Feeling good in Riga


The Latvian celebrate their independance on the 18th of November and organize at the same time a huge festival in all the city. I was waiting for it for one year. I went alone to take a good break, and also to be free to see more of this awesome city.


A long term plan journey

One year ago I was surprised by Riga when I came and attended to a very nice light festival, my parents – who were with me to visit the Baltic jewel – as well. I didn’t know anything about the festival, and didn’t have enough time to see all, but it seemed really important.

From that day I told myself that wherever I could be I must attend it another time, because walking in the old town among such a lot of tourist and watching many different spots and enlighted building is just awesome, the city get warm when the weather get really cold!

First day with churches

Trying to get the hostel

I came with Euroline, the second biggest company to do Tallinn-Riga. Same price and 4 more journey per day, it is more flexible for me finaly. My new favorite company 🙂

I arrived in the morning after I quite good night in the bus. I walked directly from the coach station to my hostel, used the ringbell and waited… too long nobody answered me and I decide to have a coffee somewhere and to come back one hour after.

Teddy Bear Hostel

Teddy Bear Hostel

Going by the river

Instead of coffee I walk by the Daugava river, the Stone birdge, the monument of the Two Struggling Soldiers, the view on the other side of Riga… good and quite (despite the main road next to it).

Riga Stone bridge

Riga Stone bridge

Getting the hostel and go to eat!

Teddy Hostel’s girl finally came back and opened me when I called. Office is on the 4th floor and rooms on 4th and 5th ones. I felt lazy to climb the stairs but I had to … my room was there and I needed to leave my – heavy – bag.

Once I left my hostel with only my camera and my gloves, I walk in the old town of Riga, nothing special was done, as always I visited streets in know and I like from an interest place to another. Saint Peter church, Saint John church, Freedom monument.

The Bremen Town Musicians monument in Riga

The Bremen Town Musicians monument in Riga

For my lunch I sat in a restaurant of Riga that I really liked the last time and where I would bring friends when somebody will join me. TGI Friday! Good atmosphere and tasty food!

Visiting the eastern Riga and its churches

Part of my trip, like I did in Vilnius, consist of going in the non touristic parts of the city. Generaly farther than the railways station these part are enough nice to be visited by have nothing very attractive for the common people if you compare them with the very sexy old town part. But I know that among the grey, dirty and quite broken buildings are prettier ones, such as churches (in most of the case if it’s not in always).

I didn’t really know what to see and where to find this church, not all where on my map. I just followed my instinct (helped by what I have saw from the bus :p). These interesant building where only churches: church of Saint Francis, Orthodox church of the All Saints, orthodox church of Saint John the Forefather, orthodox church Saint John the Forefather, church of Grebenscikova Old-Believer. Riga has not as much churches as Vilnius, but they are all big!

Orthodox church of Saint John the Forefather in Riga

Orthodox church of Saint John the Forefather in Riga

I met diferent cats in the city, quite normal for the City of Cats!

I took a way along the tramway line to the Latvian Palace of Culture and Sciences and have photos of my Smiley Friend with the amazing soviet building. Next to it another church, of Jesus Christ.

Monument to the Latvian who were brave

Two momument aren’t far from this building, my old lovely ugly wall that was removed 🙁 and the second is the Saviors Memorial to the Latvians who Sheltered Jews, build as a falling wall support by sticks on which are graved the name of this people. Next to it are ruins of old synaguoge I supose.

Saviors Memorial to the Latvians who Sheltered Jews in Riga

Saviors Memorial to the Latvians who Sheltered Jews in Riga

I ended that tour by coming back to the railway station, where a new monument have been put last just last week, information pop up in my Facebook field before I left Tallinn. It is called Origo and consists of a circle mark on the ground with the location of main foreign capital around it.

Staro Riga 2012, turn the lights on!

The reason I went to Riga at that period, the already famous Staro Riga show. Four days of show principaly in the old town of Riga but also some other spot around (but I haven’t been everywhere).

Compare to last year, it was very diferent, I don’t remember of all the spots but it seemed that less interesting place were offered to people. For exemple, nothing was performed on the Cathedral square!

I had my favorite places, the National Opera fo sure, probably the biggest show of the city, the interior show « Gondola » and the « Lattelecom » bridge. Those three location were enough good to justified my visit. Thankfully the rest wasn’t bad and somehow interesting to watch.

It was my first attenpt of photo by night with my new camera. I also took my old one for its video mode (and produced a video).

National Opera House at Staro Riga 2012

National Opera House at Staro Riga 2012

I have walked a lot and once tired reach my hostel and met my tonight-roomates. Girls going to party! And me to sleep…

Second day with the other Riga

Visiting the Agenskalns district

Located on the left bank of the Daugava, the Agenskalns district is commonly called by local the « other Riga ». I have been there only one with my friend by night. I made quite the same tour but in the other direction and by day!

I crossed the Stone bridge and reach the gian Soviet Memorial for photos. It looked even bigger than in my memories… very big… and beautiful. Maybe you’ll not agree but that what I like!

To come back to the right bank with the Vanšu brige I had to walked in a park and in some nothing-special streets. I have only noticed some churches (again) such as the Saint Trinity.

Vanšu bridge, Saints Peter and Pavil

Riga has only four bridge and all have their particularities: the Railway bridge turn into a infinite blue line during the night with its reflect on the river, the Stone bridge his the longest you can walk and give you a good view on the centre, and the last one called Vanšu bridge looks very modern (Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam?) despite having been built during the soviet occupation. That this bridge that people take the most in photo during the sunset, from the Stone bridge 😉 little advice!

Orthodox church of saints Peter and Pavil

Orthodox church of saints Peter and Pavil

I stayed at the Swedbank building a moment because of its terace from where we have a perfect view on all the Riga’s buildings. The famous Riga skyline can be seen there.

Once back on the right bank « Riga centrs » I went to a specific place where a church (-_-‘) is. I saw it from the bridge. I haven’t lost my time, the church of Saint Peter and Pavil is really nice, and on my way was the Russian Drama Theater, also nice!

I remember have seen a Cancan Pizza restaurant behind the Freedom Column and I needed to eat, charge my camera and learn some school document. The Freedom momument of Riga is on the axis of the Brīvības bulvāris. Boulevard which separes the French and German embassies. Buildings which look funny for me. On the left is the bleu and white art nouveau building of France, while on the right is the dark and red German’s one!

Art Nouveau district

Except for its billion of cats Riga is known for being the Capital of the Art Nouveaux style. This kind of buildings can be found quite everywhere a street is more famous than other because of the concentration of very amazing building: Elizabetes iela.

Art Nouveau bulding in Riga at Elizabetes iela

Art Nouveau building in Riga at Elizabetes iela

Shop and ready to leave

The night was falling fast on the city and I had to be prepared for my trip back to Estonia. A final walk around the central market square, stopping for an hour in a café (charging my camera) and a cappucino I had to go to shop for me to bring some goods from Latvia.

To get the coach station I had a first and last visit to some main city’s interests: the Three Brothers Houses and the church of Saint Anguish.

Some latest photos from the coach station of the river and I stepped in the bus to my home.

Riga by night

Riga by night

Guillaume Speurt

Guillaume Speurt

French settled in Estonia, I have spent my last years in the Baltic States. I love photography and travelling in Eastern and Central Europe, I write this blog to relate my experiences.
Guillaume Speurt

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