Latvia

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Freedom monument, Riga

Working my way down the map, made a stop in Riga, Latvia. Took a LUX Express bus from Tallinn, Estonia which costs €14 and takes 4 hours and 30 minutes. Riga is a city that exhibits impressive architecture and detail-designed buildings. There are up to 8 centuries of architectural variety; walking down the streets you sense the fusion of the divergent ages.

Riga

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Rainis (Latvian poet) monument at Esplanāde park

Considered the biggest city in the baltic area, which includes Estonia and Lithuania aside to Latvia; Riga is a diverse, sophisticated place. Several plazas in the city had a blend of historical statues and contemporary art pieces. The enlightenment level of the people was truly impressive, had lots of intelligent conversations while there.

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A monkey astronaut at Kronvalda park, a tribute from a Russian sculptor to all animals that died during spaceflight survival tests, prior to manned attempts
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Nativity Cathedral, Riga

Spent some time in the old town district; the area gets pretty vibrant at times. Some world cup qualifier games were playing at the time I was there, which called for lots of drink specials; participation by Latvian locals and European tourists was spectacular.

‘Jautrā Lapsa’ offered some karaoke, with locals signing their hearts out. A sports bar called ‘Kiwi bar’ was especially good to watch the games with an extensive cocktail list. Moreover, for late night drinks, ‘I Love You bar’ is a decent speakeasy. If you make it to old town in the morning, Andalūzijas Suns has amazing breakfast; you can also grab late lunch or dinner at Milda, which has a fantastic local Latvian food menu. Walking around old town is entertaining and there are a lot more places to be checked out, if only I had more time.

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Strolling down the streets of Riga is magnificent. You look at the buildings and think “that’s probably the opera” or “that’s definitely a theater or something”.. Negative. Regular residential buildings look absolutely elegant. Almost every building in the city is artistically designed; the buildings are renovated regularly to maintain their outstanding look. New modern buildings erected are not designed to that level of detail, however, they still look nicely blended with the older ones.

Riga has lots of green spaces not to be missed on a sunny day. In spite of that, I decided to take the tram for 40 minutes outside the city to visit the Riga zoo. Not particularly the biggest fan of zoos, but spent an interesting day there with the animals and my camera.

From conversations with the locals, it seems like Riga is a different place during the summer. Between boat tours down the Daugava river, suntanning on the gulf of Riga or swimming in the Baltic sea, I will need to make my way back to this region.

 

 


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