"Woo hoo the first blog post" I hear you cry…or maybe not as to be fair we haven't even been away a week yet, and writing a blog post about our time in Riga and St Petersburg feels like we are cheating somewhat as it has all been terribly civilised so far, and we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are at the start of a larger, backpacking adventure, as opposed to an extended European mini-break. As such will try and keep this first post short and sweet so we don't lose everyone at the first hurdle!
Riga (Latvia) was absolutely beautiful and we were blessed with beautiful weather as we wandered around the city - still a bit shell-shocked that we were actually away after all the planning and farewells - and took in its beautiful architecture, drinks at the city's highest rooftop bar, good food and wine and even half a day at a beach just outside of Riga - Jurmala, the Baltic's version of the French Riviera…And amongst all of this, not one drunken stag-do gathering in sight, but then we were there during the week, maybe a weekend visit tells a different story.
Then the overnight train from Riga to St Petersburg - a 13-hour journey which we started with a very typical dinner in the dining carriage: pickled herring, rye bread, and a shot of vodka.
And now we are in St Petersburg, which so far has been fantastic - with its canals and impressive historic buildings, it feels like a mix of Venice, Paris and Rome. We've been brushing up on our art knowledge with a day at the incredible Hermitage State Museum - learning our Monets from our Manets - and we are going to see Swan Lake tonight at the Hermitage Theatre.
So far, so civilised…it's fair to say we have very much eased ourselves in to this trip, staying in decent hotels and enjoying ourselves on this 'mini-break' part….I'm sure once we start the backpacking proper on day 7 - this Tuesday with the first leg of the Trans-Mongolian railway trip - it will all feel very different!
So that's it from us, will now leave you with some vital stats:
- Number of impressive mullets seen so far - 30+
- Number of knee-high, white leather boots worn by locals - 24
- Number of times Simon has said: "it's so like Norway" - at least once a day
- Number of times we ask eachother: "has it sunk in yet?" - about twice a day but that is decreasing…
Unni Hi darlings, So far - brilliant, might want to go there ourselves!! (especially as it is so like Norway) Lots and lots of love Mum Unni xxxxxxxxxxx
Lydia Yes, agree with you Unni, tempted to go too ! However, vr curious now to see & hear from you both on Mongolia... ! Will you stay in a Yurt with a mongolian flia ? they can be as rough as their climate & environment, but oh what an experience! for their nomadic traditions are fast disappearing. So hope you can make the most of it. Huge X hugs, Mum/Lydia - xxx
Jeffers Just in Singapore airport on my way back from Indonesia. It's amazing how much it's like Norway.
Hannah Did you get some boots as a souvenir? Missing you! So good to read your blog xx
Becca Thomas Mullets, white leather boots.... what's not to like?! Lovely to hear your news, keep it coming. Missing you lots, take care of each other xx
Matt Kendall I must say I am very disappointed by the lack of blog posts. Anyone would think you are in outer Mongolia or something...
Vicky Hartley Hi all! Thanks for the comments, lovely to read and know that people are actually reading this (and not just our mums :)....just back from Gobi desert in Mongolia, next blog post within next few days hopefully once we are in Beijing :) love to all xxx
Lydia Great photos - Look forward to the next chapter from Beijing . Huge hugs, xxx Mum/Lydia .
Heather VdB Jewell Definitely want to hear more! Keep blogging, and keep having fun! xx Heather