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In and around Riga

Founded in 1201, the historical center is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Riga is the European Capital of Culture 2014.

We stepped out of our hotel and I had barely taken 4 steps, when I stopped to take a picture. Already? my husband wondered. Look up! I answered. Riga is a city where you will miss a lot if you don't look up at the buildings.

Riga is so full of history and we were there to learn about it. Our first stop was St. Peter's Church, first mentioned in 1209. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to go in since we were there during the World Choir Games and the church was being used for practice.

Riga Cathedral was built in 1211 and has an airy feeling inside along with a beautiful cloister. The organ is currently being restored so we were unable to see it.

The buildings tell stories of Riga's membership in the Hanseatic League and history of belonging to various empires.

Riga may be most famous for its Art Nouveau buildings, of which it has the largest collection in the world. As I mentioned earlier: just look up!

Another amazing building in Riga is the Nativity of Christ Cathedral. Beautiful in and out.

 

 

We were flipping through the on board magazine when we noticed an article about Rundale Palace. Building began in 1736 and the restoration process which began in 1972 is now finally coming to a close. It is said that there are 2500 roses in the garden. Take a close look at all the amazing details in the palace.

The gardens were beautiful and the roses in bloom. A thunderstorm, which luckily passed us by, made for a very dramatic sky.

On our last full day we took the train out to Jurmala on the Baltic Sea. Oh, how lovely it was to walk in the water and sand all day and to listen to the waves and seagulls.

Instead of taking the train back, we decided to take the boat.

Riga at night is not a sight to be missed. We went out twice, once to walk along the river at sunset and once after dark on a kayak tour of the canal. I enjoy how cities are much quieter in the mornings and evenings.

 

 

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Where to stay:

We enjoyed our stay at the Old City Boutique Hotel. The staff was very friendly, the room quiet and clean and the breakfast buffet delicious. The marinated herring with sour cream found it's way onto my plate every morning!

 

Where to eat:

We enjoyed every meal we had. For those who like beets- you'll be in heaven in Riga.

Valtera Restorans: This restaurants focuses on contemporary Latvian dishes, made with the freshest ingredients coming from local producers. We had: Beet soup and creamy fish soup, lamb with roasted vegetables and trout with roasted vegetables and dessert was strawberry cheese cake and white hazelnut chocolate mousse.

 

De Commerce Gasto Pub 1871: This was the perfect place to enjoy a meal while there was a downpour.Or meal was: Spinach-Asparagus soup and caramelized goat cheese salad with pesto dressing, trout with spinach and moules frites (with the most delicious frites I have had in a long time!) and we shared an ice cream variation for dessert: wild berries, avocado and pistachio.

 

Domini Canes: We soaked in the last rays as we sat out on the terrace overlooking St. Peter's church. A young man played the guitar and sang a few meters where we were sitting and we people watched as we enjoyed our dinner. We started with the tomato soup and the salad with whipped goat cheese, nuts and berries, and basil dressing, moved on to  risotto with cherry tomatoes and prawns and Casarecce with wild mushrooms and asparagus, and finished with a chamomile crème brûlée with berries.

 

Rigensis: Recommended to me by Sini, I got excited when I saw this small café. The counter is full of goodies and it isn't easy to choose. In the end we decided on apple strudel and sour cherry strudel, and I picked a poppy seed kolach to eat on the plane. Everything was as delicious as it looked and we especially enjoyed the fact the nothing was overly sweet. The only downside was the very unfriendly staff.

Central Market: This is the place to go if you want to find something for a picnic to be enjoyed in one of the nearby parks. After wandering around and looking at all the beautiful produce (the place is huge!), we picked up some bread, cheese, pickles and strawberries and headed for a bench in the park overlooking the canal.

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Sini says:
Jul 31, 2014 10:40 PM
So happy you enjoyed this truly gorgeous city. Also, glad to hear you found your way to Rigensis and liked it - I still dream of their sour cherry strudel! I brought a whole boxful of it with me back home when we visited Riga years ago.
kathy says:
Aug 01, 2014 01:29 AM
You sure ended this blog beautifully! Susan and I had just had tea and pear tart, or these photos would have had me licking my iPad screen! What a lovely city. So glad you had a good time. You two can pack more into a day than anyone I know.
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