Tag Archives: Riga

Overnight Bus to Warsaw

The next stop on this haphazard Eurotrip is Warsaw via my first overnight bus in Europe. I was eager to see what the conditions were like as the buses have been pretty amazing so far.

I’ve used a few different companies to get from point A to B over the past few weeks, and they all offer similar services for decent prices. They’re definitely cheaper than catching the train – with or without the expensive Eurail passes.

The buses are comfortable and usually not fully booked. Ingeniously, the aisle seats actually separate from the window seats and slide toward the aisle to create a bit more space between passengers. This is helpful as I found the seats were average in size but the occupants were larger (much taller and carrying more bulk than in southeast Asia). Many of the buses have wifi aboard, but so far this has been spotty for me. Still, the buses are new-ish and cleaner than their Asian counterparts by a long shot.

My bus departed from Vilnius at about 10:30 p.m. I’ve been warned about the sketchy nature of bus stations in general by European friends, but I haven’t had any problems so far (except for an interesting interaction with a drunk Estonian). Also, the sun doesn’t set till near 11 p.m. in these parts, so I wouldn’t have to wait in the dark.

Unfortunately, this overnight bus was pretty full and I wasn’t able to snag a lone seat. This made for an uncomfortable night as I couldn’t truly fall asleep with a stranger sitting next to me. I was still in my southeast Asian mindset and was very careful about having my backpack in my lap or resting my legs on it so it couldn’t be stolen. I didn’t expect any problems during this trip, but when you don’t acknowledge the possibility, that’s when opportunists strike.

The seven-hour bus ride from Vilnius to Warsaw was uneventful. We called on a few stations, but since it was night outside there wasn’t much to see. It would’ve been great to travel this route during the day and see out the window. In this respect, I’m very much still a kid who likes to watch the scenery go by.

Early the following morning, we pulled into Warsaw, and the enormity of the city and its buildings amazed me. Having come from Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, Warsaw seemed like a futuristic metropolis. Even though I hadn’t slept much all night, I was wide awake and ready to explore this shiny new city.

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Filed under Poland, Transportation

Road to Vilnius

After a couple glorious days in Riga, I’m off again. Next Stop? Vilnius, Lithuania. What awaits me there? Who knows . . . but isn’t that the point?

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Filed under Latvia, Lithuania

Riga Shines through the Darkness

What a difference a day makes! My second day in Riga started off pretty bleak. The sky was overcast, and the weather was cool. I had to wrap up in a couple of layers because I didn’t have the proper outerwear to combat the chill.

Despite this inconvenience, I still joined the walking tour to get a better sense of the city. The tour took us through the Central Market, which is partly housed in old zeppelin hangars. Here you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, bread, cakes, clothes and souvenirs.

We took a walk through an area of town that was heavily controlled by the Soviet Union after World War II. During that time, a large number of Soviets came to Latvia, and today, Russian is the second most common language in Riga after Latvian.

The tour took us by the Freedom Monument and the National Opera House. The monument stands in honor of the soldiers who died during the Latvian War of Independence in the early 1920s. We also visited St Peters Church in the Old Town.

By the end of the tour, I felt like I knew the city a lot more. It is beautiful despite some of the horrible things it has endured. Its people have survived and thrived in the face of difficult conditions. But, it still remembers its past and uses it to succeed in the future.

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Filed under Attraction, Latvia