My hubby had to go to Riga, Lavia for work. I was upset about it – but couldn’t dwell as three beautiful little boys were counting on me. Eventually they got so frustrated at just being ME around, that they needed an out. I found flights online to Riga for more expensive than I normal even pay for all five of us, but worth my sanity. My husband was able to upgrade his hotel room for free (he was staying at the Radisson Blu Conferance and Spa Hotel) to the family room, and we got ten amazing days in a new country!! Breakfast was included (an absolutely incredible buffet!!), hotel was free, so we basically paid 800$ for flights and hotel for ten days – pretty amazing!!
Usually for us, ten days in one place is a lot, especially with not being able to move around (my husband had a car rental with him at work), so me and the boys had to figure out quickly what was around our hotel, and how to spend our days “hanging out”. Our mornings always consisted of waking up with John (I wanted the kids to sleep a little longer, but they always seemed to wake with him…). Since we were all up anyways, we would walk him to the lobby to wait for his colleague, then go and eat. They made omelets right in front of you fresh, BACON!!, (real bacon – crispy bacon – can you tell this is not something we really see in Germany??), watermelon, cheeses, cold cuts, breads…etc Fresh juices and coffee left on the table. It was always a perfect start to our day! Plus, waking up to the view below never hurt!
Our hotel had a Skyline Bar where even people not staying at the hotel could go to. It had a glass elevator that brings you to the 34th floor, and you can pretty much overlook Riga. No matter how scared of heights I am, the three kids LOVED riding to the top. Since it wasn’t the bar as soon as you get off the elevator, kids were allowed up. I also saw some kids in the bar itself, I just didn’t want to chance that. Check the views below!
Riga is very family friendly. Everywhere we turned, there was a park, whether big or small, for the kids to play in. We became very farmiliar with the parks and which ones to go to after breakfast!!
Greenery everywhere… We would daily find a park to walk around. Although always the same kind of stuff, it’s one of those things you never bore of. Like one day, instead of just going to the grocrey store for lunch, we went to McDonalds. There was no play area, so we decided to have a “McDonalds Picnic”. We sat in the park, under the sun, and ate on the grass, – while laughing and giggling, and having a wonderful time. We decided to use whatever we didn’t eat as food to feed the ducks. Now I’m not sure if the kids were “so full Mom!” on purpose, or they were trying to have extra to feed, but I didn’t care. It was such a happy time for us to be able to do that!
In the same park as the ducks, there was a beautiful walking path and a bridge with love locks. It had beautiful waterfalls. We walked through this park daily, just because we could..
In the canals there were these random fountains.
And of course, as is everywhere, the random statue that causes silliness… 🙂
Now, I grew up in a very religious family. I know I don’t practise or go to church as often as I probably should, but I still have a very big appreciation for the looks inside/out of a church – especially those in Europe. I honestly try, if we can, to go into each one. The one below blew my mind every single time I saw it (and we literally had to pass by it daily..).
Right in downtown is still the castle walls. I love those old towns with castles right downtown – always makes something amazing to see!
And of course we had to have ice cream while we walk around 🙂 And cannons are always a hit with boys!
Check below for just SOME of the buildings we saw during our time…
Walking around town was so easy with the colours. It’s probably one of the most colourful cities we have been to yet. It was definitely never boring.
The House of Blackheads is one of the most popular sights in Riga. It was built in 1334 as a venue for meetings and banquets. It was destroyed and 1941 to a ruin, completely in 1948, and rebuilt from 1995-1999. It is now a museum. Good thing I got the picture below when I did.. We went back two nights later, and you could barely see it through the scafolding…
We passed by this statue more than once. It represents the Town Musicians of Bremen. Folklore says that if you touch each animal and make a wish, the wish would come true. I was barely able to reach the third animal, that’s how tall this statue is!
We went to the Riga Central Market a couple of times throughout our time in the city. This market is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a market! That’s how giant this place is! There is an entire area of fresh meats. And cheeses. And breads/pastas. And all of those were inside! The amount of fresh fruits and vergetables outside was incredible. I have never seen a market place that big before. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but with the amount of people around, and being alone with the three kids, I wanted to keep them close rather than take pics.
We went to a couple of actual restaurants throughout our time, other times we had Hesburger (like a McDonalds..), went to the grocery store and ate in our room together, etc.
We ate at a medieval restaurant called Rosengrals; it was interesting.
The salmon came complete, head and all. Pork roast came as a full shoulder – with crunchy rice and a cabbage type of veggie. Interesting…
They had no coke for the kids (or any soft drink for that matter) and so they got apple juice. I had a beer – which was actually really good. As we were eating, a medieval band came to play for us which was pretty cool to see. All in all? A very expensive meal, most of which wasn’t completely eaten. I’m happy to have gone, but woulnd’t have to ever go back…
We also went to TGI Friday’s – I’d never been to one before. Food was delicious – the kids ate their entire meals! And even better – I ordered one drink – a strawberry daquiri. The waiter brings me two and says “it’s Happy Hour – buy two get one free”. It was a fun night! (photo below – the Coke cup is to show how big the drinks actually were!).
Our second weekend there, we decided we had seen most in the city, so we were going to go “do something” rather than just walk around. We decided on the Riga Zoo. There was free road parking, and the entrance fee was 19euros for all five of us!
We posed with Mrs. cow 😉
We become ice cream cones!
And then we saw some pretty cool animals!
Zachary was in all his glory when he found giraffes!
And this crazy peacock who got out of its enclosure tried to eat our ice cream cones!
The beautiful scenery!
And my angels hanging out with a big cat!
At home, time always seems to get away from you. You always end up busy somehow. In Riga, we got to hang out at the beach – twice! We didn’t have dishes to do, anything to clean, we just got to relax! There are a few beaches from my understanding, but we went to Vecaki. It streteches kilometers long! It was amazing!
We even got to see one of the nicest sunsets I have ever seen!
Our ten days spent in Riga were absolutely amazing! No matter how terrible and how much the kids were driving me insane at home alone with them, they were incredible on this trip! Our days spent hanging out and just “being”, were incredible! Helps that the city was as amazing as it was. Riga is 100% on my recommendation list to anyone debating whether to visit or not!