I was trying my best to look at Riga through the eyes of a tourist, but I failed. The streets just looked too familiar, and there were too many memories related to the city. I grew up here. I went to school here, college, university… I was not born in Riga, but I have spent most of my life here. So, no matter how hard I try to change my thoughts, I continue seeing Riga as my hometown and not as a touristic destination.
Yet I have noticed that something was different. I didn’t feel frantic anymore. And it didn’t feel like my life is a hamster wheel anymore. Finland has changed me a lot. I have finally learned to do things slowly, without a rush and unnecessary stress.
I took my time when I was walking in the city. I observed. And it was then when I noticed the details. Details I’ve never payed attention to when I was living here. I was always busy, rushing somewhere, having 1001 thing on my “to do” list. I never stopped. I never looked around and in the result I never saw anything. And that’s how I realized that I don’t blend in anymore. It’s like I was blind when I lived here and now I could finally see. See an interesting door on my way.
See the architectural details.
See the warm golden sunlight touching the building.
See the colorful flowers in the park.
Another interesting thing… while I was walking down the street, I started noticing that people, both men and women, were weirdly staring at my face. At first I thought there was something wrong with my makeup. But it wasn’t that. Something seemed to be wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It took me a while to understand that the reason they all stared at me was… my smile. Yep, a simple smile. As it turned out people in Riga don’t really smile. And I’m not blaming them. I am well aware of the situation in the country, and it makes me sad. Nowadays capital of Latvia has nothing in common with the vibrant and lively Riga I used to live in 15 years ago.
What I’ve seen and where I’ve been
One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had during my stay was the multimedia exhibition “The Great Modernists. From Monet to Kandinsky”. It was not an ordinary exhibition; it was an incredible and spectacular SHOW. It was like nothing I have seen before. A remarkable multimedia installation that presented the works of 16 masters of modernism, such as Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, etc. 5000 works from more than 20 museums from all over the world were shown on the big screens accompanied by the beautiful music. The music is a powerful tool and in this case it helped not just see the amazing masterpieces but to feel them as well. It simply blew me away! Digital Art House has done a great job, I’m truly impressed.
You can have a sneak peek on my YouTube channel.
Another stop on my cultural path was the “Art Nouveau in Riga” exhibition in the Old Town (Kungu iela 3). It was rather disappointing experience. The exhibition space was very small and there wasn’t much to see to be honest.
So, the 5-euro entrance fee is not worth it, in my opinion. I wish I’d go to Riga Art Nouveau museum instead (Alberta iela 12). Oh well, maybe next time.
Last but not least was a fun river and sea adventure arranged by my close friend. He took me to the “Edge of the World” on his boat:
And showed me the back yard of one Latvian sculptor:
Hope you enjoyed it!
P.S. I was going to Riga with a hope to have more relaxed and laid-back long weekend getaway, but as you can see it didn’t work out: