Saturday, August 23, 2014

August, weather

The weather in Latvia is marine but considerably different from that of the Mediterranean countries. On the bright side, it's rarely hot here. And even if it's hot in the afternoon it's usually cool in the evening and the heatwave is never suffocating in the country.

The downside is the wind. In summer it's refreshing and saves one even on the hottest days. However, when it gets colder like it is now, the wind becomes piercing, penetrating. Nowadays, despite the bright sun, you won't feel the warmth of it. The wind is blowing all day long, it's cold and wet.

I decided to buy something warm to wear here, since my clothes are not enough. I thought I would have to go all around the city centre but luckily I bought everything in the two shopping centres Origo and Stokmann, both just 2 minute walk from the railway station.

Well, in my opinion, the suitable clothes to wear now are like this:

the scarf is about 16 euros made from viscose in Stokmann in Riga

the jacket is about 35 euros bought at the shopping centre Origo next to the railway station,
the scarf made from wool, cotton is about 40 euros from Stokmann
Well, it's the kind of clothes I wear on such cool windy days here in Jurmala. It's always difficult to judge what's good for the others. Whenever I look out of the window in order to see what people wear and make up my mind what to put on myself, the sight is usually puzzling: an old woman is wearing a light T-shirt, a cotton skirt, next to her, a young man in warm trousers and a jumper with a warm jacket on.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Kuldiga, a cosy town off the beaten track

Kuldiga is a small town, a lot like Tukums I've written about, but still with a difference. In terms of landmarks it's a more packed location, though, all the sights are rounded in one place.

We got there by bus in 2, 5 hours from Jurmala. We even got our bikes in the bus luggage compartment just at 2 euros (give those to a driver) but all the sites are so near and the town is so small we didn't need them much. It's also possible to get there by train or bus from Riga. Both train station and bus station are very near to each other, 7-minute walk.

I've  dreamt about going there because in guidebooks is it called a latvian Venice which, as I see now,  is a far-fetched exaggeration. There is a river making its way through the blocks of houses but it doesn't remind Venice, not even remotely.

On the other hand, the town that used to be a capital of Courtland in the 16th century holds a number of landmarks worthy of seeing.

It has the third longest BRICK bridge in Europe.

The  broadest waterfall (Rumbla) in Europe is in Kuldiga.
On the other side of the Rumbla waterfall there is a small beach, the water is warm and clear, so take along a swimming costume.

The old tradition of catching salmon in the air when it overcomes the waterfall migrating to spawn no longer exists, but in spring the sight of salmon, jumping over the waterfall, attracts tourists to Kuldiga.

In 2007 Kuldiga received the title "European Destination of Excellence" (EDEN) which only goes to locations off the beaten track promoting sustainable tourism.

Apart from cultural impressions you will have in Kuldiga, you will certainly have some culinary experiences.

Don't miss this EDNICA (eatery, canteen), a small inconspicuous house where a couple can overeat at
 just 5 euros.
Not only cheap but tasty, home-made style.

All this costs 5 euros, believe it or not.
I've been to some posh Moscow restaurants, including, for example, White Rabbit. The duck breast I ordered there was stiff (like that of a one-hundred year old duck) and I don't even remember the way they served it. Just want to say, it was a waste of money.
On the contrary, the duck breast in Bangert's restaurant in Kuldiga was unforgettable. The sauce, the orange chips on top, the breast itself. And that's the way they served it.
The restaurant Bangert's overlooks the Venta river and the Rumbla waterfall.
Next to it, there is the Kuldiga District museum devoted to the history of Kuldiga. The second floor is
After having a meal I went to the kitchen to see those culinary magicians who cook better than in most posh Moscow restaurants. They turned out to be these young, but highly skilled girls. They also have a chef in the restaurant, but the cooking that day was done by these two charming cooks (on both sides).
 They also made this chicken,
 and this vibrant pudding.

The check came up to 45 euros (for a couple, with 2 beers, come brandy, 2 starters, 2 main courses, tea, a dessert).
Next to  Bangert's there is the Kuldiga District Museum devoted to the history of the area. The second floor is designed as an apartment of a rich local family, inroducing the lifestyle of Kuldiga residents in the beginning of the 20th century.
We stayed at the Metropole hotel, a standard room at 65 euros, which for Latvia seems to be a bit overpriced with average price range from 30 to 40 euros for a nice place to stay at. The hotel is clean, the service is good enough, breakfast is various and sufficient for anybody.

Finally, some Kuldiga cats


Friday, August 15, 2014

The weather 2014, August

Like most Augusts I have spent here, this one is cool and the weather is changeable. It's comfortably cool, like +18. With a cool wind blowing most of the time, it's better to get along a sweatshirt, cotton sweater, and some light parka or raincoat.

Two days ago the weather was perfectly suitable for spending time on the beach. And in, say, 30-40 minutes it got like this. Another 10 minutes and it was pouring rain.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Art Nouveau Museum in Riga

The Art Nouveau Museum is a pleasant, cosy, well-preserved museum in Alberta street the heart of Art Nouveau in Riga. Although it's not so big, the exhibits are multiple and much fun.
I haven't taken the photo of the fridge of that time, so don't forget to ask them to show it to you when you're there.
More about Art Nouveau hère. 
A waffle maker with a recipe. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Art Nouveau in Riga

Since the weather in Latvia in winter may be quite nasty with drizzle and wind, if you decide on traveling there anyway, you should plan on visiting the places indoors mostly. So the next post is going to be about the Art Nouveau Museum.

Riga is subject to a thorough study by Art Nouveau lovers. Its centre is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage for the amount and quality of Art Nouveau architecture.  About 40 % of all the buildings in the historical centre of Riga are in Art Nouveau style.

When the style was being developed, Riga experienced a considerable inflow of educated professionals  from abroad who were partially Latvians returning from their studies and partially rich businessmen from  Russia.  This is why lots of Riga's "exhibits" were designed by Latvian architects.

Influenced by the style architects translated their hope for more harmony between urban sprawl with its stress and lost sense of life's order and the harmony of natural forms, intricate, opulent and inspiring.

Alberta street, the one in which the Art Nouveau Museum is situated, is one of the finest examples of Riga's Art Nouveau.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

the Gutenberg Hotel in Riga and Christmas celebration

Last Christmas we were in Riga staying at the Gutenberg Hotel. Here I'm going to tell you what's it like   staying in Riga for Christmas holidays.

People.  Happy and easy-going regardless the nasty weather there was throughout all the Christmas of 2012/13.

Weather. It wasn't particularly cold, not at all. Actually, for me as a Russian, - 2 to +5 was perfect winter weather. But it was raining. So in case you're planning your Christmas holiday in Riga this year, get an umbrella at the ready.

Prices. Not so low since we stayed at the Gutenberg hotel, boutique hotel.   Right in the centre of Riga, cosy and atmospheric. The Dome Cathedral is next to it and the hotel is situated in the street called Dome street (Doma laukums).

It was a  two-roomed Junior Suite suitable for throwing a party for 5-6 people. Very clean. A bit chilly in the room, though. To my taste, could have been warmer inside so that I would have worn a nice silk gown in the room.

The substantial breakfast included: some champagne if you're not too late for breakfast, salads of different kinds, sweets and buns, cereals.