Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday in Riga

Our bus got from Tallinn to Riga around midnight, so we weren't too mindlessly exhausted this time.  We headed over to our second hostel of the trip (which was preciously named "The Teddy Bear Hotel" and really was a cozy and cuddly as the name makes it sound. There were teddy bear pictures everywhere :) and crashed for the night (during which, by the way, my dreams were weirdly influenced by the sound of an Asian man snoring).

This was just so glorious. A vending machine of ORANGES?! I love this country.

The entrance gate to the alley for Teddy Bear Hostel.  It was deemed worthy of a picture because of the camel stained glass windows :)

Streets of Riga

Riga was very different from Tallinn - since Tallinn was much more touristy, it felt manicured and almost fake.  In Riga, things were a lot more real. A lot of the buildings were older, under construction, or just in shambles. 

As tempting as these little goodies would be to use as race car tracks (think of the speed you could get!) they are meant to be handicapped ramps for wheelchairs.  Considering how steep those things are, if you weren't permanently handicapped before? You shortly will be!

I had to sing the rhyme about 3 times to myself to make sure this really was spelled wrong.  It is.

The bridge across the river Daugava in Riga - at night, there are blue lights that outline the structures of the bridge, and it's beautiful when reflected on the water!

Statue commemorating the Latvian people taking their freedom back from the Soviets.

Who knew Latvia had an Eiffel tower, right?
After we had finished exploring the river a bit, we headed over to a place that Elise had really wanted to visit - The Latvian Museum of Photgraphy.
It was a beautiful museum - a large portion was dedicated to the history of photography in Riga, but there was also a display titled "Territory of Broken Dreams".  It was a compiled work of pictures of patients from mental hospitals in Russia - it was very touching, and beautifully presented.  As I glimpsed the lives of these people, I noticed the song "When Someone Cares" coming to mind: "The blind could see, the lame man could walk away, and lives still change from night to day, when they know that someone cares... for with God, nothing is impossible" (song for free on the LDS website HERE)

I LOVE this about the Baltics - ivy grows everywhere!

Like I said - the buildings are older, kind of falling apart, but beautiful in their own rustic way.

We've been spoiled with a church building in Lithuania!! When we found the church on Sunday, it was part of a complex of offices - funny, despite where you are located for sacrament meeting, you can always feel the same spirit testifying of the truthfulness of this church :) (HERE)
The Latvian sign marking the chapel

Funny story about this park - we decided to take a break before going into the Art Museum and eat our lunches we had brought along.  As we were, Janese and Areil (who had bought cherries at the market earlier that day) were simply putting their cherry pits in the grass, planning on picking them up before we left.  As we were eating, a nearby policeman began to wander over our way - immediately, I panicked thinking that we were in trouble for putting cherry pits in the grass, we were going to get a ticket, we'd go to jail, I'd never get home... it was a panicked 2 seconds.  He ended up squatting in the grass next to us and saying:

Supremely attractive Latvian policeman - "Do you girls drink beer"
(What? Do we drink beer? Are you trying to check if you need to add drunkenness to our list of cherry-pitting crimes?)
Us - "Um... No."
Supremely attractive Latvian policeman - "What? Why not?!"
(Thoroughly confused at this point. Did he want to ticket us for drunkenness? Was he trying to invite us to a bar? What the what?)
Us - "We just... don't."
Supremely attractive Latvian policeman - "Well, I really need a beer right now"
Us - "Okay... sorry?"
(At this point, Supremely attractive Latvian policeman frowns and walks away.  We just laughed.)
Areil, super-uber-duper excited to go into the art museum!  No really. She loves it.

The outside of the art museum.

This museum was SO lovely.  Everything was older aged, made of wood, and beautiful structured to hold the works of art on display there. 

One of my favorite rooms of the displays - the paintings were so beautiful!

Riga's Freedom Monument, commemorating soldiers killed in the Latvian war for independence (HERE)
We eventually ended up wandering through this peaceful park by the river, enjoying the people around us, the lovebirds walking around, and the sunshine.

And we also found ANOTHER Lock of Love Bridge!! This one put the one in Lithuania to shame though - literally, every piece of metal available had a lock clicked on it. 

You almost can't even see the metal of the bridge itself!

A creeper picture of a couple, appreciating their fellow lovebirds handiwork. 

I LOVED this park! It made me want to stay in Riga longer, just so I could come back to it again later.  Such a peaceful place.

One of the "Three Brothers" - three buildings next to each other that are the oldest buildings in Riga.  Each represents various periods of building construction - this is the oldest building.

Musicians of Bremen monument - the animals from this Brothers Grimm fairytale are said to be built in such a way that they look directly with contempt at the iron curtain.
That night, we went a got SUSHI!! Though I wasn't too adventurous, I still loved it!
After dinner, we headed home for the night, befriended our new pal Rich (who I talked to, but couldn't even see since my contacts weren't in. Luckily, I could still recognize him the next morning when he said hello :), and got some desperately needed sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Oh the memories! :) Love that church steeple. Did you guys go up to the top of it? And, I wish I remembered how to get to my favorite little courtyard. It makes for some great pics! (Even when I lived there, I had a hard time finding it! LOL)