Sauntered through Riga on foot today camera and video camera in hand. Entered into St. Peter’s adorned with mere wooden chairs in direct contrast to the beautifully painted Greek Orthodox Church whereat I witnessed a Latvian wedding and had to ask myself whether the bride was a famous model or actress or were all brides, bride grooms and wedding parties (and for that matter all Latvians) so beautiful! The answer I think is all Latvians or at least most of the young to middle aged are sights for sore eyes. They have fashion and style that confounds me and I expect the US will be seeing in their department stores in 3-5 years. I also saw the House of the Blackheads which unfortunately was closed for renovation along with Riga Castle and the Museum of Latvian Occupation but the name House of the Blackheads certainly spiked my curiosity and so I stepped up to a local and asked. The House of Blackheads got its name from when unmarried German merchants used to meet there some time ago and their symbol which is on the building is, you guessed it, the face of a black man. Of course, I didn’t, but perhaps should have, asked why unmarried? The truth is probably much less debaucherous than my imagination is!
Also, saw one of the most lusciously green and flower infested parks you can imagine with canals running through, a bridge with love locks, ducks, ducks and more ducks and a fountain out which emanated a beautiful rainbow. The park surrounded the Latvian Freedom Monument which, along with the Barikades, holds a special place in the hearts of the Latvians as they’ve been fighting all their lives for their freedom from one oppressor or another and most recently the Soviets up until 1991.
Additionally, I saw the House of the Three Brothers which is rather more like three houses from three different eras going back from the 15th century until the 17th century and are the oldest complex of houses in Riga. Not sure why they call it the Three Brothers.
Finally, some shopping for my amber bracelet and some better walking shoes/boots at the Galleria Riga with rooftop views from the rooftop bar. Again, I must say the Latvians know fashion and beauty with their wildly innovative style (think cute leather skirt to above the knee with blue jean colored button down and over the knee flat black boots or sparkling black tennis shoes and black fedora …elegant yet sexy and somehow still comfortable and relaxed – and this is just one example). The clothes for sale here may have come off a runway in France or Italy but if it didn’t, it looks like they did. In fact, while in France and Italy I never saw women dressed this cute there. In any event, it’s probably coming to an H&M near you soon so no worries.
Finally, after I ate my dumplings and game with horseradish sauce with drink and strawberry meringue dessert, I had to plan the next adventure. Tomorrow I leave via Lux Express Bus for Vilnius, Lithuania. The luxury ride will cost me a mere 18€ and 4.5 hours. I, again, due to work matters that need to be completed and the short length of my stay in Lithuania will go with Agoda.com again rather than Airbnb which I generally prefer for longer stays. Note that Agoda and Booking.com are generally the same (they are affiliates/subsidiaries of each other) but when, like in the case of Belarus where I can’t be sure my visa will be granted, you go with Booking.com as they have free cancellation. But when you don’t want to bother hassling with checkout, then you go with Agoda as they charge your credit card for the room and your done in 15 seconds from the time you select your hotel on their app.
Now to sleep in my small yet very comfortable room so that’s all for now. From Latvia with love.