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  The Chatter Box : Travel
New Europe: Riga by geordiegirl on 12 January 2007 12:18pm
We will be visiting Riga in June for part of its Opera Festival. has anyone visited there? Any tips or tales to exchange? I can reciprocate with some info about Budapest: we go there fairly regularly.
Re: New Europe: Riga by Nathalie on 17 February 2007 4:35pm
Hi! I went to Riga last summer, and loved it! The centre of the city is extremely gorgeous, with amazing buildings.
One thing you must do is have a tea in one of the teahouse on the river, they are made of glass and serve delicious teas for nearly nothing!
With my friends we went out of the capital and visited ares on the Baltic sea, like Ventspils. The beaches are great, but don't expect good food!

What surprised me most was the huge difference between Riga and outside. I think that if you want to see some real Latvia, and not only what they want turists to see, you should go out of the capital for some time. After about half an hour of driving the houses change, and you can see some of those old comunist buildings. People are also very different. While we were in Ventspils a strange thing happened, a Latvian ran up to us out of the blue and started shaking a friend of mine, shouting that he shouldn't be speaking in English, but in Latvian, since he was in Latvia.
Obviously all this happened in Latvian, but we had made some local friends, and they translated for us.

Well, I'll be in Budapest in late april. Is there abything I should know?


P.s. Oh, I forgot, in Latvia everything seems to have dill in it! ..strange..
Re: New Europe: Riga by geordiegirl on 23 February 2007 7:59pm
Nathalie - thanks so much. We will try the teahouses. Did you get out of the city using public transport? If so, how?We don't use cars when abroad.
Budapest. Must-see: Castle Hill area, Vaci Utca (main drag - good shopping, if you like that)Statue Park (leaflet from tourist info) is great, a bit out of town, bus & another bus. Szentendre - on the suburban railway line: picture-postcard small village with lovely architecture and excellent restaurants.
Must do: Swim! Szechenyi baths - tourist office will have details are amazing. Thermal baths, sauna, etc. The one shown when you see people playing chess in the water. Hotel Gellert - good baths, outdoor area on the top of the pool with more baths, etc. And then a look at the amazing hotel: great interior and an excellent good-value brasserie adjacent - potato cakes were 90 fillers each in 2005 (about 5p sterling). ALL local restaurants are excellent - look for MARQUIS DE SALADE and Gundels, if feeling flush (this is near Szechenyi baths & Heroes Square - also a must-see). GERBEAUDs restaurant, cake-place, anything is a must-do, adjacent to Vaci Utca underground station.If you like opera & concerts the State Opera House & Liszt Academy are wonderful building with good performances. Oh Nathalie, it's my favourite city. You will have such fun. Oh! Go to the main Market Hall just to see the stalls. Excellent value too. Buy Tokay wine in Kaisers Supermarket - cheapest & good choice. Weather shouldn't be too bad in late April.Let me know how you get on!
Re: New Europe: Riga by Ken Dunn on 23 February 2007 9:07pm
And I thought Riga was in Finland!
Re: New Europe: Riga by Nathalie on 11 March 2007 6:09pm
Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! No, ken, it's latvia!

Thanks Geordiegirl for all that info! I'll definitely try out thermal baths! You sound really enthusiastic about it! I got excited about going just by reading what you wrote!

Well, other great place to see in Riga (I just remembered) are the House of the Black-heads. It's a building a little out of the centre area where the river is. And the statue of freedom called Milda is impressive. The changing of the guards in pretty weird, so don't miss it!!
I went into the outskirts by car, so I don't know what the public transport is like.

Well, good luck! have fun!

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