Monday, May 14, 2007


On our way to Riga, we had an intellectual conversation with a guy named, Mic, who we met in Vilnius. He discussed his adventure on the Trans-Siberia Railway, two years ago. Once we arrived in Riga, we meet two new people, Mikko and Jackie. Mikko is from Finland and we ran into him a couple times in Klaipedia, but this is the first time that we actually had a conversation with him. Jackie is from New Jersey and is planning to travel the world for two to three years. We hung out together for the remainder of the night and discussed our future travels.
The next day, we set out to explore Riga. The first site was the Freedom Monument. This is located in the center of the park at the City Canal. The monument represents Latvian Independence. This massive tower has very detail oriented sculptures on both sides explaining the story of their independence. The next site was the Swedish Gate. This was built during the Swedish period and is the only remaining city gate. It looked like any other gate to us. Nothing too spectacular, but the history is great. Next, we made our way to Powder Tower. This is the only survivor of the 18 towers in the old city wall. The tower has served as a gunpowder store, prison, torture chamber, and now the Museum of War. The most exciting part of the museum was the exhibition of weapons. We were intrigued by the old guns, knives, swords, and cannons. Then, we went to the Dome Cathedral. This cathedral is the largest church in the Baltics and boasts the fourth largest organ in the world. We were unable to figure out how to get in side, but the outside looks HUMONGOUS! We stopped at a Cafe to admire the Cathedral and had a drink. The next stop was the House of the Blackheads. This architectural gem was an 800th birthday present to the city. Originally built in 1344 for the Blackheads guild of unmarried merchants. The house was lavishly and elegantly furnished. We then went to the yellow painted Cat House. This house was not impressive, but the history behind the house is quite funny. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Latvian owner of the Cat House had statuettes made of the back ends of his two black cats-backs arched and tails up. He placed them on top of the building facing the Big Guild Hall across the road as a gesture of defiance against the guild that refused him entry. The house is a restaurant that serves tasty food. To complete our site field day, we took a paddle boat on the City Canal that goes through the park. The color of the trees and the smell of the flowers in bloom made the boat ride even more memorable. It made you think to yourself, "I don't want to leave Riga." But, then you realize their are many more beautiful places to experience. To end our day, we went to the movies with Jackie to see 300. We definitely recommend seeing this movie for its great cinematography. But, be warned this is an intense movie.
To Jackie it was very nice meeting you. We wish you safe travels and maybe we will meet again in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Did you buy a car? How are you doing? When are you coming back? I guess thats it. Love, Jester

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you, bring some souvenirs back from your trip. ~Jester

Anonymous said...

Hello Jay and Kacee! I have been keeping up with your posts since you started, and I am finally going to leave a comment. It seems like your trip is going well, but the stories seem a little tame for the Jay I know. Good luck on your next adventure!

Anonymous said...

HEY! As you can see, I got your website to work! It was great to meet the two of you, I truly enjoyed hanging out with you guys. Im still here in Latvia, and Im going to stay until the 29th, and after that Im off to Florence.

Its strange, the longer I stay here, the more I like it, but like you said, there are other places to see, and Im excited about all of them!

Safe travels, and I'll be sure to keep checking in to see where in the world you guys are!