In celebration of our ten year wedding anniversary, Husband and I decided to go to Riga, Latvia for a weekend. Little Man would be, of course, joining us. Being the seasoned travelers that we are, we fit all of our necessities into a back pack and my purse, and set off for the airport. (After having had our luggage lost for the entirety of our honeymoon, Husband and I both loathe checking bags.) We were required to check the pram, as the Helsinki airport will not let you take it through security.
It was an hour long flight on a prop plane, which was surprisingly smooth. And voila! Welcome to Riga!
We hopped on bus 22 and headed toward old town, where our hotel was located. Since it was only 11 in the morning, and check in wasn’t until 3 pm, we stopped for lunch on the way. Having actually put some planning into this trip (not our normal style, it should be noted), we knew exactly where to go: Big Bad Bagels! Who knew Riga had a New York-style bagel place?! I was not aware how much I missed bagels until I sunk my teeth into that perfectly dense, chewy piece of heaven. You cannot find bagels like that in Helsinki.
We took these bits of deliciousness to a nearby park so Little Man could crawl around after the flight. He was amused by the pigeons awaiting our crumbs. Feeling powered up for the rest of the day, we continued walking toward old town, admiring buildings along the way.
I love European architecture.
The closer we got to old town, the more elaborate things became.
Seriously, it’s beautiful!
During our meandering, Little Man fell asleep in the pram and we decided it was a good time to stop for a beer. It was ~22°C (mid 70’s for you Fahrenheit fans), and humid. It wasn’t difficult to find a bar; basically throw a rock and see where it lands. We ended up in an obviously touristy spot, but it was outdoors and in the shade, so we were happy. Not long after our drinks arrived, Little Man woke up. It didn’t take much longer for us to decide that it was time to get to the hotel. With a fussy baby, two tired adults, and a wait staff that couldn’t be bothered, we ended up leaving without paying our bill. It was the first time I’d ever done that.
Our hotel was super quaint yet I completely failed to get any pictures. We had the old fashioned suit, which was nice and roomy, with a bathroom big enough to hold the hotel-provided crib. (These are the things we now think of when planning vacations. Plus, it gave us a little separation at night, and Little Man got to have a dark room.)
We hung out for a while, then found a place with an awesome-looking Latvian tasting menu for dinner. Needless to say, we high-tailed it there. It was only about 6 pm at this point, so we had the restaurant to ourselves. I love the outdoor summer seating in Europe. Along with the tasting menu, we each ordered the flight of Latvian liqueurs.
Four different liqueurs with water and coffee to cleanse the pallet between tastes. They were all at least 40% alcohol, and all delicious. I aimed to have one glass per plate (pacing is key). The first dish was herring with roast potato and cottage cheese.
Keeping in mind that Little Man tried all of these, I’m impressed that he liked just about everything. (He must’ve gotten his great-grandmothers dislike of herring.) Next up was black peas with bacon.
Superb. I think the little one ate about half of the peas. Cream of pea soup followed, but was devoured before a picture could be taken. (It looked like soup, feel free to use your imagination. ;-)) The main dish was salmon cake and potato, with a cream sauce.
I’ve always been told that you either love or hate salmon. I grew up with it and am a big fan. Dessert was Latvian bread pudding. It was unlike any bread pudding I’ve ever had in that I actually liked it. The flavor was good and it wasn’t too sweet.
After dinner, we walked around for a little bit, then went back to the hotel. You can only push a one year old so far before sleep is completely sacrificed. Little Man actually slept very well, only walking up once and going right back to sleep after I checked on him. Our first day in Riga had been a success!