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