Goodbye Paris, Hello Riga!

Well, for those who didn’t know, I have left France – temporarily at least. I still have more than half a year to complete my working holiday visa. But, to be honest, I am rethinking about my original plan to stay in France for a year. I don’t know if I want to stay and finish off the remaining time for the working visa.

Actually, it’s been almost a week since I left France . It was a bit of a mess leaving Paris. I lost my passport the morning of my departure date to Riga, Latvia which had me running around Paris trying to figure out what to do. I went to the Canadian embassy who promised to issue a new passport in 48 hours. I couldn’t wait 48 hours because my flight is that night to Riga! I tried to actually board the plane even though I didn’t have a passport with me. Talking to some friends, they said that because Latvia, one of the Baltic states, is part of the EU, there is a slight chance that I might not need a passport. But of course, they didn’t consider that I was flying. If I was just hitch hiking or traveling by car from France to Latvia, I might be able to move around without being asked for a passport.

Anyway, in the end, everything was sorted out. I found my passport in Lyon where I visited some friends, a few days back. I had to go there, pick up my passport, miss my flight and buy another ticket to Riga.

Anyway, I am now on a bus that left Riga, Latvia a couple of hours ago. I am on my way to Vilnius, the capital of the Baltic state Lithuania. I spent about 5 days in Riga.

The Freedom Monument in Riga, Latvia

The Freedom Monument in Riga, Latvia

Riga is a really beautiful city. Lots of beautiful old buildings that tell powerful stories. Many of the stories from the many years of Soviet rule. It seems to me that, for many people, this was a very, uhmmm… traumatic era. I am not gonna write a post on the history of Latvia. There’s google for that. 🙂 It’s a really interesting, powerful story though.

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I like that in Riga, people actually respond to smiles and hellos. And people take time to talk to you – even if you don’t speak Latvian. After spending some time in Paris, this is quite refreshing.

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I was hosted by Elvis, who was introduced to me by my friend Felipe who is in Latvia for his wedding (he married someone from there). Elvis lives not too far from the center of Riga. He knows a lot about Riga and Latvian history. He actually took time to show me around and we had a lot of interesting discussions on history, society and life in general. I really had a great time staying with him.

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In Vilnius, I will be staying with a friend of Mareks, Felipe’s partner.  It will be a quick trip but I am looking forward to the trip in Vilnius.

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