My trip to Latvia

Just returned from my trip to Latvia, where I visited Ketija Krama. She was an exchange student in Denmark last year.

It was quite interesting to get a perspective on how different lifes we can have – even within the borders of the European Union.
To make the departure as stressfull as possible, I managed to forget my passport at home – but still I managed to get off the train in Nyborg, have my dad drive to Nyborg with my passport and then I got on a later train.

Anyways, I landed in Riga and was greeted by Ketija and her aunt. We went to the apartment where Ketija and her parents lived.
I will try to propagate some of my impressions. Let me state clearly that I don’t want to harm anybody – my observations will seem very generalizing and are not necessarily true.

My two first days there were spent at Ketija’s school. The school system in Latvia is Gymnasium-like, which I truly like. The student-teacher-relationship seemed very formal. Ketija is in the Danish-class, and the teacher was fabulous. I got to talk to some of the students in that class and I tried to explain the Muhammad-crisis to them. They were good listeners and afterwards, we debated.

In another class, the students had to take a test. There was nothing for me to do, so I read a book about Mavriks Vulfsons.
Every now and then I looked up and realized that all the students had little notes for the test – trying to hide it. Afterwards, they told me they cheated, but it was legitimate because “everyone else did”.
Talking about cheating, there was another funny episode. There was a sign inside bus stating that there was a maximum of 15 passengers and that everyone had to sit in a seat. Ketija told me that if there were more than 15 passengers, the bus driver would usually just put the extra money into his pocket and take the risk :-) One day where she was riding that bus, the police was patroling on the highway, and the bus driver yelled “Crouch” in Russian. The police didn’t see the standing passengers and the bus could pass.

I also got to see the city of Ugale. It was Ketija’s home town and had a lot of meaning to her. We went to a school party on Friday night. The alcohol was very cheap (yay) and Ketija and I went dancing with her friends. On Saturday we also got to walk around the school and town.

Riga, the capital, was also very nice. We got to see The Occupation Museum and other places around. I liked the Tea House in Vermanes garden (where you could drink tea and fall asleep).
Latvia is a wonderful country. It’s developing at an extremely fast pace, and has great potential. The people are a little shy, but nice. I could actually see myself going there for more than a vacation at some point.

Go there! AirBaltic has some cheap flights.

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