The next day I met Manuel, a college in my doctoral program. We had a walk through the city and went for a nice lunch in a fish restaurant with a local kitchen. We then went to the Bergs shopping center. It was totally empty. We saw there an advertisement for skiing in Innsbruck or Salzburg. That was obviously very amusing for our Tyrolean ski instructor. Then we went to the nice tee house again and … I again toke no picture. The next few days we had lecture at the University of Latvia. At the last day we were at the central market again and had some nice and cheap local food again. When I went to the post office the send home some post cards, I saw some nice buildings and toke a few pictures.
Today I had a little city walk. But I had to walk in parts, because after one hour waking it started to get cold. I walked through the old town to the freedom monument. On that way I passed the powder tower. After that I walked the city canal park along. There I was in very nice tee house. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture from the tee house. Finally I walked back to my room.
I guess if you are not Russian or from Scandinavia, you might never come on the stupid idea to visit Riga in the winter. However, when I made my registration at the Latvia University, I know I had to go to Riga twice a year. But actually I cannot complain, because the temperatures are very cozy for January. My colleges, which started last year, told me that they had -25°C. So I’m luck, cause it is only -10°C.
The first two days were not very nice. The sky was cloudy and that covered the city in gray. Hence, I the photos in day light are boring, but Riga at night has its own charm. I stray around the city, from the train station to the central market and finally to the creepy Moscow district.
Day 19 and 20: Ulaanbaatar-Beijing
Catch a train at 7am is what we call „unchristian“. Fortunately we could have a nap on the train. After leaving Ulaanbaatar the train made its way up to 1400m, before it went town and crossed the spur of the Gobi Dessert.
At the evening we reached the boarder and had a stop for two hours in Erlian, while the undercarriage of the wagons were changed from standard to wide track rails. After Russia and Mongolia we enjoyed to be in China again. Walking along the main road and watching the people sitting outside having barbeque, playing cards or simply having a nice chat.
As we woke up the next day, the landscape has changed completely. No more step and dessert, now it was green and it started to get more and more hilly, the closer we came to Beijing. Two hours before Beijing the mountains began. After having wide an flat area for so long, be enjoyed driving along the valleys, crossing them over bridges and driving through long tunnels. I’d like to say, that that was one of the most interesting parts of the whole Trans-Mongolian.
Unbelievable, after crossing whole Asia from the west to the east, we reached Beijing. Now that it was time to leave the train I felt a little bit sad. Maybe not only because of leaving the train. No, that also means that our vacation is almost over. Tomorrow we go back to Austria.