Our second full day in Riga was more of a challenge, as the rain began to fall and the wind thumping us from every angle. However, that didn’t stop us from exploring more Lativan culture across the city.
Firstly, we walked about a kilometre (that’s right I’m already starting to think in Kilometres now rather than miles) to the ‘Museum of Jews in Latvia’. The history of occupied territories under the Nazi regime has always interested me and Georgia so it was something that we definitely wanted to see. Walking through the elegant building to the 3rd floor we were greeted by a lovely woman who offered us earphones and a place to put our coats, we were the only people in the whole museum. There was a 500 year time line from when Jews first migrated to Latvia up until the point of their persecution in World War 2. To be honest I have been completely ignorant in not knowing the huge role Latvia and more predominantly Riga played during the unfathomable Jewish persecution. When concentration camps in Poland and Germany were too full, prisoners were sent to Kaiserwald concentration camp in Riga to be exterminated. One timeline section was dedicated to 5000 Hungarian women who were sent there and killed within a couple of days, that got to me pretty bad but what I admired most about the exhibition was at the end it commemorated the people who saved and hid Jews across Latvia with an interactive map that showed each hidden location. The museum was free to enter but appreciated donations.
A short walk away we were greeted by Rigas ‘Nativity of Christ’ Cathedral. A monumentally well crafted building made from beautiful stone. Inside I had never seen so much gold. It was quite insane actually. One thing I have always struggled with when it comes to Catholism is their need to ‘show off’ the wealth of their religion, however saying that you cannot doubt the devotion of the orthodox nuns keeping the peace, albeit in a strict way their Cathedrals presentation.
Believe it or not we spent the next 2 hours trying to find Riga Castle but actually never found it, luckily on the way we saw some more attractions, notably the Parliment Building, Jacobs Barracks -huge row of red topped buildings that were used as army bases for some hundreds of years, now all are converted into cafes or restaurants, we also passed by Riga Dome Church and walked through Bastejkalns garden alongside the cities canal.
The rain started to get a bit ridiculous so we headed back to our hostel where we napped and showered before heading out to eat. Keeping to our promise of trying traditional food in each place we visited we went to a medieval restaurant called ‘Rozengrals’.
I had an amazing pumpkin and mushroom dish covered in home made sour cream which back in medieval times was given to sick people, as there was no point feeding them meat as it was likely they would be dead soon. They didn’t want to waste their expensive chicken or beef on them! (The picture doesn’t do it justice )
Georgia had a Pottage mushroom soup that was equally as tasty and we headed off to an Irish Bar, which Georgia’s dad Chris quite rightly said you will always find no matter what city you are in, for some end of the night beers. Georgia as you can tell from the video enjoyed her beers a little too much…