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.
Well maintained buildings with character stand next to plain not so well maintained ones as shown in the building below.
The street I liked most had buildings that housed international companies and embassies, maybe because they are similar to those in Vienna.
More buildings on ‘my’ street.
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.
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.
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.
The motif on the restaurant chair reminded me of a famous/infamous plant. Any guesses?
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 😉
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.
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!
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?
There was a pop-up radio station outside the Central Station for a drive to raise funds to help vulnerable groups.
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.
All in all, I had a nice time in Riga.