Two districts without a single cafe or bar. It was bound to happen sooner or later. From the offset Suži had been on our list of places to go to. On the other side of one of Riga’s lakes, Ķīšezers, it looked pretty remote. A “there be dragons” place on the map if there ever was one.
The bus journey there should have been an omen. Two young Russian guys, already warming up for the “world’s drunkest man” and “most annoying bus passenger” contests at 3 in the afternoon. We heard a lot of “хуй!” and “блядь!” At one point another young guy travelling with his daughter told them off sternly. For a minute it looked like we’d see our first fight of the districts crawl, but after a bit of bluster, they backed down. The main excitement of the afternoon was over and we hadn’t even got to Suži yet.
Suži has two parts, a Riga bit and the main bit, located in Garkalne municipality. The Riga bit, despite what should be a nice lakeside location, is pretty dire, consisting of a few tatty houses and blocks of flats
To be fair, it has a considerable amount of very nice nature around it, which makes the substandard housing all the worse
After walking fruitlessly round the Riga part, we headed to the main part, the non-Riga part in Garkalne. It’s mostly private housing in a maze of identical looking tiny streets. A sign helpfully announced “Veikals >>” Reasoning that there might be a cafe near, or attached to the local shop, we followed the signs eagerly, like a dog smelling a bone. They wound through several streets, each one proclaiming “veikals>>” The shop’s owners clearly didn’t want people to miss their business, so had hit on the novel technique of peppering every street within a three kilometre radius with a sign announcing their presence. Getting there, it was just a normal suburban Latvian shop. Unsmiling, bulldog-faced middle-aged woman giving us her best scowl. We asked some locals if there was a cafe around, but they gave us the look usually reserved for Mormon preachers who stop you to ask you if you want to hear the word of the Lord. They hurried on quickly without an answer. Another part of Suži is a new residential development, which reminded me a lot of Brookside Close:
The way back to the bus took us through typical Latvian woodland
Deciding that it was time to Latvianise myself, I stopped to do that favourite Latvian activity of picking some mushrooms
I’m not particularly choosy what I eat. In the past few years I’ve eaten dog, bear, beaver, zebra, crocodile and antelope, but this time I decided to skip on eating possibly poisonous mushrooms. Boring huh?
Kissing the fairly dull Suzi goodbye, it was off to Jaunciems (new town in Latvian.) Again a walk around established what we’d suspected. Booze indoors was off the menu for this afternoon. Jaunciems has a bit more to it than Suži. There’s even a bit of a beach, beside a yacht club, with great views over the lake
We spotted what looked like a terrace at the yacht club. There was a “private – members only” sign at the entrance, but we figured we could always play the dumb tourist card if stopped and a security guy did stop us shortly after entering. He was pretty affable though, let us take a couple of photos but said that the terrace only opened in summer and that there were no cafes in Jaunciems. Chugging the remainder of my can of beer, it was time to call it a day and get the bus back to the centre.
Jaunciems, despite the lack of cafe, wasn’t all that bad. Could be a nice place to chill out in the summer and we got some decent photos, hell we even got into the yacht club without a suit and tie – result! Suzi though clearly isn’t the girl for me.