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+--| Latvia |-----------------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                             |
| Since it wasn't my first trip to the Baltic states, having previously       |
| visited its larger neighbour Lithuania, so I knew something of what to      |
| expect from Latvia's capital Riga: an historic cobbled old town area (very  |
| picturesque, though thoroughly gentrified by now), blending into grim       |
| Soviet apartment blocks further out, and verdant forest further still.      |
|                                                                             |
| An immediate contrast with America that strikes me whenever I visit Europe  |
| is that if you see a building in a Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, or Art     |
| Nouveau style (the last is a notable feature of Riga), you know pretty      |
| much when it was built. Whereas in America, they'll just pick a random      |
| style from the history books and go with it, in extra bombastic fashion,    |
| even rendering "U" as "V" on classical buildings.                           |
|                                                                             |
| I was fortunate enough that this work trip for World Press Freedom Day      |
| also coincided with the 25st anniversary celebrations of Latvian            |
| independence, and the government had gone all out, arranging free public    |
| concerts. While wandering through the city last night I managed to catch,   |
| quite by chance, the Vidzeme Chamber Orchestra playing with guest pop       |
| stars, today an electrofolk band, along with a choir and guitarist who      |
| played at the cathedral. This was in addition to a further, and             |
| exceptional, youth choir who had sung for us at Press Freedom Day.          |
|                                                                             |
| On such a short trip I didn't have much time to sample local food or        |
| drink, though I did note that local honey is used a lot in drinks, dips     |
| and desserts, and that it goes well with their dark rye bread, which has    |
| its own slight molasses flavour.                                            |
|                                                                             |
+----------------------| posted 839 days ago via news | reply (1 comments) |--+
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