Latvian Loma (holiday)

Latvia’s capital Riga was founded in 1201 and sits about 360km south of Helsinki (the same distance as Auckland to Ohakune in New Zealand). The flight takes just under an hour, making it a perfect destination for a short Easter break.

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As we headed out on Good Friday, I was looking forward to seeing the Old Town and the examples of Art Nouveau architecture, which are considered to be some of the best in the world.

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It is estimated that around 40 per cent of Riga’s central buildings are in the Art Nouveau style, with many examples evident along Alberta Iela.

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The street is also home to the Art Nouveau museum and a store selling beautiful Art Nouveau jewellery, lamps and art.

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I have a soft spot for Latvia because two of my close friends in Australia have family from there. I would be lying however if I said the legacy of its occupation is not still visible in the city. To me it was apparent as soon as we left the airport.

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Latvia was occupied by both the Soviets and Nazi Germany, before gaining back its independence in 1991.

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There are a lot of parks in the city, which we walked through on our way to the Old Town.

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I think they will become quite beautiful in summer, once all the trees are full once more of green foliage and the birds have returned from their southern migration.

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We had such a great holiday – most countries outside of Finland are so much cheaper by comparison and with Latvia’s reputation as a spa destination we treated ourselves to massages and a nice hotel.

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There were lots of locals around, including lots of women in maybe their sixties or seventies, many of them dressed alike. There is also a really good hipster scene, which I say with no judgement because where there’s hipsters – there’s good coffee!

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I’m going to write more about all the yummy food we ate and the great markets we visited but for now, it’s time for lunch.

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12 thoughts on “Latvian Loma (holiday)

  1. Awaiting Part 2…..so intriguing. What would it be like living – conditions – wise, outside of the big city areas in Latvia. We share your LOVE of a good coffee.😊

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  2. Starting with the map, this post is absolutely fascinating. Just think what those women, if they were born before 1940, have gone through. I wonder more about what their present is like. I hope to spend a lot of time in what we used to call the Baltic states, as well as Finland of course, in the near future. Meanwhile, I’m savoring every word and photograph on your blog!

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    • Thanks Leslie, I wonder the same too. I never gave much thought as to why my Latvian friends ended up in Australia but am interested in learning more and travelling there again now I’ve learnt a little. I hope you’ll enjoy your travels. The weather & scenery will only get better!

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  3. Gorgeous photos! I’ve never been to any of the Baltic countries myself, but I can see why Finland is said to resemble Eastern Europe. Thank you for sharing.

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    • I’m curious, ejensen, how is Finland “said to resemble Eastern Europe?” I spent quite a bit of time in both Finland and Eastern Europe (when the USSR existed), and I saw no resemblance at all…quite the opposite, in fact. In the same way, travelling from Helsinki to the USSR was like going from day into night.

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      • Leslie, that’s what I’ve been told more than once. I’m a Finn, but other than that, the easternmost I’ve been is Berlin and parts of Sweden. I have not traveled in Eastern Europe myself – Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Baltic countries, what have you. My memory is that it was in reference to the neoclassical city centers. Perhaps the people who spoke to me count Russia and Eastern (Central) Europe as separate areas – I cannot say as it was decades ago now. And you are definitely right in that Finland and Russia are very different.

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      • Hello again Ejensen,

        Thank you for clarifying. I agree about the resemblance of the neoclassical city centers in Finland and those in much of Eastern Europe, but to me, the resemblance between Finland and the Eastern Europe during the existence of the USSR ends there. I certainly did not mean to count the U.S.S.R. and Eastern (which I too now call Central) Europe as the same, but when the countries of Eastern Europe were under the iron fist of the USSR., that fist imposed the vagaries of totalitarianism on those countries much as it did on the USSR itself. One caveat to my earlier comment: as I have not spent time in Central Europe during the last 3 years, I have no firsthand experience of what it is like in those countries right now. P.S. How fortunate you are to be a Finn!

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  4. Pingback: Riga’s Central Market | Hey Helsinki

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