Today being our last full day in Riga we decided to make the most of it by learning as much as possible about the history and background to take away with us so to really grasp the antiquity of this amazing city.
Beginning our day on a slow and wet walk through the parks of the old town we headed towards the museum of the occupation of Latvia. This exhibition is rated as one of the top things to do in the city, especially on a rainy day like today. It cast a concise image of the struggles the Latvian people faced during pre world war 2 occupation under the Soviet Union. Info graphics explained the lead up and the economical, cultural and political consequences the Soviet Union had on not just Latvia but the also the other 2 Baltic nations, Lithuania and Estonia. Following the Nazis progression Latvia was occupied by Hitler with thousands of its citizens ‘voluntarily’ joining the Wehrmacht and fighting the allies. Monitors around the hall showed people reciting their own accounts of what happened during that time, some horrific stories. One Latvian lady and her family got relocated to Siberia where the only way she could feed her children was to prick her hands and arms with a sharp object and for her kids to drink her blood. After the Nazis lost the war the Soviet Union took back the territory we now know as Latvia and imposed strict rules up until the Soviet economy crashed in 1991 and the politicians won the case for independence.
After an emotional tour like that we needed to set ourselves straight by having a latte at V Kuze which showcased a huge array of cakes and truffles to enjoy.
Georgia wants me to mention that fact that I got extremely stressed trying to find our next attraction. I basically read google maps completely wrong and we walked over an hour in one huge circle to end up back at the coffee place we had recently left.
Anyway, we arrived excitedly at KGB Building File No 1914/2014. Hidden away in the an abundance of charity shops and banks this was probably my most favourite part of our trip so far. With a 2 euro entry fee we also had the privilege of being showed round by a very knowledgable tour guide, I didn’t catch his name. It lasted about 1 and a half hours as we got to witness the brutality of the prison that the Soviets kept people who either were intellectually supreme or knew how to use any time of weapon. Prisoners were kept in here for years without being able to talk to anyone, often in cells the size of your lounge with 30+ other inmates whilst having to take shifts to sleep, half led on the floor, the other half stood and waited their turn.
After a long, traumatic day we eat at our most expensive restaurant yet ( after being turned down by our first option – Garlic Cafe, a restaurant that serviced garlic oroentated food, and garlic beer and vodka, dammit) the food was good but pricey. Would recommend Melna Bite if you have cash to splash.