Alright so it’s gone a bit pear-shaped and I find myself in the Baltics, slightly off route, but nonetheless the show must go on and I’m getting to see more countries anyway. I managed to persuade a nice French chap (and incredible pool player) to give me a lift to Parnu, then after a week of festivities in Tartu, my friend Helen deposits me on the side of the road just outside of town. I last properly hitched in February, so it seems like a lifetime ago I was waving signs at random drivers. Much like riding a bike, it’s not long before I’ve remembered the old ways of talking to myself, pacing along the white lines, and swearing at people who pass me by with a smile on my face. Anyway you can entertain yourself is acceptable.
Thirty minutes later and I’ve got a ride all the way to Riga. He is actually driving right through to Vilnius, Lithuania, and for a moment I consider going the distance. However it literally would mean passing straight through Latvia, which in my book means I didn’t visit. After a pleasant drive with engaging conversation I arrive in the capital.
Crossing the border and there isn’t much difference in landscape, save the roads have taken a slight turn for the worst. My driver also points out some extremely unusual object by the side of the road as we coast along. We spot a giant yellow chair in a field, an old dead tree painted bright orange, an enormous beer stien on a hill, and what looks like British red coat soldiers sitting on flying balls. Surreal to say the least. Someone in the Latvian transport office has a sense of humour.
The weather is poor as I reach my hostel and it’s definitely a duvet day. Tomorrow promises to be brighter, so I opt to hide in my room for the night and wander the old town tomorrow. But after watching my team throw away a three goal lead and thus the chance of the title, I’m in a 24 hour bar by midnight singing bad karaoke with a Canadian ice hockey team. Welcome to Riga. Pray for me.