A postcard from the Baltic States

Riga Travel Blog

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Stunning architecture in the Art Nouveau district of Riga
Prior to easter 2005, I was searching for a destination for a European city break which would provide a travel experience to a relatively-unknown city on a favourable budget, and came up with the idea of visiting Tallinn, in Estonia, where I spent 4 inspiring days over easter of that year. After that enjoyable trip, I vowed to return to the region in order to check out the rest of what the Baltic States had to offer, and the next port of call was the Latvian capital city, Riga. By and large, Riga is considered to be Baltic States' main hub of activity, and upon arrival, a few brief glances around the cityscape in downtown Riga revealed hints of what treats the city had in store.
Delicious food at Staburags restaurant - smoked pork ribs, a glass of local ale, and, as the menu put it 'potatoes like Grandma used to make'
Pre-departure background reading about the destination enabled me to gain an insight into the basic fabric of the city, but it struck me as a highly-developed city which was going to take a certain amount of physical energy to trek across in the short space of time I spent there. As the architectural delights of the city proper unfolded, I began to realize just why places of Riga's calibre are descended upon by those in the know, who are equally keen to absorb the sheer scale of the city's urban beauty. The Art Nouveau district is a joy to behold, and contains a plethora of buildings done out in sparklingly fine Art Nouveau style, which made for terrific photo opportunities, not to mention an inspiring hour or two spent in the thick of urban terrain. Riga's landmark monuments and structures, such as the Powder Tower, and Freedom Monument seeped into my soul, as did the spectacular architectural gem the House of the Blackheads, well worth seeing both in the daytime, and in the evening, when it is illuminated, and equally striking.
Facade of the House of the Blackheads, stunning by day, or by night (when illuminated)
A night out at Nautilus nightclub was a great way to spend a casual evening in Riga, by which point I already felt fully acquainted with the city, and was partying hard like the local revellers. A day trip to the Baltic Riviera seaside town of Jurmala made for an interesting and pleasant escape route from the confines of the city, and a stop-off at the Livonian aqua park on the way back to the station somehow made it feel as if the city was as complete as you could realistically expect it to be, in terms of public ameneties. A trip to the Lithuanian capital city is already on the cards for the near future, and it all goes to show how the magnetic allure of two enjoyable city breaks in the region can influence an impressionable tourist's set of travel plans.
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Stunning architecture in the Art N…
Stunning architecture in the Art …
Delicious food at Staburags restau…
Delicious food at Staburags resta…
Facade of the House of the Blackhe…
Facade of the House of the Blackh…
Ornate-looking church in central R…
Ornate-looking church in central …
The Powder Tower, another of Riga…
The Powder Tower, another of Riga…