Trip date: January 2017
We had driven from Vilnius, Lithuania (more on that later) on the 30th of December to Riga, Latvia and found our Airbnb for the next five days to be in an absolutely perfect location. We were across the street from the President's palace, right in Old Town. Most importantly as this was our New Year's Eve trip (the 12th!), we were 2 blocks from where the festivities would be.
The morning of the 31st Caitlin, Sharon, Forest, and I left Thibault to sleep in a bit and walked to Riga's Central Market. Along the way we passed through the over-the-top charming Town Hall Square which has the beautiful Blackheads House (originally an association for unmarried men). The Christmas Tree was reportedly "invented" at one of the Blackheads gatherings (men got drunk, cut down a tree, put a bunch of stuff on it, then tossed it out the window aflame; really no different that today) Riga really knows how to decorate their city. Every square had gorgeous trees and festive light displays.
Each hangar was dedicated to a different type of product; vegetables, meats, pickles, fish, household goods. The fish market in particular was incredible with hundreds of types of smoked, dried, and fresh fish along with so many different caviars!
As many people are Orthodox in the Baltic countries, Christmas would be celebrated on Jan 7th. Many people were buying their Christmas trees on New Year's Eve from market vendors. If you love Christmas, Latvia is the place to be as it lasts for many more weeks than we get!
Domini Canes which was a very cute little spot right next to St. Peter's Cathedral. As we would just be having light apps later we had a proper lunch of what Riga calls (and loves) modern takes on Latvian food.
From here Forest and Thibault led us on a walking tour of the Old Town. This is one of the nicest Old Towns I have been in and the Christmas decorations just added to that. We started at St. Peters and did a complete circle using one of our guide books, stopping for a bit of shopping along the way.
About half way through we happened upon a Christmas market, this one mainly arts/crafts oriented in a picturesque square.
Vienna and our house was so close we just walked 3 blocks after it was done.
As you can guess, there were some nightcap martinis at home after.
Happy New Year 2017!!! I've got my sights set on this being a good year. I hope you all have the same!
Laimīgu Jauno Gadu!!!
More tales of Latvia to come