quality of the roads, flat tires, or any of the other things that could set your plan awry. Needless to say, when creating our itinerary, I built in several cushion days, so we’ll probably end up cooling our heels in Tallinn or Helsinki.

The other reason I was panicking is that everything about the St. Petersburg trip is ridiculously expensive. We booked into a hostel which is more than $100/night. Our return ferry tickets cost almost 300 Euros. Staying in Helsinki looks like it will also be expensive if we can’t find someone to host us. We’ll be spending as much for the week around our Petersburg trip as we usually do for an entire month of travel. Yikes.

Of course, it’s also exciting, because if we get to St. Petersburg, it marks the end of the first leg of our trip.

Maybe I should print a giant Mission Accomplished sign to hang from the side of the ferry?

A Final Fond Farewell

This afternoon I was ready to face other humans again, so Stephen and I left the apartment to spend some more time in our two favourite Rīga hangouts. Taka for lunch, chai tea, and a little work.

veggie chili

Chilli on a pretty plate at Taka, Riga.

And then onto ALEhouse, for beers, onion rings, and a little more work. After spending all afternoon eating and drinking, it was time to go out for dinner.

old building in riga latvia

A building in old town, Riga.

We messaged JY to see if he wanted to join us, and then walked over to Eko Catering. If you remember our post from our first night in Riga, this is the place that looked delicious, but was charging 20 LVLs per person for their buffet. When we got here today, I was concerned to see that the buffet was set up again. Is it $40 every night?

So I asked, and found that tonight we could eat all we wanted for 5 LVLs. I had to ask twice, just to be sure I’d heard that correctly. Yup. The three of us went to town. There were several pulse-based salads, some cous cous, and sauerkraut. They were all pretty good, but nothing I couldn’t make at home. The best item on the buffet was a raspberry and onion gravy, which Stephen and I ate on slices of thick brown country style bread. There were also a couple of chicken dishes, which JY assured us were pretty tasty.

Fancy cocktail at Eko Catering, Riga.

Fancy cocktail at Eko Catering, Riga.

It was great to spend a last evening with JY. Tonight we talked about our families, politics, and hopes for the future (at least the near future). We have met a lot of people on this trip, but not many of them are as likeable, friendly, and intelligent as Jean-Yves. And I’m not just saying that because he treated us to dinner! I do hope we are able stay in touch – but since he’s not on Facebook I don’t quite know how to go about it ;).  

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