Alexey Moskvin

Baltic Exchange and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘jurmala

Liepāja to Jūrmala

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Dragging all this out of my memory is more fun than taking it out in one piece. Use it straight away and you get a brand new, shiny, sterile story… Leave it in there and it will mature, get covered in moss, crack and the cracks will get filled with other memories and influences. Try to untangle that and you’ll have a fuller, rounder memory. The crust of ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ gets softer so one can break through to see what’s inside…

In the morning I collect the bike from the car park. Antoha, the guard talks to me about his life and… well, he had a fight with someone, after which the guy ‘got a little bit dead’, so Antoha spent the last 5 years in jail. But now he’s on the right track again. ‘Let me help you’, he says and wipes the dirt off my number plate and lights, ‘you never know with police’.

Dace’s gift is a light grey rock with a hole in it. She found it on the beach and those are hard to find.

Liepaja reminded me of Rostock. Different to put one’s finger on it but it does have a similar feel to it. Or, maybe, it’s just me being able to connect to it in a different manner than to other places.

The abandoned, falling apart buildings on the sea shore. They were left from the soviet times and the sea was slowly claiming the land back, just as it happened in Kolobrzeg. Gordon Matta-Clark would’ve had an orgasmic fit if he saw those. The boy sitting on one of the pieces, drawing something. He lifted his head when he noticed me but only for a couple of seconds. Staircases, gaps of windows, bricks and concrete, straight lines and curved ones, the sea is digesting it all. It will take a while before everything will turn into a selection of rocks similar to the one that Dace gave me but they are well on the way.

I stop in Ventspills for lunch and walk the streets until I find a bakery. The road after is long and very straight… until it turns into no road at all. Roadworks seem to be taking over most of the way along the coast and I’m slowing down. Sand and gravel. In the evening I noticed that a stone chipped my helmet, right above the visor. I did remember a knock but didn’t think it was that bad.

Kolka is worth all the non-roads. The spit of land, where the waves from the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic sea meet, creating a line and I’m thinking of the Turtle beach in Dalaman, Turkey. Some bricks are piled up on the shore but otherwise it’s only dead trees and gorgeous sand. A small cafe surrounded by pine trees where I managed to get a coffee just before the lady called it a day. Earlier, because of the wind and lack of customers. ‘No wonder’, I say, ‘The road is completely taken apart almost all the way from Ventspills’. Lunch is on the shore, watching a couple of people wandering about… After them there’s no one else around.

When I get to Jurmala, the sun is setting and covering the tall pine trees in orange light.
Anita says that most of famous musicians came from Liepaja – she likes that town too. She has a great sense of colour and interior design. Nearly everything in Anita’s kitchen is pale green and orange. I am offered a massive room on the second floor, it’s in blue tones.

After a lovely dinner of potatoes, pork and sauerkraut I’m off for an hour to wander the streets of Jurmala. Or a street rather – the excitement is the pedestrian street with everything included. It’s totally empty because it’s Monday.


Written by Alexey Moskvin

29 May 2011 at 07:37