Latvia – Riga (12 Dec 2017)
The bus from Šiauliai to Riga took around 4 hours – we reached Riga only at around 11pm. By this time, there weren’t that many people on the streets.
We took a 15 mins walk to our hotel, passing through many bars. Riga’s every bit as modern as a western European city.
Our accommodation for the night was at the Old Riga Hotel Vecriga. It’s a 4-star boutique hotel that didn’t cost much (perhaps S$60 or so), and while the room was pretty bare bones, it was pretty comfy and cozy. Not to mention that the location was smack in the centre of Riga Old Town, which is great.
We dumped our bags in the room and proceed to go out to explore the city a bit – because we wouldn’t be spending another night here. Our stint in the Baltics was going to fully exemplify our travel philosophy – Pack Light, Go Fast.
Our first stop was The Armoury Bar – so named because it was adorned with all sorts of guns, rifles, rounds and so on. They used to allow people to handle the weapons, but seemed to have stopped doing so not too long ago. A pity.
We had a few interesting drinks here – I had some chocolate beer or something. Tasted pretty good actually.
We also met 2 guys and had a good time chatting and playing foosbar.
It was already about 1am when we left the bar, so although we originally wanted to go bar-hopping, we decided to head back to the hotel to rest instead.
The next morning we were treated to a pretty good hotel breakfast.
And then it’s time to explore the Old Town!
After visiting the House of the Blackheads, we proceeded to explore the rest of the Old Town. There was a Christmas market here as well (actually a few around the Old Town).
It didn’t take long before we got hungry – so we decided to hunt for a restaurant. We found a restaurant that looked good from the outside, but the inside was pretty cramped. Food was pretty average but pretty cheap (we had the lunch set for perhaps S$10+ or so).
The weather wasn’t that fantastic the whole day – gloomy with a persistent little drizzle. Nothing of the sort we’d get in Singapore though, so we could still walk around without umbrellas, plus it wasn’t too cold (about 3 deg or so). I was wearing 2 layers as usual – a thermal innerwear plus a Columbia ultra light down.
Since we had a bit of time, we decided to pop into the Latvian War Museum to understand a little more about the history of this city.
Understand a bit more about the history of the city.. plus have a little bit of fun 🙂
We ventured out of the Old Town to explore other interesting places.
The Art Nouveau district resided outside of the Old Town, and it was a bit of a walk. It was already getting a bit dark by this time (about 4pm).
As the name of the district suggests, there was an abundance of Art Nouveau houses here. In fact, Riga has the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world.
We passed by the KGB building (now a museum), and decided to pop in. Upon entry we were given a slip of paper (touristy!) that was supposed to be given to all visitors to the KGB building last time (yes it’s all fun and games now, even for the locals – especially the younger ones who haven’t been through the dark times).
They had a 45 min tour going on, but we didn’t really have time to stick around, and decided to leave.
Along the way back to the Old Town to grab dinner and then catch our bus to Estonia, we passed by a gourmet supermarket and decided to take a look.
we searched on Google for the best night view of Riga, and found that the Radisson Blu hotel was pretty good. We decided to head up to the top floor where there was a bar. We were going to get a drink, but due to time constraints we decided to just snap a few photos of the night view before heading down. Saved some money in the process too, as hotel bar drinks tend to be pretty pricey.
At about 5pm it was pretty much pitch dark already. Near the entrance to the Old Town there was an outdoor Christmas market/amusement park with a rabbit garden. That was pretty interesting.
Dinner was at a traditional Latvian restaurant called “Tavern”. There was a dark tunnel to go through before reaching the restaurant entrance – not altogether welcoming.
We had a variety of traditional Latvian food – most of which were not to our liking, unfortunately.
So that’s it, a whirlwind and quick tour of Riga. We saw quite a fair bit and had a pretty good time, although nothing really stood out for us as we had seen many Old Towns before (and Riga’s one is really pretty, but a tad too prettied up). Next stop – Tallinn in Estonia!
This entry was posted in Europe, Honeymoon, Latvia
- Art Nouveau
- black balsam
- Cat House
- christmas market
- House of the Blackheads
- House of Three Brothers
- KGB building
- Latvian War Museum
- Old Riga Hotel Vecriga
- Radisson Blu
- Riga Black Balsam
- The Armoury Bar