Raining in Riga

Today it has poured for most of the day. Too much to go outside exploring on the uneven cobblestoned pavements and roads. I’m glad I got to see some of it yesterday afternoon. Fingers crossed it will be clear tomorrow- and if so, so we will be busy.

About 2 minutes from where we’re staying is St. Peter’s Church – a Lutheran Church.

Hard to get the whole building in (123m), but I spotted some newlyweds who I think were only using it for a photo shoot. Otherwise there would have been some others there surely. Or perhaps they’d headed to one of the many nearby bars.

Out of all the places we’ve been to this trip, Riga is by far the most interesting and I think the most beautiful.

Riga’s Cathedral is located in the heart of Old Riga in Dome Square.

Riga’s old city architecture features a mixture of Medieval, Romanesque and Gothic styles as can be seen in this “borrowed” photo below.

No wonder it is a UNESCO listed heritage site.

About 30% of the buildings are Art Nouveau – apparently the highest concentration anywhere in the world. The next photo does not depict this, but is still beautiful.

We learnt yesterday that Russians make up about 30% of the Latvian population; and are the largest ethnic minority. In Riga, more than 40% of its population is Russian.

Our Latvian-born bar tender from last night explained in his perfect English that all Latvians start learning English from Year 2. Then in Year 5, they start to learn a third language and they can choose between German and Russian. He chose Russian because he thought it would be more useful to him, and based on the number of Russians here, it sounded very sensible.

This is another church in the old town – Riga Orthodox Cathedral.

In very stark contrast to this beauty – as we entered the edge of Riga on our bus yesterday, we spotted what looked to be replicas of the building we’d stayed in in Tartu: mostly-empty Soviet utilitarian blocks.

This is another “borrowed” photo of Riga’s empty buildings.

Latvia is supposedly the best place to observe derelict buildings – apartments, warehouses, factories etc. There are even whole derelict towns. Skrunda-2 is one of these.

We did however venture out for drinks and dinner this evening. We had been told to try a place called Easy Beer, where you use a card to taste different beers.

Mick thought this looked good.

He was very happy until he decided to pay for half a dozen “sips” and paid more than he would have for 3 x 0.5L beers.

We met up with two younger Australians who had been here for a few days more than us – they had a few good tips.

We couldn’t stand the rain and ended up back out our ‘local’ – the Folkklubs Ala.

We both agreed Latvian garlic bread is better than Estonian garlic bread.

But I’ll confirm that in the morning.

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