|Art Deco in Riga|
I even got up super early (for my standards) next morning and was cycling before 8 am to make the last 80 km into Riga. They dragged on and on but I was rushing now: a big thunderstorm was forecasted for the evening and I wanted to be in my guesthouse by then. Timing was prefect: I arrived one hour before hell broke loose and it started to bucket down. I watched the deluge from my room while comfortably skyping with friends in Germany. In fact I spent the whole afternoon and evening till midnight skyping and surfing the net. But this bike trip is slowly coming to an end and I had too arrange a lot of things.
|Freedom Statue in Riga|
This was going to be my bike free day and I took the trolley bus into town for a mere 0,60 €. I visited only one museum - the Occupation Museum. Each Baltic State had one, so this was number three for me. I guess this tells you a lot how much the Baltic people "like" the Russians. After touring the museum I couldn't help but quizzing one of the staff members, a very enthusiastic young man whom I now owe a lot of insights into current politics.
My last morning in Riga was kind of hectic. I wanted to book my ferry ticket back to Germany but despite good wifi I didn't succeed - there seemed to be a bug in their mobile website. It is amazing how much timei I waste on my trips with poor or intermittent wifi, faulty apps and a malfunctioning browser. I tried to call the ferry companies call centre but gave up after 10 minutes on hold. As much as I love the internet - it can be frustrating. I needed a real computer and hoped to find that in the tourist information in Jurmala.
|Jurmala water park|
Next day there was a dramatic weather change but luckily I had just reached the tourist information in Tukums when it started to rain. While it was bucketing down outside I finally had the time and resources to plan the route for the rest of my trip. The long term forecast was basically rain (and sun) every day for the next two weeks. Considering the weather I gave up on the idea of following the coast line - I had also seen enough beaches already. Instead I would cut through inland and join the coast again at Liepaja.
|An official campground|
I reached the coast again at Liepaja. This place was high on my bucket list because of Karosta, a "town in town". Karosta was built in the early 1900s by the Russian Czar as a naval town. Dozens of old crumbling buildings still proof its former glory, especially the golden domed Russian orthodox church. During Soviet times the Red Army used the installations and Karosta became a forbidden town that nobody could visit without a special permit. Modern apartment blocks were built that look even more dilapidated nowadays than the older buildings - but some are still inhabitated. Karosta was once home for 30,000 people but now the population is down to 7,000 - and they look pretty lost in the vast area....
|Tour at Karosta prison|
Next day was Sunday and this was a lucky streak again. Early Sunday morning there was hardly any traffic on the main coastal highway. In two hours only two trucks passed me. Still I was pedalling like crazy to get off the road as quickly as possible - and out of Latvia.