Via Parnu to Riga
Riga Travel Blog› entry 5 of 17 › view all entries
Today our tip took us from Estonia to Latvia via Parnu, where we are to have a beachfront BBQ. Parnu is supposed to be a prime resort area for people of Estonia. It's a little town with some shopping, restaurants and a beach resort opening to the Baltic Sea. We stopped in town to take a quick walk, where I took some photos of a church, where somebody's funeral was being held, so obviously I did not go in, and only admired the church from the outside. Then we walked in downtown a little bit, there were some nice shops, but I did not find anything real interesting before we had to leave downtown to go to the restaurant by the beach. The BBQ was not like an American one, but just basically a buffet with some fish and port being cooked on a grilled outside, and served indoors.
The border crossing was done in the bus, as we cross into Lativa, a border guard came on the bus and collected our passports, and the bus drove through and waited at the Lativa side. The passports were returned, and we were on our way.
A couple hours later, we arrived at Riga, the capital of Lativa. There were some soviet era looking building, but we soon passed the train station and the department store in front of it and got to the old town where our hotel was, we had to go through a gate, only people with business in the old town area can drive in.
Latvia is larger than Estonia and has a population of about 2.3 million. Riga is the largest city not only in Latvia but in the Baltics with about 800,000 people. About 43% of them being ethnic Russians. Latvia's history is similar to that of Estonia, with the stronger nations around it occupying it most of the time, from the German crusaders in the 13th century, to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, then Sweden and Russia. A brief independence before WWII and then the Soviets. As the USSR collapsed, Latvia was again independent since 1991. Riga was a merchant commerce city and had a large Jewish population. During WWII, the Nazis killed about 90,000 Jews in Latvia, about 5000 in Estonia, and from 135,000 to 300,000 in neighboring Lithuania!
After dinner at the hotel, which turned out to have free internet access in its business center, we went for a walk around the old town.
Kevin had no luck at the ATM machine at the corner, and we found our way back to the hotel for a needed rest.