In Riga: The Waterfront

Any city by the water is usually somewhere I like to be. There is something great about sitting by the waters edge watching the swell. Riga’s waterfront is a nice open space with some great spots along the way. PhoebeGill170318290.jpgFirst things first, take a walk down the River Daugava. The promenade feels like a new addition to the waterfront compared historic old town and the more unmanicured look throughout the city. Along this walk you get a view of the National Library, this modern, 13 story institution opened in 2014 and is incredibly important to Riga. Along with modern buildings you get to see the trains pass on the railway. I don’t know what it is with rail systems but they are quite calming to me. I can imagine this promenade in Summer is a great place to take a picnic and soak up the sun.PhoebeGill170317135If you are an avid reader, you will know I love viewpoints and will actively climb the hundereds of steps and peer over he nauseatingly high rail to look at the small passers by. If you want a view of the city and the river you have to go to the Institute of Science, its €5 entry and you get a stunning panoramic view of Riga. You get a great view of Old Town and the entire river.  PhoebeGill170318284You can see all the main sites of The city, Riga castle, St Peters Church, Riga cathedral, central market and TV Tornis. The radio and television tower is the highest building in the Baltics. It too has a viewpoint so you can see Riga from a different perspective. PhoebeGill170318256Along the waterfront is the big Central Market. It is the biggest indoor market in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I love wandering around food markets, it gives you a great idea of the food culture of a country. Not only that but at the back of the tunnels is your classic marketing of second hand goods and clothing, it really is the place to go to wander around and spot some real tat! PhoebeGill170318266In each tunnel there is a different food group, the first is all smoked and fresh fish. If you don’t have sea legs the smell will be a bit overwhelming. I used to get brought to markets all the time so you get used to the smell. The second is all fresh fruit and vegetables. Everything looks amazing in this section, so much colour and variety! Potatoes and apples were in abundance.  The last tunnel is bread and meat. Their favourite it seems would be rye bread, my father loves rye bread so I imagined him being very happy with the cuts of pork with a good bit of fat and the dark bread.  PhoebeGill170317081It’s definitely somewhere you have to go when you go to Riga. It really great to see the sellers have pride in their stalls and all the different elements of food. If I was staying longer or had an AirBnB I would definitely stock up on fresh food! PhoebeGill170317076Riga was a really nice break away, I found it’s sad and traumatic history is still reflected in the cold aspects of the city, people aren’t overly friendly, there isn’t much modern builds and although I had some odd experiences with some people during my short time in the capital I would recommend Riga to anyone.

Happy Travels!


In Riga: Old Town

Old town is full of little streets to wander around and I highly recommend you take the time to explore. I was walking around on an overcast St Patricks day and it was quiet and just want I needed. I loved the architecture of the Old Town, medieval buildings with brightly coloured restaurants and shops. PhoebeGill170317116There are some incredible points of interest like the House of the Blackheads. This incredible red brick gothic structure is where you can get walking tours of Old Town. It has such great detail you can’t miss! PhoebeGill170318184Riga Castle is the official residence of the president, it has been rebuilt many times over the years, old structures and new bits added on gives this building a unique look, with six towers, all different colours and sizes. It is closed to the public due to a fire and will reopen in 2018. PhoebeGill170318143Old Town is small but its is completely charming, nothing is symetrical and there are so many little streets with charming spots. There are also big open squares where events are held and markets are set up. When I was walking around there was a brass band playing to no one, soft music reverberated in the square and it was lovely.PhoebeGill170318179There is one thing in European old towns that I love and that is making three building of similar ilk siblings. I have seen a few three brother buildings over Europe and I love finding them. These brothers are awkwardly placed down a small street.

Take the time. Take a walking tour. Enjoy!

Happy Travels!

In Riga: Central

To me Riga was split into three sections. Central was the most interesting to me, it had pretty parks, interesting musuems and a more gritty atmosphere. The most important thing in this area is the freedom monument. Learning Latvia’s history is sad and tough but it is really important to understand the country.PhoebeGill170317046The monument is in between a very lovely park which is nice to stroll through. It almost comforts the history to be sandwiched by nature. Another important place you need to go is the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. Looking at history is very important but this museum is a lot easier to go through than other museums out there. PhoebeGill170317055There are many buildings that command your attention like the Russian Orthodox church. There is a nativity scene inside but there is a dress code. Women are expected to cover their head and shorts aren’t permitted. PhoebeGill170317047One museum I really enjoyed was the modern art museum, there is great painting from historical periods of time. It was really interesting to read the history of Latvia and then to see it expressed through art.

In the basement, there is modern day art after a good long break from modern art it was nice to see it on my terms. I really recommend this museum.  PhoebeGill170318230Behind the parks and museums is the local shopping area of Riga, charity shops, places to eat, it’s more residential than the area just outside old town. Something I loved about this area was the more gritty elements than the other areas. PhoebeGill170317064Whole buildings would be missing from the street, paint was peeling, it was nice to be somewhere that wasn’t just building apartment blocks all over a city. My favourite has to be this tictac ad, you never see ads like this anymore and I just love it. PhoebeGill170317067I liked walking around this area, there are lots of places to eat like Big Bad Bagels and Crazy Donuts. Walk around, explore and have a good time not being bombarded with modern architecture.

Happy Travels!