Like a lot of people we combined a trip to Estonia with a trip to Latvia, in our case two weeks in each place. In Latvia we stayed in the nicest spot we have ever stayed in anywhere, and in Riga, which was also beautiful.
Our first port of call in Latvia was the nicest spot we have ever stayed in anywhere, which was at the edge of the Gauja National Park, more of which later. But what made the house at Meza Namins so special was the place itself, rather than its proximity to the park.Not only was the house lovely and perfectly kept, the surroundings were magical and all for us! The house is in its own woods with a boating lake, BBQ spot, campfire spot and walking trails. We spent a week of enjoying all of this and making a big jigsaw puzzle…And the best thing about it was the cost, which at around Eur75 a night was cheaper than a place in the UK by a country mile, and let me repeat this, we had the whole place to ourselves.
The rest of Latvia
After all that breathless description, what of the rest of Latvia? The bits of the countryside we saw were as lovely as Estonia, the Gauja national park even had a few hills. So lots of froggy forests, castles and lakes and what not…
Riga was the last few days of a month-long trip and after a month you are contemplating locking the kids in a coal shed for the rest of their lives, which isn’t conducive to enjoying one of Europe’s finest art deco cities…Still onwards and upwards..
One thing we did right was to get rid of the car in Riga as the city is compact enough to walk around and we were right next to the train station for the odd day trip. The only problem with being round the back of the train station is the round the back of the train station crowd, although I was able to get rid of half a bottle of cheap Latvian vodka to one of my new bin surfing mates and the kids seemed oblivious to the dodgy characters around the place.
That might be the very train we took to go to Jurmula a Latvian seaside spot, which was pretty and pretty developed. One experience there proves that ALL Latvians are honest though, Lorena left her wedding ring in a pub toilet, realized on the train back to Riga, I got off and took the train back the other way and hey presto the ring was behind the bar and the day was saved. Oh and you can buy amber everywhere in Jurmala (and Riga come to think of it).
Back in Riga it was art deco time which failed unsurprisingly to float the kids boat and I also managed to a quick solo visit to the Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum which was fascinating. Luckily there were enough parks dotted around the town for the other parent to keep the kids happy if you want to do something without them. There is also a big river to, A. Throw the kids in or, B use to take a boat ride for not very much if I remember. And there are some great photo opportunities for cranes (the metal ones).