Alien in Riga, Latvia
September 1, 2005 3 Comments
I have just spent my first 24 hours in Riga where I will be for the next four days and yes, there is even a chance that I shall tear myself away from the sidewalk cafes and do some blogging. As I was expecting, I was the only brother on the streets with the exception of a statue of Saint Mauritius (or Maurice), a Roman-Egyptian martyr, who was the patron saint of unmarried merchants from the Hanseatic League. Their feasts were supposed to be so wild that they attracted Catherine the Great who was really no slouch in the debauchery department. Then there is this whole Latvian versus Russian thing going on; I am really curious about the existence of a strong sense of Latvian identity after more than 700 years of uninterrupted foreign occupation. But such wonders are mild compared to the footwear situation. The number of stiletto heels worn is unprecedented outside St. Petersburg. Every second woman I saw was perched on these fiendish (and very sexy) devices, miraculously navigating cobblestone streets without fracturing an ankle. Their male counterparts seemed to favour an assortment of muscle shirts and a cool ‘I am not looking at you’ vibe while they hurried after female companions who towered over them in those heels. From an afternoon of wining and dining, I can confirm that there are plenty of cheap restaurants serving good food, the sun is out and the city is more beautiful than I could have imagined. Methinks the next few days will only get better.
An example of Riga’s art nouveau architecture