Driving back to Riga and almost missing the plane

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Driving back to Riga

I guess we should have started our trip from Elva in Estonia to Riga airport a little bit earlier but it is always easier to say that when you know everything afterwards. We left Sunday afternoon at 2 pm and our flight from Riga to Brussels was planned to leave at 6 pm.

The weather had gotten warmer which wasn’t good, I much rather had preferred to drive in the cold that we had the whole week. It was now around 0 degrees Celsius and that meant that the snow was melting and the window got all covered with dirk all the time.

Riga Airport

We drove quiet fast until Valga, well almost all the way because I got stopped by the police which took some time. The road all the way to the border was almost empty of cars so we made good progress. The same was the situation almost all the way until Valmiera 70 km from Riga.

From Valmiera we had lot more traffic and especially when we entered the motorway 50 km before Riga. At this point I felt that we had good time; we would be in the airport at least 1h 30 min before the flight. Just at the entry of Riga on the motorway there was a sign stating that we should leave for the airport to the right and there should be 71 km to it.

I remembered the ring around Riga when we arrived; it had taken 30 min to drive and it was an enormous detour.

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We were only 10 km from Riga and the airport was only 14 km on the other side of the city. My math was simple 24 km was shorter than 71 km, so I decided to go through the city; besides it was Sunday so how much traffic could there be.

We came only 3 km in to the city before everything got blocked. There was a major road construction along the main road. I behaved nicely for a while until I looked at my watch. The time was running fast. I started to get nervous; we had now only 1h 30 min until the flight had to leave. I decided to have a break for it in real Brussels style; I just followed one of the trams with brought me faster into the city. I soon got a long chain of fast followers. The city traffic was totally crazy; there were cars everywhere and they all had good time, which I hadn’t. I made some slalom exercises and moved like a rally driver in between all cars. I had a lot of yellow lights and soon got in contact with the River that run through the city.  I knew I had to cross the river but not where and how. We had at this moment less than 20 min to the final check in time and I had no idea on where we were.

There were absolutely no signs anywhere. I tried to ask some people but no one wanted to help us or dared to talk English. I kept on driving towards west hoping for a sign at some moment but I had no luck. I final got in contact with a policeman that could tell that I had to go the left. We had at this moment less than 15 min to final check in; and I had to deliver my rental car as well. Finally I saw a sign with 2 km to the airport but a police car emerged in front of us, so I had to respect the speed limits again.

We arrived at the airport 10 min before the last check in time; I dropped Kaija off with her bag so she at least could make the flight. I hurried to the parking and just dropped the car, probably leaving some stuff of ours in the car. I ran with my bag on the back to the car rental office and delivered the papers and the key in the drop box and hurried again to the check in where I arrived 2 min before they closed, at this time I was happy for my gold level at SAS. At that point I didn’t feel the cold of the Baltic States anymore.  That was too much - never again - I said again.

alyssa_ob says:
That was stressful just reading about it!
Posted on: Feb 16, 2009
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