Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Riga, Latvia (Republikas Laukums 3)

Was up at 7:30 to get ready for today’s flight to Vilnius, Lithuania. Thankful that I did some pre-packing the night before. I was out the door shortly before 9:30 a.m. One thing that I didn’t accomplish was to book a taxi for the ride to the airport the night before. None of the taxi services had online booking. But I had an idea.

I was requested to turn my key into the security office on the ground floor, which I did. Then made a call to a taxi company I selected. As I anticipated, the taxi dispatcher couldn’t speak English so I handed the phone to the guy at the security desk. He was more than happy to provide the address and complete the booking on my behalf. I hoped that it would turn out like this, and it worked.

The taxi driver could speak so-so English and told me several stories as we rode to the airport. One was about two men who booked a ride from Riga to Berlin. It took over 12 hours. He was an interesting guy and gave me his contact information in case I return to Riga.

Everything went well at check in, though for some reason my suitcase was a kilo over the 20 kilo weight maximum. Thankfully, I wasn’t charged for the overage. Not sure how that could happen, I packed everything where it was before. In any case, my suitcase was on its way and I was ready for a coffee and a blueberry muffin at Costa Coffee.

Not sure how this happened, but I almost left my potato peeler at the flat, but for some reason I double checked that I had packed it and it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Found it in the drawer with the silverware. And then as I was boarding the flight I had forgotten my hat just as I was walking into the plane, so I walked back through the people boarding the plane and found it under the chair where I was sitting. Signs of old age? 

From then on everything proceeded as planned. With the minor exception that the taxi driver from the airport to my flat in Vilnius wasn’t able to take my credit card. I was about a Euro short of the full fair and he said it was okay and took the cash. I need to add to my list to be sure I have sufficient cash with me when I book a taxi.

Again, I was sent instructions beforehand on how to enter the Airbnb flat. Fortunately the instructions were fairly well written and I was wheeling in my suitcase a few minutes later. I didn’t stay long. I was hungry and was out the door again walking to the nearest McDonald’s, about a half a kilometer away.

I was then ready for my nap. I hadn’t slept very well the night before and I napped for almost two hours. I unpacked a few more items and got Wifi set up on my laptop and phone. I had noticed that the air conditioner wasn’t cooling down the flat. And even after I went to the store and returned the flat wasn’t getting any cooler.

I called the management company that maintains the bookings and resolves issues. I pointed out to the person I spoke with that one of the listed amenities was air conditioning. In fact, that was why I selected this property since the weather was forecasted to be close to 80 degrees. They apologized and explained that the central air for the entire building had been turned off for the season. Then I again pointed out that air conditioning was still listed as an amenity. She said she would get back to me after she speaks to the building management. This would be the second time when air conditioning was listed and not provided. I’m going to have to ask specifically before I book an Airbnb flat when the weather turns warmer next year.

I picked up dinner at the good-sized grocery that I found in the mall next door. Chicken, roasted potatoes and coleslaw. I spoke with Corrine after I ate and we made more plans for England and Wales. We agreed to visit castles in Wales as part of our tour later this month. She will do more research on castle tours and I’ll investigate Isle of Wight and Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s vacation home.

I successfully connected the Apple TV to the TV and watched a couple of episodes of “The Flash” before going to bed. Tomorrow I plan to walk to the old town and start exploring that part of the city. As I was coming in from the airport I saw a large tower just outside the city that has an observation deck. That will be fun to visit when the weather clears up.

To see pictures: 

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