I must admit it: I am a fan of the Olympics (even though some of the news reports about Sochi have been less-than-stellar). There is nothing like the thrill of watching the Norwegian men’s curling team (and their crazy-awesome pants) or following the stirring victories of the first Americans to win gold at ice dancing. I’ve noticed athletes from countries that I haven’t visited in a while (hello, Latvia!), and that little memory has inspired me to write a short post about my six hours in Riga in 2012.
I was en route to Helsinki from Paris, and a connection through Riga saved me 900 € on airfare. Secretly, I was thrilled to have some time in one of the Baltic countries! I arrived at the Riga International Airport in the afternoon and was easily able to grab the local currency (the lat) and a taxi to the City Center. Here, I walked around in the drizzle for several hours before treating myself to a dinner of traditional food–a delicate fish and some Latvian wine.
After my feast, I strolled along the Daugava River, snapping some last photos prior to heading back to the airport. Overall, I felt safe, gobbled up as many sites that I could find on a map from the tourist office, and enjoyed talking to the friendly Latvians that I came across on my journey. While I didn’t get a stamp in my passport, I loved my introduction to Latvia and the Baltics. If you find yourself needing to make a connection through Riga, schedule some time for a quick visit, which was well-worth the extra time.