Blogs from Latvia, Europe - page 7


Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga July 20th 2013

We can see the top of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Building from our hotel room. The building, a reminder of Latvia's long occupation by the Soviets, was built in 1958-60 using the Stalinist style of the 7 sisters in Moscow. From the top of this monument of soviet occupation one gets a panoramic view including Riga Central Market. The UNESCO world heritage site is the largest market and bazaar in Europe and was built from 1924-30. The main structures are 5 pavilions constructed by re-using old German Zeppelin Hangers made redundant after WWI. The smell in each of the 5 pavilions advertises its wares, one smells of of fish, one of meat, one of freshly baked bread, and yet another of cheese. Outside the pavilions there is a sweet-smelling flower market. Latvia declared independence in ... read more
Latvian Academy of Sciences
Urban renewal
Meat market

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region July 18th 2013

Arriving in Riga (population 706,000), after Moscow (population 10 million), is like taking off tight pants (or trousers for our British readers). You don't realize how much you are holding in until you don't need to anymore. Don't get me wrong. Moscow is interesting and worth visiting. Hearing what the people were told about the west wanting to take over the world is eye-opening. Gone are the old ladies queuing to buy bread or cabbages before they run out. The stores are modern and their shelves are full. The people like to dress up and go out and certain establishments have dress codes. Keith was denied access to the Radisson resturant wearing his below-the-knee shorts. Maybe it was the English-style shoes and socks ensemble. It's a vibrant city with plenty to see even without viewing the ... read more

Europe » Latvia » Kurzeme Region » Ventspils July 17th 2013

Ventspils is a very small town. I liked it because I could ride the bike around it in a few hours. My watch was over at 7:30 in the morning so there were very few people around when I started riding.... read more

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga July 9th 2013

Cobbled streets and cars are not a good mix for a quiet surface and we were woken by the increasing amount of traffic going by the hotel as the day got underway.We did however have another good nights sleep on a comfortable bed and long may that continue. Riga,being a compact city meant that we thought we could do our walking tour in 3 or 4 hours and so we didn't need to be in too much of a hurry to get out and about. With the tram at the front door of the hotel we had that option to get into the city but we opted to walk the distance and take in the ambience of the older part of the inner city that we had found ourselves staying in.We found a more direct route ... read more
Water melons of the bigger size,Riga
The Market,Riga
Inside the Zepplin hangar market,Riga

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga July 8th 2013

Oh what bliss a soft,comfortable bed is and last nights was just perfect.So much so we didn't want to get out of it to continue the trek southwards.The location of the place we stayed in in the middle of a forest well protected from road noise made it so quiet as well. The drive down to Riga is virtually due south and follows the coast for almost all the distance so we were hopeful of making a stop or two to check out the long Baltic western coastline. The three Baltic countries we have been to have small populations of people and they are certainly concentrated in the cities and this was even more obvious today as we drove towards Riga.There seemed to be even less people and houses on the western side of Estonia and ... read more
Gretchen dipping her toes in the Baltic
Jewish WW2 memorial,Riga

Europe » Latvia » Vidzeme Region » Ranka July 2nd 2013

The BBA V2 felt it was time to get back to nature and up the adventure a bit so we booked a log cabin for the night in rural Northern Latvia.Yes,believe it or not, does list properties such as this! We had had a very comfortable night in Daugavpils and enjoyed the English channels on the 50" TV set but it was going to be a good drive onto what we expect will be rural roads especially as we get closer to our destination and it was time to get going. We hadn't been able to stop to get a picture of the Russian warrior just before the bridge coming into the city yesterday so drove back and found a place to park and then walk to find the statue again.Well that turned out more difficult ... read more
Dauga River
Russian warrior statue,Daugavpils
A close up.Note the open mouth shouting something!

Europe » Latvia » Latgale Region » Daugavpils July 1st 2013

We are now really in territory we know little about and Latvia is probably the most mysterious of the three Baltic countries to us with reportedly a still heavy influence of its past ties to Russia evident. Taking the A14 north out of the city the countryside passed by quickly with few towns and villages to slow us down and with little traffic around we got to the turn off for the R114 faster than we thought we would. We decided to take a lesser road that ran between a series of lakes thinking it would be more scenic and although we didn't actually drive close to the lakes to view them the forests surrounding them were still enjoyable. We were that close to the lakes that we thought we would take a chance and drive ... read more
Simple interior of church
Housing and the road out
Would we or wouldn't we,the dunny at the lake

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga June 23rd 2013

Geo: 56.9465, 24.1048Today, the Latvians celebrate the Midsummer Night Festival for the longest day off the year. The sun rose around 4.10am, and wouldnt set until nearly 11pm. What a day for it too; Crisp clear blue skies and a pleasant 28C day. Thankfully throughout the day, I got progressively healthier and stronger as my sickness faded. Sone rest, medication overkill, sunshine, exercise and magic water just about have me on the road to recovery. More on that latter antidote later. In store for us today was a long, but enjoyable tour. We were first off the boat around 7am, and the last back aboard before a 3.30pm departure.The tour offered a good variety including Riga the capital, and two other regional towns of Turalda and Sigulda. The sights on display were never exhilerating or breathtaking, ... read more
Sigulda Castle
Nat Castle
Kris Ruins

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga June 12th 2013

Almost four hours in the bus and the countryside we observed confirmed our understanding that agriculture is not the mainstay of the Estonian economy. Very little by way of settlement and vast acres of forest constituted the landscape. On the Daugava River not far from the sea Riga is another gem with different facets from its neighbouring capitals. Here the Old Town has lost its ring-wall and the old and new flow gently together on the east bank, which is mainly, old. The west bank contains newer residential and office towers, we only ventured there briefly. The old, old town is further delineated by what seems to have once been a moat but which is now a lovely canal through park all the way, cutting off a piece of land from the north near the sea-boat ... read more
Grimms Fairy Tale
The moat canal
Daugavas Gate

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga June 4th 2013

I arrived in Riga around 6:30am on the Friday. My ticket gave the impression that I would be changing buses in Vilnius, Lithuania, at 4:30, however, at 5:30, we had not stopped. I became a little concerned until I noticed street signs indicating that I was headed in the direction of Riga. I took a taxi to the Naughty Squirrel hostel, where I was greeted by a woman named Wendy. She showed me a city map and advised numerous places of interest. I went out for a walk, stopped for breakfast at a bakery called Martin's, then kicked back and relaxed in the common area of the hostel until my room was ready. I showered, pottered around and laid down for a while. I slept for perhaps half an hour before I was awoken by a ... read more
Don't mess.....
Wooden church

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