Riga - Home to Eurovision 2003

Trip Start May 02, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Greetings from Riga.

After a night stopover in Tallinn we made our way to Riga on the Eurolines bus that is on their website. It was one of those upsatirs-downstairs numbers with full cafe service. Not bad but at the end of the day a bus is a bus. Fortunately that possessed little Russian kid didn't come along for the ride.

So, to Riga. Well well, it seems the Baltic states have it going on with their capital cities. Riga is another lovely city with vibrant old and new sections which have been seamlessly intertwined. Whilst not a walled city like Tallinn, Riga's old town is more of a day to day type city that the locals use to conduct their business as well as the odd tourist (including British stag weekends) wandering about taking snaps.

We were staying in a flea bitten cess pit called 'Posh Backpackers' which was one of those places that always looked dirty and as such we felt dirty and scarily itchy. This was the type of hostel we were fearing and it was good to get it out of the way early. If you're reading this and looking for a place to stay in Riga, don't go to Posh Backpackers as it's anything but posh. I think the name Grimey Swampy Itchy Backpackers would suit it better. Add to that probably the most annoying person we've encountered so far had also set up camp there and couldn't help himself in telling us his life story every time he spotted us - on the Internet, making a cuppa, sitting in the common room watching TV or even taking a dump, he'd be there stealing our oxygen. As you can imagine, I just walked away and left poor Kat who's too polite to do the same to listen to his inane drivel. It was like a repetitive bad dream and no doubt he's still there doing the same to some other poor sap.

The weather wasn't great as you can probably tell by the photos but you've just got to get out and see the sights. Riga is one of those cities where you can wander around endlessly looking at the buildings. There are numerous examples of architectural value representing different styles : the Romanesque, Gothic, Classicism, Eclecticism and Baroque. Riga is especially famous for its ensemble of Art Nouveau style - which seems to be the National romanticism. But then you get bored of that and go to the pub! ;)

There's also a very impressive 'Occupation' Museum that details all atrocities committed against Latvia over the years. I think Eastern Europes whipping boy could be a good nickname for Latvia, in fact for all the Baltic states. Seems they were all just traded like football cards whenever someone needed to cede something after losing a war. It hasn't dimmed their enthusiasm however and since coming out from under Soviet rule Latvia has been coming on in leaps and bounds and has an economy that would put most countries to shame. And the Latvians are very nice to boot. Baltic states 2, Russia nil.

Next pod - Day Trip to the 'Latvian Swiss Alps'..


Nath and Kat.
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