Riga, Latvia ~ Art nouveau, snails, market place and blue cheese

Saturday May 17th ~ Riga, Latvia


The buildings of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads

One of the most famous people born in Riga is the brilliant dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov.  

Old Town Riga is all about the architecture, and the style is mostly Art Nouveau.  The majority are dated from the late 19th or early 20th century.  One of the most famous architect/engineer here was Mikhail Eisenstein.

“Forty per cent of buildings in the centre of Riga belong to art nouveau, which is more than in other European cities. Moreover, art and architecture connoisseurs believe that it is in Riga that art nouveau found especially powerful and sweeping expression.” ~ http://www.latvia.travel

In fact Riga has over 800 Art Nouveau buildings!


Strielnieku Street


Detail on front of the building


Elizabetes Street 10b detail

Local lore says that the bell tower in the central church has the inscription asking for protection from “the Russians, the floods and the plague”.  Supposedly the bell also was rung to warn of any potential invaders or whenever a woman walked by that had been unfaithful to their husband.

Lucky for all of us, the bell did not ring as we walked by…

UNESCO World Heritage sign built into the brick

UNESCO World Heritage sign built into the brick

Snails are part of a local art project.  They are found all over the old town in many different colors.  We saw green, red, black, purple and blue.  They will be painted with patterns and designs next month.

We saw an exhibit of painted full size elephants last year in Dana Point, California.  I wonder if this will turn out to be a similar project.  You can see my post on the elephants here.


Our local guide said that things move at a snail’s pace in Riga and that they needed a bit of a push

Sky line of old town Riga

Sky line of old town Riga

Riga Central Market

Tim, Dick, Karen and I spent part of the afternoon roaming around at the huge marketplace.  The main structures of the market are five pavilions constructed by reusing old German  Zeppelin hangars.

The outside portion was like a grand farmer’s market on steroids.  That was topped off by an inside marketplace where we spent over an hour sampling some of the best cheeses I have had the pleasure of tasting.

Fresh cranberries

Fresh cranberries

Huge garlic bulbs

Huge garlic bulbs

These tomatoes were almost dripping red

These tomatoes were almost dripping red

We loaded up on fresh strawberries, cherries, an amazing blue cheese, a soft creamy white (similar to a feta) and a firm yellow (possibly a cheddar).  We already had the wine back at the hotel, so after a quick stop at a grocery store for a couple of types of crackers, we were set.

Happy hour here we come!

GRATITUDE MOMENT:  Today I am grateful for Skype.  We are able to stay in touch with family back home quite reasonably.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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6 Responses to Riga, Latvia ~ Art nouveau, snails, market place and blue cheese

  1. lindagayles says:

    I joined your blog yesterday. What a magical life you are living together. I am 63, single leaving for 3 days in Venice then 7 on a Greek cruise. I broke my patella on the 9th and am concerned about navigating with a brace and crutches leaving on the 27th. My sister and son gave me my dream trip for Christmas, there will be 7 of us going. Now that I am over the shock of the injury, I am bound to make it work. Any suggestions? I’ve had lots of time to read about Venice and those who have been on crutches,much younger. Although I am a young 63 my bones are still of age. The steps and bridges are a bit daunting. We are staying in an apt across from San Marco Square. We will hire a private water taxi at airport/Viator recommended. My sister has many tours planned for our 3 days in Venice. I will do my best to keep up but said I have no problem enjoying the city from our balcony if forced to. I am a teacher and any $$ I save goes to travel. Please let me know your thoughts. My dream is to travel as you both are, now need to find someone to join me in that dream.


    • Welcome Linda! What rotten timing to break a bone. I wish I could give you a magical solution, but it may be a bit challenging getting around. On and off the water taxi, make sure someone is available to give you a steadying hand to grab onto since the boats move a bit even when tied to the dock. The best tool you will have is your positive, can do attitude. Smile, ask for help along the way, don’t try to be superwoman, and love every moment you have there. I think you will be amazed at how often people will go out of there way to help you. I hope you have an amazing time. Please let me hear about your trip when you get home!


  2. PCgal says:

    Joanne, as always your photos tell a wonderful story. You have an eye for framing the real picture. Maybe you have mentioned it before, but what type of equipment do you use? Any special lenses? I am very much enjoying following along on your adventure.

    I manage a wordpress blog, (i.e. why my comments link back to it), but my personal site is at vosbiky.blogspot.com Just thought you might want to know who your talking to….


    • When we are at home, both Tim and I normally use our Nikon’s. Mine is a D7100. But when we travel, and what I have used for all of the pictures on my blog since last November is a small point and shoot – SONY RX100. It is small, lightweight, will fit in my pocket and does not draw any attention. It is has 20 mega pixels and can be used in manual mode. It also has two automatic features. I often use the “superior auto” function which is simple and if I’m not trying to get overly creative, gives me wonderful results.

      Thank you for the link to your blog. I’m leaving shortly for an afternoon tour, but will try to give it a look this evening. I really enjoy seeing what others are up to and getting to see a window into their lives.


  3. Carrie Bland Miller says:

    loved the painted elephants; there were painted cows in KC a few yrs ago..really neat. also love your pics, glad you’re not in Croatia …….


    • Hi Carrie, we saw the painted cows in New Zealand. They too were so fun. I’m curious why you are glad we are no longer in Croatia. We loved our time there and would like to go back, especially to spend more time in Dubrovnik.


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