Thursday’s Special: Restoration (Guest Challenge by Restless Jo)

This time on Thursday’s Special Challenge the ‘lady of the manor’ is a fellow blogger – the one and only Restless Jo. She inspires us to think of a restored property that we would like to share, or maybe one that’s in need of love and attention, so…this is what came to my mind…

All my life I have had (and always will have) a “special relationship” with Kuldīga – a town in western Latvia therefore I decided to make this post a little about it. For the first time Kuldīga was mentioned in 1242. In the 17th century it was one of the capitals of the Duchy of Courland, and today the town is proudly called “the pearl of Kurzeme” (Courland). One of the main symbols of Kuldīga for many years has been the old masonry arch bridge across the river Venta.

bridge_before_restor

The red brick bridge was built in 1874, and it was done, according to the 19th century standards – 500 feet long and 26 feet wide, for two carriages to pass each other. It consisted of seven spans of brick vaults, and during the World War I two of the spans were blown up (you can see them renovated in much more pale colour also in the photo above).

bridge_blownupImage courtesy: the archives of Google

The bridge was renovated in 2009-2010, and to this day, being 164m long, it is the third longest brick bridge in Europe.

bridge_after_restor

bridge_after_restor_close

Be inspired and inspire!
More about Paula and her Thursday’s Special Challenge here:

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Celebrate Our Differences

After a wonderful chat with my Bulgarian friends I somehow ended up thinking about similarities and differences between us, our countries. So, here they are – some of the things I came up with, comparing both countries and my experience, observations. Before continuing, I just wanted to say Bulgaria has become almost like the second home to me since I have spent quite some time there during the past 8 years.

You know you are in Bulgaria and not Latvia if:
– Meeting people not seen for a while they will hug and kiss you on both cheeks, even not being close friends
– Before crossing the road on pedestrian crossing, you need to really make sure (and I do mean – really!)  there’ re no cars, even if the green light is on
– The expression „The Big Bulgarian Family” has a very genuine note and meaning to it
– Being on time is a bit relative concept therefore being late is not neccessarily perceived as rudeness

BG_nature

LV_nature

– You can take a cab after partying out not being worried you will be overcharged
– You can be wild& loud till the sun comes up but to be noisy between 1 and 4 PM wouldn’ t be perceived as good manners
– People are more open and friendly generally – probably because there’ s much more sun constantly charging them positively
– You can buy home-made rakia/wine and it wouldn’ t be classified as a „crime of supporting illegal alcohol business”
– There still are quite a few small, family owned shops around, not only big supermarket chains

BG_banitsa

LV_buns

– The carpet blown off your terrace with some luck ends up being sold to your neighbours
– A policeman partying with his friends in a restaurant will freely ask for discount „just because”
– Passing the same people on stairs you greet each other since the very first day and not just after a couple of months
– There’ s a touch (or more) of olive(or sunflower) oil in almost every dish
– You can bargain the prices in a market and nobody will feel insulted about it
– Shaking head is a gesture of confirmation while nodding means negation (I wouldn’ t generalize this one since it’ s very Bulgarian).

BG_martenitsaOh, I almost forgot – there are mountains! And martenitsas (Bulgarian: Mартеница)…