CRF: Latvia

"CRF" is not a crime show you've never heard of, it stands for "Cutting Room Floor." Below are some of our favorite pics that never made the blog. We figured we'd reminisce a little while we're home for a visit. (Back in Europe April 26th).
During the Soviet era, the Russian Olympic bobsled team travelled down to Sigulda, Latvia for training. While we were there, a group of teenagers walked around town in their matching red jumpsuits that said RUSSIA across the back. We never tried out the tourist bobsled track, but we did a lot of bowling at the alley above the grocery store.
The slow food market in Riga, understandably, didn't have much fresh produce. These apples were sad and frozen, but the napkin thrown on top seemed to be a truly inspired choice.
The Christmas tree lighting in Valmiera really marked the beginning of the holiday season for us and the town's market the next morning was our first attempt at gift shopping. More snow had fallen overnight and only the really game vendors showed up. Most everyone that was there lined up to pick apples out of the back of a minivan or queue at the frozen fish truck. The thought of making a lamp out of one of these legs occurred to one of us, but bringing it back to the family run restaurant we were staying above would have been awkard.
On a drive to Aluksne. Ice hockey is huge in Latvia and we saw more than a few basketball courts converted into ice rinks for the winter. This was the only puck action we saw and they were really going at it.
A plate of Latvian food. Trying to avoid egg-battered fish smothered in cheese or just about anything pork related, we found ourselves turning to slaws. Hot cabbage, cold cabbage, green, white or red. In the foreground is a scoop of "fur hat" which was a savory parfait, basically, made of chopped herring, egg salad, shredded beets and carrots. The colors were always so vivid and took away some of our pained yearnings for fresh vegetables.
Driving around Latvia, churches like this would pop up roadside. So many of them looked abandoned, boarded up. No matter how small a village was, there was a large, beautiful place of worship nestled into the woods.
The Riga market was the most impressive we've ever seen - still is. The first big snowfall had just covered the city and, inside, people visited the seed stands to dream about and plan their springtime gardens.
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