After visiting on our honeymoon, Riga became one of David and my favorite cities. Compared to the other Baltic capitals, Riga seemed more lived-in than Tallinn, and more lively than Vilnius. Despite visiting in the pouring rain, we made the most of our two days and three nights in the city, exploring Old Town, the Central Market, and the opposite Art Nouveau and Agenskalns districts. We left Riga, headed west towards Kuldiga and the Kurzeme coast, excited to return at some undecided point in the future.
In the nearly two years we spent away from Riga, we made some grand pipe dreams. Riga remained etched in our memories alongside other favorite cities like Tbilisi, Georgia and Sarajevo, Bosnia. The plan was to find a cute wooden house across the Daugava from Old Town, either in Agenskalns or Kipsala, renovate it (too much HGTV, clearly), and open a guesthouse where our friends’ children could come and work in the summers.*
While our future plans may have become more realistic recently (dog shelters around the world are obviously more practical than guesthouses, right?), the allure of the city remained. So when scouting flights for our May trip in Ukraine, it was a no-brainer to fly into Riga for a couple days at the beginning before getting into uncharted Ukrainian territory.