|Onward,into Latvia...we had intended to stop in Siauliai but when we got to the bus station the clerk said that the only bus to Riga out of Siauliai would be at 2 am...Bon and Mari still wanted to chance getting something else, but Tim is not the adventurous one and since one was leaving in 7 minutes and the direct bus to Riga in 12, I made my decision(power play?) and got a ticket to Riga. The other 2 then decided to stay as a "group", and off we went on the worst 6 hr. bus trip - packed(people were standing), no AC, and at the tail end of the bus...the driver did not really stop for WC duties for 4 hours! Of course we had worse in Asia, but this was not what we expected in any part of Europe!
To top it off, Latvia is flat, lots of fallow land, small farmsteads everywhere, and did I mention FLAT and fallow and filling in with scrub willow & poplar & birch and flat. Many fir and pine woods - not forest, since these are planted in "plots", like 50-200 acres...and flat!
Today, we went to War of the Worlds...everything here is expensive, this movie was $6 US, we almost didn't go but...tomorrow we will be heading to the coast(Baltic) for the day...
Ventspils Free Port day trip, nice to see the tourists again and the beach scene...wow! What a great people watching place that was! Did a boat trip up and down the harbor and went into the museum, very different...what amazes me is that the arrow points found in excavations along the Venta River(major S. to N. river) are so very similar to ones found in N. America, flint/obsidion with similar shape for attachment to arrows. Evidence found indicates that soon after the last ice age which sculpted this region, man moved in hunting for food, fishing down the river and has lived here ever since.
The area has been influenced by Indo Europeans - Russians/Germanic tribes, some Scandinavian. Mari her: The museum Tim mentions above is in the Castle of the Livornian Knights. They were major players in the Baltic Region during the middle of the last millenium. Also the Duchy of Curonia, who's Duke James actually established colonies in Gambia, West Africa, and Tobago, in the Caribbean. He didn't hang on to these places for long as the Dutch and later the Brittish took these places from him. Still for awhile the Baltic States were a major force in the western world. Ventspils has been an important port for a thousand years.