“When I arrived in February it was.. I really like snow, so I loved for fact that there was snow everywhere. But it was very quiet. People were not outside. I didn’t know this coffee shop [where interview was held] existed until 2 months ago. And, I think, one of the big things is that you get to know people more. And then you see people on the streets in summer. In spring you see more color. There are flowers everywhere. And it changes completely. And then you kind of bump into people. You see people on the streets all the time. I see people I have met, and we talked to them for 5-10 minutes and that is nice. But at the beginning it is a very different feeling. It felt like there was no one on the streets. Actually, when it is cold, and it snows everyone stays at home.”
Have you had a chance to enjoy a night life?
“I think Riga has definitely got a big night life. I think it has got too much of a night life. I’d like to see Riga have more cultural tourism. I think it is quite sad that it is just.. One day I went to Riga. I got there at 9 am on Saturday and from 9 am to 12 It is the most beautiful I have seen Old Town in Riga. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I went to a coffee shop and just sat down. I had work to do so I did work. And just walking around the architecture you can really appreciate it. Between 12am and 2pm when first tourists arrive, and you get those bicycle bars. And it is when you see this first bicycle bar, then you know right, it is now gonna be people getting drunk all day. Which is fair enough, there are a lot of capitals that do that. I think Old Town in Riga has a lot of potential where it could just be cultural tourism and kind of bringing back the night life of it or trying to have it civil as it not everything at once at the same time. It will be really nice to see that. There is a lot that people miss when they go to Riga. I mean... Three Brothers is a beautiful architecture. You can go to the top of Science Academy. It is expensive but it is nice. You can go to Holocaust and Occupation Museum. I think people only find out about these through friends who have already been to Riga, not through advertising. I only knew because I went with the group. Without the group I wouldn’t have accidentally found it. I also didn’t know that New City Centre was a thing until a month ago. My favorite walk is along the canal because you are kind of in Old Town but you are not in Old Town and it is just stunning. I really like the architecture of Riga. I think it is a thing of an Old Town. As much as tourists can get really annoying the architecture in Old Town... I kind of know that streets are not clean after a while, but architecture is so stunning. This is what I mean that they have to stop letting the tourism of alcohol/stag do’s and hen do’s.
Did you have a chance to enjoy nature here?
It is beautiful. I should have gone to nature more, but I am afraid of ticks. On my first month here we went crosscountry skiing. The woods here was stunning. I love woods and I love snow. For me the nature here was perfect. The tall kind of timber trees. And you are on the road from Daugavpils to Riga or anywhere. They have just got trees absolutely everywhere. I thought we had really good landscape in the UK and we do. But I didn’t realise there were places where it is just forest. In Canada or in the US but not in the Europe. Not in the Baltics either. It is kind of what I think of when I think of Finland or Sweden, but the forest here is really beautiful.
What surprised you in a good way in Daugavpils?
It is nice practice language here without politics in it. I strongly believe that language and politics should never be linked together which has.. you know.. a language is something in its own right. Russian is a very beautiful and pretty language. It shouldn’t be attached to someone who is trying to steal it from native speakers. So, it was nice to speak Russian again. Because for the past year it was very.. I mean I think everyone has gone through it. It is been difficult for myself thinking: “ Should I continue learning Russian? Is it right?” But being here.. People are still speaking Russian. It doesn’t mean anything. It is just a language. It has been really nice to see that. People just carry on. People speak the language right now. It is not the one’s fault that you speak it.