Tag Archives: Latvia

First time shooting with a gun!

I thought I’d tell my story about my first time shooting. It was during my trip to Riga with my boyfriend last year.

On our third day in Riga there we went to a sketchy shooting range we booked online at Kings of Shooting, but don’t let the flashy website fool you like it did with us. We got picked up in a silver colored Mercedes by a guy with a heavy accent who drove us a long way out of town to what looked like an abandoned industrial area located next to a train track.

We looked at each other like “What the hell did we get ourselves into?!”.

Our driver then got out the car and unlocked the door to a big yellow, two story wooden warehouse where there were no windows on the first floor and led us up the stairs and told us to wait there.

He called for someone and an old lady came out with three sets of ear protection and a big black box where we soon found out that the guns were held in. He then gave us the ear protection and showed us into a long and narrow room with sound proof walls and bad lighting. There were no security between us and the green paper targets they had put up on the back wall.

shootingrange

We weren’t allowed to load the guns ourselves and before we got to try each one he gave us a quick demonstration in poor English. I asked my boyfriend to go first and having no experience shooting before, he did good, I guess having played a lot of first person shooter games growing up he had picked up a thing or two. I did okay, at least I managed to hit the targets. Our instructor was also surprised, but when it was my turn to try the shotgun he said “No, weapon too heavy for girls” and brought me a smaller handheld gun to use instead. I refused, I had paid good money to try out a shotgun but he laughed and gave in.

The whole experience felt a lot like you were living in the Grand theft Auto games universe. But overall I’m glad we went, I got a new found respect for how hard it actually is to shoot, Hollywood makes it look so easy. However on the website where we bought the tickets you could choose to include to be picked up in a limo or for a ‘bikini babe’ or stripper to join you at the shooting range and I can imagine how awkward that would have been for both parties. I mean this place didn’t exactly scream high class bachelor party.

The package we bought was called ‘Get him out of the way!‘ and we got to try out three weapons, a Glock, a 12 Gauge Shotgun and a Russian sniper similar to an AK 47. We also each got a diploma with our names on and we got to keep the shooting target papers. This all cost 49 euros. The ride over to the shooting range was included but we had to pay extra to get a ride back into town.

I’m not sure I would recommend this place to anyone wanting to try out shooting for the first time, but I saw some of the reviews of their site giving them thumbs up for having no security so if that’s what you are looking for, maybe this is your thing. All in all this was an experience, a little different, but it sure makes a fun story to tell the future grand kids about.

My time in the Latvian capital

DSC_0078

Last year in November I had a week off work and was feeling a bit bored so I thought I’d start look around for cheap airplane tickets (this is a big hobby of mine) and ended up finding tickets to Riga, hotel included and all. They were so cheap it was almost free.
Now before this trip I had practically no knowledge of the city other than it was the capital of Latvia, but the hotel had an indoor pool and was just an hour and a half away by plane from Copenhagen. And knowing me, I just can’t back away from a good bargain, so I booked the trip and convinced my boyfriend to come with me.

That autumn was a season full of spontaneity for me, the fact that I died my hair turquoise blue a few weeks earlier can maybe give you the idea.

Now there weren’t a lot of tourists in Riga and the older generation of Latvians spoke little to no English. But we got by with nodding, pointing and smiling a lot.
The weather was cold, it was in the middle of November after all, but not freezing.

DSC_0135

Here you see my crazy blue hair.

The Art Nouveau District

One of the most interesting things about Riga is the art nouveau district. The buildings are beautiful with its overdecorated facades with statues of naked ladies, leaves and scary gargoyles. We visited the museum dedicated to art nouveau where you get to explore the apartment where the Latvian art nouveau architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns lived. The apartments insides still had the original kitchen, bathroom and furniture and it was quite interesting. Unfortunately taking pictures inside the museum cost extra and I was too frugal to pay.

DSC_0069

DSC_0041

The hotel we stayed at was called Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa and it was quite cosy. It did cost extra to use the pool but it was worth it. Ending a cold day with a swim and some sauna time sure was a treat.

IMG_4373

The coolest bar/café in Riga is called Black Magic and the interior is just amazing. It feels like walking into a shop in Diagon Alley or some other magical place. We didn’t try the chocolate but we bought three bottles of their balzam, Rigas national liquor, with us home. But don’t go there for the balzam if you’re not a fan of  strong spirits. The taste gets some time getting used to.

IMG_4366

The black magic bar and café.

riga

Warm alcoholic drinks were all the rage in Riga in wintertime and we caught on the trend and ordered in warm apple cider, warm cranberry drinks, Irish coffees and mulled wine everywhere we went.

We stayed in Riga for four days but we could have easily make due with just three, on the last day we mostly wondered around and didn’t really know what to do after check out. So I’d say if you’re interested visiting, plan a weekend trip. The city is great for a romantic getaway and to do some shopping since the prices are lower than in most other European cities but don’t expect it to be as cheap as visiting Poland for example.