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A taste of Riga, Latvia

by ElenaSergeeva

Selfie time with the airplane as a backdrop. Just landed in Riga

Riga, Latvia was the next stop and we were traveling in the evening with Air Baltic. The plane was so tiny, I don’t remember the last time I travelled in such a small airplane, plus the extra charges that they apply on luggage are more than any other low cost carrier. I had to check in my cabin size luggage and pay 40 Euro, one way. That was definitely a high price experience. Once we landed in Riga we were taken to our hotel, the Radisson Blu which was a very nice hotel in the center of Riga. We decided to call it a night since we had our presentation the next morning.


The hotel room was spacious enough; the bed cozy and warm and the bathroom had heated floors. There are  complimentary coffee and tea making facilities in the guestroom and free Wi-Fi in the hotel.
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In the morning we had our presentation organized by Tez Tour Latvia which was hosted at the meeting rooms of the hotel. I presented Grecotel Hotels & Resorts more specifically all the hotels located on the island of Crete and Rhodes as there are two charter flights, to Crete and Rhodes from Riga during the summer months. Once we were finished with the morning presentations, the company organized a guided walking tour to experience Riga.


The Nativity Cathedral which was built between 1876-1883 when the country was part of the Russian Empire and is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltic provinces.

We were extremely lucky with the weather as it was sunny and we could enjoy the walking tour of the city. Since some of our other colleagues had to fly out, it was only me, Maria and Alexandra who got to enjoy the tour.


The Freedom Monument located in the heart of the city

The first stop was the Freedom monument which can actually be seen from a distance, from the top floors of the Radisson Blu hotel. This monument is 42 meters high and is dedicated to the Latvian heroes in the fight for freedom 1918-1920. The two-man Honour Guard stands at the monument daily from 10 am to 4pm, changing every hour on the hour. I got to take a picture in between the guards.
The Cat House is a yellow building located at 10 Meistaru iela in the old town of Riga, and is considered a popular attraction in the city. The building is famous for its two cat sculptures with arched backs and raised tails, on its roof. The black cat is considered to be for good luck in Latvia.
The collection of red-roofed building located along Torna Street is known as Jacob’s Barracks which were built in the 18th century at the base of the city’s fortifications and were used by various armies.
IMG_0208IMG_0212IMG_0213IMG_0219IMG_0220This is the street where “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” directed by Igor Maslennikov was shot in Riga. This very street was successfully transferred into the Baker Street in London.
The monument “Bremen Town Musicians” was created by Bremen artist Krista Baumgaertel. The legendary musicians consist of a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cockerel standing on each other’s backs. By touching the animals you can make a wish!


The Blackheads House. Blackheads were an association formed by young, unmarried merchants and captains of the ships.

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After a two hour tour of the city we went to the Key to Riga Restaurant located in the Old Town. I saw an ad of this restaurant in the in-flight magazine on our way from Vilnus to Riga. It is a medieval style restaurant serving traditional Latvian cuisine. We were so hungry after all the walking around that we had a combined lunch and dinner at the restaurant. For the appetizer we had Madam’s Kartoffelpuffer which is potato pancakes served with yogurt and cherry jam and for the main course I had a pork schnitzel called “Slap from the granny” an interesting name indeed.


Slap from the granny

In the evening we went to the Skyline Bar located on the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu hotel. The next morning I had to catch my flight back to Athens.
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