Valmiera, Latvia.

So I’ve been in Valmiera for about 4 days and I’ve been too busy to write anything new. But I finally tore myself away, from these crazy amazing people I met in the past few days, to write something for you to read.

My flight left for Riga on the 27th of August around 3pm. It was a very nice flight for a budget airline (Wizzair). At the airport I was given a very nice surprise on my arrival. 3 of my friends were waiting for me when I got out and I have to say, I was really happy to see them there. One of them lives in Riga and the other is my housemate in Valmiera thus I had a travel buddy with me for the 2.5 hour ride to Valmiera that was still to come. We took a taxi to the city centre of Riga and we went for a walk on our way to dinner. I immediately fell in love with the city because it is the perfect mixture of infrastrucutre and nature. There are so many trees in the city that I felt that it’s not the trees that are in the city, but the city is inside the forest. However, I didn’t get to see much because we only walked to the restaurant and back again. The dinner was in a very nice place that I never thought would become one of the best places I went to dinner so far. This places is really small and each corner was decorated differently.There, I ordered a beer made in Valmiera, tho most of the beers in the region, so I heard, comes from Valmiera, because the city/town obviously has its own brewery. Ok back on track! I order chicken for dinner cuz you know, it’s chicken. However, the waitress brought 3 courses for us because that is the Latvian way. Fun fact: Latvians apparently dislikes it when people leave leftover food. After dinner we said our goodbyes and me and my housemate left for Valmiera. All in all, I had a great first day in Latvia.

The next I went to school for introduction and I met the other exchange students as well. The school is really small and it made me think of just the H building of NHTV. We listened to what the student union had to offer and afterwards I had to go talk to the person in charge of my schedule. After some confusion and some changes I have my schedule. After leaving the school, my housemate and I went to walk in the city. Valmiera is beatiful. It is quite small however, with only 20.000 inhabitants. The city is also full of trees and green areas, and there is a river flowing through it.There are forests everywhere and there’s even a way through a forest to go to school from our apartment. I can not imagine a more awesome road to school. I can only imagine how it would be in winter as well. The city also has a mall where most stores a located in. In the city centre you have shops spread out all around and even outside of the centre there are shops hidden away in a corner or behind buildings. It’s probably going to take me another week or 2 to find out more about the location of shops.

The nightlife is weird because I’m not used to such a small town. There is 1 club and 1 dancing bar (not a club, but I think is better than the club) which we went to that night. However, these things are only open from thursday to saturday and closed on the other days. This is defintely going to take some getting used to. In addition, you cannot buy alcohol after 10pm in any store that’s open. Nevertheless, we are erasmus students and we had a really fun time at that bar, which is called “Tinte”

The next day we visited the Valmiera Brewery and had a nice mini golf session as well and afterwards for of us went to this amazing outdoor activity area to have a bit of an adventure. This place was gorgeous. There are basketball courts, vollyball courts, a running track, chillout places and even a playground for kids. However, we went to this activity where there are obstacles above in the trees and you have to get over them and try not to fall but we had safety equipments that kept us safe. We were tied to a cable for in case we did fall we would just be hanging on the rope. At the end of this obstacle course we could zipline across the river and zipline back. The place is amazing and we are definitely going there again. After a nice walk back to the centre aftwards, My housemate and I went to eat at this famous restaurant where we only paid 3 euros for a plate filled with food plus 1 drink. I just love how cheap this country is!

Lastly, after a goodnight’s rest I had a very relaxed sunday where I only went to the movies in the evening and only went to a casino bar (which is also the only place with a pool table) to hangout with some other students and a new mentor we never met before. We ended up staying until 4am. It was super fun and we laughed a lot. And this mentor we met is insane in all the good ways. So as you can imagine, I did not get a goodnight’s sleep again. I’m starting to miss those.

Therefore today will be a “sleep early” day where I will try and go to bed no later than 12am. But now the day is still young and I am going to buy myself a new shirt and a latvian phonenmber. I hope I don’t get the urge to buy beer however. You are not allowed to judge me if you walk around in a place where beer is only 1.14 euros for 0.5 liter!!

Wow, 1.14 euros for beer, no more than 4 euros for a big plate filled with food, 2 euros for a 10 min taxi drive, 3 euros per hour for playing pool, 60 cents for a busticket, 5 euros for the cinema, and 80 cents for drinks and desserts?? These next 4 months are going to be the easiest and the hardest months of my life if you know what I mean? I can’t wait to start school this week and see what the next few weeks are going to bring me and the rest of the erasmus students.

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