It was over in a glimpse. An adventure too short. A farewell to a fairy tale town. And time to hop on a small plane, a 30 minute flight and land in a new city and a new country- Riga in Latvia. It is difficult not to compare Tallinn and Riga as they both are very unique and special, with centuries of history and incredible culture. Once I experienced Tallinn, I was full of hope that Riga will be another magical and wonderful place. Was it? Yes! And no…. Keep on reading!
I stayed a very short, 5 minute walk from the old town- great! Once I found my hotel (yes, still, my sense of direction has not evolved at all!), I was extremely relieved that my room was much bigger than the one in Tallinn! From a shoe box to a mansion! Well, not quite. I was eager to explore, embrace the city and its spirit! You don’t have to walk far and look for it very hard- beautiful spots, famous landmarks and yes, intagrammable places are in in abundance! Probably one of the first buildings that will catch your attention will be House of the Blackheads with its bright orange facade- erected in 14th century for foreign and unmarried merchants. From there, you’re just a step away from St. Peter’s Church and it’s a must! A ticket and a short journey in a crammed lift and you can admire the panoramic views of Riga. It’s absolutely breathtaking! So peaceful from above!
Speaking of heights- keep your eyes up and try to spot the famous cat on one of the rooftops. The Cat House was built at the beginning of 20th century and, as it says on the tin, has got a black cat on the very top of it. The cat was meant to look away from the guild house as the owner held the grudge against the merchants. I don’t think the story itself is as mesmerising as the black cat…I expected magicians, witches, people disappearing in a cloud of smoke…I’ve got a vivid imagination! If you want to experience a little bit of wizardry, make sure you visit a cafe called Black Magic- great interior, coffee and chocolate!
Shall we? This is probably the spot you have seen in most of the photographs from Riga- the famous blue house, at the end of a narrow alley. I do have to admit it- it’s cute! I ventured out early in the morning and had the place to myself. Apart from a very helpful man who took the picture for me. Three Brothers is another place worth visiting- it’s a complex of three oldest building in Riga. Again, early in the morning is a perfect time to visit- three brothers basking in the sun.
Old Riga is magical, charming. It’s also full of party goers. And when I left the hotel early in the morning, there were many revellers still going strong or recovering from their night out. Cans of beer on the streets. Rubbish. That’s the reality these days. But I guess in medieval times it was pretty similar! I can imagine those drunk and disorderly merchants and sailors! So, maybe not much has changed! On the second day, I decided to explore a different part of the city and I was in for a treat!
Majestic buildings, intricate decorations, feasts for your eyes- that’s Art Nouveau and there’s abundance of it in Riga. Take a 30 minute walk towards Art Nouveau Museum and you’ll encounter many wonderfully decorated house- I just love the enormity of those buildings and yes, always secretly imagine I live in one of them. Many say that the visit to the museum is not worth the money, and since visiting the famous spiral staircase is free, it might be true; however if you’re not pressed for time or money, take a tour of what once was a very cool apartment and a home to an Art Nouveau architect (obviously!).
After two days in the capital of Latvia it was time to pack my little bag and yet again head to the airport- Vilnius here I come!