Four nights in Riga, Latvia will take a lot out of you. That generally happens when you watch the sun rise three consecutive nights, but it also comes back to why I spent three nights in a row up until 5+ AM: Riga.  Running on fumes, I present my photos and videos from Riga.

I got to Riga on a five hour bus ride from Klaipeda, Lithuania. The bus ride was arguably the worst of my life, as it was on a very small van turned into a bus that decided to go on the bumpiest path to Riga possible, while keeping the windows down — there are a lot of cows — and the AC off. Oh, and there was also a kitten on board that meowed every ten seconds for the entire trip. I was not amused. There were, however, some nice views of the south of Latvia, like this one here:

Lake in South Latvia

Lake in South Latvia

Upon late arrival, I had some food and then drinks with a Swiss couple staying at the hostel. They told me of a walking tour they’d do the following morning that would visit some of the less frequently seen stuff in Riga: the not Old Town stuff. I obliged and found the tour quite interesting. This first photo is of one of the hangars that the Germans built in 1941 to manufacture zeppelins, but never put into use, that has since been turned into the largest market in Europe. This is one of those hangars (of like 5) with each hangar having a different food type to choose from:

Not zeppelins

Not zeppelins

We also went to a “black market” which was basically just a flea market where people were selling things that only people from Bakersfield would be interested in buying: used toilet seats, remote controls to TVs that went out of production decades ago, rusted axes, etc.  I also found some expired Soviet passports that I would have totally bought if I had cash on me. You’d think a place like this would accept debit:

I spy the Bens rummaging somewhere in this photo.

I spy the Bens rummaging somewhere in this photo.

Exhausted after the tour, we stopped at a local brewery that had a unique food menu. I decided to try the baked salmon with potatoes and vegetables, covered in a “cheese and spinach hat”. This was the best meal of my trip thus far:

I actually came back for the same meal the next day.

I actually came back for the same meal the next day.

That night I went out with two guys from Dusseldorf who didn’t know the other Germans but swore they recognized Till. We stopped at a beer garden, had some of the commercialized Latvian beers (which are worse than Busch Light somehow), and generally stumbled around town checking out random places until we found a small bar with 8 girls dancing and no one else inside. We joined until 6 AM and took turns helping the DJ mix and stuff. It was also right next to this place:

It's like a postcard

It’s like a postcard

The next morning — don’t know how I woke up for this — I did the Old Town walking tour with the Dutch couple I became friends with. (The male was 6’7″ but could not dunk somehow.)  The tour guide knew an absolutely stunning amount of Riga’s history, which was quite an eventful one. I think he could actually give Bobby a run for his money in jeopardy. On the tour I rubbed some good luck animal statues which had some long story behind it:

These buildings are almost older than my dad's jokes. Almost.

These buildings are almost older than my dad’s jokes. Almost.

The tour ended close to St. Peter’s Cathedral, so I decided to shell out the money to take the elevator to the top of the tower to admire the views. Fantastic decision.

The views up here were pretty sweet, but I still prefer the views from St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague

The views up here were pretty sweet, but I still prefer the views from St. Vitus’s Cathedral in Prague

George Bush: "I assure you, I'm not high."

George Bush: “I assure you, I’m not high.”

That night I attended the pub crawl with about 30 others, which ended in yet another watching of the sunrise. (Before going out, though, I had some Moldovan wine (pictured below) along with homemade Caprese salad.) The pub crawl was average for a pub crawl, but I ran into the same four Aussies that I spent time with in Kaunas out at one of the pubs, which definitely added to the fun. At the final bar, there was a group of Latvians who were incredibly interested in everything America — and were absolutely stunned when I told them that I dislike both Bush and Obama, as if third parties didn’t exist in the US — and invited me to join them in walking through the Art Nouveau district to the Freedom Monument for the sunrise. Great choice.

Surprisingly one of the best wines I've tried this trip.

Surprisingly one of the best wines I’ve tried this trip.

The end of a ridiculous night is the beginning of another day. Could be a Minus the Bear lyric.

“The end of a ridiculous night is the beginning of another day.” – David Marver, though it totally could be a Minus the Bear lyric.

My final day in Riga was spent shopping for not trinkets. Found stuff for both Jack and Jackson, and I didn’t buy anything for Kern, so it was a total success.

At night, the girl who worked the front desk of the hostel convinced me to go out and have one beer, even though I had a 8:40 bus up to Tartu, Estonia the next day. I said ‘screw it’ and went to a pub close to the hostel. I was sitting, sipping my beer while people watching to good American music when I was approached by a bride-to-be and the rest of her bachelorette party. They wanted a drink for the bride, but when they found out I was from San Diego, California, I was instantly invited to join them for the duration of the night. It was insane. I took some footage of the bride-to-be making it rain in a way that was apparently normal in Riga: spraying Bacardi and Coke out of your mouth.

Time to pack for the bus. No sleep necessary.

Time to pack for the bus. No sleep necessary.

Three consecutive nights watching the sun rise was enough to completely wipe me out. I slept the entire bus and as soon as I got to the hostel in Tartu. You win, Riga. You win.

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