Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.

I managed to avoid any excitement my last couple weeks in Riga, sticking to my familiar walking paths and coffee shop hopping. I did take a walk over to the markets on the weekend, which were quite large and busy. One building was completely filled with meat – did not last long in there. But I wish I had gone earlier, as there were huge stalls of vegetables as well.

Didn’t bother with a picture though. I did grab another one of a windy street in old town though.

Old Town Riga
Basically I just needed 2 Riga pictures in this post

And these are the “3 brothers”. They are the oldest buildings in Riga. Not sure how old, but one of them says “1646” on it, so I’m guessing it’s 1,646 years old. Impressive that it’s still standing.

Three Brothers in Riga
Not much to write home about here.

Then after a lovely bus ride through the Latvian and Lithuanian countryside (which actually looked a lot like western New York), I arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania. Checked in, did some wandering around, and wandered up Gediminas Tower for a better view of the city.

View of Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius has like 3 skyscrapers. Not bad.
View of Vilnius, Lithuania
Such a beautiful sunny day
Gediminas Tower, Vilnius
€5 to go inside? No thanks. I can see fine from here.

I also did a walking tour, so I got to learn about the various people that have occupied Latvians over time. They also have an “independent republic” within the city, called Uzupio. Some kind of hippy artist community I guess. It’s independence day is April 1st though, so I should really come back to celebrate.

Welcome to Uzupis
Their government building is that bar/restaurant on the left
Backpacker Jesus
Backpacker Jesus
Constitutional Selfie
Constitutional Selfie
Old Church
Old Church

They have a lot of old looking churches and remnants of the soviet era, much like the rest of the Baltics.

Old Church
Old church buildings and such
Literary wall
Wall with literary dedications on it
President's house
President’s house
Old church
This church thinks it’s an art gallery

There was a good little stretch of coffee shops on one road where I could get some work done. A nice Coffee Inn (that chain I like), plus Second Cup and Huracan Coffee. Between the three of them I could get my fill of coffee and working without walking a marathon every day.

Second Cup cafe
They only gave you one cup though
Huracan Coffee
This places wins for best latte art

I also went to an “authentic” Latvian restaurant with some guys from the hostel I stayed at. It was almost all meat, except they had some potato pancakes for me which were good. The place was called Forto Dvaras, if that matters. They also had a lot of pizza places around, so I had that a couple times over the past week too.

It snowed one of the nights we were there, some good heavy stuff that resulted in the perfect snowballs. So we threw them at things, because we’re adults.

Anyways, it was an interesting group of people at the hostel and we were able to do some sightseeing and eating and such together, which was a nice change of pace. However, I need to settle back in and get some work done, which I should be able to do in Tbilisi as I’ll have an apartment to myself there.

In all, Vilnius felt similar to the other Baltic cities except much smaller. The business district was across the river and I only stopped by there briefly. All that is good as far as I’m concerned – it didn’t seem overly commercial and was rather quiet and unobtrusive from a tourist perspective. There was very little touristy feel to it, which I appreciated.

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