Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday 21 May: Arrival Marijampole

With a slight delay (ja, I managed to get lost in the northern part of Riga somehow and I feel quite stupid about that) we set off to Lithuania. Ohja, I even saw some ninjas in Riga's city centre this morning! They were quite busy to shoot some action scenes for a movie. I know that Jackie Chan was in Latvia recently but unfortunately I didn't manage to spot him there.

What a strange weather today. A lot of thunder and some rain, however, a lot of sun and 33 degrees when we arrived in Marijampole after a car drive of around five hours. The hotel called Europa Royale is perfectly fine. I share my room with the most tidy, well mannered and least snoring person of the whole group: Jonas. We have a nice view over the Basanavičiaus square. To me it just somehow looks a bit Sovietic. The Stalin statue is missing though. Anyways, the first impression of Marijampole is a good one, even though there are Soviet living blocks as far as the eye can reach. The sunny weather makes it look not too depressing. 

This afternoon we had a tasty lunch at the restaurant near the competition centre. Happy wallet time! I paid 3.91 euro's for 0,5l of good Lithuanian beer and a tasty plate full of Italian 'gnocchi' with mushrooms and white wine sauce. The only reason I can imagine why it was so cheap is because at least half the dish consisted out of pure chemical ketchup. But I must admit, I actually liked it very much.

We had to wait a bit for it but luckily the wind dropped down this evening. We took off not far away from the hotel for a short test flight. We were amazed by all the Soviet blocks, the huge amount of barking dogs and the peaceful countryside with some grass, villages with two or even tree houses and for the rest like expected… nothing. Lovely though! The landing was a bit rough but we survived. The chase crew managed to find us very quickly and also an American pilot decided to have a look. A curious Lithuanian family proved again that Lithuanians can be very friendly. What a great (and warm!) day. Time for a beer now.

By the way… I’m very excited about the fact that I saw a balloon for the first time in the Baltics and that I made my 60th flight today!!