Amber

Along the Baltic Sea, from North to West

lighthouse

While I am enjoying the time with my family, you can enjoy¬†another few pictures from Latvia ūüôā

In summer 2013, we started our journey from the beautiful, pristine clean¬†fishing town of Salacgriva in the north of Latvia. This lighthouse was built in 1925. It is not operational anymore, but still good enough for a¬†picture.¬†The weather was not summery early in the morning, but we decided to keep to the plan. On our way south the sky started to clear and the sun peeked through the clouds. Natural reserve Vidzeme Stony Seashore¬†was our next stop. We didn’t walk the 8 miles long trail, but visited some sandstone cliffs and caves, and marveled at the huge boulders and pebble-covered beaches, very unusual for the Gulf of Riga.

Even the sand was¬†different, and sure I haven’t seen such a huge spider anywhere else.

spider

After a long walk in the beach and dunes we went further south to our last destination Р The White Dune in Saulkrasti.

I am standing on the top of the White Dune. The weather remarkably improved, and I took a picture of a group of tourists crossing River Incupe on their way to the beach.

river

From this point, the river edge looks like a silhouette of a face.

river

This is another picture from the trip. Me in action ūüôā

photographer

This images of an operational lighthouse Akmenrags was taken a week later. To get there we had to drive a long way through the beautiful pine tree forest. The lighthouse was built in 1864 but destroyed in World War I. It was rebuilt in 1921 and then in 1957.  We were so lucky, because the lighthouse was closed for repainting, and open to the public just a day before we came over.

lighthouse

This is a¬†light emitter, but I don’t know a thing about how it works.

lighthouse

The inside of the lighthouse is painted green!

lighthouse

lighthouse

What to do with paint leftovers? ūüôā

net

Speaking of green. During our travels we had seen many interesting cars, like this green vintage Volga.

volga

A few words about Liepaja, the city where I stayed. This is an outdoor photography exhibition in the ruins of the riding manège in Karosta, a former military part of Liepaja.

liepaja

This picture was taken in 2010. I came to Karosta to meet with a famous photographer, only to learn that he recently died.

In my previous blog, there is a picture of some pieces of amber I picked up in the beach. What you see in the picture below is a hourglass monument filled with 50 litres ( 13 gallons) of amber! These pieces of amber were donated by people of Liepaja in 2003. I think it was a wonderful idea.

liepaja

I lived in a lovely room with a balcony, facing Liepaja Lake. There was a swallow nest with two chicks. In this picture you can see a mama swallow feeding her offspring a Damsel dragonfly.

swallow

There was a tiny apple tree at the porch. One night I came home late and saw a hedgehog under the tree. I have read that it is a myth that they eat, or carry the apples on their sharp spines, and I wondered what else was he doing there, under the apple tree?

hedgehog

The Holy Trinity Lutheran Cathedral is one of the most remarkable places in Liepaja. Until the 1912, its organ was¬†the largest mechanical organ in the world with its 131 stops, 4 manuals and more than 7000 pipes.¬†The organ was built by one of the best organ builders of that time H. A. Contius. The Cathedral¬†was built in 1750, and the tower was finished in 1860. I made three attempts to climb up the tower, but failed and had to return: anonymous carpenter who made¬†the narrow stairs was a minimalist and didn’t add any handrails. I changed my tactics and mingled with a group of tourists: if you are climbing up in¬†a crowd there is no turning back. The tower is 55m (180f ) high, and I am very proud of myself for finally making it up to the top.

church

church

Every Sunday afternoon I went to the cathedral to listen to the organ: renowned organists and students perform for free for one hour on Sundays ( donations are welcome). I had an unforgettable time there.

One more blog post about Latvia to follow ūüôā Thank you for taking the trip!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Not just a virus

latvia

In this picture, I am looking through¬†the natural ‘window’ from a coastal cave. It was chilly outside, and we quite enjoyed our refuge from the elements.

A couple of days ago I went outside first time after a week in bed. It felt like leaving a cave.

Viruses, the tiny things that are not even technically alive, can cause a lot of trouble. The only criteria for being alive they fit in is that they can evolve over time. It is why we need to get a flu vaccine every year. Basically, a virus is a string of DNA (or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat. It doesn’t respond to any stimuli and doesn’t reproduce. It just is. At this stage it is called a¬†virion. The horror story begins when such virion gets in contact with a cell – human, animal¬†or¬†bacterial. Viruses are parasites, they must have a host. The host cell will produce proteins and do the replication for the virus. Some viruses leave the host cell alive, not using its full capacity. Some viral replications cause all the hosts biochemical processes to stop, and the cell will die after the viral replication is finished.

They say that there is a virus for every organism.

The best we can do after we get struck by a virus, is to drink fluids and stay in bed. And I mean it. Complications of¬†viral infections can cause severe illness and death. As most of you, I didn’t believe that anything bad can happen to me after a simple viral infection, but it did, three times. Only a fool doesn’t learn after getting in trouble three times.

In July 1979 I got a viral infection but didn’t stay at home. I should have known better, because I got a life threatening condition after a flu in 1977, but I just started a new job! I was dragging my body to work a whole week until my growing headache forced me to call an ambulance. Our country hospital was 40km away. By the time the ambulance arrived I was only able to tell my name. I don’t have any memory of my first days in the hospital. I have got a severe viral meningitis. ¬†Unable to stabilize my condition, the doctors decided to transport¬†me to the capital. I heard a nurse arguing and refusing to accompany me. She was motion-sick and she shouted¬†that she didn’t want to be responsible if I die. Off we went. I was all right but we had to stop a few times for the nurse. My stay in the hospital, all the people I met, all the stories I heard, could make a book if I were a writer. If you haven’t read Cancer Ward¬†by Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, give it a try.

I spent three months in the hospital. On some stage, I was immobile and had to learn to walk again. The man I loved abandoned me. A friend came over, just for a couple of hours. She had to change planes three times to get to see me over the weekend. After she left I decided to live.

I was back home in October. After a month, I went to visit my friend, and the 1979 made another attempt to kill me ūüôā

There is an anti-viral medicine Rimantadine Hydrochloride, that was patented in 1965 in the USA. At about the same time, a group of scientists from Olainfarm company in Latvia worked with the chemical and came up with a similar drug, but with a slightly different formula, which explains the difference in administration of the drug. This one is fantastic, and the name is Remantadin. Originally it was created to fight tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), but it is great when used in early stages of any viral infection.

And because I mentioned Latvia, there are some photographs for you to look through. Next two blogs are dedicated to Latvia, because I am going on holidays, and I will be busy. I was lucky to spend two months in Latvia in 2013, but some photographs are taken in 2009. If you haven’t been in the Baltic states,¬†I hope these posts¬†will entertain you.

This is Riga, the capital of Latvia, in 2009.

Riga

riga

riga

This is real amber. You can pick it up after the stormy weather. Just like that ūüôā

Baltic sea

Seagulls, always hungry.

Baltic sea

A stork! My favorite bird.

stork

Beautiful park in fisherman town of Pavilosta.

latvia

Two pictures from an evening walk in Grobin town. It is the lake surrounding the ruins of a 13th century castle.

latvia

latvia

Hope you take my story about viruses seriously. Stay well!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!