Arriving to Riga
Riga Travel Blog› entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
We woke up at 7am to get the good light. We just finished showering and we are heading to Kryziu Kalnas. The Hill of Crosses is a site of pilgrimage and it is located around 12 km north of Siauliai. I will publish the photos soon! ;)
We got there around 7.45 am but there were too many clouds! We had to wait until 9am to take a decent photo but finally we could take a couple of pictures with good light. The place is quite impressive! In Lonely Planet says there are around 400.000 crosses but it was published 3 years ago. By now I am sure there will be even more! Next to it there are 3 or 4 souvenir stores where you can buy a cross and place it on the hill! We even saw a cross with the Catalan flag! :) It seems to be that the in 1993 Pope John Paul II visited Kryziu Kalnas (Hill of Crosses) declaring it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice.
Poles and Lithuanians rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863 and as families could not locate their perished relatives, they started putting crosses. In 1918 Lithuania again declared it independence and during this time Kryziu Kalnas was used by Lithuanians to pray for their relatives lost during the wars of independence. The Hill took on special significance during the Soviet Union occupation from 1944-1990. It was used as a venue of peaceful resistance !
Around 9.30 we got back to the car and drove for 130 kms until the Riga Airport. We had to drop the car in Terminal 3. There is not tourism info at the airport, but the people in the flight info desk helped giving us directions on how to get to the city. There is an Airport Shuttle next to the taxis stop. While we were waiting to get the shuttle a young taxi driver told us about his services. For 9 LTVs he could take us anywhere we wanted in the city! We finally got into the taxi and this young guy started giving us the best tour around the city! :) By the way, he belongs to the BalticTaxi fleet, which is from AirBaltic, they even use the some colors! It seems to be that they started operating a couple of weeks ago. This guy said that most of taxis in the city rip you off big time! I have to admit the car was amazing; it even had TV screens in the back!
We got to our hotel and the receptionists were very kind and friendly, although they had no sense of humor! This morning was quite cloudy, so when we were doing our check-in I told them: “Listen, could you call the weather man and request we have a sunny day tomorrow?” Damn, they didn’t like my joke :) ohh well, different culture, different sense of humor! :)
Today we have spent all day walking along the old town, which is quite amazing! I would have never expected a city like this. It is beautiful, fun, clean and plenty of points of interest! We ended having dinner at an Indian Restaurant next to St Peter’s Church! Which was absolutely delicious! J Right after dinner we went to Dome Square and we had some drinks while listening to some live music! So much going on!!!