Saturday, November 28, 2015

Touring Castles

I woke up at 5:15 to head to Riga with Janis G. Janis woke up at 5:55 brushed his teeth and was ready to go. 

It was me, Janis, and the bus driver on a 19 passenger bus. I got a whole row. I was able yo sleep some. Janis said it was the worse bus ride he has been on. He said he got air born at some point. It was a nice to watch the sun rise on the drive.

We meet the LBC team at the Raddison. Janis and I had a good but quick breakfast there.

Half of the group went to Ventspiels. I went with another group to see two castles.

It was about an hour and a half drive to the first castle. Brent informed us people don't wear seat belts here because there are so many rivers if you drive into a river you can't get out in a seatbelt.  The castle at some points was being renovated. Karen said it has been in the renovation process every time they have been.
Some of us walked on stilts. I tried. Brent was very good at it.  A Latvian man helped me. He was telling me things but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Later, we walked up to the top of the castle.  It was a great view. There were steep stairs. There was netting over our heads. Zane said it was so no bricks fall on our heads. I walked on a balance beam and went into a torture chamber. I was having a hard time getting in. Brent said don't act like this is the first time you have done this.

Then, we went to Hessburger. It was kind of like Whataburger. Zane helped us all order. Hessburger is the place where after Kacie ate she got her kidney stones. Brent made lots or jokes about that and will bring her an application for Hessburger. That was the most similar to a fast food place I have seen here.
We went to Remi to get some drinks and snacks for the rode.

After that, we headed to Rendali. The bus driver stopped and Brent asked if we ran over a dwarf. I thought that was so funny. We had to pay to get a pass to take pictures inside the palace. 3 of us including me did that. We bought a ticket to access all areas of the palace which was great.  There was a beautiful big flower garden. We all dressed up in old costumes. It was so fun. Caleb and James dressed up in dresses. Brent said if they did he would pay for it. Keith was making jokes since the Supreme Court just passed the gay marriage law. Some tourists asked Keith where we were from. He was embarrassed to say America. We all split up to see the palace. The good things about being with a bigger group is that we often run into each other.   The palace was so, so pretty. Pretty walls, ceilings and furniture. Words can't describe. After that, we got a snack. I got a cake similar to tiramisu but better. We were going to take a group picture on the front steps but it was raining. We literally ran in the rain with bumpy rocks on the ground for a little ways to the bus.

I was asking Keith about his guitar style. He said only 10 guys play like he does. He hadn't learned it from them but played around with it on his own. When he teaches people how to play he teaches them chords and some basic things. Keith said very, very few people want to learn to play how he does. Keith said he learned this style from listening to Betoven.

On the way home 90% of us fell asleep in the car. I was not one of them. Keith later got his guitar and went through his routine. It was nice to listen to. It sounded like a cd.

Zane told us there was a roman Orthodox Church. It took us a while to find a good place to park. Zane and Caleb ran in to make sure it was open. Thankfully it was. All of us women had to cover our hair. They had some scarfs for us to use. Brent explained a lot of things to me about Roman Orthodox and Catholic religions. Inside we saw a priest walk through. When we walked out we saw he had "holy water" and was praying over and sprinkling a nice looking car. The owner was there. They opened all the doors and the hood of the car.

We drove onto a gas station. All 14 of had to use the restroom. There was only one big restroom. They did however have a normal size toilet and a kid size toilet. Someone asked if anyone used the kid size toilet. Karen jokingly said "didn't everyone?"

We had a 6pm reservation at Martenelis for dinner. (Yes, I went there two days in a row with two different groups.) at 6:05 after some construction delays Zane told us we would be taking a dirt road.

We had a good dinner at Marteneli's. We had French fries and mashed potatoes as sides this time. Each time we have gone here we have done things slightly differently.

As we were going to dinner we saw a concert going on. All of the Christians in the community wanted to celebrate the festival together. It seems like different denominations do more together here. Someone said maybe its because there aren't as many Christians here. Maija was a clown. Janis played. I saw many people I knew. I was hoping to find Elizabeth and Richard.

We were looking for something to do. Brent, Bryan, Keith, Diana, Kelsey and I went looking for hedgehogs. We didn't find any. We thought the rain scared them off. By the way it was freezing and sprinkling while we do this. Bryan found one a ways off. He ran to get it. We brought it inside. Bryan face timed Tucker to show him.  We all took turns holding it. Then, we brought it upstairs where some of the ladies were sleeping. Karen letter it in her bed. Then, we brought it into Mike Cummins. We laid it down near his back. Shortly later he rolled over and saw it. It was funny. Bryan said it was the perfect position for it to be in. Then, we brought it into the boys room. Caleb was surprised. Brent said we should release it into Inguna's office. We ended up putting it back outside. It's been an eventful day. 

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