Relaxing in Riga

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Kipsala Camping

Flag of Latvia  ,
Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just a note that it is worth clicking in "Slideshow" to get better view of photos.

June 25

Okay, I hereby abdicate any preconceptions that I had of Baltic and eastern European cities. Somehow I imagined Bialystok and Riga as little provincial towns that I could go into and begin asking about possible family history, but no… both are big cosmopolitan cities. Indeed, Riga is almost as big as Vancouver. It is called Paris of the north, and with some justification… a nice mix between old and new, with some narrow cobbled roads with 2 or 3 hundred year old buildings, as well as some large boulevards and parks.

We biked into town today, and despite the ongoing drizzle, managed some nice walking as well as visits to the Cathedral (with an organ concert), the Museum of the (Russian) occupation, biking around the fascinating art deco neighbourhood (see pix) a beer at an outdoor café of which there are many, and dinner at a traditional Latvian restaurant. Costs though, are about half what they would be in Paris.

June 26, 2010

A bit of a quiet day as we had to deal with the news of Doogie needing to be moved somewhere, then into town at noonish and a nice easy bike ride around the beautiful central park area. Got a flat tire though, from some glass on the road, so had to find a bicycle shop to buy a new tube and fit it on. Fairly easy job due to a quick release front wheel. In the evening, a ride along the little island in the Daugaval river on which our campsite is located, and then to an amazing big and modern shopping centre. Can't help but think how amazing such a place would be to those who were around here 20 years ago! Within a kilometer of this campground on an island in the river is a smattering of big old 19th C wooden houses, some in disrepair and some nicely renovated, some decrepit and abandoned old Soviet industrial sites, some  modern office buildings, a mix of sprawling and messy old apartments with modern hotels and apartment blocks. There is one little stretch of cobbled road along the prime waterfront view side of the island, that seems to be regulated, requiring that the old wooden houses be retained, which means about a third of them are abandoned and decrepit, but picturesque nevertheless, another third are nicely renovated and very upscale, and another third seem to be totally new but still on the architectural theme. At the shopping mall was a display of the plans for this island, and most of Riga, with big swaths of new condos and apartments… hopefully with plans to still keep the old stuff.

It is also amazing to realize that we are now slightly north of Fort St. John in latitude! So much of northern Europe is situated so far north, and yet such history and culture!

We are off to the Jewish museum this morning to try to discover more about my grandfather's heritage... will let you know...
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Jer on

You are right. It is way better to watch the pictures in the slideshow. Makes me feel like I am there with you. What an awesome trip. You guys are doing retirement right!

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