Riga Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
August 17th, 2007 – by: genetravelling
Arriving in Riga was a bit of a shock as it is much more like a 'normal' city than Tallinn.
It's much bigger, quite modern and actually, the drive through the country was extrememely beautiful...
I met Pete at the hotel. He's a mate (and Travbuddy) from Uni who lives in Paris. Pete is a wicked bloke and it was great to see him, talk some good ol' aussie slang, have heaps of laughs and just travel with him in general.
It was a hot day so we decided to head straight for the beach.
What a great idea it was.
First I have to preface this with the fact that I am Australian and have had my fair share of terrific beaches.
Back into town and we met some friendly Latvians on the train who offered to show us around the old town. We spent an hour walking around the churches, cathedral, town hall, different town squares, old town wall and the canal (Pilsetas Kanals) and its park (Kronvalda Garden).
They explained the interesting and novel concept of wedding Padlocks. Basically, when you get married in Riga you get a padlock, engrave your names on it and lock it to something permanent.
The place of choice is a Bridge on the canal near the Freedom monument. We saw literally hundreds of the locks all over the place and its quite cute!
Riga is also very touristy and there were witless wanderers staggering all over the place.
I believe a year or so ago Riga was a cheap, fantastic place to travel.
Unfortunately, it is experiencing what can only be described by me as Riga-mortis.
It has become the Thailand of Europe. This means that the city gets hordes of young English guys on Stag nights getting extremely drunk and treating every girl as if they are for sale.
This serves well for no one.
The poor girls working in our hotel said that 90% of the english guys staying there treat them as if they are whores and it's the toughest part of their job to have to deal with them. I cant even write how much this shits me. How can one sad little island be so full of such inbred, rude, self absorbed, arrogant, ignorant losers?
On the other hand.
How can one large island be so full of everything good in the world?!!
We had very interesting results going out at night due to the extreme paranoia and disdain the locals have for the english.... and people naturally assume we are english...There was even clubs that simply wouldnt allow us entry. Pete's ever optimistic and happy persona never quavered and it was really a joy to hang with him. I love this guy.
The day time was very different however and we found people to be very friendly and helpful...especially once they knew we werent english...
We spent a bit of time walking around the town as it was just so beautiful. Just to the north of the old town there is a really beautiful Art Nouvea street (Alberta Iela) full of extremely flambouyant apartment buildings.
The food is very good and there is plenty to offer in all cuisines.
We were also lucky to witness Riga's 806th birthday celebrations so there was a lot going on: Concerts, ballet, light shows, speed boat racing, stalls. It was great to be a part of it and see how another nation celebrates.
Overall, Riga is a beautiful, clean, entertaining city. It's not as cheap as it apparently used to be, and I actually found it more expensive than Vienna in many situations.
If you are an English buck then please just stay where you are.
Everyone else, please visit this gorgeous city and its surroundings!
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