"...mental evasions and the real ones, emotions and memories that small and great writers can bring to the light and the phrases that make us understand better the meaning of travel..."

- Anonymous -

 

29 july Riga (LATVIA)

"We must see what we haven't seen, see again what we have already seen, see in the spring what we have seen in the summer, see during the day what we had seen at night, with the sun where the first time it was raining.

See the green harvest, the mature fruit, the stone that has changed place, the shadow that wasn't there before.

You have to retrace the steps already done, to repeat them, and to line alongside new paths.

You must re-start the journey.

Forever. "


- José Saramago -

 

31 july Riga (LATVIA)

Light days in Riga trying to relax and have a good time!

Pit stop with Agos and Martins at Pulkvedis then to the new disco in the city center: the Roxy (former Pepsi Forum).

I'm a great conoisseur of the city night life!

It's the dawn when we enter our room and, remembering the past time in Latvia, when the sun starts, in a shy way, to open his eyes... we, sweetly, close ours...

 

01 august Riga (LATVIA)

In the afternoon we visit St Peter's Tower.

I had already been there three years ago but now the view is completelly different for two reasons: because there is no snow and then because they are rebuilding the whole city; it's the third time I come here and I find it more and more different, more modern, more European, it's like it's loosing her real identity, the one that has made it one of the most beautiful Baltic cities.

 

03 august Riga (LATVIA)

Riga's market is huge.

There are hundreds stalls that sell the most disparate things!

I buy the CD of a rapper that we are going to listen tonight!

In the city center, we meet two German guys from Berlin that are doing a trip by bike with three more friends (one of my dreams!) from Finland to Berlin following these stages: Helsinki - St Petersbourg - Tallinn - Riga - Kalinigrad - Warsaw - Budapest - Venice - Riva del Garda - Berlin.

It will take them about three motnhs.

(ndr later on I was told by one of them that their very hard trip had finished few later because they were too tired! But I aprreciated very much their idea and attempt!)

Today the Italian Military Navy ship: "San Giusto" has docked here.

This school ship of the Navy Academy is doing a cruise around the North Europe and has done a bief stop here unloading hundreds "penguins" in their white uniform that are crowding all the capital's streets!

Tonight at "Roxy" there was "Ozols", one of the most important Latvian rappers.

04 august Riga (LATVIA)

I'm very excited! In a few hours I'll jump with the parachute! This time we will try to film it from the plane and, during the falling, I will try to take some photos too!

We are going to the same airport where three years ago we enjoyed tied a sledge at the car...

After the usual three/four hours of explanations and trainings (Krists translated me all that the instructors was saying in Russian), we go to the departure zone! At eight pm our plane (an old Russian Antonov) takes off... I'm on the edge... I'm a bit scared, I confess, unlike the first time, then Krists will explain me that it was normal because the first time you are reckless, you don't know what you are going to do, the second, instead, you are aware of it!

The first four bale out. One of the instructors keeps on filming me and asking me stupid questions, the concentration takes the place of the fear... I become a statue while he keeps on saying: "Say hi to your mum!"

It's my turn. I lean out of the door, strong push...

Seconds, eternal moments of reckless, I rise and fall in the air and then... BANG... a strong noise followed by a hard blow at the back... the parachute is opening... This time better than the first one and I start to control my breath again and to enjoy the view: Riga, the port, Daugava River.

I manage to take the camera and take some photos while I'm falling down.

The landing has been rather hard even because, even if you have the optical illusion to fall slowly, actually you do it at six metres per second... One second before you are on air, the following one you are on the ground. I fall, the parachute keeps on pulling me from the behind even if I'm lie down the ground. I block it... I breath... I touch my legs... I sigh... What a strange feeling when I open my eyes, everything is over!

All my worries, all the stress accumulated in a whole month of hard military medical visits, the daily trainings in the gym, the kilometres and kilometres flogged for the preparation for the 1000 metres competition or for the high jump. Opening my eyes it was as I dreamt all those things, as it was all a nightmare. I felt different, free from everything... Completelly unloaded...

I come unhooked and reassembled all the material I reach the others while a jeep is coming to pick me up...

[Agos]: "Mark told me that, after landing, had unloaded all the tension accumulated during the military trainings, and I believe him because I could see from his eyes while, in the car, he was singing, with all the others "Without me" by "Eminem".

We celebrate with a tasty barbecue at Krists' parents!

[Agos]: "It's 5.51 am and while someone in the city is waking up, we are going to sleep!"

 

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