Return Trip to Riga

Return Trip to Riga

Last week, Husband had another work trip to Riga, Latvia, so I decided to tag along. (The wonderful thing about writing is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. At least, anywhere that’s not ugly. I cannot write in ugly places.)

The taxi took us to Gatwick, and we found the airBaltic desk and then waited a very long time for the staff to arrive so we could drop our bags. We had breakfast in Pret (I don’t especially like Pret, but Husband has bit of an addiction, so we found a Pret and I didn’t make too many comments). We also bought sandwiches for lunch, to avoid having to eat aeroplane food.

The flight was quite fast due a tail wind from Storm Dennis, and it took less than the three hours I was expecting. The airport is fairly small, so going through customs and collecting our bags was very quick. I wonder if that will change after the EU transition period has ended. We walked to the taxi rank, and remembered to check the prices on the back door of each taxi (see the blog I wrote last summer—the price of a taxi varies a HUGE amount, but the price is displayed on the back door. In Riga, you do not have to take the first taxi in the line, which is likely to be the most expensive one and shunned by locals).

We stayed at the Pullman hotel, which is situated in the old part of Riga. The hotel is modern, with a horse theme (not sure why). We were met by a life-sized horse statue in the lobby, and horse art is displayed in all the corridors and rooms. Some of it is quite nice. Everything else is grey and white. It’s clean, but not especially welcoming.

We found a restaurant on TripAdvisor and walked through the cobbled streets of Old Town, past the 13th century St. Peter’s Church, to Petergailis restaurant. It was only 6.30pm (4.30pm in the UK) but it felt much later. The sky was properly dark, the shops were mostly closed, and there were very few people on the streets. The air was cold and crisp, though there was no snow (which I had been hoping for). I was glad of my thick jacket, gloves and hat—and my flat shoes, because walking on cobbled streets is fairly brutal on heels. As we walked, I began to remember Riga. In my mind, it has become entangled with Krakow, as we visited both fairly close together, and they share cobbled streets and pretty buildings, interesting markets and a sad history. Gradually Riga emerged in my memory, I recalled the beautiful guild halls, and the striking churches, and the house with a cat on top which has themed most of the souvenirs.

Petergailis restaurant was perfect. It has a cockerel theme, and we had coffee on the terrace last summer, but the terrace has gone now, only marks on the wall remain. Inside was cosy but not too hot and as we were eating relatively early, it wasn’t too crowded. The menu was full of interesting foods I’d never tried, but not so unfamiliar as to be scary. They brought us breads with flavoured butter, and tiny glasses of pumpkin soup to taste. We chose different dishes and shared, so could taste each other’s food (this turned out to be a good idea, because Husband chose better than me). I drank a single gin and tonic, and lusted after the huge glasses of red wine on the next table, but knew that after a flight and a long day I’d have a migraine if I drank it. We left feeling full.

The following day, Husband went to the office after breakfast, and I wrote and explored the city. But I’ll tell you about that in another blog. Thanks for reading. I hope you eat some lovely food too today.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

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