Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday in Jelgava

Although it's less than an hour from Riga by spruced-up electric train (padded seats, flowers daubed on the windows and EU stars above the doors), there aren't many reasons to spend time in Jelgava. Smashed about in both world wars, scrapped over by Baltic Germans and bombed by the Soviets, it's now little more than a commuter town for the capital, the kind of place guidebooks dismiss in half a paragraph. The little town centre doesn't have much in the way of interest: a baroque palace used by agricultural students, a couple of rebuilt churches, an indoor mall with a whole floor of shoe shops, and a huge TV, on metal supports, stuck in a grass verge near the bus station. It took less than half an hour to walk around the sights, the pavements were covered with icy pools of water, and though the rain held off the day remained as bright as a concrete wall. I retreated to the pub, and watched from the window with a beer.

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