“A good time spent in Latvia”. Yeah, that describes the two days with Arnis and his small family (which is made up by his wife Diana and his small 2yo boy Kristers) very well.
But let’s put the things in order. Liepa accompanied me to the hitchhiking place out of Vilnius where it was not even possible to say goodbye to her in a proper way. I was not even standing three minutes with my sign “Riga” at the side of the road when I already sat in car directly to Latvias capital. In this moment Liepa just went off for 5 minutes to take a look down the street if theres a better hitching place. But the driver Aleksandrs (a 49yo men from Kiev living in Riga) slowed down a little bit so I had at least the chance to say goodbye through the car window. Three hours later Aleksandrs dropped me out in front of the central station where I took a train for 1,15Lat (1Lat = 1,50€) to Ogre, the place Arnis lives. At the evening we had a nice salat dinner and went out for a walk into nature, too. The next day we drove by car to Sigulda, a city in the middle of the “Gauja Nacionalais Parks”, Latvias biggest National Park. The park’s nickname is “Latvian Switzerland” and comes up with a “rope air tram”, caves, very nice forests, a great castle from the 13th century and a nice clear river through all of that. Beside Arnis and me his small son Kristers was with us what was a special fun to have him with us. Really a cool, clever and funny boy! After a couple of hours of hiking fun, good views and breathing history we went back to Ogre where once a again a delicious dinner waited almost already waited for us. Thanks a lot for all the great hospitality you showed me!
One more word about Latvia and the situation in the country at the moment. Latvia is, beside Iceland, probably the country in Europe the economical crisis effects most. People describe it like that: “They gave us the chance to live a good life but not with latvian money, it was with scandinavian banks money. People who lived all their life in the soviet union now had the possibility to get credits but they applied for too much credits and spent too much money which was not their money. The government then said that there must be a control system for the bank system. That leaded to banks not giving any credits to anyone anymore. At the moment the credits stopped the infaltion was very high and then came the global economic crisis. Actually the economics of Latvia were stopped at that moment, a lot of companies went bankrupt, thousends of people left the country, a lot of other people got unemployed. Nobody buys anything anymore at the moment and even the government tries to save some money (like medical operations, usually paid by the state aren’t done at the moment if it’s not absolutely necessary) and some people think that Latvia is very close to a total state bankrupt. The most asked question in the streets is at the moment ‘Are you working now?’ ”
So, capitalism obciously is not working Try Anarchy!