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Via Parnu to Riga

Riga Travel Blog

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At a rest stop between Tallinn and Parnu

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.

Countryside in Estonia, with the hay bales
It was OK but nothing exciting. Afterwards, I walked out to the beach sand and put my feet in the water. The sand was nice and soft, and there were many people on the beach sunning themselves or swimming in the water. There were no waves, and the water was not salty (yes, I thought I would taste it just to be sure.)

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.

A church tower in Parnu

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.

A street front in Parnu
There were a lot of people out and about, restaurants and bars were in full operation, and the daylight lasted well to near 11pm. We walked by the biggest square Dome square and its open air restaurants, where the music was playing, and many people enjoying themselves in the summer night. The town hall, and the St Peter's church, then another square with flower beds and more restaurants, and ended up on some less busy street. There were still a few tourist types walking around, but then there was this woman who could be an opera singer, she was singing a sad song (seems to be anyway, since it was probably in Lativian) in this more or less deserted street. Her voice carried a long way, and I thought she sang very well. She stood across the street from us and sang, turning occasionally one way or another, and the voice would go up or down. It was a moving experience.

Kevin had no luck at the ATM machine at the corner, and we found our way back to the hotel for a needed rest.

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At a rest stop between Tallinn and…
At a rest stop between Tallinn an…
Countryside in Estonia, with the h…
Countryside in Estonia, with the …
A church tower in Parnu
A church tower in Parnu
A street front in Parnu
A street front in Parnu
Street of Parnu
Street of Parnu
Beach at Parnu, white sands, no wa…
Beach at Parnu, white sands, no w…
The beach resort restaurant where …
The beach resort restaurant where…
Another direction of the beach
Another direction of the beach
2 guys playing chess at the beach
2 guys playing chess at the beach
Dinner at the hotel (Grand Palace …
Dinner at the hotel (Grand Palace…
Ceasar salad with duck slices and …
Ceasar salad with duck slices and…
Nice looking, I forgot what it was…
Nice looking, I forgot what it wa…
My main course - Blackened salmon …
My main course - Blackened salmon…
Leg of lamb with mushrooms for Kev…
Leg of lamb with mushrooms for Ke…
The massive Dome Cathedral at Dome…
The massive Dome Cathedral at Dom…
On a street off Dome square in old…
On a street off Dome square in ol…
House of Blackheads with statue of…
House of Blackheads with statue o…
Turn to the left a bit and you can…
Turn to the left a bit and you ca…
At the greens in another square on…
At the greens in another square o…
The black Cats house can be seen …
The black Cat's house can be seen…
Close-up of one of the black cat o…
Close-up of one of the black cat …
Riga Hotels & Accommodations review
Great location. Only about 1 block from Dome Square, with easy walking distanace to all of old own Riga.The hotel rooms were more comfortably sized.… read entire review
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photo by: sarahthevegasbride