I really enjoyed Latvia – more than a couple of other trips I’ve done this year & yet, apart from the Krimulda post (I found Latvian Silent Hill!) I freeze over every time I try to write about it.
Why? I don’t know. Specifically, I’m trying to tell you about Rīga Old Town. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it used to be a medieval walled town, it’s full of alleys and churches & Germanic architecture. But the words won’t come.
The closest I can come to explaining why is that I went to Latvia with no pressure on myself to see or do anything. I wanted to go to the nice town in the national park because that seemed a chilled & peaceful thing to do. Back in Rīga, my only goal was to see the House of the Blackheads. And when I spied it in the inflight magazine, the Freedom Monument.
No “get up early, get out, do all the things!” When I’m in Iceland, I feel like I have to pack every minute, so I climb volcanoes, drive miles to nice waterfalls, prowl Thingvellir – and then flop, half-dead, into wonderful geothermal heated outdoor pools. In Edinburgh there are always shows to see at specific times. But Latvia was about not doing anything in particular. Just wandering around Rīga, seeing the medieval town, finding a church or a guild or a cat house round every corner. So there’s not really a narrative. There’s just me in Latvia.