Sunday, December 17, 2006
The weather here has been unseasonably mild. Today seemed more like April. It was the first time we'd had any sustained sunshine in weeks. Lots of people were out walking with bemused looks on their faces. Pretty nice for 57 latitude in December.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
It's been pretty much endless gray days here in Latvia as northern Europe continues its mildest weather in years. The bears are confused about hibernating, the birds are confused about flying, and the bushes are confused about budding. This is Seattle weather for December. We're usually blanketed in snow for the duration by now. I much prefer the white, sunny world to this damp, gray one. With less than eight hours of daylight right now we need all the help we can get keeping our spirits up. So, it's pleasing to look at pictures from last summer to remember what sunshine and flowers look like.
Friday, December 01, 2006
President Bush was in Riga earlier this week for the NATO summit. It was a holiday here and all the Old Town core streets were restricted. I think the President likes Latvia. It's one of the few countries that still welcomes him. The Cold War didn't end that long ago here. Now with the poisoning of Litvenenko in London, the world is getting a taste of the Russian approach to perceived international threats that the Latvians know only too well.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I know this is probably hard to believe, I could hardly believe it myself when I looked out the window this morning, but these were the actual colors, not enhanced in post-processing, only resized and sharpened a bit. The top one got a little treatment in NoiseNinja. I really like the little Fuji F30.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The Latvian President bites her lip.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands...and her hat.
Since we are kind of on the subject of visits by famous former heads-of-state, we might as well include a current royal one who visited us last spring. It's certainly much easier to get up close to these folks in Latvia compared to the States. I guess Queen Beatrix isn't seen as much of a threat. Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to visit. I'll bet that one will be a little tougher to approach so closely, but we'll try. She'll be in the same spot as the foto above, laying flowers on the Freedom Monument in Riga.
Monday, October 16, 2006
I think we need a break from fall fotos, so I'll put up some of Boris Yeltsin who visited us in Cesis a few weeks ago. Apparently he worked on a collective farm near here as a young man and wanted to see it one last time. Here he gingerly descends the stairs with his wife. The man over his left shoulder is the Prime Minister of Latvia, sometimes known as “Shrek”.
Latvia has a complex relationship with Russia and Russians. Almost 40% of the population are native Russian speakers, (though not here in Cesis), the result of 50 years of being the same color on the map as the old Soviet Union. Still, the folks were pretty warm to old Boris. They realize he contributed to Latvia's independence by not trying to prevent it. There were a few humorous comments in the crowd about his heavy-drinking days, but overall, they enjoyed seeing him.
With his wife.
Lecturing the Cesis Mayor.
I wish I could have that much hair at 75.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
My wife Inga and I walk almost every day, but Saturday is market day so it's always fun to see all the folks who come in from the country villages to buy and sell at the outdoor market.
I especially like to capture the faces of the older people who have seen and suffered so much. They are a fading generation, the likes of which we won't see much again after they've passed.
It says, "only homemade".
Sometimes, they look so frustrated and tired. I know their lives haven't been easy, living through war and the Soviet times. I hope they believe the future will be better. In most ways, it already is. Still, pensions are small. It's amazing to me to see their enterprise and energy. They're tough people.