Our adventures in Latvia weren’t done with the over-walk, as our friends Zanda and Edgars made sure that our visit was action packed.  We explored Riga for a few days and saw the old town with its unique churches, the art nouveau apartment buildings, and probably our favorite stop, the Riga Central Market.  It’s a huge market occupying old zeppelin hangers, and was bursting with produce at the end of summer.  There is a meat pavilion, a fish pavilion, tons of vegetables, and even some hot Russian clothes!  I loved sampling the pickles straight from the pickle jar, and bringing home fresh yogurt for our breakfast.

We also had the opportunity to see the opera Nabucco at the Riga Opera House which was beautiful, and hit Riga’s nightlife.  Riga has tons of good bars all within walking distance in the old town, and some lounges a bit further away.  At one lounge we had to pass the “facecheck," where they make sure that you’re not only dressed appropriately but are beautiful enough to get in.  Apparently our looks are doing well after almost a year of traveling!  On our taxi ride back home Zanda got talking to our cab driver who showed us a secret button on his taxi meter that speeds up the rate for tourists and drunks.  Watch out!

I hadn’t seen Zanda’s parents and brother since my last visit to Latvia 9 years ago, so we took the two hour trip out to the countryside to visit their summer-sauna house.  On a plot of land that has been in the family for 150 years and is steps from the house that Zanda’s mom grew up in and her grandmother still lives in, her parents have built a beautiful vacation home.  It’s made out of wood and sits in a large green meadow on a small hill overlooking a little stream.  The first room built in the house was the sauna as they are sauna aficionados.  (We didn’t get to try the sauna since the weather was unseasonably warm.)  We did however get to go fishing, take tons of swims in the river, play some pickup soccer in the grass, and eat like kings.  It was wonderful to spend time with Zanda’s family, and see this beautiful area, spending our time in total relaxation.

We loved Latvia and while I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the awesomely welcoming treatment that we got, I think that this corner of Europe is definitely worth a visit.


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