Here we are at the end of the first year of constantly exiting and re-entering the country after old COVID and what a way to finish than visiting the last country in Northern and Central Europe that one hasn’t explored yet, Latvia!
As I mentioned in my previous post, Riga took a little more planning due to the accessibility of said country which almost went to plan (come on, something always has to throw a spanner in the works!). For the first time this year, we entered the airside section of London Gatwick with oodles of time and even had time for a sit down meal…I know!
Now, LGW has a different approach to assistance than Heathrow where you are required to ‘check in’ at the Special Assistance point akin to Bristol (but not as bossy!) and then the baggage handler (ish) comes up to the gate to discuss how to disengage Superbunnys batteries etc which is a nice touch…if only LGW do what I say! By coincidence, our seats looked directly onto the baggage belt, unlike Heathrow, Gatwick uses solely manpower to heave wheelchairs onto the belt for which the brand new manual wheelchair (that BA paid for) experienced a near fall going up and then who knows what happened. Annoyingly, Superbunny was pushed around the back so one couldn’t see what it enjourged until the other side.
We are flying with AirBaltic who utilise one of the newest Airbus’s claiming to be the most greenest plane in the sky etc…very odd experience indeed! Instead of the cabin crew making announcements, you are treated to a screen above your head that plays jingles during the flight to tell you to ‘have a snack from the trolly’…and then in Latvian!
Anyway, we arrived in Riga around 22:30 local time (I hate flying forward in time!) and were immediately greeted by the old scissor lift and a fussy woman who reminded me of an old friend in looks and personality. She reassured us that both wheelchairs were onboard and swiftly arrived with the manual wheelchair…must be one of the quickest turnarounds on record! As usual, we were escorted through passport control only to be presented with Superbunny sitting on top of the oversized baggage belt with no way down! Luckily the two PAs this time were able to lift it off the end to avoid a nosedive. However, when attempting to turn on said wheelchair, nada! Realising that it was approaching 23:30 and the prospect of missing the last bus into town thus becoming stuck at the airport until 5am, we turned it to manual after trying a few cables (to no avail) and pressed on through the car park to the bus stop. On the way, we also noticed that the wheels on the manual wheelchair have been bent by the straps…GATWICK!!
As per my research, bus route 22 is fully accessible with the vehicle being equipped with the usual ramp and TWO wheelchair spaces! It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach our stop after which we disembarked and found our way to the notorious underpass that I was banging on about in my previous post. Luckily both lifts were operational at 12am, however, when we called the second lit, we were greeted by a woman slumped on the floor, it was immediately obvious that she was either heavily intoxicated or on some kind of crack as she fell straight into the lift door several times attempting to stumble out, oopsies, welcome to Latvia!
Reaching the room at past 12am, we took Superbunny apart to find that the power cable from the battery had been either disconnected (which would have taken some knowledge to know where it is!) or been knocked out, all dandy now!
Tomorrow, we simply plan to be common tourists and meander around the Old Town area…