Sunday 30th July – Monday 31st July – Riga, Latvia (Riverside Camping)
Rīga is the capital and the largest city in Latvia. With 639,630 inhabitants Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states and home to one third of Latvia’s population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava. Riga’s territory covers 307.17 square kilometres.
Roadworks, roadworks and more roadworks. We crept along or should we say, rattled along and felt every bump for what seemed a lifetime. The cutlery in the drawer danced about and porcelain cups kept in tune. Couldn’t believe nothing broke.
The Sat Nav spat the dummy in the middle of town and we seemed to go round and round in a circle. Finally gave up on the sat nav in frustration and used the off line map in our iPad. Finally happy to arrive at our destination, settled in at the marina and enjoyed a restful afternoon with dinner under the awning overlooking the river. Very warm now so have put away our winter gear – hopefully.
Caught a taxi to Old Town (taxi recommended by manager here) as the buses only run hourly and cost 2€ each and taxi 6€. Arrived at Freedom Monument and spent the rest of the day enjoying this fantastic city. Old Town runs for so many blocks it took hours to roam about and try to see everything. Most of everything here was bombed to the ground during WW2 and has been restored to original specs. This is pretty much the same story at most towns throughout our travels. So many beautiful churches and cathedrals, museums at nearly every corner and buildings with so much character.
The markets are situated on the river side of the city and consist of 5 massive hangars described as Zeppelin Hangars. One specifically for deli items such as every conceivable sausage you could want, cheeses, breads, pickled,this and that and jars of unknown goodies. One was dedicated to all sorts of meats and chickens another for fish and shellfish (even the dreaded smoked fish). In between there were literally hundreds of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Some we did not recognise at all. Berries of all kinds – strawberries €2 per kilo – blueberries €2 per kilo – tomatoes €1 per kilo. Just wish we had our backpacks with us as we would have filled them to the brim. Flowers galore – so colourful and the scents intoxicating. Clothes, bags, shoes everything you could want was for sale here – and at just the right price. Kept the wallet under lock and key- so many temptations.
After 5 hours of sheer pleasure and amazement at the wonders of this city, this little person had had enough. The skies had blackened as we left the markets and it began to rain. We took shelter in a little bar and enjoyed some local beers while waiting for it to clear. Took off again for a short while and then gave up after the rain continued and hailed the taxi for home.