Charming old streets of Riga
Spacious, clean city, and full of character. The town of Riga in Latvia, is a nice, clean and spacious city. Much development has taken place since its independence from Russia in 1991. 40% of the population is Latvian, 40% is Russian and the rest is made up of various nationalities. The amount of space in European capitals is always impressive compared to the UK. Nowhere looks over crowed. We stayed in a centrally located hotel called the Metropole, a 4 star hotel, very close to the old city, which is very pleasant and has elegant bar and dining areas.
Much of the history is comparatively recent history, hence a city tour by mini bus consists of a short ride over Timma bridge to the new part of the city and back to the old Riga to look at some of the architecture and this, for £10.00 per person for an hour, is rather steep compared with other city tours than you might experience! Nevertheless, it is an attractive city and has many fine churches and buildings. The streets of old Riga are charming and full of character, and it is a pleasure to walk and explore.
A building built for Stalin in the early part of last century stands prominently over the city, and used to be a hotel for Market Farmers when it was first built, but now serves as a building of science. We went to the top of the building for an arial view of the city. A guide accompanies you for about 15 minutes, giving you a brief history of the building and of the city, and then you are left to your own devices to wander around at your leisure. There are several museums in Riga, including the War Museum and Museum of Occupation. These are worth a visit, and some of them have free admission There is a huge daily market in the city, and hours can be spent walking round this vast area of fruit, fish, food, clothes, souvenirs, and everything you can think of. The fruit is in abundance and so wonderfully fresh and cheap.