Thursday, August 17, 2017
This greeting, which means “Good Morning” in Latvian, was one of the first words the Spanish Military learned from their hosts while being deployed to the Adazi Base in Latvia. Together, since Mid-June they have been living with soldiers from six other nationalities, in the framework of the new NATO mission “Reinforced Advanced Presence” (eFP in Spanish). The bulk of the Spanish Forces comes from the 6th Brigade “Extremadura” whose members have changed the summer heat waves for some pleasant temperatures averaging around 22ºC. Of course, they must always have a raincoat on hand because the rain comes suddenly and without warning, something that happens rarely in Badajoz, or in other scenarios like Iraq or Lebanon to which they were accustomed to. But this is not the only detail of their daily life that has changed for the Spanish contingent, nor the only anecdote that they will share with their family and friends…
The Mini Babel Tower
In the Multinational Battalion where the Spanish are integrated, there is the Canadian Military – that leads the mission -, Albania, Slovenia, Italy and Poland; all in the Adazi Base, where Latvian soldiers also work. It has been converted it into something natural where that in all locations of passage at the base, they greet one another in several languages as a sign of fellowship and camaraderie. However, English is the required work language, in meetings and planning.
Those who Sing
The first time that a Spanish Section entered singing at the Adazi Base, when they came to run during their hour of physical training – which they carry out daily, as if they were at the “General Menacho” base in Badajoz -, raised great expectation. This practice, which is very common in Spanish units, is not so common in other armies. .
Among moralistic and well-being activities, there are Latin dance classes taught by a fellow Spanish soldier, language classes, films, as well as the availability of a great variety of sport and bodybuilding equipment. However, cycling is the activity that has the most followers. There are bicycles available in the base and beautiful established routes that pass through a mixture of forests and lakes offered just outside the vicinity of the base.
In the Latvian gastronomic culture, it is normal to find smoked or cooked fish, very seasoned meats – almost always accompanied by peas, mushrooms and potatoes -, and salads, but with no dressing! They are cheese lovers, and there is usually cheese in each meal, even in the desserts. The most pleasing are the ones made with puff pastry, with added raspberries or cranberries. Bon Appétit!
The Adazi Base is immersed in a remodeling process in order to be able to accommodate the multinational troops, which surpasses a thousand. Although the work started before the deployment – in Spain´s case, even infrastructure personnel were moved there -, there hasn´t been enough time to get everything finished, and to this day they are still working to have the accommodation buildings ready as soon as possible. Until that is possible, the Spanish are divided between some modular buildings located on the base. The tents (in the above image) have been provided by the Canadians. They are completely new, made of good material, and include heating systems which are necessary in order to cope with the cold temperatures that are registered during winter in the Baltic country. In the present building there are rooms for twelve occupants; in the new building, it will be for 4.