Discovering Riga

Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
Trip End Apr 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Barons City Central Hostel and Apartments

Flag of Latvia  ,
Sunday, June 5, 2011

I began this morning with a fast paced run to the beach and back before returning to my hostel to shower, eat breakfast and get my belongings together ready to go to the bus station.  At 08:10 I boarded a bus bound for Riga, the capital of Latvia.  It still amazes me that you can cross an international border with little more than a bus attendant quickly glancing over your passport.  I am sure this makes for all kinds of dodgey goings on throughout Europe.  The journey took just over two hours as we cruised through the thick pine forests en route to Riga.  Once in Riga I headed directly for the information centre to get a map before using it to make my way to the hostel where I would spend the next three nights.  So I can get on top of planning the South American leg of our trip I purposefully chose a hostel that offered single rooms and had wifi.  I was very pleased for what I got for the money I paid.  The staff were very friendly and useful at advising me what I should do with my time in Riga.  After settling in I grabbed my lunch I had prepared at breakfast time and with a map in my hand made my way into the old town.  My intentions for today were simply to get my bearings but I found myself doing a whole lot more.  I spent over five hours wandering through the streets of the old town, unintentionally bumping into most of the city's main attractions along the way.  I saw the Gun Powder Tower, the Swedish Gate, the Parilament building, St Jacob's Church, the Three Brothers, the Dome Cathedral, Jacob's Barricks, the Great Guild, the Small Guild, the Cat's House, the Freedom Monument, St George's Church, St John's Church, St Peter's Church, the House of Black Heads, the Orthodox Cathedral and visited the War Museum where I learnt about Latvia's war history under the occupation of Soviet and Nazi Germany regiemes.  This museum was very informative and it was obvious that Latvia's story has striking resemblances to that of Estonia's.  In between all of this I managed to find some time to relax in the beautiful park that follows the tranquil canal that runs through the centre of the city.  On my way back to the hostel I dropped into the supermarket and bought a local beer which I thoroughly enjoyed after a long day in the sun.  With plenty more to see and do tomorrow I got to bed nice and early.
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