Monday, February 1, 2021

Jūrmala Latvia - Beach in Winter


Is that a white sandy beach? Well, the snow is white over a sandy beach, so technically it is a white sandy beach. Going to the beach is a popular activity in Latvia all year. Snow doesn't stop the strolling or sports. It's odd to dig your car out of the snow to go to the beach, but it's still a good way to get some socially distanced fresh air. Here's a previous Jūrmala post with warmer and more crowded times.

Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Travels


2020 is finally done. It hasn't been one of the world's best years in my lifetime, even though it's been relatively good for us. I'll continue my travel blog tradition of looking back on last year's travels. I tried packing some week long trips into the winter to get away from the dark and cold. We made 2 of the 3 planned trips out of Latvia before the year took an unexpected turn.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Latvian National Museum of Art - Symbolism


Almost everything in Riga is closed on the weekends while the pandemic continues. We were pleasantly surprised to see the art museums are one of the very few places allowed to open with masks and social distancing. The annual pass for the art museums is one of the many things we love about living in Riga.

We've been staying home a lot lately other than walks outside for fresh air. That's less appealing as it gets colder. I decided Sunday would be a good day to try a museum with the hope that it wouldn't be too crowded.

The basement exhibit hall has a limit of 16 people to spread everyone out. There was a short socially distanced waiting line to enter. The whole experience felt a little safer than visiting the grocery store, which is probably about as safe as it can get here with masks and social distancing.

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.