I love Riga.
The music playing in cafés, bars and restaurants is played on loud speaker outside on the street, there are over 3,000 market stalls full of local delicacies, beautiful hand knitted winter wear and more at the Central Market, everyone speaks Russian and everything is within walking distance.
This hostel is simply perfect as well, bang in the old town, comfy bed, hot hot shower, kitchen, sitting room (there are bean bags!), friendly staff, cleaaan and to top it off, I’m only paying €8(£5.64) per night. I’m sat on my window ledge people watching, thanking God I’m wrapped up in my duvet and not out in -2 degree gale force wind weather, eight hours of walking is enough for one day. From here I can see the Freedom Monument and the Latvian National Opera which overlooks Pilsētas Kanāls but above all, the full moon has made the effort of squeezing through the overcast sky and is shining down on it all. Picturesque.
Walking around Latvia’s capital all day was part of the plan but getting lost wasn’t. I was slightly adventurous in my search for the castle and ended up off the map in a suburban district – Riga is not that big, everything is under your nose. Refusing to turn my data on and learn the hard way with my crappy little map gradually slowed blood circulation and I started to fear for my toes. So I retreated to a little café and warmed up with a deliciously sweet cup of cocoa (…or two) which recharged my batteries before I explored Riga’s Central Market but couldn’t possibly do all of it, there is so much!! My tingling toes were rescued when I purchased a pair of leather, fur lined boots for the outrageous price of EIGHTEEN EUROS. I originally thought the lady had said eighty, but I was too busy checking myself out to tune my Russian brain in properly and when she repeated the price I was so shocked that I decided it would be rude not to buy them. Considering going back tomorrow…
Dinner time took place on Bastion Hill as the sun started to set but I couldn’t stand all of the loved up couples so I escaped 72m up the steeple of St. Peter’s Church where I took in the breath taking view of the city and the Daugava river at dusk alllll to myself, because let’s face it, who is crazy enough to freeze to death in the sky for a pretty view? I have fur lined Latvian boots and fur lined Polish gloves, I can do anything now.
So much freezing fresh air today that I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, ar labunakti!