Technical Problems again

If you are trying to view my posts for the last several days, and you are not seeing any pictures, you have discovered the technical problem.  All of a sudden Word Press is not letting me download my pictures to the library nor do they show the images  of those that have been downloaded.

Stay tuned.  We’ll try and find a fix for this problem.

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Day 8 (Continued): A restful day in Riga.

So after we left St. Christopher at the river’s edge, we ventured back into the city.  We passed several very nice churches along the way.  In Latvia there is more of a variety of religious sects than there was in Lithuania.  Nonetheless the churches were all beautiful.

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But the churches were not the only photo ops in this beautiful city.  This young man had appanently found a subject more interesting to photograph.

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And so did this pretty blonde photographer.  Although I’m not real sure why she chose this subject.

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Not to be outdone by either of them, I found my own unusual subject to focus on.  By the way it was the only one Georgie would let me focus on.

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After all of this we need to have a true religious experience so we went to church and this basilica.  It was very ornate inside.  The priest gave a lovely sermon in Latvian and just in case we didn’t understand all of it, he gave it again.  Longest sermon we had ever heard.

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By this time we were beginning to wear down a bit so we headed back to the hotel.  In fact it was time to gather up and board the bus for our transfer to Estonia.  Here’s the group getting ready to depart.

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After several miles in the bus we crossed the border between Latvia and Estonia.  Once again the cameras came out and we memorizied the moment.

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After crossing the border, we off loaded the bikes and pedaled along the coast of the Baltic Sea for about 20 miles.  Here is Vaida, our guide, showing our route on the map and me looking out over the beautiful ocean.

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At one point along our bike route, we stopped for a break.  We climbed the nearby hill to get a good view of the ocean and a shaded place to rest.  In the meantime, Georgie, Our Lady of the Happy Hour, set up a birthday cake to celebrate Gloria Colley’s birthday.  We all gave her b-day greetings and devoured the cake.  Gloria was elated.

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Once we got back on our bikes and on the trail, our next stop was a beach along the coast which seemed to be a very popular place to enjoy a swim and get some sun.  Naturally we waded out into the waves.

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After our refreshing visit to the beach, we drove to the town of Haapsalu on the coast.

Since I am having trouble uploading pictures to this blog, I may be silent for a few days until we figure out what the problem is.  See ya.

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The first stop there was at the old railroad station that was now a museum with a lot of old locomotives and other memorabilia.

 

 

 

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Technical Advice

I understand from a few of my readers that the pictures I am posting are being shown sideways rather than as they were posted.  Chance are you may have a Mac.  Georgie has been experiencing this problem and I just heard from someone else that they were getting a stiff neck trying to see the pictures.

Here is my technical advice to solve this problem:

1. Get rid of the Mac and get a PC

2. Click on the picture and it will open up in another window in the right position.

And this last recommendation also works if you have been having trouble seeing the detail in some of the pictures.  By clicking on them they open in a new window with a larger view.  You can then go back to the post and see the rest of the narrative.

Let me know if you have any other viewing problem.

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Day 8: A leisurely day of rest touring Riga.

This may have started out to be a leisurely day but as I have gone through the pictures, it seems that we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of city’s sites.  Some of our group opted to do some bike riding today but G and I thought it best to tour this beautiful city of Riga on our own.

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And most of the city is beautiful.  However, there are some areas left by the Russians that were not so nice.  Fortunately these are few and far between. After touring several streets, Georgie said “Let’s go this way”.

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I didn’t realize that Georgie had done a lot of investigation on Riga and she lead us to….well, YES, an underground bar.  How does she know?

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The bar was quite unusual and interesting. We just did a walk through and did not part-take of any tasty beverages.  Outside on the street, we were reminded of home.  This lovely RV was occupied and was parked in the car lot across from the bar.

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And then we came across this art sculpture in one of the many plazas.

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We then decided to walk down toward the river.  As we approached we saw this encased statue down by the river walk.  It was a statue of Kristaps (Big Christopher), who, according to legend, carried a child across the river one night.  In the morning he found a chest of gold at his door step and these funds were used to build the city of Riga.  Sound familiar.  I think we might call him St. Christopher.

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Here is the story of the legend if you care to read it.  Click on the picture to enlarge and read it.

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Well, we are up to noon on this day of rest.  Stay tuned for the next blog covering the rest of this day.

Continued.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 7: Tour of Riga Old Town and biking to Jurmala Beach Resort

Today we gathered early outside our hotel for a guided tour of Riga Old Town.  Our local guide is very good but it is clear that he does not like the Russians who have invaded his country in prior years.

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We start off near the hotel where there were some beautiful buildings from some centuries  past.

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And along the way there were musicians randomly playing on the streets.  Music seems to be an important part of life here–and I”m not talking about rock and roll.

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The Baltics apparantly have access to large quantities of AMBER.  Many of the stores as we saw in Vilnius, Lithuania, carry beautiful works of amber jewelry and other creations.  At one store I saw this piece which is a tree with Amber leaves.  Quite amazing.

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After our tour of Old Town Riga, we saddled up for the 30km ride to Jurmala Beach, one of the most popular resorts in Latvia.  Our route started with a crossing of the river and then was generally on a bike trail through a forest of trees.

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Along the way we passed this water park.  Looked like fun.

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After a bus ride back to Riga, we encountered this bridal group making a special offer to those they encountered.  The bride-to-be was offering shots of vodka for 5 euro to help support the cost of her wedding.  Her bride’s maid helped to encourage the tourist to donate to the bride-fund.  So we did.

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We finished this busy day with an Indian food dinner.  Yeah!  I love Indian food and who would have thought that we’d find a good restaurant offering my favorite foods here in Riga.  And you can tell Georgie is happy too.  She doesn’t have to cook tonight.

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Thus ends another adventurous day in the Baltics.  Tomorrow is Sunday and Georgie and I have decided to take the day off and just tour Riga.  Tune in.  I might even get the blog written in the next few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 6: On to Riga, Capital of Latvia

Thanks to my friend, Beth, I was reminded to finish the blogs on my Baltic trip.  So I am once again posting.  Since we returned from the Baltics in mid-August, we have had a steady stream of house guests.  The last couple left yesterday and we have no confirmed reservations for the Farmer B&B for the rest of the year.  But if you come this way, we will welcome you with great joy.

So when we last talked we were at the Hill of Crosses, a most amazing place in Lithuania.  Now we are heading by bike and bus to Riga, the capital of Latvia.  We are all very excited when we cross the border from Lithuania into Latvia.  We have to stop and take everyone’s picture, of course.  This is us as we left the Lithuania Republic.  And us as we crossed into Latvia.

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Once in Riga, we were dropped off by our bus in front of a very old church. We have to walk about two blocks to our hotel.  The architecture in this area is beautiful.

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Once settled in our room we begin to think about dinner.  When we get to the lobby several of our fellow travelers are milling around with the same thought but with questions on their faces–“Where to go?”.  Finally someone says “Lets go this way” and of course we all follow.  We end up at a brightly lite plaza with restaurants and bars and music playing.  We chose one of the open-air restaurants and ordered a “tasty beverage”.

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After a delicious dinner we did a little night walking around the plaza.  One of the cafes was named Rock-a-Billy Cafe and there was rich American country music eminating from the musical group on the inside.  Riga is really a beautiful city at night and except for the architecture you would think that you were in any upscale city in the USA.  We headed for the hotel and looked forward to a good night’s sleep and an exciting Day 7.

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Day 4 Again: The Baltic Sea

While we were on the Curonian Spit we got some good views of the Baltic Sea.  Curiously, the coast looks alot like the west coast of the US.  But how many of us have ever had the chance to see for ourselves.  Well here it is–The beautiful Baltic Sea.

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And then there is the beach on a nice sunny day.

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Kind of makes you want to ditch the bike and take the plunge.

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Day 5: Klaipeda, Lithuania, to Riga, Latvia. Hill of Crosses.

We spent the night in Klaipeda and had a good evening walking around town and the harbor.  This morning we biked 25 miles to Palanga then transferred on to our bus and headed for Riga, Latvia.  But on the way we visited one of the truely interesting sites that we saw along the way.  The Hill of Crosses located outside of the town of Siauliai, Lithuania,  has a very unique history and its future looks to be the same.

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After the third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire.  Poles and Lithuanians unsuccessfully rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863.  These two uprisings are connected with the beginnings of the hill, as families could not locate bodies of perished rebels, they started putting up symbolic crosses in place of a former hill fort.

Most recently, the site took on a special significance during the years 1944-1990 when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union.  Continuing to travel to the Hill, Lithuanians left their tributes of crosses to demonstrate their alligiance to their original identity, religion and heritage.  The Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses and bulldozed the site at least three times including as recently as 1963 and 1973.

In 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses, declaring it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice.  In 2000 a Franciscan hermitage was opened nearby.  The hill remains under nobody’s jurisdiction; therefore people are free to build crosses as they see fit.

In the 1800’s there were over 3000 crosses on the Hill. In 1922 there were only 50.  When destroyed by the Russians in the 60’s and 70’s there were several thousand.   After a count in 2006, over 400,000 crosses were found.  Today hundreds of visitors come to the site and plant crosses each day.  I’m sure there are over 500,000 there today.  It is a truely unique place.  Enjoy your tour.

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Blog issues

I hope that you are receiving the blogs via email.

We are also aware that the site is not allowing comments.  We haven’t figured out why.

Stay tuned for that one.

Also as a reminder, if you click on any of the blog pictures, it will enlarge them for better viewing.

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Baltics: Day 4 Scenic bike ride–Nida to Klaipeda on Curonian Spit

This morning we awoke to a beautiful day.  Our ride today would cover 38 miles along the coast of the Curonian Spit which separated the Lagoon from the Baltic Sea (see route map).  The start of the route was on a bike path that hugged the coast line.

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Our first stop was a hill along the coast.  We climbed to the top to get a beautiful view of the Baltic.

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This sign showed where we were.  Our location on the hill is the red area in the lower right-hand corner.  This was the Parnidis Landscape Reserve.

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Georgie told our guide, Romas, what a good time she was having.  She’s so cute.

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As we continued our biking we started to ride on a bike path through the woods.  It was beautiful and refreshing.  After several miles we stopped at another site to view the Baltic.  In the parking lot there was a girl who had backed her car up and was offering various coffee blends to the tourists.  Very unusual but an interesting idea.

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After a little hot coffee we climbed up the dunes to a viewing point on top.

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We biked a few more miles through the woods and it was time for lunch.  Oh, yeah, dessert too.  Yummm!.  Must maintain your strength when biking.

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After lunch we biked to the harbor at the end of the Spit and borded a ferry to take us across the Lagoon to Klaipeda, the main seaport of Lithuania.  At our hotel, Georgie put together another great Happy Hour.

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And after another great dinner we  turned in for a good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow we head for Latvia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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