Latvia

Latvia is very cold in the winter.  Fortunately, they tell me it was a "warm" winter, and at any rate I missed the worst of it.  Riga, the capital (and the home of about half the population) is an old Hanseatic League city--that means that the most interesting buildings are not castles (maybe a few churches), but the houses and guild-halls of merchants.  Unfortunately, the Old Town is full of narrow streets and small squares, which means that getting a decent picture of any of these buildings without a wide-angle lens is nearly impossible.  I think the picture below is a row of merchant houses in what I think is the Market Square, but I'm not entirely sure of that.




This next picture is Dagnika Girniuse, my translator in a small town in Latvia.  She was really sweet as well as speaking great English.




These other pictures are from Daugavpils, a mostly Russian city in the southeast of the country.  On the left is Agnese Locmele, my lovely, talented, and good-humored translator there.  On the right is a huge Napoleanic fortress outside Daugavpils--it's rather stunning in its scope (and there's no way to photograph much of it at once except from the air), but it's Russian and therefore neglected by the Latvians.