Monday, 3 August 2015

Riga




Riga is the biggest of the baltic capital cities, which you quickly realise when walking along. It is not as compact as in Tallinn and the walls around the old city are missing too. Still the inner city is easy to recognize because of it beautiful old buildings with high rooms and sometimes even small towers on the edges.


What’s really special about Riga is the narrow park around which probably used to be the moat. There is still a narrow „lake“ inbetween the green areas which is long enough you can do boat trips on it. Also, you can rent a rowing boat or pedal boat and explore the lake on your own.



Also, the market of Riga used to be the biggest in Europe. Today it is probably the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but still the market of Riga is pretty big and you can easily get lost there because it does not only cover 4 big buildings (which used to be halls for building Zeppelins) but also the surrounding squares and streets. There you can buy fruits, fish, meat, spices, clothes, furniture, accessories, handcrafts and many more. What I liked most is that you can buy really tasty peas. After I discovered they sell huge peas here I started buying a big bag of peas everyday for dinner.
Directly next to the market is the academic tower with the best view over the old city of Riga.


From Riga, you can visit several other great places, and one of them is Sigulda, about an hour with the train (but remember, trains here stop like all the time and it takes a long time to get somewhere outside of the city). It is a town located on the edge oft he Gauja Nationalpark with lots of castles and manor houses. From the castle of Sigulda you can see Krimulda manor and Turaida castle on the other side of the valley of Gauja river. Unfortunately there is only one small wall left of Krimulda castle, the third within reach. Of course I visited them all and enjoyed the view of the tower of Turaida castle down the valley.


Just in the middle of the three castles there is the Gutmans cave, the biggest cave of Latvia that got known through a legend of two lovers from different castles who used to met there, but it ended deadly for the girl which is now known as „Rose of Turaida“.


On the other side of Riga, there is J├╝rmala, the beach region of Riga. Just behind the beach there are lots of impressing villas that are probably owned by the rich people of Latvia. The beach itself is really beautiful, but there are nearly no waves and you have to walk quite long until the water gets deep enough to swim. Also, it is quite uncommon here to have more than 25 degrees so for me it would be too cold for swimming. But spending the last evening in Latvia on the beach is still a pleasant experience.