One of the nasty things about traveling to a timetable is having to wake up by alarm. This experience is made particularly unhappy by the fact that no matter how hard we try to retire early the night before, it never happens. Mostly the converse occurs, and when we do finally find a horizontal position, sleep comes fitfully so that that instead of being refreshed and invigorated ready for whatever the day is to throw at us, inevitably we awake overtired and if not grumpy, at least a little less sparkling than would be preferable before setting out on a long journey.
Last night it was the crowds, the music and the fireworks that held our attention for far too long, and long after our attention had waned, miscreant explosions continued well into the morning doing their best to prevent us from drifting off to sleep at any sane hour, although we actually didn't mind a bit.
We managed to bumble our way through it all though, the bus connection from Montbeliard to Belfort, the TGV to Paris, even finding lunch on a hot public holiday Sunday without a hitch, before boarding the steamy old RER connection to the airport.
The airport was when things took a slight downhill slide. Having failed entirely to read the fine print on the eTicket, mostly because from experience, eTickets are "e" and therefore don't have any print at all, we were completely unaware that there was a check-in fee of ten Euros per person for anyone silly enough not to have done so on the internet the day before. We were similarly unaware that a checked baggage fee of forty Euros per item would apply, which made one of us quite happy that the other in his overtired if not grumpy state had steadfastly refused to pack a separate bag.
We had remembered to bring our swanky new headphones (thanks Shell and Jules) to make the most of the in-flight entertainment, which would have been a masterstroke had the aeroplane actually been fitted with anything that would help us while away the hours, but it hadn't, so we thought we'd just settle back and eat instead.
This proved just as problematic, because apparently there was some other fine print on the reverse side of the eTicket which advised that if one had been travelling all day and thought one may need some sustenance on a flight between six and ten in the evening, meals could be pre-ordered no closer than twenty four hours prior to departure on a thing called the internet.
But all of these are simply hazards of our occupation. It was at the moment of touching down in Riga that we became disconcerted when, as if no one had expected to actually survive the flight, spontaneous applause and even the odd cheer and whoop erupted from within the cabin.
Forget the fireworks, our week in Latvia will be a blast!