Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 240 - Kuldiga, Latvia

I wasn't going to be seeing Agnes today, so I decided I'd take the day trip to Kuldiga. I took the bus in the morning, and upon arrival, had something to eat from a café. I was contemplating spending the night here, so I looked for some accommodation. I had no luck, and I couldn't be bothered anyway, so a day trip it was going to be.

It was a beautiful little town, out in the middle of Kurzeme's forests. The streets were pretty active with tourists, but it's a much quieter place than from what else I've seen. I made my way over to the natural wonder, which is the Venta Waterfall, said to be the widest in Europe, though only about a metre high. I had good fun here for a little bit; I went in the water and tried to shower under the cold water of the falls. Then I decided to walk across the entire thing. The water was shallow enough along the top, that it could be walked across from one end to the other, though it took a fair while.

After I was done, I headed back to Liepaja, and was back by 9:30pm. I went to a bar and decided to try playing a poker machine. Surprisingly, I won 35 Lats. Well, that seemed incredibly easy. I played again, but didn't win anything. Maybe I was just very lucky.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 239 - Liepaja, Latvia

Apart from what I've already mentioned, not much else has happened. I've been staying at the Travellers' Beach Hostel, meeting travellers from all around the world, sharing our stories. Almost everyday, I'd be going out with Agnes, spending time with her in the city, away from her home. I wanted to plan a trip with her to Kuldiga, which is only an hour and a half away. I've also extended my stay in Latvia until the 2nd of August, otherwise, today would have been the day I left. I wanted more quality time, as we haven't had enough of it.

We discussed going to Kuldiga together, but she wasn't up for it. She had to stay home and look after her brother, as well as her father, making sure he wouldn't drink any alcohol and abuse anyone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 233 - Liepaja, Latvia

For the past few days I've been able to stay with Agnes, we've been playing video games, one of which was the Final Fantasy X game I lent to her, and we would head out to the cinemas to watch movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I've never seen any of the Narnia movies, and this one was pretty good.

Then, Agnes' dad was out of hospital and back at home. That was when I booked myself a room at the Travellers' Beach Hostel, the first hostel I've ever been to. It would be yet another new experience for me. It was actually a very great place, and it got me into the whole hostelling experience. One of the managers there was from Chile, and I had a chat with him.

I had free internet while I was here. So I hopped on MSN and managed to tell my stories to everyone who wondered where I've been. I told them everything, and they were shocked to hear it. There was not much else I could do. I just hope I can get Agnes to come and live with me in Australia, as it was something she suggested to me earlier.

I stayed at this hostel for several days, and met many different interesting people. Everyone who asked what I was doing here, I told them my story. This is my first real experience meeting other travellers from around the world. I met people from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and even Australia and New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 230 - Riga and Liepaja, Latvia

So we were woken up at around 4am by the café manager, and we tried to catch a bit more sleep elsewhere. As soon as the buses started running, we hopped on and headed into the city centre. I've never been in Riga with Agnes before, so we took some time to look around together.

First of all, we wanted to visit the Australian consulate, as there was discussion about moving Agnes to Australia with me. It wasn't too difficult to find. We had to take a city bus. We were there by its opening time, and we went in, greeting the consul. We discussed the possibility of getting her to become a citizen, however, for her to move down with me first of all, she would need parental permission for the visa. It didn't work out. I was pretty upset after this.

Regardless, we went on a stroll through the city centre and tried to enjoy our day as much as we could. We took pictures of the clock tower, went up Skyline Hotel for a good view, then headed to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. Agnes loved Japanese culture, and I did too, for that matter.

We later decided to watch a movie at the cinemas. We got tickets for the Hulk, the newer movie, a remake of the slightly older version. It was much better, and it was a great watch!

By 6pm, we decided to take the train back to Liepaja. It was a three hour journey, and a beautiful one at that, as the sun was low on the horizon, shining on the green fields. Once back, it was nice to be back. Agnes' dad was in hospital at the time, and the reason we decided to head back to Liepaja today was because Agnes was concerned about her brother being home alone. Otherwise, we would have spent the night in Riga. Once we got back, all was good, and I was able to spend the night at Agnes' place.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 229 - Vilnius and Trakai, Lithuania

The next day, we devoted some time to explore Vilnius. We started in the Old Town, where we made our way through the streets and to the main cathedral. We went on a photoshoot through the square before making our way to Gediminas Castle, on the top of the hill. There was lots to see between here and there.

We took the funicular up, and visited the Castle museum. From here, we could see the city skyline of Vilnius. We spent a good deal of time at the castle top here, observing the city and taking pictures.

The next place we wanted to go to was Trakai, an hour's drive away. We made our way to the bus station and hopped on the next bus. It was like a regular city bus.

Once in Trakai, we admired the beauty of this lakeside town, shopped around for a bit of food, then headed for the main tourist attraction, which was the Castle Island in the middle of the lake.

We hired a pedal-powered mini boat to take out onto the lake, observing the castle from different viewpoints. It was very beautiful and impressive. The weather could have been better though, but it's the memory that will be the most important.

After our day spent here, we headed back to Vilnius to have a meal at Cili Pica, then head back to Latvia the same night. We decided we'd go to Riga Airport and spend the night there. Not the best place of choice to sleep, but it would be for free. So upon arrival, we slept there, on the café couch. Of course, we would be woken up at 4-5am though.