During my visit to Finland, I had the chance to attend a 72 hour post visit to Latvia courtesy of this Nordic Blogger Experience, that I had been invited to speak about movies.
Climb St. Peters Church
See the Central Market
If you don’t understand about Latvia, it’s one of the 3 countries.
Watch Riga from its Bridges
Latvia was for quite a while around my bucket listing. I wanted to perform all 3 countries in a road trip but not found the perfect opportunity. I wanted Latvia was immediately chosen by me, when my buddies in NBE Finland, asked me that post trip. It also indicated my nation that was 68th!
See the House of Blackheads
It was a short 1-hour flight with AirBaltic from Helsinki to Riga.
AirBaltic is Latvia’s official airline and 24 states are connected over by it. It was the perfect way to offer a flavor of what this beautiful country has to offer you to me although I thought we would not have sufficient time. We seen three destinations, Riga (the capital) Sigulda and Malpils. Here is everything we failed in 72 hours at Latvia in case you considering going.
Try Local Food and Beer in Trompete
Riga is amazing! The historic centre isn’t huge but it has a bunch of items do and to see. From the central marketplace, to looking a few local craft beers as well as climbing St. Peters church to acquire incredible views over town.
Eat Contemporary Latvian Cuisine in Valtera
We had to research Riga, I would suggest at least 48-72 in case you want to experience it more in depth and in a rate that is slower. If you’re a photographer like I am, then you wish to give yourself lots of time to find some shots.
Sigulda Medieval Castle Ruins
Here are things you must see, do and eat in Riga!
Make Baltic Jewelry
St. Peters Church is the most well-known building in Riga and in addition, it provides people with the very best perspective of their capital. The original Gothic tower was constructed from the 15th century, however collapsed in 1666 before being rebuilt in 1690 in Baroque style.
Bobsleigh and Luge Track
It was once the wooden structure in the planet, however in 1721 it was struck by lightning and it burned down. Back in 1967, the Russian Tsar Peter I commission the construction of a tower in its place.
Cross Country Skiing
The tower is an impressive 123.25 meters in height and also contains a clock which only has one hand — a Latvian convention. Additionally, it contains the bells that play with the folk tune’Riga dimd’ five times every day as well as marking the hours.
Latvian Sauna at Ezeri Spa Hotel
For all those of you who don’t like walking up too many steps to find epic views, you’re in luck. This tower is only reachable by elevator. For that which I consider to be a must visit for anyone 19, they take you 72 meters above Riga.
The church itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Riga’s Central Market is a very place to explore. It’s situated a few hundred meters in the city near to the railway station and the international bus terminal, very on the banks of the river Daugava. It is one of over 80,000 folks and the largest marketplaces in Eastern Europe shop there every day!
The impressive buildings of the market were initially assembled as airship hangers for its army in the 1920s. Whereas the warehouses were created into an arts and entertainment centre they were changed into the current food pavilions.
Central Market is the place to go if you want to try out a range of products but also for items that are manufactured, so it’s a lot like a modern shopping centre. You can enjoy the Night Market that is also known as the’Round the Clock’ Farmer’s Market in case you decide you need something to eat in the middle of the night. Shoppers may do their shopping between 5pm and 10pmand outside these hours it’s open for wholesale.
My group and I went on to try different foods and beverages. We were surprised with how everything was. Where there’s caviar for days, I liked the seafood department!
To find the city, its very best to cross one of both bridges. We crossed the bridge that was middle named Akmens Tilts. From there we can see all areas of Riga. It is an additional opinion as you’ve got huge chunks of ice floating in the lake. That the river may be entirely frozen, if you get there during an week.
I would suggest heading northwest to get some photos, When you cross the bridge. There is a photo opportunity at every corner. I would suggest bringing an extra-long lens like a Canon 70 — 200 m, that because it’s pretty far off, I rented to find close.
To come back to Riga either Akmens Tilts are returned on by you, or you cross Vansu Tilts to get another angle. This can take approximately 2 hours when stopping for photographs to perform the walk.
These are definitely the buildings in Riga! The first buildings were built by German retailers in the 14th century, but then it had been completely destroyed during WWII. The current buildings were reconstructed between 1999 and 1995.
The construction was used a gentlemen’s club for wealthy single retailers by the Blackheads Society and their journeymen. Many of them were of German descent and they traveled across the planet, bringing exotic products back. They also had to take care of pirates and robbers so that they chose St. Maurice as their patron saint, that had been traditionally shown wearing black knight’s armor and that resulted in their name.
Today, you may stop by the House of Blackheads and see things left by members including pottery, silverware and snuffboxes as well as a selection of exhibits. There is a replica of the Statue of Roland, initially in St. Peter’s Church.
Trompete signifies’trumpet’ from Latvian and it is a music bar and restaurant that provides quality produce as well as chosen foods. What’s served to the sounds of jazz songs and the restaurant is well known for its wines, whiskies and rums. Located in the Middle of the Old Town, it is beside the Salt Carrier’s Guild construction.
I began my meal with a match and beetroot soup, then poultry liver wrapped in a catfish fillet and bacon to finish the meal. All the food has been fresh and flavorful! I tried Valmiermuizas beer because I heard that Latvian beer was yummy.
Valmiermuzias is an old world kind of beer which originated from the Swedes who once occupied the region. There are several styles such as just a beer cocktail which combines and a small new quince and the beer together, wheat beer and the dark one I tried of this beer.
Valtera is the first Latvian restaurant that serves contemporary Latvian cuisines using Latvian products that are rural.
The sense of this place echoes that, looking to be an elegant country manor together with all the staff greeting you as if you’re an old friend, rather than a client.
The menu is imagined as new products are all recorded and this makes it the sort of place you experience something different and still could visit often.
We started off with trout-tartar, and a palate cleanser, followed by a white bass, veal cheeks, and dessert has been their own take on a cheesecake. They paired wines that were different and of the dishes together. It felt as though I ate in a Michelin Star restaurant in Latvia. Because it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Riga, I recommend you book your table in advance!
Sigulda is a small town in Gauje National Park.
It is one of the best regions to experience winter tasks and also the largest park in Latvia. The park has amazing views of the Gauja River, as well as areas and lots of glimpses back into the past.
Sigulda created from Devonian sandstone and is known as the’Switzerland of Vidzeme’.
This is one of the castles in Latvia. The Livonian Brothers of the Sword constructed in the 13th century it for a castellum kind fortress and was altered to some convent style. It then passed to the Livonian Order and became the Land Marshall’s residence in 1432.
The house became a private residence and has seen much renovation recently as 2012 once a European Union project helped with the work. Most of the castle is in ruins, except for its tower.
We had been given a lesson in archery. The archer brought out a bow that they used to reveal how hard it must have been to visit war. I was able to shoot off a couple somehow although it wasn’t simple to take the arrow.
Right facing the entrance to the medieval castle of Sigulda there’s a shop . Baltic jewelry is created by this family run firm. They use motifs and symbols from ancient jewelry to create their designs.
Some of their collections include sun stripes and trees, as well as Latvian symbols and duplicates of bracelets and brooches.
They showed us how they make and create layouts, and it was our turn. I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it had been. I grabbed a round shaped tool and the hammer and began going in it. It was fun hoping to design jewelry, although after a few minutes I realized I wasn’t made for this.
This is an activity I had been thinking about doing for a while, ever since I saw the movie Cool Runnings. I had yet to pay a go to to a destination with a track. The track it’s currently one of the paths and has been open in 1986.
The luge track contains 16 curves with a maximum rate of 125km a hour and is 1200 meters. As well as the classic bobsleigh, a summertime bob is — even a bobsleigh on brakes and it’s also used for skeleton contests. Every year contests are held and also an artificial ice launch estacode was inserted in 2008.
You are able to opt to go on a bobsled or you could go on a soft sled that doesn’t hit the speeds. I made a decision to perform the bobsled, I looked to sense the true g-force. Before putting to the sled if anybody has neck difficulties they inquired, and lucky I really don’t. The journey was amazing! It lasted about 1 second but it was sure adrenaline.
I like skiing! It’s in fact one of my favourite activities in the world. But cross-country skiing a bit different. Since its terrain is fantastic for this, latvia is famous because of its subtropical skiing, but in addition they have slopes in specific regions of the nation. We visited Activity Leisure Centre and Sigulda Sports.
Activity Leisure Centre and sigulda Sports includes a refrigerated cross-country ski trail that opens in autumn throughout the spring. It is 1.25 m long and 4 m wide with the maximum perpendicular ascent being 11m.
The heating system means that there is always a layer of snow, irrespective of the weather requirements. Additionally, it may be used for walking and other activities in addition to this cross-country skiing.
I would suggest getting an instructor for a hour to teach the basics to you, if you have never done cross-country skiing. I dropped a lot of times and didn’t do this. Ski gear can be hired by you and you will find teacher services to hire. Later, there are numerous sauna and shower facilities in the service construction.
I undergone a Finnish sauna up in Ruka and the Kuusamo region in Finland so I thought Latvian sauna would be similar but it was completely different. Obviously, the principles will be the same — make really sexy in a sauna and then head over to an icy pond to cool down your body.
Basically Latvians taking the heating procedure to an degree that is additional! Latvians have an unbelievable way of getting warm, by having an herb master push on steam on the human body with blossoms and leaves. It sounded odd to me but it made sense when they did it now.
The procedure went like this: We went to the sauna for as long as we can, then we piled off for a bit. The herb master fanned steam on my entire body with herbs and took me straight back in After I was ready. It got hot really. As soon as I could not take it anymore, he chased me out.
As soon as you walk out you don’t feel chilly in the degree temperature. My entire body was on fire, and the one thing which could heal it was to head from the ice. I went in for the fifth time with this trip, and it felt so good!
I got outside and had been escorted to a bench that I could lay on. The herb master allow you to place there for 10 minutes relaxing and covers you.
It’s a out of body experience unlike any other! A high that they say is good for your health, and I believe it’s because when I was finished I felt so relaxed.
Malpils is a little city about 20-minutes drive south of Sigulda, 1-hour and from Riga. We had the chance. This manor is and dates back to 1720.
Upon our arrival we discovered that we would be cooking our supper together with the head chef Aija Gabr?ne who is the chef in the nation. The best chef award was won by her.
Each member of my group has been assigned a task to prepare the food for example marinating venison, creating quail eggs, as well as making shapes out of various fruits.
After we completed preparing the food, we headed to dinner at which we had a dinner with wine pairing. Also although wines tried from around the world had the chance to try out some beers!
It felt as though I had been in the middle of a manor which has been off the beaten trail in a Michelin Star restaurant!
The following day we had a tour of the manor also to view the rooms and also to find out more. I personally fell in love with this location. Chef, the team and home was way above my expectations.
Following 72 hours in Latvia, it had me begging for more. 10-12 days if you want to observe the nation 10, I believe you need. This way you do and can view things from the east and in the west end of the nation ranging to wineries breweries and the lakes and scenery
I need to thank LIAA, NBE Finland and also AirBaltic for hosting me during this 72 hours in Latvia! For joining me for this 15, thanks! Also a big thanks to my new buddies, Jerry Michael, Rebecca, Celina and Elena for making my trip special.