travel

Nordkapp trip part VII: Riga

I was expecting Latvia to be similar to Estonia but nothing further from the truth. Those are completely different countries and Riga and Tallinn are two cities with a very different atmosphere. For what I saw in both cities, Riga has had more Soviet and Russian influence than Tallinn and is like nothing I have seen before.

Old vs. Modern Riga

On one side there are the old Soviet blocks in the suburbs of the city where most people live and on the other side there is the old town and city center with some soviet buildings such as what is now the market, buildings originally design to serve as a zeppelin base and another building which is an exact replica of one in Moscow.

Generally Latvians are not very fond of Russians (as all Russia’s neighboring countries) and that has been source of conflict in the past years as a big majority of the population is from Russian origin as Latvia was a very important industrial center during the Soviet times.

We planned to stay in Riga one day only, but turned out to be three as the car broke down trying to leave the town. Luckily that didn’t happen in Lapland as finding a single person was a difficult task and we had our host, Kiril. We met him through Couch Surfing and let us stay more days than planned due the inconvenience. He showed us around the town and the best places to eat and drink (really cheap, specially compared to Denmark).

Typical soviet blocks

Handwritten numbers in the elevator

As I said we were lucky to have Kiril to show as around the old town, the first thing he explained is that, the bus, is free (well, kind of) so we headed to the old town. The independence monument, apparently is an old Latvian goddess holding three stars symbolizing each region of Latvia.

Latvia’s independence monument

Orthodox cathedral

In contrast with the Scandinavian countries, Riga has an old style Opera house

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