Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I recently visited Riga, the capital of Latvia. I really liked the city and the people, but unfortunately it wasn't the most fun trip ever because I ran out of things to do and felt rather lonely, and I spent the last few days mostly reading and hiding from the weather. Transport around the Baltic isn't very good, so visiting Estonia or Lithuania wasn't really practical without a bit of advance planning. Five days was just an awkward amount of time.
I had one day of sunshine to take some photos of the beautiful Art Nouveau buildings that make the old centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I actually liked the old and dirty buildings better than many of the restored ones, which seemed somehow fake and lacking in character.
The Latvians seem to really love their bread, cheese, beer, and pickles. I didn't try any bread or pickles (just gawked at the huge piles of pickled everything at the markets), but I ate plenty of cheese in a myriad of forms, and sampled a few local brews which were very nice. I was tempted to buy some real Latvian mittens, but I couldn't bring myself to do it when I can make them myself. So I searched out the local yarn stores, which stocked mostly italian yarns. One shop had a massive number of bags of balls or cones of all sorts of yarn, some of which were fantastic bargains. But I'm in no position to be purchasing bulk mohair, even if it only costs 10 Lats/kg! So I came home empty handed.