Getting On Schedule – My first night in Riga

Rehearsal was a success. I am more tired than I have ever been in my life. I check into my hotel. Finally. It’s well before 9p.m. I know if I go to sleep now there will be a chance that I will wake at four or five a.m. and then fret all day about getting a nap in before my gig Thursday night. I can not be tired for my first show. And so I decide to stay up as late as I can so that I will have a full night’s sleep and (with hope) awake at a normal morning hour and be back on line for the time zone I have to live in.

I have been awake for over 28 hours at this point.

I settle in my room. I have the promised King sized bed. Yay! I immediately lay down on it. It’s comfortable. I look around me. The room is small, contemporary and has a small flat screen teley on the desk. There is a phone and no clock. I have a huge picture window, a small desk and chair and two tiny night stands. There is room for nothing else. There is a tiny alcove for hanging clothes with two narrow ledges. No dresser, no drawers or even a place to prop my huge suitcase and carry-on. But no matter. The room is clean, and more than adequate. I notice the minibar nestled under the desk.

Zigis: You get whatever you need at the hotel. Please don’t use the mini bar.

The bathroom is modern and bright. There is no tub, just a standing shower but it has no door or shower curtain. The shower is half enclosed so it is obvious that water will spray everywhere and the opening is only wide enough for me to shimmy in and out of.
Note to self: I gotta lose some weight.

I notice the drain in the middle of the bathroom floor. That’s the way it’s gotta be. The bath towels are small.

2nd Note to self: must ask for more bath towels – five should do the trick. I gotta lose some weight.

I brought face cloths from home. Thank goodness, cause there were none here.

I had checked out the Albert Hotel’s web site before I left Chicago, so none of this was a complete surprise. There were numerous positive reviews about the place and both the shower and lack of storage was mentioned. I also read about the swanky but comfortable lounge on the top floor which boasted gorgeous views of the city. I decide after a little unpacking to go spend my last few waking hours at the Skybar.

I take the elevator to the top (11th) floor and I am pleased to see that it is lovely, dark, and inviting. There are low couches and arm chairs arranged all over and the entire room is lined by windows. There is also an outdoor patio which is – like everything else in Riga – covered with a foot of snow.

There is a bar that runs alongside the other wall and I can see that there is a restaurant in the back. It is closed. There are a few men at the bar and some small groups of patrons seated in groups throughout the room. I pick a section and sit down on the most comfortable couch known to man at the moment. There’s some mellow recorded ambient music playing in the background. This place feels like any other nice lounge anywhere in Chicago. I feel right at home.

A pleasant server (Alina) comes up and gives me snacks and a drink menu which is written in English and some other languages but I am too tired to note what they are.

Ah! A martini menu! I order the Blue Skybar Martini. Alina returns shortly with a beautiful Blue drink with some strange fruit as garnish. It looks like a cherry but it is enclosed in dried leaves attached with a small stem. I have never seen such a thing before. I taste it. It is delicious!

strange fruit

strange fruit

My server is amused at my fascination with this fruit and brings me a small bowl full of them.
After my third martini, I teeter to my room and crash with hopes and a bit of nerves for what the next day (Zigis has promised me a driving tour of Riga at one p.m.) and gig will bring…

Next up: My first full day in riga…

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