I had a bit of a sleep in today, the thick curtains in the hotel shielding the 4 am sunrise. Still, I’d finished breakfast by 9 am and was off wandering the streets of Riga to try and find something to capture my attention. It is not that Riga is ugly or bad, by all means, its a beautiful city, but I was yet to find a single point of interest that defines Riga. Maybe the House of the Blackheads is the most interesting, but everything else is just old and beautiful including the numerous churches that dot the old city.
I first headed across Central Riga to visit a street of art nouveau architecture. Albert St was mentioned in my guidebook and I knew I had arrived at Albert St, because there were numerous tour groups! Quite a few dragons and other animals adorned the buildings on this street.
I crossed the canal that seperates Central Riga from Old town Riga in search of the House of Cats. I walked past it many times the other day looking for something to signify the house of cats from the ground level. I should have been looking up as that is where the house of cats gets its name from. Black cats are perched on top of the roof and believe it or not, you can buy every souvenir under the sun with those cats on it. It kind of backs up my point that Riga is missing a star attraction.
I did spend quite a bit of time in the Latvian War Museum, which was free and fascinating. It covered the history of war in Latvia and involving Latvians. There is a heavy focus on WWI and WWII and there was so much detail I ended up glossing over the last few sections. I couldn’t help but think my late friend John Crispin, would have thoroughly enjoyed this museum if he ever got here. Certainly, he’d have told me how jealous he was that I visited it. If you are ever in Riga, I do recommend this free museum located in the old powder tower.
I settled in for another late lunch in the lovely weather with some delicious beer. It is a tough life I tell you and I’m not looking forward to returning home to winter! I wandered a few more streets in the afternoon and even found an Australian pub next door to a backpackers. I don’t get why people travel the world to drink beer they have at home! Better yet it is not even the good beer and the local Latvian brews are numerous and satisfying.
I say goodbye to Riga tomorrow and head to Tallinn in Estonia. One thing for certain is the 3 capitals in 11 nights that I’m doing is not enough to see these Baltic countries. You could easily spend 2 weeks in each country and I think a month for the three would be the right amount of time, but even 2 full dedicated weeks would allow for visiting some of the rest of the country.