After crossing the border with Estonia, the first sight we visited in Latvia were the sandy cliffs of Sietiņiezis in Nationalpark Gauja. It is a beautiful short 30-minute hike along the edges of the forest to the cliffs. From there, we went to the quaint medieval town of Cēsis, where we heard the tale of the guardian of the town and the significant role he played in protecting the town. After getting back on the sightseeing shuttle, we continued on to Riga.
Our last stop before arriving in Riga was the old Soviet Bobsleigh Track in Sigulda. The viewing platform had an amazing view of the valley part of the Nationalpark Gauja, and we had some fun going down the spirally path next to the track. After passing through mostly small towns, Riga seemed quite big.
However, though it’s bigger than Tallinn, Riga is still relatively small and most places can be reached within 10 to 15 minutes. We started our exploration of Riga in the Central Market. The markets’ sheer magnitude is quite impressive with its enormous Zeppelin hangars. The market is divided into five huge interconnected buildings, separated by product type. We started at the fruits and worked our way through the dairy, meats, vegetables, and fish sections. We stopped at Taverna Kibis and got some potato pancakes and combined them with some sauerkraut that we bought across from the restaurant.
After a delicious lunch and great experience at the Central Market we walked towards the center of Riga, the St. Peter’s Church. From there, we walked to the Riga Cathedral and Cathedral Square. Nearby, you can see The Three Brothers dwelling houses, and Miss Art Nouveau, which serves as a great example of renaissance building style.
On our way to the Riga Castle at the waterfront, we passed the parliament, Jacob’s Barracks, and the Swedish gate (only city gate remaining in Riga). Just on the outskirts of the old town, you can see the Freedom Monument and adjacent beautiful Bastion Hill Park. Our last stop was the Berga Bazars, which actually was filled with high-end shops, not exactly a bazaar as you’d expect.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.