On Sunday, Kristine (our “Latvian” daughter), Ziggy (her brother), and I went to Sigulda for the afternoon after we got done with church. Ivo was our driver. The traffic was congested all the way there and Kristine and I just about got carsick with Ivo’s driving! Sigulda is about an hour from Riga and is another popular spot for the locals and tourists. This town celebrated their 800th anniversary this year! The fall colors were absolutely gorgeous and the weather was perfect and fall-like with temperatures in the 70’s. (Steve did not join us because he was entertaining our U.S. clients that came the day before and had meetings in the afternoon.)
We stopped on the bridge at the Gauja River first. The Gauja River is one of the most dangerous rivers in Latvia because of its unpredictable currents, twists, and turns. But it is also beautiful.
I thought this sign was particularly funny – it was advertising a place where you could ride a guardrail! Our next stop was the ruins of a castle. The story here is that during the Russian Revolution and Occupation, the Latvian soldiers took refuge here. But the Russian soldiers could not reach them because of the steep hills. Kristine, Ziggy, Ivo, and I climbed to the top of the tower on a very narrow stairway. Ziggy said he was proud of me because I climbed the tower faster than the Faithful Men wives did last year when they visited! (The Faithful Men is a men’s choir from our church and they come to Latvia every two years to sing and share their ministry with the people here.)
Church (The Faithful Men sang here)Castle Ruins Castle TowerView from Tower Kristine enjoying viewWall Imitation!
After we left Sigulda, we stopped to eat at a small café. I had solyanka soup, which is one of my favorite soups to eat here (I have yet to find a recipe for it), with dark bread, and a vanilla milkshake. Kristine speaks Latvian and English fluently so she is a great translator to have when we go places. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything because she makes sure I understand what is going on.
Our afternoon went by quickly and they dropped me off at the hotel when we got back to town. I met Steve, his clients, Sergey & Irina (who work for us in our Latvia office) and we went to a “Garlic Restaurant” to celebrate a good day (we got our first agreement for a project here). Every other item on the menu had garlic in it. I had a salad with tiger shrimp and champagne, which was delicious. Riga has little cafés and restaurants all over the city and they serve the most delicious and unique foods. I told Irina that I hope we all don’t smell like garlic in the office on Monday!