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 Edinburgh: Scott Monument

The Scott Monument is a key piece along Princes Street. The monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott a writer in the 1700s. After his death in 1832 a commission was held to design his memorial monument. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world and went way over budget but it is an amazing building that is definitely worth a visit. phoebegill170102284It’s blackened exterior from smoke damage is an eye catching feature but it’s height really gives it power and as this was my third trip to the city I had to go up. There are 287 spiral steps like with so many towers, it is a tight squeeze and it gets narrower as you get to the top.phoebegill161231055With the entrance in Princes Street gardens, admission for me was £5. I would recommend you say if you are coming up or down and listening out for other people because there is a lot of visitors. The views on the three platforms are panoramic and beautiful. All of the main attractions can be seen from each level so it’s the prefect place to take in the city. phoebegill161231157I love a good tower and this is one of my favourites. If you don’t have a crippling fear of heights I recommend!

Happy Travels!

 

In Edinburgh: Staying in Haymarket

I chose to stay in the Haymarket area because it was cheap, not going to lie, I wanted a hotel, with my own room and an en suite for not a lot of money. This hotel is right next to the train station, there is a tram stop and lots of taxi’s outside. Best part is the Airlink stops right outside the station so there are lots of transport options for you.PhoebeGill161231001.jpgThe hotel itself is in three Victorian townhouses so it has a lovely feel of home to it. I chose a single room, it was clean, nicely sized, all be it a small room. With a table and flat screen tv, there really is everything you need to be comfortable. phoebegill161230013There are 4 sockets in the room with two USB outlets in the sockets. So as a solo traveller there is lots of charging possibilities. The bathroom is clean and bright. It had a multi-purpose shower gel/hand soap/shampoo on the wall of the shower, so bring your own. phoebegill161230014Outside the hotel there is a Tesco express a couple of doors down, there aren’t many great restaurants but there was a cafe opposite the hotel called Jacob’s Bakery, it has lots of fresh pastry and cakes with hot food served all day. phoebegill170102030I once again chose my favourite, eggs benedict. It was very tasty, the coffee was good. It could do with a little finessing but it was a good sized meal that set me up for the day and was about £10.  If you are in need of a place to eat and then get on the Airlink back to the airport this is it. phoebegill170102033FYI, I stayed here during New Years so prices might vary. I do recommend this hotel if you can find a good price but be aware that if you book early enough and I do mean quite early you can get a good deal on some more central hotels. It’s a great location if you want all forms of transport and want to walk everywhere.

Happy Travels!

 

In Stockholm: The Sky View

I love a good view, I will climb really tiny towers (Oh get ready there is a blog post coming, eventually) and I will happily pay in to look out at a city many times over.  Whenever I am somewhere new I have to see it from a height so I was looking for a place in Stockholm and since going for a decent enough walk with an injury wasn’t very feasible I chose The Sky View.  PhoebeGill160716713Normal entry into The Sky View is SEK150 (€15) but with The Stockholm Pass it is free before 12pm and after that costs SEK30 (€3) To be honest if I paid €15 I would be a little hard done by because the Sky View globe is located outside of the main area of Stockholm, it is near the stadiums, concert halls and a shopping mall. It has the feel of being in a more residential area and away from the main areas your average tourist would explore. PhoebeGill160716416That’s not to say that the 20 minute trip isn’t worth a look see I would just try and get the discount ticket and see it for free or for cheap. It’s always fun to ride in a gondola, I really love the mechanics  of these things. There are two pods that ride up to the top of the globe. It would be really cool if the tracks did the 180 degrees of the globe but it just goes up to the top and then back down the same way. PhoebeGill160716656Seeing all of Stockholm is beautiful, it’s green and looks like there are lots of pretty places to visit. Once you get to the top you can see a tiny bit of the coastline and it looks gorgeous. Although it’s a bit outside the main city, the T-Bana station is really close by so it’s very easy to get to. I just wish there was a tower in the centre of Stockholm because the city is so beautiful!PhoebeGill160716023I recommend it but would I go again? Probably not. I enjoyed the view and it was fun to be in a pod gliding up the side of a building but it’s not exactly what I was looking for so I was a little disappointed.

Happy Travels!