Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scandinavia #6

Riga Latvia
          Our next Ports o' Call was Riga, Latvia. It was 54 F and drizzly when we headed to Old Town. The President was working in the castle (Riga Castle), so all castle tours were canceled. But the castle is an amazing structure built in 1330 on the bank of the River Daugava.  It was heavily guarded with sentries standing in their little houses like in London and marched from one corner o the building to the other with their automatic weapons (M16s).

Old Town Riga
          We continued our walk through town, the maps are very confusing. So we decided to stroll through the city. We found the "Three Brothers," three old style buildings attached and beautifully designed in medieval times about the late 1400s.

          The drizzle turned to light rain so ducked into St. Peter's Church to rest. There was a service in progress (we forgot it was Sunday). The building started around 1300s (Gothic) with multiple arches in every corner of the church. The outside was old bricks and turrets.  We happened upon two gentlemen playing French horn and Tuba. Locals stopped and clapped along while singing Latvian folk songs.

          Old Town has many parks and small cafes hidden out of the way alleys, nooks, and corners. The cafes were covered with flowers, wrought iron bistro tables and chairs, all very romantic. The city was considered the "Paris of the Baltic" when it was part of the USSR. I could see why!  

          The sun came, it turned out to be a lovely late afternoon sky. We stopped at a park and enjoyed the huge trees and flowers for a while. We didn't say much, just took in the spirit of the ancient city.

Afternoon Tea
          We got back to the ship just in time for Afternoon Tea.  It was held in the lovely formal dining room, with the panoramic view of the city. Crystal chandeliers hung from a high ceiling, white linen tablecloths, crystal glassware, china and real silverware. A string quartet played the entire time, distinguished waiters in white jackets scurried around to meet your every want, and a dress code for attendees made it an extraordinary experience. The pastries, sandwiches and various teas were delicious. The head cook had a lovely dish waiting for me with my gluten-free diet.

Leaving Latvia
          We sat on our veranda and watched this charming medieval town pass by us as we left the docks. Our reservations were for 8:00 dinner at Toscana, a select restaurant on board. The interior of the restaurant was just like Italy, the food amazing. We lingered over dessert enjoying our seating partners from Australia.

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