Riga, Latvia

When I was going to the country up north a couple of weeks ago, I had a ten hour lay over in Riga, Latvia.  I have been there before but decided to do a tour so I could see as many places as possible.  I find the Old Town very interesting and a nice place to spend a day.

A round ticket from the airport into town is EU1.00 for the big buses and EUR1.20 each way for shuttles.  These fares are very cheap compared to some cities.  I also found that Riga prices for food and clothes were also generally much cheaper than Vienna.  I don’t know how much rents are in Riga but I would suspect that they are lower as well, but can the ‘common man’ afford them?  Usually places with lower prices also have low salaries.

Riga center is quite small and I could have easily walked around it on my own, but I know myself.  I get lost easily so I decided to go on the tour bus which cost EUR15 for 90 minutes for two routes each for 45 minutes.  I had the whole double decker bus to myself – business was certainly not brisk.

Tower at the Central Station

Tower at the Central Station

Well maintained buildings with character stand next to plain not so well maintained ones as shown in the building below.

Starting point of tour

Starting point of tour

The street I liked most had buildings that housed international companies and embassies, maybe because they are similar to those in Vienna.

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More buildings on ‘my’ street.

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Barns had been built during the time of USSR for storing various items but some were destroyed in the 1990’s.  Those that survived are now used for charity and commercial purposes.  The barns have a lot of character and I think it would have been nice to leave them for architectural purposes and history preservation.

Barn built during USSR times

Barn built during USSR times

We passed by the main market and I just had to take a tour of it. As I was getting off the bus the driver informed me that there would be no more trips for the day.  It was only about 3.00 pm and I had earlier been informed that there was time for me to get on the other route.  I did not bother to protest and off I went to the market. I can never resist markets whenever I travel because that is one place you can rub shoulders more with locals.  The market comprises five big buildings and their fish market is one to die for.  Latvia sits on the Baltic Sea and so there is a lot of different fish.

Riga market

Riga market

I had delicious duck at one restaurant.  The last time I was in Riga I went to a middle ages restaurant which was an interesting experience.

This duck was wicked

This duck was wicked!

The motif on the restaurant chair reminded me of a famous/infamous plant.  Any guesses?

Marijuana leaves?

Marijuana leaves?

 

Central Station

Central Station

The President’s palace which also houses his offices is still under renovation after a fire incident in 2013. I thought I should get a photo of the canvassed up palace 😉

Part of palace

Part of palace

The House of the Blackheads built in the fourteenth century is a popular tourist draw and one that locals highly recommend tourists to visit.  Unfortunately, the House is no longer open to visitors as the country’s President uses it as his office in lieu of his palace.

House of Blackheads

House of Blackheads

I have never been inside the national library, but at night it looks striking when viewed from across the river.  Just look at this photo!

National Library of Latvia as seen from across the river

National Library of Latvia as seen from across the river

I like the photo below, but what on earth did that pole decide to park itself right in the middle of my Kodak moment photo?

A bridge that I liked because of the lights

A bridge that I liked because of the lights

There was a pop-up radio station outside the Central Station for a drive to raise funds to help vulnerable groups.

Radio station

Radio station

On a related note: there were only seven passengers on the 40 plus seater plane on my way back to Vienna, prompting the crew to move all of us to row 17 and beyond.  I don’t know the reasoning for this move.  Maybe the crew wanted us closer to the rose scented loos or they just did not want to push the cart to the front just to serve a handful of passengers.  Whatever the reason, the crew decided not to tell us.

Riga tower at night

Riga tower at night

All in all, I had a nice time in Riga.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jedib
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 14:45:48

    Sounds like a great trip! And you got the royal treatment with a bus on your own 🙂 I’ve never been to any of the Baltic states, but Riga is all the way up toward the top of my list.

    Reply

    • Zambian Lady
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 16:08:39

      Riga is an interesting city and one worth visiting, though I would add a trip outside town if I had a chance to pass through again. Bon voyage -when you finally visit 🙂

      Reply

  2. Bespoke Traveler
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 21:09:21

    Your duck plate looks delicious!

    Reply

  3. The Sicilian Housewife
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 14:40:05

    I love your photos and witty commentary! Though what was the weather like? It looks a bit gloomy…

    Reply

  4. Sharon Greene
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 16:38:25

    It sounds like you had a wonderful day trip. I would like to visit there someday.

    Reply

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