Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Travel the World - Week 35

This is the 35th week in my Travel the World personal challenge. Each week I am randomly choosing one country (there are 195 countries in the world) and doing a little research on that country. I then select one tidbit of information about the country as inspiration for the card I make.

This week's country is...


Latvia is one of the three Baltic states. It is about half the size of Greece. Most of the country is flat land with a mixture of forests rivers, lakes, marshland and beaches.

The official name of the country is Republic of Latvia. It borders Estonia in the north, Lithuania in the south, the Baltic Sea with the Gulf of Riga in the west, Russia in the east, and Belarus in the southeast.

In area, Latvia is slightly larger than West Virginia.

Latvia has 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes.

Latvians are proud of their language, and hold contests to celebrate its proper use.

Latvia’s current flag design has been in use since 1280. Only Denmark’s has been around longer.

Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia. With 641,007 inhabitants (2015), Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to one third of Latvia’s population.

Nearly 1 in 3 of Latvia’s residents lives in the capital, Riga, sometimes described as the Paris of the North.

Latvia’s forests are often called “green gold.” This is mainly because the country’s forests contribute handsomely towards the country’s economy.

Latvia has almost 20 hours of daylight at midsummer, and locals make the most of it by partying outdoors and relaxing in nature.

Latvia's national sport is Ice Hockey  and the national team’s fans are regarded as the loudest and most passionate around.

The Ventas Rumba in Kuldīga is the widest waterfall in Europe, and in spring you can see fish jumping up the rapids as they head for spawning sites.

Latvia’s coastline, with sandstone outcrops and steep cliffs as well as sandy beaches, extends about 500 kilometers (approximately 311 miles) along the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga.

Latvia is Wifi paradise. It has the world’s fourth fastest internet connections, and with over 800 free connection points in Riga, you don’t even need to pay for it. Latvia also holds the world record for the longest ever phone conversation, a 54 hour 4 minute marathon in 2012.

You can voluntarily spend the night in jail in Latvia at the former military prison located in the town of Karosta. It is now a hostel. Guests can opt for the “full prisoner experience”, which involves uniformed officers, less than luxurious digs, verbal abuse and organised physical exercise. 

Approximately 54% of the land in Latvia is forest, where you'll find black storks, lesser spotted eagles, otters, beaver, lynx, and wolves, and great concentrations of deer, wild boar, elk and red fox.

There are four national parks in Latvia.

While Christmas is mainly a quiet family celebration, the summer solstice is where the real fun happens because Latvians flock to the countryside to celebrate the shortest night of the year. They stay up until dawn and light bonfires, make wildflower wreaths, eat and drink, sing and dance. 

Latvia’s national bird is the white wagtail, so called because it almost constantly wriggles its backside.

The tailor Jacob W. Davis was born Jākobs Jufess in Riga and emigrated to the US as a young man in 1854. In 1870, he was asked by a customer to make a strong pair of trousers for her woodcutter husband – his creation would become the template for modern denim jeans, and two years later, with help from Levi Strauss, he patented the product.

Latvia produces machinery, cars, fertilizers, electronics, pharmaceuticals and processed foods. The main export goods are machinery, textiles, food and wood products.

The family in Latvia is a very close unit. Parents stay with their children and families stay close to the area they were born in. They are very private people and reserved towards strangers.

Latvians have a strong sense of space, and they generally like to stand a few feet away from the other person.

Making eye contact with Latvians can be a signal that you are interested in them. Latvians would reciprocate and make eye contact with you if they feel comfortable with you.

Latvians do not use gestures while communicating, or make minimal use of it. A lot of gesturing can be annoying or distracting for them. 

When dining in Latvia, table manners are very important. Napkins are not left in the lap, but rather are placed on the plate when one has finished eating. People are expected to finish everything put on their plate.

I decided to let this Latvia fact be the inspiration for this week's card... Latvia is the home of the first decorated Christmas tree that is on record. In 1510 a tree was decorated in Riga with straw ornaments ribbon and dried flowers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: My Favorite Things Santa Elves and Technique Tuesday Perfect Poinsettia stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Recollections Black and 110# White and SU So Saffron CS and DP from my scrap file

Punches: SU

Embellishments: Paper Studio Mini Brads


Lynn McAuley said...

I love this charming elf!! So very cute!

kiwimeskreations said...

Thanks for another collection of facts and figures on latavia Jeanette - there are some interesting snippets in amongst it.
Love your wee elf on your gorgeous card