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Shakespeare's Elsinore

The approach into Latvia.

Liepaja's harbor.

The 1st Rock Cafe.

June 17, 2010

56 51 N 20 59 E, Latvia's Amber Coast

We had an easy 36 hour sail to Liepaja on Latvia's south western coast. After entering through the breakwater and passing rusted fishing boats and a couple of navy vessles we tied up on the wall next to the yachting center run by the Promenade Hotel. Carlo, the harbor master, greeted us in his office and called the police to check us in. The arriving officer looked at our passports and asked us what our first 'Schengen' country was. This refers to a anti immigration law which requires all non EU citizens to get out of the EU after 90 days of your first entry and stay out for 90 days before reentering. We explained that Denmark was it but we could not find an immigration officer to stamp our passports. He had to call the station and then took our passports saying his stamp was at the station. He dropped them back off 30 minutes later. We are now legal visitors until September 15th. The UK and Ireland opted out of this and so we will leave Onora in England this fall.

Liepaja was a Russian Naval base until 1995. From the looks of things it is not a busy port or a busy city today. Carlo explained that the main tourist attraction is the prison at the naval base where one can visit as a tourist or as a prisoner. He recommended against the second explaining that a visiting Polish crew had just done that and 'were not happy'.

We went for the second major attraction the First Rock Cafe. It is a shiny new glass and stainless structure overlooking monuments to Latvia's rockers ten of which are now 'playing in the great hereafter'. Two of which had votive candles burning and flowers in memory of.

We hoped to purchase the obligatory tee shirts. The bartender said they did sell these but not now-all gone. 'Maybe you come back in a week'.

Liepaja has a strange feel to it. There are not many cars or people about. The buildings are a mix of ancient weathered unpainted wooden, art nouveau, and solvate drab. Occasionally there is a new unoccupied glass and steel building. Old trolly cars run down the middle of the main street. No one seems to be enjoying themselves.




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