Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Snow Islands

Not long ago, we boldly proclaimed that it does not actually snow much in Riga. There has not (yet) been a blizzard of ironic comeuppance.

In fact, it snows often, but rarely more than a half inch. When it does, the property managers of Latvia are out early, shoveling or sweeping the snow into little mounds. Often it doesn't get much above freezing for days or weeks on end, so the piles from each tiny snowfall just keep building, and you wind up with all the sidewalks lined with these islands of snow. Except, of course, for sidewalks along city parks, where nobody can be held accountable for failure to clear the sidewalk. There, the occasional half inch of snow gets tramped down each day to create the most slippery hundred-yard stretches of ice imaginable, unlikely to disappear for another month at least.

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