Riga: Old Town
August 31, 2013
“What is your favorite city?”
I am frequently asked this question and like other travelers, I am tempted to answer, “My favorite city is the city where I am now!”
Of course that is an unsatisfactory answer, even when it might be true.
At the moment I am in Riga, the capital of Latvia. And if I were to give an honest answer, it would be this: “If I make a list of my ten favorite cities, Riga would be on the list, perhaps even in the top five.”
Like all the other visitors to Riga, with map in hand, I wander the narrow cobbled streets and alleys and squares of the Old Town. And like everyone else, I get lost in the complex and irregular maze. Never mind. The Old City is not just a “museum” of exquisite buildings, church spires and large open spaces, it’s a lively business and residential district and the locals are friendly and helpful. Besides, isn’t getting lost half the fun?
When my feet get tired and my camera needs a rest, I frequent an off-the-tourist-route café and snack on hot borscht and herring salad and a mocha layered pastry. I find a table on the sidewalk, sit and stare for a long while, and wonder why I have purchased an onward ticket.
Just around the corner from my hotel, down one of those narrow alleys, I discover a tiny café where a young man brews a brilliant cup of coffee. He persuades me to try a slice of spicy pizza and/or his mother’s homemade apple cake.
Come get lost with me.