The little clock by the Victory Monument showed seven degrees. Meltwater rained from rooftops, the pavements were brown and gravelly with salt, cars splashed through beer-coloured puddles in the middle of the road. By mid-afternoon the town centre was deserted. I slipped and slid round Castle Park, tried to find the football ground, then waited for the train with pizza and a beer in the town's swankiest hotel. "Ludzu, lielu Cesu," I asked the waitress in my best Latvian accent. "That's four thirty," she replied in flawless English.