The Lux Express Bus provided an exceptional way to journey to Riga. Comfortable seating combined with a personal entertainment system like the ones provided by the better airlines rounded out the experience. A coffee machine was an appreciated, added perk. I watched the Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, and followed it up with The Meg which was a frivolous romp with Jason Statham about a very hungry, prehistoric shark. It always pleases me to see another follicle challenged gent kicking ass in a film. Rock and Roll and giant sharks easily consumed the 4+ hour trip to Riga.
The Bus station was five minutes from the hostel, and I unpacked and got organized in short order. Riga was just as I remembered it in all of its sunny day splendor. I made a beeline for the shady, central park with a river running through it and soaked up the greenery and serenity as electric boats silently plied its waters. Riga, although larger, is less crowded and more laid back than the bustling Medieval Old Town of Tallinn.
HOUSE OF THE BLACK HEADS
DAY TRIP TO JURMALA
JURMALA MUSIC FESTIVAL – I got off the train in Dzintari and headed for the beach on what I assumed was the road that divided Majori and Dzintari.
A BALTIC GENEVA BY THE SEA – THIS PLACE SO CLEAN YOU CAN EAT OFF THE SIDEWALK
OCEAN GLORY – The street lights were also compelling and lined the boulevard all the way to the beach. They look like they were designed in Scandinavia.
BEACH LOVERS FLAG
THE PEDESTRIAN STREET CONNECTING DZINTARI AND MAJORI
NICELY RESTORED OLDER BUILDINGS ARE JUXTAPOZED WITH TASTEFUL MODERN ONES
The city planners clearly take great care to make sure that any new construction integrates well into the overall scheme of things.
CLASSIC OLD STRUCTURES ARE GENERALLY WELL MAINTAINED
THE PEDESTRIAN ZONE IS LINED WITH QUALITY RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL SPACES
THE PARK’S LANDSCAPING IS WELL EXECUTED WITH INVITING TRELLIS SEATING IN WHICH TO RELAX
IT’S A GREAT PLACE FOR HAVING A SNACK
A STATELY BUILDING DOMINATES MAJORI
ANOTHER MODERN ACCENT THAT APPEASES THE SENSES
MORE BEAUTIFULLY MANICURED GARDENS
No visit to the Baltics in the Summer is complete without serious berry indulgence. If you’re from the United States, you won’t believe the difference between European, properly ripened, berries and the substandard stuff they toss at us in the US.
BEACH ON ONE SIDE AND SKULLING ON THE OTHER
AWAITING THE TRAIN BACK TO RIGA
MŪS MĀJA – REAL LATVIAN HANDCRAFTS INSTEAD OF CRAPPY CHINESE SOUVENIRS
ART NOUVEAU SPLENDOR
This is probably the most memorable and photogenic building on Albert Street. It is also the former home of two friends, one of whom died suddenly due to complications from pneumonia. Tamara was one of those people that everyone liked, and her loss was especially devastating to her friends and family, given how abruptly she was taken from us. I was not in-country at the time of her passing so I was absent from the memorial service. In Riga, my thoughts always turn to Tamara and Albert Street so I decided to create a makeshift memorial in front of a place in which she was very happy.
EVERYONE IDENTIFIES THE BUILDING BY THE TWO SPHINX OUT FRONT
TAMARA, YOU ARE MISSED – The flowers looked like they belonged nestled in the bosom of the Sphinx of her former home. No doubt, they were unwittingly included in the photos of hundreds of tourists. I returned the next day and the flowers were gone so I decided to put the memorial on the blog to be preserved for a long, long while.
I’ll even have provisions in my will to maintain the blog well into the 21st century. In fact, I think it will be my own memorial where my daughter and grandkids can come and visit me at my snarky best.
ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF THE WALK TO ALBERT/ELIZABETH STREETS IS TRAVERSING THE CENTRAL PARK
RIGA MOTOR CAR MUSEUM
BENZ – Patent Motorwagen Nr. 1 (replica) Germany – 1886
F/N – 1 Cylinder – 1909
REO – Model B USA – 1905
KRASTIN – USA – 1903
This is the only known surviving Krastin in the world and was bought in the US by a Latvian vintage car collector.
STEERING AND INSTRUMENTATION
FN – 2400 – 1912
FORD – Model T – USA
OVERLAND -Model 45 – USA – 1911
HEADLIGHT AND HORN
RENAULT – 10 CV – FRANCE – 1928
BMW- 3/15PS typ DA4 – Germany
LINCOLN – V12 series 277B model KB – USA – 1934
CADILLAC – V8 series 353 – USA – 1930
HOOD ORNAMENT AND GRILL
BMW – 327/328 – Germany
STEYR – 220 Gläser Sport Cabrio – Austria – 1939
SPECIAL HEADLIGHT DETAIL
INDIAN – SCOUT model 37 – USA
BMW – R35 – Germany – 1943
SHELL OIL GAS PUMP
GAZ – M20 – Pobeda Soviet Union – 1951
MOSKVIČ – 408 Soviet Union- 1968
SMZ – S3A M Soviet Union – 1967
ZAZ – 966V ZAPOROŽEC – Soviet Union – 1969
TRABANT – P 50 East Germany – 1960
CITROEN – 2CV FRANCE – 1969
AUTO UNION – typ C/D Germany – 1938
ESTONIA – 15 Soviet Union – 1975
ZIL – 112S Soviet Union – 1963
ARVW – Germany – 1980
EKE – 1 Soviet Union – 1952
RUSSO-BALT – D 24/40 Russia – 1913
RENAULT – FU France – 1919
RENAULT – FU France – 1919
PAZ – 672M – Soviet Union – 1989
RAF – 977E Latvija – Soviet Union – 1963
PANNA COTTA IN THE CAFÉ
TUG ON A ROPE AND LIFT A CAR ALL BY YOURSELF
FOOD FESTIVAL IN THE PARK
GREAT VENISON BURGERS