Monday, June 18, 2012


In many ways, Latvia is very similar to Estonia. Riga has a beautiful old town, which is quite different from Tallinn. It's larger, and not quite as immediately intense, but more subtle and spread out. The new town was also a pleasant surprise. A lot of parks, and some great architecture. There's also a huge market that fills five old WW1 zeppelin hangars as well as the entire surrounding area.

I took one side trip within the country to Sigulda, where there are a number of castles and caves (and a bobsled track). Most of the castles have been restored within the last few decades (and not completely accurately), but it was a nice trip. We crossed the valley on the only cable car in the Baltics, and walked a LOT, but it was a beautiful day.

I also got a sneak peek into Lithuania when I crossed the border to see the Hill of Crosses. Normally the trip is a bit complicated (two buses followed by a 2 km walk), but we met a nice Australian couple who let us go with them in their taxi. The hill itself is filled with countless crosses- well not just the hill, but the surrounding area as well. It's quite odd to see it out in the middle of nowhere, but it was beautiful. We even got to see a part of a pilgrimage to the site.


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