I have just finished my meal; chicken goulash with potato mash, broccoli and grapes! Beautifully presented! I have ordered apple pie, I think. I had a sudden loss of confidence in my Latvian as the waiter did with her English. I know that the next three nights will be bushwalking meals – hot water poured over dried meat and vegetables to produce a gourmet meal; well perhaps at best a sustaining one.
Coming down in the train took my thoughts back to last year – seeing the flattish landscape of pasture broken by regular forests and the typical rural buildings. I am very much looking forward to getting some kilometres behind me.
I have received so many good wishes over the last few days. It is particularly encouraging to read the blog comments after a day of walking, so do try to overcome the technical difficulties involved. Thanks particularly to Sandra and Imants; and Sandra seemed to manage to make her comment whilst driving in Sweden. Would love to see you again – last time was in Dinsberg before Christmas 1991 or 92!, though Matīss was with us for a couple of months earlier this year. He left us a book, ‘Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed’ by Jared Diamond [I just googled it to get the full title]. How can Matīss be a fan of Top Gear after reading a book like that? It is a fantastic though very worrying book.
Imants and I were neighbours, and shared a bathroom, at the Latvian Family Camp (3x3) near Mittagong last summer. His high level IT skills obviously made blog commenting an easy matter. However, I could not exist without my paper maps. I had hours of pleasure planning the walk – trying to find a reasonably direct route but by the most minor tracks or roads possible. Sort of the opposite of where GPS might take you. Actually my mobile office has a GPS function but I have deliberately not activated it.
The apple pie, though exquisitely presented etc., was a mistake tho’ the kilojoules will help tomorrow. I must get to Rimi next door before it closes at 11. I need some packet soups and porridge for the days ahead.
Daugavpils is Latvia's second largest city – over 100,000 people, with a very large proportion of Russian speakers. My first impressions have been positive. The city centre is clean, quiet and attractive, particularly the parkland.
I must send this off to Juris. Anita is dining with Selga and Juris tonight. I will have an early start – I have an interview at 07:30 with a local newspaper; from the ones on offer in the supermarket, I assume it is Latgales Laiks as all the rest seem to be Russian language.
I will try to post a copy of my 'business' card that Anita arranged to have printed today. The first card I have had for at least 20 years. It describes my current occupation very well.
Ar labu nakti!