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Dec 11

Back from Riga, Latvia

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 in My life

I just got back from Riga (in Latvia). In a way, the trip was a success or at least seems to be so far, but in a way, it was not as much fun as the last time.

The weather was as good as could be expected for December, that is completely calm, which made sure I didn’t get seasick and that’s always good.

Mum came along on this trip which, to be honest wasn’t all that much fun for us. In her defense I have to say that she was in pain (she’s twisted her ankle) and had a bad cough (which she still does). But she kept complaining about everything, including the food, which my sister and I quite liked. We are quite thrilled that there was so much that happened to be vegan.

Something was wrong with the subway in Stockholm, but that didn’t affect us very much, because we were on a bus (once we found a way of buying tickets), but so many people chose to go by bus instead of by subway which made it a bit crowded. Plus for some reason, some of the bus stops were just canceled (if that’s the word – a decision was made to just ignore them and people had to walk a lot further).

On the train, on the way back, we saw a cute little boy. He showed me how to open a door (which was very nice of him). That door had almost squeezed me moments earlier and a moment later, it almost crushed my hand. Fortunately, there was a much older guy (thirties maybe) who knew of a switch that could keep the door open for much longer):

We also ran into two nice older ladies who talked to us on the bus from the ferry terminal to the Central Station and two quite nice younger women who also talked to us while we were waiting or on the train.

To end the evening, we also had a bit of adult entertainment at the railway station while waiting for the bus back to the house. I had no trouble ignoring those high school kids, but it was quite embarrassing to sit next to my mum while they were up to their antics.

Jun 5

Went on a cruise

Posted on Friday, June 5, 2015 in My life

The other day, I returned from my trip to Riga, Latvia (where I’d gone for my big project). I’m so relieved to be home again, and very tired. In most ways, the trip was a success, at least so far.

There were also some things I didn’t really like. Riga had a number of fine but very run-down buildings, with many interesting architectural details. In places there was a bad smell. Someone I know told me that when he was in Riga, maybe twenty years ago, there was this bad smell too so obviously they haven’t managed to fix that problem.

It was a bit hard to find the way to where I would have my appointment. Also, the traffic was bad. I found it odd that there were so many men and boys around, but only a few women, mainly elderly ladies and a few young mothers. I can’t say that the Latvians and Russians in Riga looked particularly nice though two relatively young women (early 30’s maybe?) who tried to help us find the way, were an exception.

The weather was also great – sunny, warm, but not too hot. It was alright in the east of Sweden too, but just when we entered the west of Sweden, it started to rain and got colder. The clinic was fine (if a little cramped, compared the other one) but the staff made me so nervous by running late with the treatment. In the end, we had to take a taxi to the ferry terminal, even though it would have taken ten minutes to walk at most – if there hadn’t been any traffic, and it had been as straightforward to find the way as the natives seemed to think. Even then I got there with only five minutes to spare. Never again.

The cruise was a pleasant experience. Since we didn’t dare to fly again, this time, we decided to wait for this time of year to go by a big passenger ferry. It was a lot cheaper than flying so we got a ‘luxury’ cabin. The price for that included two ‘special breakfasts’. On the first morning, I think we arrived too late to go into the ‘special’ dining room so we got the usual breakfast buffet, which was actually quite nice, even for us vegans. There were plenty of fresh vegetables (cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes), baked beans and some fruit salad. We also got a fruit basket and some complimentary drinks in a little fridge.

Riga bag

Tax free shopping

Other than a visit to the ‘supermarket’ for some tax free shopping and eating breakfast, we mainly stayed in our cabin. Some of the male passengers were very rowdy and rude to the female passengers. Another reason we didn’t particularly like the Latvians and Russians. The majority were either one of those nationalities. However, the internet didn’t work in our cabin so we had to go out, preferably one or two decks down to get online. While we were in Swedish waters, we were at least able to phone home.

Just one more complaint – we weren’t let off the boat in Stockholm until 20 minutes after arrival. That meant we missed our train and lost quite a bit of money, because we couldn’t re-book the ticket over the phone. We’ll try to get some of that money back from the ferry company, but I’m sure they won’t see things our way. Fortunately, we were at least able to book tickets for a high speed train that left about an hour later but arrived just half an hour later. When we got off the train here, we had missed our bus home, or so we thought, but when we got outside, to the ‘bus station’ part of what’s called ‘the travel center’, the bus was still there. It started rolling, but the driver saw us and stopped and waited, which was a bit of luck.

Now I just need to remember to relax, make sure I don’t get angry, not carry anything heavy and avoid crowds, so I won’t catch an infection the next couple of days.

Aug 15

A day out

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in My life

Yesterday I was going to Gothenburg, to a clinic, to re-take a blood test that they’d taken but neglected to send along to the lab, or at least so I’d been told. When I’d already booked a return ticket and was sitting on the train to Gothenburg, an apologetic nurse called and asked me if I was already on my way. They’d found the test result and I didn’t need to come all the way there. Great. I lost money on that, and the trouble is this was the second time I was going there to re-take tests they’d made a mess of. More money lost for me… Not that they’ll ever compensate for that, that sort of thing doesn’t happen here. I barely got an apology. And just to make it clear, this is a private clinic.

Mom wanted me to get off the train and return home, but since I was already in this other town where I sometimes go to do some shopping, I decided to stay a while. I’d still be back long before I would have if I’d gone all the way to Gothenburg.

This town is more than twice the size of the one I live in (suffer in, more likely) and there are more shops and far more choice when it comes to – well, just about anything. I found some delicious vegetables (and berries) that I hadn’t seen or dreamed of buying for years. I also made a visit to the health food store and found some veggie stuff that I can’t get anywhere else (or rather this is the closest place for it).

On the way back, the bus driver pointed out that using the credit card to pay my fare, would be far more expensive than getting a bus card. I told him I don’t travel very often so it wouldn’t be worth it. It turned out that he recognized me from when I used to ride this bus far more often. I said it’s too late now anyway, since the bus was about to leave. He said: no, it’s not, I’ll wait for you. So I hurried back and refilled the bus card and got back on the bus. That was so nice of him. I’m sure that no ethnic Swede would have been quite that nice about it (I don’t know where he’s from, but it was obvious that he was an immigrant). He was nice to the other passengers too, offering to help a girl get her baby and stroller off, but in the end, another passenger did it for him.

So, all in all, my day turned out a lot better than I’d imagined and at least did something to compensate for the failed trip and the grumpy old man and the surly old woman who glared at me at the bus stop. This town is famous for its unpleasant, unreliable and ugly people and I certainly can’t argue with that.

Sep 27

Still sore and exhausted

Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2008 in Other

I had to go on another trip down south. This time too, I ended up walking for miles and miles. So just when I was beginning to recover from my first trip, I’m suddenly feeling the same way again. I obviously wasn’t in as good shape as I thought I was, from my daily walks. Time for some powerwalking, I think. As soon as I feel a little better.

Sep 23

A visit to Malmö

Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 in Other

Yesterday, I went on a trip to Malmö. I was going to meet a friend of mine. Today, I’m still exhausted and sore all over, because we walked and walked and walked… It feels as if I’ve seen all of Malmö now, but that’s probably not true.

Best of all, we (my sister went along to do some shopping) we found a terrific veggie restaurant. It’s been ages since I last went out to eat. Since I don’t travel that much at the moment, there’s usually no reason to do that.

The food was great, the visit was a lot of fun and it was nice to finally meet my friend face to face.

Jul 30

People on trains

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 in Other

I went on a little trip again the other day. As far as these quick trips go, it was fine. I was able to leave a little later than usual and still got home before midnight so it was cool.

What wasn’t quite as cool is that a group of other travelers – a big and very tiresome family – ran around and in general made a nuisance of themselves. On the first part of the trip there was no reservation of seats, but this family seemed to think there was and acted accordingly, by running around and basically demanded access to several seats, in fact, practically the entire carriage.

That forced me to tell a seemingly very nice guy to get up and find another seat. The compartment wasn’t full so there was no reason why we shouldn’t just sit where we were, but obviously that obnoxious family did. It made me look bad in front of that guy and I didn’t like it.

Oh, well. Other than that, the trip went fine and though I ended up completely exhausted after traveling all day when it was so hot, I feel good about it. I only wish I’d managed to get some good photos. Maybe next time.


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