domingo, 3 de agosto de 2014

Day 11 - Riga - Rome - Lisbon

Dear all,


I am writting this post on the Syphax flight from Rome to Lisbon. Syphax, what's that? I will explain later on...

The day started with the alarm clock at 6h12AM, bahhhhh! I needed to be at the airport close to 8AM to catch the AirBaltic flight to Rome at 9h20.

It is about 30 minutes walk from Marta's home to the bus that would take us to the airport. I say "us", because Marta came all the way till the airport! Thank you very much for that Marta :)

At that time in the morning you basically see two types of persons. The ones that must go to work or travel and the ones that did not finished partying the day before, afterall it is a Saturday night!

The ride to the airport takes around 30 minutes, and there is where the mess starts! All the flights from AirBaltic have the same check-in counters and the line is huge! After the check-in done (I wanted to dispach my bag all the way to Lisbon), it was time to head for the security to access the gates. Well, this on is a huge huge huge HUGE line! You see some people passing just in front of you and you have no idea if they are going to your flight, or another with a later boarding time. Well, a total mess and Riga airport. They have a fast track security line, but you have to pay 10 Euro to access it. Well, my boarding time was at 8h50 and the departure time was at 9h20. It was my time to pass through security at 9h18, and guess what, of course I needed to "bip"!! Bah, but I have nothing with me, NOTHING! Well, you must go back and put your shoes through the scanner. Well folks, no time for argue or even breath, let me move, I must be in Lisbon by tomorrow!

I was not the last to board the aircraft though :)

Marta, see you anytime soon? :)

Turning into active runway @ RIX
Cruising somewhere over Europe :)

Flight was bumpy on the approach to Rome, but not a big deal.

Arriving into Fiumicino airport is equal to saying "welcome to Italy, we are trying our best to be efficient". It turns out that the aircraft approached the gate (no Marshal neither VDGS - Visual Docking Guidance System, an Automatic system that helps to guide the pilots to the right parking spot while in front of the designated gate). The bus were there waiting, but we needed to wait for avout 10 minutes inside the aircraft for the staircases to be operated by the ground staff.

Well, not everything is bad, there is free internet in the terminal, so I comnected to check if Chiara had responded to my yesterday Facebook message. Chiara is a couchsurfer I've met, when I organized an event with Ricardo Serrao to whatch the world cup soccer final (Germany vs Argentina). Chiara was in Lisbon that day and she joined us in the bar where we saw Germany winning the world title.

There was almost 50 people on that event, so it was difficult to talk to everyone. It turned out that at the end of the event, I knew that she was from Italy, so I asked if she would be in Rome on the 3rd August. It turns out that she was, so we decided to meet this time in Rome.

I have been in Rome twice, so instead of sightseeing by myself, why not to meet Chiara?

We ended up going to Giovanni's house to have a meal, great!

Because I was in a hurry, I took the Leonardo Express, the fastest commection into Roma Termini. It costs 14€ Euro, one way. If you plan to come to Rome and you are not in a rush, there are two options (slower train that costs 8€, and also bus). Not sure about the bus price though.

Peter Lamb heading to Rome city center


Well, at Roma Termini I went to Sao Giovanni, which is 3 or 4 stops away from Rome Termini by underground. Ticket valid for 100 minutes costs 1,5€.

Ticket bending machine for underground in Rome

I met Chiara at the exit of the underground and we head to Giovanni's house where should be Chiara's boyfriend, Giuseppe and Liina, Giovanni's girfriend from Estonia. Giovanni would join us in some minutes. I wanted to buy some wine to contribute for the lunch, but we ended up not going to any shop. Sorry guys :)

Guiseppe and almost everyone's help ended up cooking some pasta with Zuchini, tomato, salad, mushrooms, carrots, cheese and gelato for dessert! Needless to say almost, but Giovanni is a couchsurfer as well.

So folks, Rome was not Fontana di Trevi, Spagna, Coliseum or Vatican shots, but yes an Italian gathering to spend some good time together! Thank you very very much for the hospitality, shared moments and stories (very cool atmosphere indeed)!! You are all WELCOME at my place in Lisbon! Super cool couples both of you :)

Liina, Giovanni, Peter Lamb, Chiara and Guiseppe

Time flies when you are having a good time, so soon was time to head back into the airport. I thought about looking for the bus but I ended up catching the fast train again.

Well, sitting next to me there were two friends, one Portuguese and another Norwegian. They were gathering some friends in Rome for a reunion, as they have been studying in the USA. In a few words, the Norwegian guy is on his third year of college to become a doctor and meanwhile he works in the hospital, where he get payed 40 dollars per hour and double of that after the standard 8hours. The portuguese is about to finish law school in Portugal and then will get a non payed job for the internishp. Something must be wrong in here!!!


Well, now the Shyphax story:

I booked this one way flight from Riga to Lisbon with a long stopover in Rome. On Tuesday, TAP sends me a mail saying that there would be an equipment change on that flight and it would be now operated by BHAir. Cannot say that I am an aviation freak, bit the truth is that i used to read quite a lot about it amd necer heared of such airline. TAP would give me the choice of getting a refund or changing the flight date free of charge. Well, none of the optioms were really options...

When I get (lets say angry, not to say pissed), is that on Friday evening they send another mail saying that there is another equipment change, this time for Shyphax. Never heared of such as well, a Tunisia based airline. Well, I wrote them a mail back, saying that the options were not really options and that they should give the passengers the option of flying some of the Star Aliance Network, or give them some extra miles to shut them up! Fingers crossed now, ahahah.

The thing is that and Equipment change, quite OK with that, but the crew is also not TAP, cause this plane is on lease (wet lease, or dry lease, I never remember which one is with crew and without). Well, my hopes of seeing Monica a couchsurfer/cabin crew at TAP on my flight need to wait for another chance!

Practice your Arabic! :)
Lear how to say Life-Vest, may be useful one day :)


The beauty of flying Westbound at around sunset, is that you ended up seeing one sunset on ground and a never ending sunset while in flight! Am I two days older?? :)

Sunset :)

The flight is being so far smooth, and we are due to start our decent towards Lisbon.

Is it nice to be back? Yes it is, but, as always, I am ready to be on the move again tomorrow! :)


That's all for now folks!





PS - Special greetings to everyone I spent my time with (all of you know who you are) :)


Days 4 to 10 - Latvia

Dear all,


I have been working a lot since the beginning of the year, so on this short holidays the most I wanted was to rest, much more rather then being travelling from one place to another.

So, much of the past days have been spent in Riga and the surroundings, walking around, going to the beach, visiting Marta's friends, reading, cooking... Well, some relaxed style holidays :)

Favourite breakfast!

I do not intend to transform this into a cooking blog, but I'll share with you some recepie of a nice meal:

  • Starter: Tomato & Mozarella
  • Main Dish: Mushroom Rizotto & Fricasse style chicken leg (you gotta love bad translations, ahah)

For the starter simply slice some tomato and mozarella and season with a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano. Voilá, done!

For the mais dish, season the chicken with Salt and Black Pepper and slice the mushrooms. Boil the mushrooms and at the same time chop one onion and place it on melted butter on the stove. After the onion is almost cooked add the rizzoto rice and cook it slowly with the water from the boiled mushrooms (slowly transfer the water from one pan to the other letting it always evaporare from the rizzotto. When it is ready add the mushrooms, one glass of white wine and some mascarpone cheese. Voila, ready!

Boil the chicken and in another pan, chop some onions, and garlic and cook them in olive oil. When almost ready chop some pursley. Add the already boiled chicken and a bit of the water where you cook the chicken. Prepare two egg yolks and the juice of half lemon and a spoon of the water where you cook the chicken. Mix everything together and switch off the stove. Voilá, done!! :)

Enjoy your meal :)

Main course
Peter Lamb at your service! :)

Cooking can be actually a lot of fun! When we invited Marta's brother, girlfriend and daughter for a dinner we prepared some lasagna with spinach, tomato, cheese and mushrooms! Sorry folks, there are plenty of secrets in this dish! :)

Marta, the 2nd chef! :)


Some days there was some rain, which results in some rainbows :)

Under the rainbow!
We settle to meet at 13h, I was not late! :)
Are you late Marta? :)

This days we went to the beach, as there was 30 degrees in the city!

The seaside is called Jurmala. We took the traintill Majore. The housing in Jurmala is mostly very expensive villas where mostly Russian people lives. The beach itself is quite pleasent! There are no waves at all and the sand near the shore is quite hard, so it is possible to cycle there!

The main difference from the beach in Portugal is that it is very shallow in the first meters of water, so it is common to walk for about 100 meters for the first dive :)

Flower! :)
On the way to the beach

In Majore we stopped for some ice-cream:

Made in Latvia :)
Ice-cream in Jurmala
Peter Lamb @ the beach. No waves, never! ;)
Walking and walking before diving!
First dive! No shark, it is a lamb!

Well, after a long day in the beach, you become hungry!

Peter Lamb bitting! :)
I swear it is open sea, not a lake! :)

For one of the dinners, as said above, Marta's brother, girlfrind and their baby joined us. It was a great evening!

I am sure it is not mine! :)
I am also sure it is not Marta's :)
Ice-cream for desert!!

On Saturday we head again to Lielvarde, as Sandra was celebrating birthday. There was a Sauna and they have some traditions that were nice to try, such as washing the head with honey, getting a massage with some leaves while in Sauna and go for a swim just after the Sauna. It was great to spend some time as well with them again :) cheers guys!

Painting in Riga
Who's laughing first? :)
Home made hearings! :) not my hear, though

We also met Madara, a very good friend of Marta. She is studying to become a daughter and lives with François, a french guy that came to Riga for an internship and now loves in there. It was a great evening, with a nice meal in a czech restaurant followed by some drinks in a few bars :) great evening guys, cheers!! :)

Peter Lamb, Marta, Madara and François

Well, what is good comes to an end very fast, so soon was time to head "home".

This time I am flying AirBaltic from Riga to Rome and I will have some kind of 8 hour layover in there, so I will probably head to the city!


Maeta, thank you so much for this great holidays in your city once more! See you soon? :)

Peter Lamb and Marta
Peter Lamb turning into active runway, rnw18 this time :)
Flying AirBaltic :)

That is all for now folks!