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Phespirit goes to Latvia
Riga     June 2008

AROUND LATVIA

Map of Latvia

1 Riga

For this visit, Phespirit stayed at the Hotel Forums. It's fair to say his room was of the strictly-functional three-star variety, but it was clean, the staff were friendly, and a hot breakfast could be ordered each morning from an unfussy menu. In other words, it was more than adequate for Phespirit's needs.

Forums' main advantages were its competitive prices and its ideal location on the southern edge of the old town, just a stone's throw from the station and the main airport bus stop.

It was also handy for a branch of the Čili Pica ('Chili Pizza') chain, which Phespirit confesses he used more than once.

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2 Vecāķi

Vecāķi is just seven stops from Riga by train, but it is hard to find this information at Riga station. Phespirit's route was:

Station km time
Rīga-Pasažieru 0 11:19
Zemitāni 4 11:26
Brasa 6 11:29
Sarkandaugava 7 11:31
Mangaļi 10 11:35
Ziemeļblāzma 13 11:40
Vecdaugava 16 11:43
Vecāķi 18 11:46

The train terminated at Saulkrasti; the end of the line is Skulte. A return ticket to Vecāķi cost Phespirit 0.98 lats.

The beach is a mere fifteen/twenty minute walk along one straight road down from the station. On a fine day just follow the crowds.

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3 Sigulda

Sigulda is the largest town in the verdant Gauja River Valley area, just an hour and a quarter by train from Riga. It is central to much of the region's tourist infrastructure and is home to a handful of its noteworthy tourist attractions.

Upon arrival Phespirit walked directly to Turaida and then called in to see Sigulda's sights on the way back. These included the ruins of Sigulda Castle and a nearby church hosting an exhibition of art made from buttons.

By the time he reached them, though, all he wanted to do was sit down, prise off his shoes and cool his poor aching, blistered feet.

Phespirit is such an old man.

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4 Turaida

3.00 lats is the entrance charge for the Turaida Museum Reserve. This covers access to the historic Turaida estate buildings, to the grave of the 'Rose of Turaida', to Turaida Church, to the sculpture park on folksong hill, and finally to Turaida Castle.

Top draw is Turaida Castle, originally built in the 13th century and now substantially rebuilt and restored. It's an interesting complex, particularly the tower, but its reconstructed red brick walls looked a bit too shiny and new for Phespirit to feel he was standing in an authentic historic monument.

In the café/shop over the road, Phespirit bought himself water and cake and two Extaza Berry ice cream lollies.

Phespirit is such a big kid.

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  1. Riga
  2. Vecāķi
  3. Sigulda
  4. Turaida
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images 1
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Riga Vecāķi Sigulda Turaida