these three countries are known as the Baltic states.
In order to reach Riga our ship had to sail down the Daugava River,
dominated by lowlands and small sandy beaches.
We docked at a small lumber yard and shuttle bused into town.
to discover Riga's famous Art Nouveau architecture.
known as the Three Brothers
Much like its neighbors, Latvia was occupied by the Nazis during WWII and
afterwards by the Soviets for nearly 50 years up until 1991.
Beyond the old town charm, traces of a struggling city still remain
with a large homeless population, elevated crime rates, and dirty streets.
It was one of the roughest Baltic cities we visited on our cruise.
making it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The hangars were divided by the type of products being sold:
bakery items, fish, meat, produce, and spices.
It was obviously a popular place for the locals, but not so much for the average tourist.
We tasted a nice selection of local beers, including a honey beer (popular in the Baltics) and one made with currants. It tasted like sparkling cranberry juice!
Black Basalm is a traditional Latvian liquer made up of 24 different herbs and vodka. This bitter drink packs a punch at 90 proof! It is usually drank as a digestive or mixed into a variety of cocktails.
Riga is a great place to buy amber souvenirs, because it is situated close to Lithuania and the Russian province of Kaliningrad where the majority of genuine amber washes ashore.
Make sure you're getting the real thing by reading my Amber Buying Guide I wrote about in my Helsinki post.
but not the end of our full adventure.
Stay tuned as we race across Norway in a Nutshell!