Two Latvian look at clouds. One see potato. Other see impossible dream. Is same cloud.

I decided to enter the social realm for a few days, booking four nights at a hostel in Riga to start off the trip. The password at the hostel was “justonebeer”. Which of course is “just one beer.” But I’ve been drinking very little and listening to questionable music, so I thought it was just a weird spelling of “juston ebeer”. Surely, a mistake anyone can make. Thankfully, I did not say this aloud so my reputation as someone with some dignity remains intact.

Here’s a street in Old Town Riga right next to the hostel to get started.

Street in Riga
After all this time, narrow cobblestone streets still make me happy

They have a lot of great coffee shops to work from here, which is why I’m ok with hanging around. A couple commercial chains, Costa Coffee, Double Coffee, and Coffee Inn (which is the exact same as Caffeine in Tallinn, except these are a bit more spacious). Anyways, I can work at pretty much any of them without a problem.

Other more localish coffee places I like:

Kuuka Kafe – Right in the old square. Small, cozy, good coffee, sandwiches, and quiet enough where I can work for a bit.

Miit Coffee – This one is a bit closer to the AirBnb I moved to, but still a decent walk. It’s a hipster bike shop turned fancy coffee place with vegetarian and vegan food. The coffee is prepared a number of different ways like the super-hip places in the states. I say this with love of course, as although I’m not the best coffee aficionado, I appreciate the effort and atmosphere of these places. Miit has several “bar” type places to set up and work for a bit too.

Rocket Bean Roastery – This one is even closer to the hipster section of town and has the full feel as well. A bit more spacious, and a couple of the baristas had beards, so even more authentic in my opinion. The guy told me about the coffee when he gave it to me, and it even came with an information card, which thankfully I couldn’t read since it was in Latvian. Lovely place though.

Hipsters in Latvia
My other picture was better but the girl on the left didn’t look like she had any teeth in it.

Raw Garden – Vegetarian place closer to old town. Had a nice meal, for it being vegetarian and all.

And there are a few more I could try out, the point being Riga has a strong cafe game and it’s quiet enough to work and hang out as well. So pretty good stuff.

One night at the hostel I went out to this rock place with the crew. I did not care for it, but this is apparently what people like.

Rock and roll bar
They were singing some rubbish American songs

And then I wandered around the old town area a bit and took pictures of things that looked important, like I imagine most people do.

The Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument, inspired by Braveheart I think

They have a nice little park and canal separating the old town from the other part of the city. It’s quite nice, especially with the fall colors. A couple parks actually, and I think this one is called Bastejkalna Park, which is why I just call it “park”.

Bastejkalna Park in Riga
Probably more popular during the summer
Bastejkalna Park in Riga
The ducks are disappointingly the same here.
Love lock bridge in Riga
Found the love lock bridge
Bastejkalna Park in Riga
More trees whose leaves are dying

The Daugava River separates old town from the city on the other side. It’s a rather large bridge. I walked across it.

Bridge over Daugava River
Too cold for boating

And now, let’s talk about old and/or fancy looking buildings and their historical significant.

This is St Peter’s church. It looks old, you do Jesus things in it, and I’m not sure if it has any significance.

St. Peter's Church
I’d make a fantastic tour guide

This thing, which really just looks like a lazy 2-D Japanese building if you ask me, is where the President lives. It’s called House of the Blackheads, which again I don’t know why. But it does look really neat.

House of Blackheads - President's House
I assume it’s just super racist

And then you can just see some pictures of random buildings around here that I took. The most famous street is Albert Street, but in general there are a lot of wonderful Art Nouveau buildings here.

Old buildings in Riga
The juxtaposition of dirty and not dirty
Alberta iela (Albert Street)
Leaning tower of Pisa with a pope hat and building attached
Alberta iela (Albert Street)
So many balconies (on Albert Street)
Alberta iela (Albert Street)
Fairy-tale house on Albert Street
Alberta iela (Albert Street)
View of Albert Street. It has trees.
Alberta iela (Albert Street)
This is especially nice because it doesn’t have green protective things on them (also, Lions)
Old building in Riga
This comes up when you search “Art Nouveau Riga” and probably “cool blue building Riga”
Art Nouveau in Riga
This building has its own guard
Art Nouveau in Riga
I’m out of building captions
Stormtropper Monkey I guess?
Clearly doesn’t need a caption
Starting my Christmas list
Starting my Christmas list. I’ll take 2.

It’s a more tolerable cold here, less windy and humid, but I’m still going to head south after another week here. I should probably go inside a museum or some cultural thing (they haveĀ  few, not a ton of them though) too.

When people ask me what I do when I travel and I say “walk around mostly” they don’t seem to believe me. Luckily, Google is here and actually roughly maps my movement in a creepy and relatively accurate fashion. So here is evidence of the accuracy of my “walk around mostly” over the past three days:

A lot of walking for two cups of coffee
Friday it was just for one cup of coffee
Google thinks I flew home from the grocery store

So that’s like 4-5 miles walking to town and back I suppose, assuming I didn’t deviate at all (I think Google only registers when I pull my phone out and activate it to give it points of reference – I frequently use Maps, but when I know where I’m going I use it less). Which is a long way for a cup of coffee, but fresh air is good I guess.

I scrolled through this trip, and my top 4 were 15.6km in Helsinki, 10.9km in Tallinn, 11.3km the day I went to Haapsalu, and a 9.9km day in Riga. So that’s why I basically wear out a pair of shoes on every trip.

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