Saturday, 1 September 2018

Riga, Latvia (Republikas Laukums 3)

Here it is the first of September and Christmas is just around the corner. I don’t mind commenting on this because I scaled back on Christmas over the last 10 years. I now only give a few gifts and cards and no decorating.

On a semi-related topic, one of the discussion forums that I follow asked if anyone still feels the dread of returning to school when Labor Day approaches. It was interesting to read the responses. Many, even though they have been out of school for many years, can still remember (and some still do) the dread or anxiety of returning to school after summer vacation. For me, I guess I didn’t think about it much since we were in harvest at this time. It really didn’t hit me that school was starting until the first day of classes.

Now back to Riga, Latvia…

Today was another mellow day. Took a walk to the north of where I’m staying into an area I hadn’t been before. A couple more parks to walk through along the way. My destination, to give me some place to walk toward, was the Rimi store where I planned to buy the daily groceries. Along the way, I realized I’m beginning to appreciate the different styles of buildings that I’m discovering during each walk. Each builder’s architect seems to have created a new look for their building. Not one is like the other. I’d image if you showed a taxi driver the picture of a building, they would know where to take you, without knowing the address. I’m certainly not seeing buildings that have a stern and cold style that we might expect in a country that was once part of the USSR for many years.

Though cloudy today, the chance of rain was minimal so I didn’t take an umbrella. The weather looks good for the next couple of days. Not like yesterday when it rained.

I didn’t get back to the flat until early evening. I first worked on my travel blog then prepared dinner. After dinner I worked on updating my planning spreadsheets and discovered that technically I’m staying too long in the Schengen area. As an American, I’m only to stay 90 days out of every six months. I will have been here 94 days over the last six months when I leave in two weeks.

Below is a map of the Schengen Area. Except for the U.K., I don’t need to go through Passport Control when leaving or arriving if I’m traveling within the Schengen Area countries.

I was thinking the other day that I should make a checklist or “action list” of my planning process and steps that I take to get from one place to another. I get concerned that I have so much in my head, and if I get too nonchalant, I could forget a step. (I still remember going to the wrong airport in Milan.)

My Travel Action List

– Decide where to go (one or more locations)
– Confirm I will not exceed the country’s visa limits (Yikes!)
– Determine length of stay (one to three months prior)
– Determine mode of transportation (plane, train, bus, ferry)
– Determine type of lodging: Airbnb or Hotel
– Document proposed plan on Planning Spreadsheet
– Make travel reservations (one month or more prior)
– Document travel reservation on Planning Spreadsheet
– Make lodging reservations (one month or more prior)
– Document lodging reservations on Planning Spreadsheet
– Confirm all reservations display on Google Calendar
– Inform Airbnb hosts, one week before stay, of arrival date/time
– If no flight, one or more days prior, book train, bus or ferry
One day prior:
– online check-in for hotel
– online check-in for flight
– book taxi to airport, bus terminal or train station
– pre-pack suitcase and determine time to leave
– charge all devices
Travel day (departure):
– review travel plan (verify airport location)
– finish packing and verify airline weight limitations
– clean room or flat
– before leaving, inspect room/flat for missing items
– check out and leave key(s)
– arrive at departure point at scheduled time
– verify departure time and boarding location
– airport baggage check-in 2 hours ahead of flight
– arrive at airport gate 1 hour before flight
Travel day (arrival):
– inspect suitcase before riding to lodging
– if not arranged, determine travel mode to lodging
– obtain (minimal amount) of local currency via ATM
– if Airbnb, inform host of arrival in city & ETA to flat
– memorize visually Airbnb location & entry procedures
– inspect Airbnb flat, determining what might be needed
– make quick trip to store for any food items, next 24 hrs.
– if hotel, determine hours of breakfast and lounge
– adjust air and heating
– set up Wi-Fi on devices
– determine how much to unpack for stay
– nap

After making the above list, I’m finding it difficult to believe that I’ve kept all of this in my head for the past 2+ years. No wonder I take a nap at the end of my travel day!

Light dinner tonight and watched a couple more episodes of “The Flash” before going to bed. More walking planned for tomorrow and perhaps schedule a Segway tour for Monday. I also need to print out a document that I need to sign and post, including checks I need to write to close out my cousin’s estate.

To see pictures: 

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