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Sherlock Holmes in Old Riga

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  Entrance to hotel If you're an admirer of Sherlock Holmes, famous London detective of the late 19th Century, you'll love the Sherlock Art Hotel in Riga. They have a particular respect for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  Sherlock himself The hotel, located only a block from the Dom Square, has a bust of the detective himself attached to the outside wall. Anyone who knows Sherlock Holmes will enjoy the pipe in his left hand and gun in his right hand.  Holmes' residence Upon walking through the archway, you are greeted with a life-size painting of the home that Sherlock Holmes lived and worked with Dr. Watson - 221B Baker Street. The Victorian-era painting is so realistic that a car parked in front of it is the only way you know you're in the 21st Century. Painted Mural An 18th Century street mural of horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians greets a visitor in the inner courtyard.  Sherlock on a mission Another picture shows Sherlock at hi

Art Nouveau Rerun

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Triangle shaped building  Last fall I did an article about the prevalence of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga. Since this architectural style was used for only about 15 years from 1895 to 1910, it's amazing how much of it I see as I'm walking around the city.  I wanted to share several more Art Nouveau buildings that I've noticed in my wanderings during the last couple weeks now that the weather is getting warmer.  Details of building If you remember, Art Nouveau's specialty is the highly stylized additions to the outside of a building. Each floor of the building is decorated in a different fashion, becoming more intricate on each added floor. Look closely at the detail to the right in this building built in 1903. By the time you get to the top, you see gargoyles and other shapes sitting on the edge of the roof.  Corner tower Another building has a corner tower decorating it. Fancy trim is added around the windows on the upper floor as well. Art Nouveau buildings are inter

Walk the Straight Line - Not Always

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  Dom Square  They usually say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not always. I wanted to explain my walk across the Cathedral Square, but I'm not sure this picture tells you the story.  Cathedral Square The Lutheran Cathedral is located about three blocks from our house. Adjacent to the cathedral or Dom (in Latvian) is a large open square that we need to walk across every time that we head to any store.  This large square poses a problem for me when I'm walking with my husband. You see, he walks the direct  line right across the square, but I choose to walk a rather circuitous route. There's a very good reason which I will try to explain with pictures and a thousand words.  Uneven cobbles Size of the square It all has to do with walking on cobblestones, which can be hazardous to your ankles. Sometimes the stones don't lay evenly next to each other causing your foot to twist if you step on the cobblestones incorrectly. I'm always cautious when I'm wal

The Gatves Deja

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  The Gatves Deja We haven't been exposed to much in the way of Latvian traditions since the pandemic started a month after we moved to Riga. That's why an article in the English online news website caught my eye today. It was about the Gatves Deja, a traditional Latvian dance.  The Gatves Deja translated into English means Alley Dance. It explained that this highly choreographed dance depicts a bride and groom dancing their way between a line of wedding guests.  I I immediately thought of sharing this with my readers in my post this week. An example of the dance was linked with a YouTube video which you can see above.  Click on the picture to see the dance. Notice the traditional Latvian costumes that are worn ,also. The video was filmed at the Riga National Airport on the 30th anniversary of The Baltic Way.  Lithuania citizens  A man briefly explains that The Baltic Way occurred on August 23, 1989 while Latvia was still under Soviet control. Shortly before the Berlin Wall fel

Latvian Rocky Coast

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  Baltic Sea coastline Our last area of Latvia to visit last summer was the Baltic Sea shore just south of Estonia. Our travel guide informed us that the sandstone cliffs on the rocky coast were a site to see.  The guide book was correct. The Vidzeme Cliffs were spectacular. When the Gulf of Riga experiences strong storms, the eroding sandstone causes the ever-changing coast to be reshaped.  Cave carved out of stone Grotto in the stone We saw bluffs of red sandstone up to 40 feet high next to the sandy shore. Grottoes, caves, niches, and other abrasion formations appear and disappear as the stone erodes.  Changing shoreline  Sometimes even  trees become victims of the erosion. The carving of the sandstone over the years brings the trees to the edge of the precipice. It creates a beauty all its own. Hanging on the edge I wonder how long this tree will hang onto its roots before it crashes to the shore.  Sunset on the shore Once again, we saw with our eyes that Latvia is certainly not a

A Look at Zvarte Rock

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  Zvarte Rock Last summer on our discovery tour of Guaja National Park, we stopped to investigate this unique rock in a part of the park. Zvarte Rock is 650 feet wide, including the surrounding sandstone rock area, and 145 feet high.  The Amata River wound around the rock until the 1930s when the riverbed was straightened to prevent the erosion of this amazing rock by the river currents.  Walk to the top According to legend, witches used to gather near this rock to tune into it's powers. Today it's a very popular tourist area in Latvia. The climb to the top consisted of several steep staircases. I can attest that the rock was sincerely 145 feet high.  View from top I'm glad that my husband urged me to finish the climb because the view was well worth it. Amata River The view of the Amata River area was truly amazing. It's the type of place that I'd love to build a house so I could see this scenery every day of my life.  Beautiful flower The flowers in the area were v

The Bluffs of Latvia

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Amata River  The country of Latvia is generally flat. We've driven around in it enough to attest to that. It has rolling hills south and west of Riga, and of course, the man-made hill in Riga itself.  So, we were surprised by the gorge running between the castles that we've seen over the last couple weeks. This river and surrounding gorge compromise Guaja National Park which covers a large part of central Latvia northeast of Riga.  Scenic walkway Since we were in the area visiting castles, we decided to check out the national park and the small creeks winding throughout it. Our trusty travel guide informed us about a walking trail to see some of the cliffs.  It was amazing to be winding through the Latvian woods after experiencing city life up to this point. We thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet of the deep forest.  Red cliffs  We came upon the red cliffs with the small caves worn into them. The rushing of the spring rivers helped to cut the holes into the rock walls. We ne