This list is a comparison with the UK. So please don’t have a go at me if you have lots in your country of residence. The list is in no particular order, just as they enter my mind.
- STORKS – You see them everywhere, even at the fringes of Riga. Driving to work this morning I noticed all the storks had gone, and the countryside could have been anywhere. It’s the storks that define the Latvian countryside.
- VERY ATTRACTIVE WOMEN – For a small country Latvia has more than it’s fair share of beautiful women. The only problem is I keep getting in trouble when I look. I try to remind Inta of something my mum used to say, “I’ll start to worry when your dad steps looking.” The implication being that dad would have a mistress. I don’t think Inta buys this explanation.
- SAD BUILDINGS – Riga has lots of lovely interesting buildings that desperately need renovating. It’s not that they are unloved, it’s just down to the economics of a fledgling democracy.
- CAKES – It’s a bit like being in France. Every supermarket has a huge range of probably very fattening but delicious cakes. As Latvians start to lead a more westernised existence, perhaps health problems could be on the way.
- LAKES AND FORESTS – I don’t know the exact figure but I suspect half Latvia’s land mass must be Lakes or forests. So if you are travelling have your costume and towel on standby and a nice wicker basket so you can go foraging.
- CYCLISTS ON PAVEMENTS/SIDEWALKS – This is a pet hate of mine. Pavements are for pedestrians not for any other form of transport. Mixing cyclist and pedestrians is just a disaster waiting to happen.
- FLOWER SELLERS – I deliberately haven’t called them florists because they just sell flowers. In the centre of Riga there is a row of them who seen to be open from dawn to late night. Inta said they used to be open 24/7, don’t know if they still are. The giving of flowers is a major part of Latvian culture. I was privileged to be invited to a Latvian students graduation. I have never seen so many flowers at one time. Every student, male and female, had arms full of them.
- BAD DRIVING – Enough has been said on this issue
- LADAS – Yes you will still see quite a few around Riga, some renovated and some falling apart.
- COBBLED ROADS – They may look very pretty, but I hate to think what they are doing to my car suspension.
- BEACHES – The whole of the Latvia coastline is a beach.
- NON-ASPHALT ROADS – Lots of these in the countryside so be prepared to wash your car regularly.
I’d be interested to hear from Latvians about additions to the list.
Good list. Mostly agree with you apart of cycling on the road. As I see every day in England, it is really dangerous for cyclists and for car drivers anointing that they cycling on the road. I like if there are special way just for cyclists as in Germany or in Latvia saw along Brīvības street near Teika and Jugla.
By the way, you forgot sad and unhappy people faces!:)
Yes I forgot that one.
How are you enjoying life in the UK. I used to live near Woburn Safari Park,
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wau, it is quite close to us. We live in Hitchin. In general I really love to be here. Think that biggest bonus is people smiles, they are happy and polite. But before we moved I was happy to live in Latvia. Maybe it is just about our feelings and interests/needs right now. You are very brave to move to Latvia.:)
It was a very interesting read. However, I think that your blog would benefit from proofreading. Sloppy writing makes it look like you have no interest in the language you’re teaching. There are way too many spelling mistakes, such as ”forrest”. Maybe you should reread your texts before hitting ‘publish’? 🙂
Best of luck in Latvia!
Almost no roundabouts, just normal crossroads with or without traffic lights, compare to England
Ice fishing and mushroom picking
People watching ice hockey instread of football
Oh, my God, looks like I live way to long in England, allready forgot what is different in Latvia 😦
Hi, how about us here being unable to agree on any common plan? It’s more like guessing the root cause for bad roads, bad driving, building that fall apart & etc.
Forests occupy 50% or a bit more of Latvia.
Regarding cobbled roads – imho, potholes in asphalt do more damage to your car. The same goes for gravel roads – these can be more comfortable than some asphalt roads, if properly maintained.
P.S. I wouldn’t say there are that many cobbled roads.
P.P.S. Nice video about Latvia and Latvians https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtnIUr8Q4E4
Mushrooms. Mushrooms, mushrooms and a bit more mushrooms. “One legged meat”, as my great-grandmother used to say.
About the flowers — the 1st of September is also full of flowers, this time given by pupils to teachers. The first day of school is actually not a school day. I’ve noticed foreigners from at least some countries are usually surprised about that.
Good list. Nothing to add, really. Apart from the extended bullet point on attractive women, where it is clear to me that Your dear Inta is effectively ruining Your relationships by being typical, “normal” latvian lady. Honestly speaking I’m sad, but not surprised.
Gravel roads? They are one of the reasons I’m not leaving my country. And one of the reasons I think You have bought totally wrong car. (It was Inta`s choice really, right?)
Thanks for Your blog. If You can make it here, I can make it too!
Oh, yes – there is some sarcasm in my reply. And some bitter experiences of Yours Truly.
I smiled and laughed when I readed this. 😀 I can agree with all those thing you wrote. Have fun!
Pleased you enjoyed reading it
I don’t agree on bad driving! I live in UK 4 years and I can say drivers in UK are just terrible. Well at least in Manchester
Nice list! I like your view on things in Latvia. I`m one of those who left Latvia after financial crisis and came to UK. Just few comments from me:
Bad (would say crazy) driving – most of them drives BMW, that`s diagnosis in Latvia. Also in UK are enough bad drivers, as I been travelling around few cities (Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham etc.), I can say, that the worst drivers coming from Asia, they not indicate when they turning, they beeping, using pedestrian lanes etc.
Roads in Latvia – that`s why a lot of people drive 4×4 cars, more than in other countries. There are only 2 options, if you driving. Very slow – take care of car, but feel every hole or very fast – don`t feel holes, but you will make happy a lot of garage owners.
Sad buildings – most of them are private and persons don`t care about them as they not living in Latvia.
I would like to ask you to write about places to see, things to do in Latvia from Englishman point of view (if you don`t mind), as I would like to invite some of my English friends to visit Latvia and probably my view is different than their.
I’ll work on your request over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading and comenting