Sunday, October 2
Apartment, Krisjäna Valdemära iela, 10:30
I woke up this morning to discover that I still had the entire apartment to myself. Lena and boyfriend had mysteriously vanished, presumably in search of the legendary good times. I noticed that the weather had changed and that the noise I could hear came from the torrential rain falling in the yard.
The apartment comes from Soviet times and has a strange but far from unpleasant quality. It has only one small sink, in the kitchen, and the bathroom contains only a bath. The bathroom has a painterly quality as the walls, the objects on them, and the light that filters in make it seem interestingly out of time. I stand in there for much longer than necessary listening to the rain on the metal pipes in the courtyard.
My plane leaves in the middle of the afternoon, and I had planned to have a leisurely breakfast after wandering the old town. Since the rain has shown no sign of slackening in the past three hours, I now decide that I only have two realistic options: to stay here until the last possible moment or to get to the airport as soon as possible. I opt for the latter, check my map, and leave the apartment for Stockmann.
As I walk there I realise that the old town only covers a very small area. When I thought I had got lost yesterday evening and looked for something I recognised I stood still about three minutes walk from the apartment. Like many old towns this one has streets that bend and curve and form themselves into a maze for the unwary.
I will have a quick look in Stockmann but find nothing interesting: no local cup soups and no Variety Paks. I will walk to the 22 bus stop and bump into Grit Ruhland. We will get the bus to the airport and then sit in a cafe chatting. I will have several sandwiches (and some dumplings) that will each cost more than a meal in the centre. I will console myself with the thought that I will also not now faint from hunger.
At 15:30 I will watch Riga disappear as the plane takes off. I will catch the train from Helsinki airport to the centre and the 93 bus from Itäkeskus. I will be home by about 18:00 to find both Irma and Naa in the house.