It is becoming a tradition, for the third consecutive year I have attended the newly famous lighting show of Riga. Planed since July, I was accompanied during this trip by two Estonian friends discovering the new fancy face of the Latvian capital.
Long term planing
Being one of my favourite event of the year if not my favourite, I decided to book my bus tickets very early this year. In the middle of July I already got them for just three euros each way, pretty cheap hum? 🙂 I haven’t got hostel until the last evening in Tallinn before my departure. The plan was to spend two full day in Latvia and to be back in Estonia on Sunday morning. Riga is cold at this point of the year, I didn’t need to get cold there.
Since I am back in Tallinn I haven’t travel much, a trip to Stockholm is all I made. I am surprised myself…
First day in the city and living the night
My two friends cannot got their seats on the same bus as me so I was travelling both time alone, that gave me more time in Riga. Arrived, I immediately went to our hostel and … slept for couple of hours. I was tired. Concerning the hostel, I must mention that the Amber Room hostel is a nice place despite having small three beds rooms, but well we are not in Riga to spend all time inside.
After my nape I grabbed my new camera and packed tripod and lens, ready to shoot all the city’s good spots. I have been a little disappointed to not see as much location as previous years, barely half of them were gone and it seems that the best shows were in the down-town, not in the old town: not easy to reach!
I got some good photos of few monuments such the Saint Peter’s church and the Town Hall square, they became later my wallpapers 😉 I noticed especially three shows: the flying men on the Occupation Museum square, the animation inside Saint Peter church, and finally the motion capture video projection on the Cathedral square. The rest was too far.
Partying in Riga
I had a walk in the city, waiting for the girls to arrive. I wanted to get some food in shop before their arrival but, late, I couldn’t and went to the bus station. We got time to stop for drinks on our way to hostel where we had small preparty. We met with other foreigners, after chatting with them I realized that I was probably the only person who came for the show.
The night was good, I let camera in the room and we were free to go to taste the Latvian night life. Before going to pub we stopped at T.G.I Friday, a top restaurant that challenge the Hard Rock Café. I remembered the good Omas Briljants, and unsurprisingly we had lot of fun. I warmly recommend this discopub.
Tourism in Riga
After a long and good sleep, we woke up slowly. The hostel was incredibly calm and I was the first to prepare my coffee. Amber Room doesn’t offer proper breakfast along the hot drink we can do ourselves, but it give voucher card to a extremely good local restaurant five minute away from there.
If the Estonian have already been to Riga, they haven’t really visited it or when they were young, then I turned into a guide and showed them the city as I do, with passion.
After breakfast in the restaurant with nice coffee and toasts, we had second breakfast in the French bakery, Boulangerie Bonjour where I promoted French sweet dishes: Pain au chocolat, croissant, chausson aux pommes…
From there the typical walk started in the old town, Swedish gate, Freedom Square and Cathedral included. I noticed for the first time a low-relief on the floor near McDonalds, it commemorate the historic human line that from Tallinn to Vilnius physically united the whole Baltic against the Soviet invader.
Rest of the day have been spent in the Art Nouveau district and in the old town, attending few more time some good shows. Oh and also, nearby the central market the city restored an old industrial area that is willing to become a new fancy place, many shops opened and the walking path along the river has a direct access, I think it is ready for the European Capital year of Riga in 2014!, By the Daugava I made couple of good photos of the Railway bridge, I really love how it is permanently unlighted.
When girls have left I was standing one hour at the coach station in the cold, remembering this nice weekend. Again Riga put me in a good mood, that is why I love it! 🙂