Visiting Olga and Sergey

Our primary purpose is visiting Latvia was to visit with Olga and Sergey, a young Russian couple that we knew from the Beach Village in Thailand, where we both own houses. Several years ago they moved from Moscow to Latvia and began to build their dream house there. Although we had seen photos online of the house in progress, nothing prepared us for experiencing the real thing. Nestled in the woods of Amatciems, it is a modern take on traditional Latvian houses. While the outside was a updated treatment of the traditional wooden houses with a roof that extend nearly to the ground, the interior was a high-tech haven straight out of Architectural Digest. The photo to the left offers an aerial view of their property, while the photo to the right shows the entrance.

The interior of the house is modern in every sense of the word--the decor is of Scandanavian minimalist design, and it is a high-tech household. The photo at the upper left shows the view of the living room kitchen area looking from the master bedroom, while the photo to the upper right  shows the left hand side of the room, including Olga's workspace and a view of the surrounding area. The photo at the lower right features the kitchen areas, while the photo at lower left shows the back deck and its scenic view. While our apartment in Kuala Lumpur is pretty high tech, this house is straight out of the Jetsons. It was a truly automated house, from the robo vaccum to the wifi-controlled Hue lights (too many to count).  The door was onlocked via the phone and the lights in the rooms were triggered by motion sensors. It was almost incogrous, this juxtaposition of the high-tech household in this bucolic area.

Aerial View of Olga's and Sergey's House

Of course one of the great pleasures of visiting friends is breaking bread together, and we had some memorable meals at the house. The photo to the left shows the meal the first night, trout that Olga picked up at the supermarket in Riga, along with fresh tomatoes and chicken grilled by Sergey. Not  pictured but no less memorable was the mushroom soup whipped up by Olga, featuring several varieties of local mushrooms they gathered on their walks through Amatciem's forests. A sample of these delicacies may be seen in the photo to the right.

When not visiting the nearby sites or dining on local fare, we spent time walking around the forested areas of Amatciems. While doing so, we discovered Olga's and Sergey's passion for gathering mushrooms. We did set aside one walk for the specific purpose of learning how to spot these delicacies. Olga gave us a master class in mushroom spotting, with Sergey not far behind. Tracy had good success finding the funghi, while Dale was happy not to have come in contact with poison ivy. The photo to the left shows our intrepid hosts in action, while in the photo to right shows Tracy displaying the results of her search. Dale was reminded of why he never liked the Where's Waldo books.

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