An evening in Riga

I said by mail:

Is the main cathedral Lutheran? It looks like it inside, but then again that might be because it is reconstructed, having been more or less destroyed by German bombs on 29 June, 1941. I went to the organ concert there and determined that this organ and these players are not actually as fancy and amazing as the one I happened upon in the Lutheran basilica. Still. After that I wandered around the medieval quarter in the afternoon (8 PM) sunshine and was allowed into the modernista synagogue as shul let out. Muy interesante although I will have to return in actual visiting hours. This is a town of many churches and until 1941 many synagogues as well, but it seems that most people are paganesque (Christianity and Judaism got here quite late) and that this is a reason flowers are so popular.

The parks go on and on, each one more beautiful than the last, with interesting statues. I crossed Waldemar’s Street and strolled through part of the real Jungendstil neighborhood. It is swanky, I will tell you. My neighborhood is part Jungendstil too, and part older, wooden Russian-style buildings like my 2d great-uncle A. V. Bary’s factory in Moscow. One of these buildings is this mysterious youth center that seems to have an interesting art-rock band in the courtyard every night. Shy people like me stand outside and look in. In my case, I have not found out whether or not it is a public place, but I have now seen where the door is and if this continues, will end up going in.

Now the sun is setting (10:15 PM), earlier than yesterday, we are three weeks past midsummer. It will rain tomorrow so: museums, national library? Then three more days: Jelgava, Jurmala, and the open air ethnograhic museum? You are supposed to go to Rundale Palace but somehow I am less interested in it than in these other places. And I mean to go to this sauna.

I am concerned about shopping, when will I have time to really learn about it and do it? You must have mittens, balsam, ceramics, hand-made cosmetics, linen, and of course amber but in a Latin American-style place like this (it is a Latin American-style place) you need time to learn about all the things, and get the ones that are really made right and priced right, as the market is full of fakes. I do not actually want to shop but I have the distinct feeling I should bring tangible proof of having been present in this exotic land. (But really what I want to do is go back to the Central Market and eat more of its food.)

You should really come with me back to Latvia, it is really quite the place. We could go into the forest and have a picnic following their instructions: it’s not a picnic lunch, but a picnic dinner (it is broad daylight at dinnertime); you take some food with you but you complement it with the wild foods you gather.


2 thoughts on “An evening in Riga

  1. Feeling restless and longing to travel, but probably never will be able to again. Reading of your adventures helps. I am so grateful for what I have been able to experience of this old world!

    1. I am so sad about your situation, Hattie, and so shocked although I should have known the ups and downs you talked about a few months ago, before diagnosis, were a sign. I’m thrilled you’re doing as well as you are, with such courage and grace! Sending love from Riga — as my hotel says, from the heart!

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