Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Riga, Latvia - next Port of Call

You should have seen some of the children on our tour bus - unruly, loud and making weird faces at other passengers. I felt embarrassed for the parents, I really did. Really and truly. We opted for a short city walking tour in Riga. Thinking it was small, not much there. We were wrong. It is small. However, it is a beautiful city and it would have been very easy to walk around - on our own - from the dock, and enjoy a full day. But we promised the girls some swimming and not too much touring on a couple days. A tour every port of call is not exactly the dream vacation of 9 & 11 year olds so parents have to be willing to compromise.

And the weather was iffy, so..............

The main square in the Old Town. The city really takes it's tourism appeal seriously and you find a real mix of modern, old, hi-tech and quaint all together but in a way that doesn't feel disjointed. I'd love to go back and explore further.
Remember the "Bremen Town Musicians" folktale? Here are the heroes from that tale.
The city is known for it's beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. An example below of the animal themed decor from this period/style.
Large square with lawns, restaurants and the cutest little bakery/coffee shop from which we bought delicious treats mid-morning.
My picture taking was subdued on this day by the rain unfortunately:
We also found a sense of humor in the variety of 'outdoor decor' throughout the city. It was fun and didn't detract from the atmostphere.
The 'black cat' of Riga. We saw several of the live version running around too.
What I noticed missing from St. Petersburg but in abundance here:

Just the kind of pictures I like to take while strolling around:
Our gracious Latvian tour guide. Interesting fact: she's a professional tour guide but also - translates Avon catalogue information into Latvian for the Avon ladies. Interesting note re: life in Latvia (and similar to Gydinia/Gdansk, Poland our next stop). The average person in Latvia lives on 500 - 600 US $$ per month after taxes. This goes to cover food, housing, medical, clothing, etc... The cities are nice yet they don't have much of the extra's. And imports are expensive. How to take a country from a Communist government in which all things belong to the community (and they had much less under that standard) to one of democracy and free trade is not an easy process. Food for thought.
Note: The formatting got wacky again.
The US Embassy in Riga:
Monument to the children who were sent to Siberia to work camps and never returned home - really touched the girls hearts:

Bridge between the Old and New of Riga.
Heading out of Riga - back to the Baltic and on to Poland.

1 comment:

Mom E said...

You are right, the kids are scary! Looks like a great adventure and a good education for the girlies.