…and the answer to that cliffhanger is that Superbunny did indeed return to Gatwick in one piece and fully alive, congratulations Riga!
Anyway, after a morning of catching up on work emails and prepping ones lecture for the forthcoming day, we ventured out to catch the route 22 bus to the airport. Unlike the casual 12am wander to the hotel on Monday night, the bus stop was located on the same side of the road as us eliminating the need to use said underpass and, more importantly, the requirement to see Doris! Like the majority of buses in Riga, the 22 was equipped with an automatic ramp enabling Superbunny to roll on and off, definitely the best transportation method as the trams are a mix mash of Soviet and modern rolling stock meaning that you never know what will turn up!
It seems that catching the 22 in the daytime as opposed to the 12am journey is a whole different experience taking the scenic route around various Latvian housing estates before ending its voyage at Riga airport (RIX). Although said airport is deemed to be the busiest airport within the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), it is pretty quiet meaning that AirBaltic could take their time to work out how to handle Superbunny. This also meant for a rather pleasant experience through to boarding the scissor lift (if not a little trek past empty gates) and subsequently the plane. Now, I never understand why major airports in the UK such as Gatwick and Heathrow are reluctant to bring either wheelchair up to the gate rather send them to oversized baggage, would be so much easier but there you go!
Well, that is that then, every country in Northern and Central Europe (not counting the self-governing states or Serbia, the latter being a bone of contention by many) has been rolled around by moi coinciding with the end of 2022 (and the start of the busy work season!)! So where to in 2023…Southern Europe of course. I thought that I would take the opportunity whilst the world is coming to the end of the COVID pandemic (apparently ‘the end is in sight’ for all countries according to WHO) to explore more of the Southern end as, let’s face it, only Spain and Portugal has been rolled around. The plan for next year is to make ones way west to east along the top of the Mediterranean (kind of!) starting in Malta sometime in April (with a day trip over to Sicily in Southern Italy via catamaran) then onto Athens in Greece (with a day trip over to the Greek island of Crete (bucket list time!) via plane), back to Milan in Northern Italy (with a day trip down to Florence utilising the high speed train network…should be no DEATH trains in sight?) finishing the year off by visiting somewhere east of Greece (torn between several ideas but will most likely be in the ‘crossroad’ section between Europe and Western Asia). Now, if you have been to places in Southern Europe (Especially Malta and some parts of Greece), you will know that it isn’t the most accessible places in the world so I suspect Superbunny will be confined to the hotel room at times but hey, that is the fun of traveling with a disability?
Until then, let’s enjoy a ‘pondering’ photo of one marveling at the architecture of Riga…