Baltia 2003

by Matti

My summer vacation was finally at hand, so time to pack our bags and head abroad. This time it was Estonia/Latvia. We only had a week to spare since Klaus had to be at work. The trip was fun as ever, and the weather gods really favored us.

To our disappointment the prices in Latvia had gone up by some 100% (a beer would cost almost 1e -- yikes). One Latvian Lats (Ls) is about 1.6e.

Matti K was very tired not having slept at all the night before.
The trip across the Finnish Gulf takes about 1h 40min with the speedboat. The weather was absolutely marvelous.
3 or 4 speedboats take off at 0800, so it's a fun race to Tallinn.
Stopped for toilet + drinks after some 100km drive south from Tallinn.
Reached Pärnu! The weather just kept improving.
Had 2 hours to kill before we would get our rooms, so sunbathing on the terrace it was. The amount of gorgeous women all around us gave a major neck-ache.
Rannahotell, our place of lodging.
Pärnu's beach is exquisite.
Had dinner at Seegi Maja, a rather expensive yet very attractive medieval restaurant serving, for example, deer and bear.
Got some groceries and refreshements before heading south towards Latvia.
Matti K with his favourite snack.
Reaching Latvian border.
After some 10km drive after the border, we stopped for lunch in a small rural village. By some miracle they even had an english menu, which surprised me.
Arrived in Jurmala! We had huge luck acquiring lodging -- we got a flat at the pedestrian street for only 10Ls per person per night, and the flat had 3 rooms and a kitchen -- and went to a Russian pub to celebrate.
At the balcony of our flat.
..and bedrooms.
The pedestrian street in Jurmala.
Spending the night on the beach. There are these small huts serving beer and food on the beach, and I got the feeling they stay open as long as there are customers. All the nightclubs in Jurmala stay open "til the morning".
Some people utilizing the swing board, drunk as hell. Fun to watch.
Alright! The first beach day in Jurmala. The Jurmala beach is something like 30km long, and the sand is absolutely wonderful. The water was somewhat plagued by waterweed, but only here and there, and only at the shore line.
There was a sand sculpture competition.
In the afternoon we regrouped on the terrace to watch volleyball (= chicks)
It may not be obvious what goes on here, but it's a fun story. Damn shame I was a little slow with the picture taking.
Sand sculpture.. and a very labi-labi sculpturess.
On the way back from the beach, there was a model contest of some kind on the stage near the pedestrian street. Some 10 tall and smallbreasted chicks pranced around.
Tested my 5x digital zoom on this one. Not quite what I hoped for.
Funny old cars drove through the city.
A local shop.
Riikka and refreshments.
Off to Riga! After taking a shower we took a train east to Riga to spend the evening there. We ate in a (curses!) very expensive restaurant, which I hope will burn to ground in the near future.
Sat a few hours on this absolutely genius and hugeass terrace. Shame that the image is so blurred. But on the other hand, so were we starting to be..
Going up to Hotel Reval's penthouse bar. Yes, it is in the 26th floor.
Views down from the bar.
We got discount tickets (2Ls) to this nightclub called Roxy, and we went in for a quick drink. There were supposed to be striptease shows, but if there was, we missed them. It was like 35C inside, and we were dripping wet.
After Roxy we took a limousine (!) back to Jurmala (cost 26Ls) because Matti K was obsessing about it all evening. Fun ride, as it shows.
The next day we got up relatively early and got on train to Vaivari, which is one of the city parts of Jurmala.
Strangest trafic signs they have ;-)
Walking towards the beach.
Riikka after a day on the beach.
The next day we had lunch in Majori.. this Lebanese restaurant. Prices were again high, but the location was well worth it.
The others ordered soups, while I had a very strange Russian salad.
After lunch, me and Riikka took a long walk to Bulduri, which is almost at the eastern end of the beach.
The sun was blazing and the sand was hot, so no wonder we rewarded ourselves with a large refreshment afterwards.
Familiar street names.
For the last night we headed to Riga. We were supposed to visit the famous TV tower, but the plan was rejected by our driver's selection of route.
Jewellery store (?) across the street from our hotel. Our hotel was inexpensive (21Ls for a double) but when we got there, we saw why -- there was no shower OR toilet. Yawn.. also it was located over 10 blocks from the city center.
The day was damn hot, we had to find shelter. Damned how I missed being on Jurmala beach, where swimming was an option.
Sleepy traveller.
Walking in the Old City.
Cool karaoke performers. They actually could sing, too.
The karaoke host was.. well, extraordinary. I think he drank like 10 1L mugs of beer while hosting the show.
Back on the bigass terrace.
Last day of our trip. We had a great breakfast, and after that everything started to go to hell (we were supposed to spend the day in Jurmala on the beach -- how I longed to go swimming -- and then drive to tallinn to have dinner and wander around shopping for some meat and wine, but in the end we didnt get to do any of this).
Visiting the TV tower. It is 368m high, and the elevator takes you up to 100m to see the sights. It used to have a restaurant there, but it was closed a few years ago due to bankcruptcy.