August 2011
My son Peter and I arrive late at night in Liepaja after a long busride from Klaipeda (formerly called Memel in German) in Lithuania. There is a haunting feeling in this town. It is empty and still feels distinctly communist. Liepaja is an old Sovjet navy base and has a direct rail connection to Belarus for which it is a strategically important harbor.

In the sovjet style eatery it is still pay first, get your ticket then the food. At a small open air market  farm produce is sold and this is where we see smiles for the first time.

The town is riddled with casino’s and gambling places smelling of maffia and money. The centre is empty and the low level of income shows in the absence of luxurious shops. Just the basic things can be purchased here as there is no clientele for other goods. The road from the town to the railway station (lead picture) still feels like before communist times with old architecture buildings in a derelict state. The station is renovated with EU money and about the only building in good shape.

The visit is a confrontation with maybe 100 years of history. The girls on the market will grow up in a different era.

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