Last Night In Latvia

Here we are in Daugavpils, not nearly as ghastly as the stories would have you believe. On the other hand, there’s very little here, so whilst it’s not the eyesore that it’s made out to be, it is really rather dull. You’d expect more from Latvia’s second city.

Sarah’s been getting a lot of stares from the locals for carrying Lukie in the sling. We haven’t had that reaction anywhere else. Here, people point and whisper to each other when we walk by.

Perhaps that has something to do with the ethnic composition here: Russian: 53.96%, Latvian: 17.9%, Polish: 14.9%, Belarussian: 8.22%, etc. Indeed, there’s a lot of Cyrillic in this town.

We arrived here from Gulbene via Ludza, where Sarah wanted to visit a handicraft shop, and are now 33 km from the border with Belarus and 25 km from the one with Lithuania.

We’re staying at the Park Hotel Latgola, which, I can reveal, serves a decent dinner. Check out the pork fillet with caramelised apple and coffee sauce the next time you’re in this neck of the woods, but for goodness’ sake, don’t order the cheesecake.

Our hotel’s WiFi hands out 60 second DHCP leases. Quirky. We’re also on our third room, after a fair bit of confusion over the reservation. Shit happens.

One thing that Daugavpils does have, however, is a fantastic playground in the local park. Eloïse called it the leukste speeltuin van de hele wereld (best playground in the whole world). It was a big surprise to find such a great facility here and Eloïse will probably remember this city as one of the highlights of her trip.

On a more interesting note, Eloïse has started singing along to our CDs in the car. She had previously only sung along to her own CDs, which, on this trip, has almost invariably been Het Beertje Pippeloentje.

One of her new favourite albums is Lily Allen’s It’s Not Me, It’s You. This contains the jolly pop song, Fuck You. Eloïse loves this track, but thinks it’s called Start Queue and sings along accordingly. We’ve chosen to let her labour under this misapprehension for now.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, as we head back to Lithuania, almost a full month having past since we were last there.

This time, we’re off to the capital, Vilnius.

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