Monday, November 2, 2020

4th Tour is... Algiers!

Next stop is Algiers, Algeria!

Algeria is a country in the North Africa region. The similarly named Algiers is their coastal capital on the Mediterranean Sea. A flight north to Barcelona, Spain is just 1 hour and 20 minutes so it's very close to Europe.

Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest by area in the African Union and the Arab world. It's the eighth-most populous country in Africa with over 44 million people. Algeria appears to be rich in history and culture, so we're looking forward to living there and exploring it for a couple of years.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Mid-Level Bidding Again

I wrote about the Foreign Service assignment process in these blog entries from 3 years ago: Mid-Level Bidding Game and Mid-Level Bidding Continued. Now it's time to find a new place to work since my current tour ends next year. Yes, I'm tenured for this career through retirement, but we all have to compete for new assignments each time our tours end. It's the same crazy game as last time so I won't rehash the whole painful process.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Castles in Lielvārde Latvia


Lielvārde is a little town along the Daugava River about an hour drive southeast of Riga. They have a reconstruction of a wooden castle similar to the one in Tērvete. There's no need to choose a favorite between them since they're both fun to explore. There's a castle ruin on the other side of town in the manor complex. The nice park grounds around it with huge carved poles are a great place to stroll around. Finally, there's a named waterfall listed on their tourist board. If you're not interested in the castles then skip to the end to see that amazing wonder.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Castle Of The Livonian Order In Sigulda

Siguldas Viduslaiku pils (Castle Of The Livonian Order In Sigulda) is a great place to hang out. The castle compound has some interesting shops, food, and ice cream. It's about an hour away from Riga by car. We took the train to Sigulda last summer and explored Turaida Castle, so see that post for another Sigulda tourist spot.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Daugavgrīvas Cietoksnis - Star Fortress

Daugavgrīvas Cietoksnis is a fortress originally built in the Swedish Livonia in the 17th century. There's more history at the link but the current structure is newer.

"The fortifications of the fort were completely rebuilt before the outbreak of the First World War. During World War I, the fort was bombed by German air forces. Soon the Germans took over the fortress, and in 1917, the German Emperor Wilhelm II personally inspected it. In 1940, the Soviet navy took over the fortress."

It's only open on the weekends but it's an interesting space to walk around and explore in Riga. It's across the river from old town and near the mouth of the river.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Jelgava Latvia

Jelgava is a Latvian city about an hour from Riga. The nice place to hangout in Jelgava is an island named Pasta salā. No, this has nothing to do with Italy since pasta means postal in Latvian. The Postal Island is the site for their annual sand sculptures in summer and ice sculptures in winter. We haven't been in winter yet but we'll do that this winter. There's a sculpture garden, restaurant, and a cafe with great treats to sit by the river.

Tērvetes Dabas Parks

Tērvetes dabas parks is a nature park but there's some really cool stuff in it which fully justifies the drive there and small price of admission. It's almost like some sort of natural theme park.

There are zip lines and climbing areas which seem to be popular across Latvia. There's also a tall observation tower which is another thing they like to build here in various places. The park has large paths which are easy for all ages and strollers. There's smaller more natural paths winding between the main roads to get a little closer to nature and see less people. Those can be challenging for strollers but some people were doing that too with their families.

The really unique thing about this park are all of the carvings and little buildings on the trails and in the various Gnome or Dwarf villages. We didn't even get to the other side of the park for the Fairytale Forest so we'll have to go back someday.