Celebrating my birthday in Latvia was not planned. I had been backpacking Europe solo for almost three months and fate took me to the Baltic countries for my twenty-third birthday.
I never made any plans as I’d accepted from the start I would be spending this day alone. It turns out, celebrating my birthday as a solo traveler doesn’t mean I have to be alone.
In 22 years I’ve always spent my birthday in Portugal. I’m not counting my 18th birthday spent in Andorra. That was the worst birthday ever and one I kind of would like to forget about.
Before starting the trip around Europe, I always knew I would spend my birthday somewhere that wasn’t home. Still, I always thought it would be in a more familiar place like in Italy or the UK.
Never have I thought about turning 23 in Latvia, or any Baltic countries what so ever.
Celebrating my 23rd birthday in Latvia
I ended up celebrating my birthday twice. Going to the best place in Riga, Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs, with the two portuguese girls I was travelling with and a bunch of people from the hostel.
We ate amazing grandmother’s meat balls, drank beer. Later we went to a bar to drink daiquiris and finished the night listening to some terrible voices of people singing at a karaoke bar.
Here we saw the drunkest most hilarious guy giving the funniest performance ever. Obviously, I spent my midnight listening to him sing the longest most terrible song.
The next day I woke up feeling sick and my only wish was to stay in bed all day. But being my day I had to force myself to go out and enjoy the day.
We took the free walking tour, which wasn’t free at all. We wandered around the city, which was surprisingly bigger than we all thought.
By night, what was suppose to be a three people dinner, turned into a group of ten, and we went back for more grandmother’s meat balls and a 5L jar of Latvian beer.
It’s funny how at home, planning a birthday dinner tends to give me a headache and this year I didn’t even had to plan anything, people just wanted to join us and have a good time.
We finished the night at a Cuban bar in the Old Town because it was shots night…perfect!
So, thinking I would spend my birthday this year alone, I ended up with an international dinner table of three Portuguese, one French, a Korean, a guy from Chile and other from Germany.
How crazy is that? I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. And celebrating my birthday in Latvia turned out to be the best place for it. From now on I’m making it a tradition to spend my birthday in a new country away from home.
I wonder where next year will take me!