Tagged free walking tour

Rainy days in Lithuania

After a travel hiatus of 18 weeks, my wanderlust had grown into unbearable measures. I was back in the working life so another long trip would have to wait. Luckily Easter was on its way which meant a long weekend. Last year, I spent an amazing Easter in Latvia. It seemed like the Baltics were a good place to go during Easter, so this year I headed to Latvia’s neighboring country, Lithuania. I took two extra days off from work, so I had six whole days to explore Vilnius and its surroundings.

After landing in Vilnius, I took the train from the airport to the city centre. The trip takes seven minutes and costs 0,72 €. The trains only run once an hour but there are also several buses from the airport to the city.

 I started my first day in Vilnius with a delicious lunch at Namai, a vegetarian restaurant that uses a lot of local and organic produce.
I started my first day in Vilnius with a delicious lunch at Namai, a vegetarian restaurant that uses a lot of local and organic produce.

After lunch, I checked in to my hostel. I stayed at Home Made House, which truly lived up to its name. This small hostel, with room for only twelve people, is super cozy.

A bed in a four bed dorm costs 13 € per night. The price includes breakfast.
A bed in a four bed dorm costs 13 € per night. The price includes breakfast.
Due to its small size, it's easy to get to know other travelers in the hostel's communal kitchen.
Due to its small size, it’s easy to get to know other travelers in the hostel’s communal kitchen.
Some people say Lithuania gets its name from the Lithuanian word lietus, which means rain. Most of my time in Lithuania it was raining - when it wasn't snowing! I recommend visiting Vilnius in summer.
Some say Lithuania gets its name from the Lithuanian word lietus, which means rain. Most of my time in Lithuania it was raining – when it wasn’t snowing! I recommend visiting in summer.
After walking around in the rain for hours, a warming meal at hare krishna restaurant Radharane is more than welcome. Their lentil dahl is to die for.
After walking around in the rain for hours, a warming meal at hare krishna restaurant Radharane is more than welcome. Their lentil dahl is to die for.
I always end up ordering too much food when the prices are so low! I just assume the portions must be very small. At Radharane the total of a lentil dahl, a chana masala and a carrot juice was 5,10 €.
I always end up ordering too much food when the prices are so low! I just assume the portions must be very small. At Radharane the total of a lentil dahl, a chana masala and a carrot juice was 5,10 €.
On my second day in Lithuania, I visited Trakai, a town about 30 km west of Vilnius. Trakai’s most famous sight is Trakai Island Castle.
On my second day in Lithuania, I visited Trakai, a town about 30 km west of Vilnius. Trakai’s most famous sight is Trakai Island Castle.
Entrance to the castle grounds is 6 €.
Entrance to the castle grounds is 6 €.
The chapel with its impressive vaults is the biggest room in the castle.
The chapel with its impressive vaults is the biggest room in the castle.
While in Trakai, I made sure to eat kibinai at Senoji Kibininė. Apparently Trakai is the best place to get this traditional pastry, and even Lithuanians travel to Trakai just to buy them.
The Vilnius Free Walking Tour starts everyday at 12 pm from the Town Hall and takes participants around the Old Town.
The Vilnius Free Walking Tour starts everyday at 12 pm from the Town Hall and takes participants around the Old Town.
The tour also ventures into Užupis, an artist district that has declared independence from Lithuania!
The tour also ventures into Užupis, an artist district that has declared independence from Lithuania!
My favourite street in the Old Town is Literatų Gatvė with its picturesque houses.
My favourite street in the Old Town is Literatų Gatvė with its picturesque houses.
I especially like Senamiesčio krautuvė, an adorable store selling various local produce.
I especially like Senamiesčio krautuvė, an adorable store selling various local produce.
I recommend stepping away from the main streets and stumbling upon small inner courtyards strewn across the city.
I recommend stepping away from the main streets and stumbling upon small inner courtyards strewn across the city.
 There is also a large number of churches all around Vilnius.
There is also a large number of churches all around Vilnius.
I walked up to Gediminas Hill to visit the ruins of the Vilnius Castle Complex.
I walked up to Gediminas Hill to visit the ruins of the Upper Castle of the Vilnius Castle Complex.
From the top of the Gediminas Tower you have a 360 degree view of the entire city.
From the top of the Gediminas Tower you have a 360 degree view of the entire city.
On Easter Sunday the hostel owner Lina had cooked a massive Easter breakfast, which included some beautifully coloured eggs.
On Easter Sunday, the hostel owner Lina had cooked a massive Easter breakfast, which included some beautifully coloured eggs.
Upon entering Vegafé, you take off your shoes and sit down on the floor. Unfortunately, the food didn’t match the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.
I had lunch at Vegafé. Upon entering the restaurant, you take off your shoes and sit down on the floor. Unfortunately, the quality of the food didn’t match the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.

A museum in Vilnius worth visiting is The Museum for Genocide victims. Entry to this powerful museum is only 2 €. In the basement there is an old KGB prison. Grim, grim place.

The duty officer processed the papers of new prisoners in this room. With the equipment he could communicate with guard posts and interrogators, as well as receive calls from prisoners.
The duty officer processed the papers of new prisoners in this room. With the equipment he could communicate with guard posts and interrogators, as well as receive calls from prisoners.
Here, prisoners were stripped away from their clothes, as well as their humanity.
Here, prisoners were stripped away from their clothes, as well as their humanity.
Lunch at Raw Raw, a lovely raw vegan restaurant
Lunch at Raw Raw, a lovely raw vegan restaurant.
Halės market
At the massive Halės market you can buy almost everything from sauerkraut to underwear!
Balti Drambliai
On my final night, I ate dinner at the lovely Balti Drambliai, located in an ancient basement in the old town.

On my last day in Vilnius I treated myself to the most relaxing massage at Tailando Masazai. A 60-minute massage cost 25,50 €.

Before heading to the airport I had time to have lunch at Ajurvedinė virtuvė.
Before heading to the airport I had time to have lunch at Ajurvedinė virtuvė.

Yeah, in true Easter spirit I mostly just ate. A good holiday, then!

New York with friends

When my friend Ina and I were in our early twenties, we made a pact: we would visit New York together before we turn thirty. This year, after many years of dreaming about it, we finally followed through with our pact. Ina’s boyfriend Daniel and my sister Pia joined us for an exciting week in the Big Apple. We booked our accommodation through AirBNB. Eight nights in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn cost 1500 €.

This blog post is hard to write because New York makes me speechless. I can’t count the times I’ve been moved, delighted and amazed by this place. New York is hands down the most incredible city I have ever visited. I wish I’d come sooner.

I loved living in Brooklyn. We lived on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Not only did this area have a cozy neighborhood feel to it, the views to Manhattan were incredible.
I loved living in Brooklyn – we stayed in an apartment on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Not only did this area have a cozy neighborhood feel to it, the views to Manhattan were incredible.
Both day and night.
Both day and night.
I met John on my first day in New York and he instantly became part of our group. It was amazing to have a local show us the best parks to have a picnic and the best restaurants to eat pizza.
I met John in Brooklyn on my first day in New York and he instantly became part of our group. It was amazing to have a local show us the best parks to spend sunny afternoons and the best restaurants to eat pizza.

John also introduced me to Whole Foods. Oh. My. Goodness. I could write an entire blog post about this supermarket chain. Best store I have ever visited. Whole Foods has an unbelievably large variety of fresh food, the only problem is knowing when to stop filling your basket…

Whole Foods picnic at Washington Square Park.
Whole Foods picnic at Washington Square Park. At Whole Foods, you can fill boxes with whatever you want from the pay-by-weight deli and even grind your own peanut butter!
Besides Washington Square Park, we obviously visited Central Park, an important New York landmark.
Besides Washington Square Park, we obviously visited Central Park, an important New York landmark.
At Central Park, you can rent row boats for $15 / hour.
At Central Park, you can rent row boats for $15 / hour.
Central Park is also the optimal place to practice some acro yoga!
Central Park is also the optimal place to practice some acro yoga!
You can see squirrels running around in all New York parks. This fellow was hanging out at Union Square.
You can see squirrels running around in all New York parks. This fellow was hanging out at Union Square.
Every Saturday, a large Farmers Market is organized on Union Square.
Every Saturday, a large Farmers Market is organized at Union Square.
The colourful vegetables are a delight for the senses.
The colourful vegetables are a delight for the senses.
At Union Square, we were lucky enough to spot street performer / crazy person Matthew Silver! I'm so excited we saw him. This guy is legendary.
At Union Square, we were lucky enough to spot street performer Matthew Silver! I’m so excited we saw him. The man is a living legend.
Matthew Silver wants to be my child!
Matthew Silver calling me his mummy!
This guy could be seen walking around both Union Square and Washington Square Park. My inner hippie was extremely disappointed when he burst out: "The hug is free but the photo is by donation".
This guy could be seen walking around both Union Square and Washington Square Park. My inner hippie was extremely disappointed when he burst out: “The hug is free but the photo is by donation”.

New York is a massive city, and especially popular among tourists, so it’s easy to find a free walking tour. As the city is so big, the tours are usually built around a theme or a certain part of town. We participated in the SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown tour organized by Free Tours by Foot.

The tour started in Soho.
The tour started in SoHo.
On Manhattan, you can find a piece of Southern Europe in Little Italy.
You can find a piece of Southern Europe in Little Italy.
Then, just walk one block further, and you're in Chinatown!
Then, just walk a block further, and you’re in Chinatown!

Our tour guide recommended that we enter the Broadway Lottery. Many theatres organize raffles, where approximately 30 tickets are sold at a fraction of their normal cost. At the recommendation of our tour guide, we entered the raffle for the Wednesday matinée show of Kinky Boots. Usually, there are less people than tickets so basically everybody wins!  Tickets usually cost closer to $200, but by winning the raffle, you can purchase tickets for $37. Kinky Boots was one of the highlights of our week in New York – it was such a funny, spectacular and over-the-top show!

The designer in me really appreciates the beautiful signage in the New York subway stations.
The subway system in New York is huge with trains running 24/7. The best way to get around town is to buy an unlimited 7-day pass for $30.
Musician
At most of the subway stops you can see talented musicians entertaining commuters. Here’s a one man orchestra playing at the Union Square subway station.
Grand Central Station
Besides seeing many subway stations, we visited Grand Central Station, just to take in the atmosphere and marvel at the beautiful architecture.
Another gorgeous building that's free to visit is the New York Public Library.
Another gorgeous building that’s free to visit is the New York Public Library.
Everyday there is a free tour that goes around to many of the beautiful rooms.
Everyday there is a free tour that goes around the library to many of its beautiful rooms.
This man stood on the steps of the Public Library all day long.
This man stood on the steps of the Public Library all day long.
I love people watching in New York. Every single person looks different. I just feel like going up to everybody and asking them to tell me their life story.
I love people watching in New York. Every single person looks different. I just feel like going up to everybody and asking them to tell me their life story.
People watching is especially fun in Williamsburg, the hub of hipsters and Mac computers.
People watching is especially fun in Williamsburg, the hub of hipsters with Mac computers.
Every Sunday, the Brooklyn Smorgasburg is organized at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. This event brings together hundreds of different vendors, and you can buy all kinds of food from the stalls.
Every Sunday, the Brooklyn Smorgasburg is organized at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. This event brings together hundreds of different vendors, and you can buy all kinds of food from the stalls.
At Pier 5, you have good views to Manhattan while eating your snack.
At Pier 5, you have good views to Manhattan while eating your snack.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the bridges connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. The walk over the bridge takes about 25 minutes.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the bridges connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. The walk over the bridge takes about 25 minutes.
WTC
One World Trade Center is the tallest building in USA. It stands on the site of the original World Trade Center destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Memorial
A memorial has been created where the Twin Towers used to stand. Visiting the memorial was so much tougher than I thought. Seeing these names and realising that they were someone’s husband, mother, brother, child, had me in tears.
There are tons of museums in New York and most of them are donation based, so it's up to you to decide how much you want to support the arts. We only had time to visit the American Museum of Natural History. It was the greatest museum I have ever visited. Besides interesting exhibitions, it was fun to spot characters from the movie Night at the Museum!
There are tons of museums in New York and most of them are donation based, so it’s up to you to decide how much you want to support the arts. We only had time to visit the American Museum of Natural History. It was the best museum I have ever visited and it’s so big, I feel like you could spend days there. Besides interesting exhibitions, it was fun to spot characters from the movie Night at the Museum!
Halloween was just around the corner and you could see pumpkins and decorations around the city.
Halloween was just around the corner and you could see pumpkins and decorations around the city.
Times Square is a busy (and very touristy) area with spectacular lights that will blind you - especially at night.
Times Square is a busy (and very touristy) area with spectacular lights that will blind you – especially at night.
For a bit calmer evening, walk The High Line - a 2 km long park built on an old railway elevated above the city.
For a much calmer evening, walk The High Line – a 2 km long park built on an old railway elevated above the city.
From the very South end of Manhattan, you can catch a free ferry to Staten Island.
From the very South end of Manhattan, you can catch a free ferry to Staten Island.
There isn't much to see on the island, but the ferry ride provides great views to the Statue of Liberty.
There isn’t much to see on the island, but the ferry ride provides great views to the Statue of Liberty.
New York is everything I ever imagined and a hundred times more. I had planned to travel around during the four weeks I'm spending in USA, but I think magical New York deserves the majority of my time here.
New York is everything I ever imagined and a hundred times more. I had planned to travel around during the four weeks I’m spending in USA, but I think magical New York deserves the majority of my time here.
Thanks a lot everyone!
Thanks for a fun week everyone!

A relaxing week in Prague

After a short stint in Finland (which included a wedding, spending quality time with my mum, eating twice at my favorite vegetarian restaurant and suffering from a ruptured ear drum due to flying while sick), I returned to Prague. I had an entire week in Prague, but since I still felt a bit under the weather after having a bad flu, I made it a calm week. My days mostly consisted of drinking lots of tea and a little bit of sightseeing.

On my first night in Prague, my Couchsurfing host Jan took me to the coziest little tea house! Here you can sit on the floor while sipping on one of the many different tea blends.
On my first night in Prague, my Couchsurfing host Jan took me to the coziest little tea house! Here you can sit on the floor while sipping on one of the many different tea blends.

Prague is a popular tourist destination so it’s very easy to find a walking tour there. I participated in the Sandeman’s New Europe Free Walking Tour. Sandeman’s is a big company that operates free walking tours in several large cities. It was the first time I participated in a Sandeman’s tour and I have to say they live up to their reputation! The tour was interesting and our guide Colin very engaging. The free walking tour takes approximately three hours.

The Sandeman's free walking tour starts at the astronomical clock tower. Every hour you can see tourists getting underwhelmed by the dancing figurines.
The Sandeman’s free walking tour starts at the astronomical clock tower. Every hour you can see tourists flocking underneath the tower to become underwhelmed by the dancing figurines.
Franz Kafka is was born in Prague and in the city there is a monument honouring him.

The highlight of my trip was probably having a massage. In Prague, there are massage parlors in every corner of the city, so you can just pick and choose one. Many of the massage parlors have discounts during weekdays. I went to Shanti Massage, where they have happy hours from 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays. Between these hours, a 60 minute massage costs 490 Kč (approximately 20 €).

At Shanti Massage, I experienced my first ever Thai massage. It was amazing and I felt great afterwards. Still wondering how a tiny Asian woman can have so much strength...
At Shanti Massage, I experienced my first ever Thai massage. It was amazing and I felt great afterwards. Still wondering how a tiny Asian woman can have so much strength…
The Troja Palace is located north of the city. It is surrounded with gardens and vineyards.
The Troja Palace is located north of the city. It is surrounded with gardens and vineyards. The lush Stromovka park is also located just south of the castle.
Another beautiful park in Prague is Vyšehrad, from where you can enjoy great views over the city.
Another beautiful park in Prague is Vyšehrad, from where you can enjoy great views over the city. Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, can be seen in the distance.
The Saint Vitus Cathedral is the most famous building in the Prague Castle complex.
The Saint Vitus Cathedral is the most famous building in the Prague Castle complex.
Another beautiful park is Vyšehrad, from where you can enjoy great views over the city.
Prague Castle lies high up on the hill and you can see for miles from here.
I also visited the colourful Jubilee Synagogue on Jerusalem Street.
I also visited the colourful Jubilee Synagogue on Jerusalem Street.

The town of Kutná Hora, approximately 70 kilometres from Prague, makes for a good day trip. There are several organized tours to Kutná Hora from Prague, but the best way is to just go there using local transport. The train ride from Prague to Kutná Hora takes around one hour and costs 205 Kč round-trip.

The most famous sight in Kutná Hora is the Sedlec Ossuary. In this chapel, the bones of approximately 50 000 people have been arranged by a half-blind monk.
The most famous sight in Kutná Hora is the Sedlec Ossuary. In this chapel, the bones of approximately 50 000 people have been arranged by a half-blind monk.
The entire town of Kutná Hora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The entire town of Kutná Hora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I already mentioned Country Life in my previous post, but I can’t praise this place enough. Located right in the city centre, this vegetarian restaurant offers a pay-by-weight buffet for 29,50 Kč / 100 grams. I ate here nearly every single day.

I love pay-by-weight restaurants. Not only can you choose exactly what you want to eat from the buffet, it's also an extremely fair way of pricing food, as you only pay for exactly what you eat. This colourful plate of food cost me 120 Kč (approximately 5 €).
I love pay-by-weight restaurants. Not only can you choose exactly what you want to eat from the buffet, it’s also an extremely fair way of pricing food, as you only pay for exactly what you eat. This colourful plate of food at Country Life cost me 120 Kč (approximately 5 €).
Another nice vegetarian pay-by-weight restaurant is Beas. They have six restaurants in Prague. One hour before closing, the food is 50% off!
Another nice vegetarian pay-by-weight restaurant is Beas. They have six restaurants in Prague with the food costing 19,90 Kč / 100 g. One hour before closing time, the food is 50% off!
I'm really happy I had an entire week in Prague. This way I could take it really easy and slowly see everything I wanted. I got rid of my flu, just in time for my next stop - New York City!
I’m really happy I had an entire week in Prague. This way I could take it really easy and slowly see everything I wanted. I got rid of my flu, just in time for my next stop – New York City!

Quick stop in Kraków

Kraków, one of Poland’s oldest cities, is situated in Southern Poland, approximately 2 ½ hours from the Slovakian border. I spent four nights couchsurfing in Kraków.

There are several free walking tours around Krakow. I participated in the Old Town Tour organized by freewalkingtour.com. The tour starts daily at 10 am in front of St. Elizabeth's Cathedral.
There are several free walking tours around Krakow. I participated in the Old Town Tour organized by freewalkingtour.com. The tour starts daily at 10 am in front of St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral.
Once a major centre for international trade, the Cloth Hall on Kraków's main square now houses stalls that sell souvenirs.
Once a major centre for international trade, the Cloth Hall on Kraków’s main square now houses stalls that sell souvenirs.
Musicians under St. Florian's Gate, one of the few 14th century towers remaining in Kraków.
Musicians under St. Florian’s Gate, one of the few 14th century towers remaining in Kraków.
Inner courtyard of Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world. Notable alumni include Copernicus!
Inner courtyard of Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world. Notable alumni include Copernicus!
I bought fresh fruit and vegetables daily from the Rynek Kleparski market. Great atmosphere, good produce and low prices!
I bought fresh fruit and vegetables daily from the Rynek Kleparski market. Great atmosphere, good produce and low prices!
In Kazimierz, just south of the Old Town, there is a Jewish district with several Jewish restaurants and synagogues.
In Kazimierz, just south of the Old Town, there is a Jewish district with several Jewish restaurants and synagogues.

Krakow is quite a small city, so a few days is enough to see everything in the Old Town and Kazimierz. Best part: you can easily do it all by foot! But if you don’t want to, there are several buses and trams with good connections to almost anywhere in the city. Ticket prices start at 2,80 zloty for a single 20-minute ride.

Easter in Latvia

Do you know the feeling of going somewhere new and having no expectations? And the place turns out to be way better than you could ever imagine? That’s what happened when I travelled to Riga over Easter.

The one great thing about the world being vast is that there are so many places to go. Knowing I would have four days off during Easter, I went onto the website Halvat Lennot and looked where in the world I could travel quite cheaply. With my destination set as anywhere I found roundtrip flights to Riga for 159 € with AirBaltic. Now, this is not a very cheap flight, but it was Easter so I think it was a fair deal, knowing how much the prices go up during the holidays.

Like I said, I had no expectations, just that wonderful feeling of going somewhere new again. I arrived in Riga on Easter Friday around noon. It is easy to travel to Riga from Helsinki since the flight takes less than an hour. From Riga airport you can take bus #22 to the city – the ticket costs 0,60 € if you buy it at the airport and 1,20 € if you buy it from the bus driver. I got off the bus at Stockmann and started walking towards my accommodation, Barons Hostel. The hostel is outside the old town and is not too easy to find since there’s only a small plaque with the hostel’s name next to the door.

After wandering around for a bit I got so hungry that I went into Rama, an amazing restaurant where hare krishnas filled my belly with delicious food.
Rama is one of the best vegetarian restaurants I’ve ever visited; the food was varied and so cheap (3-4 € for a massive meal).
At Rama, they also have the tastiest desserts. My favourite were these sugar free treats made only out of dates, hazelnuts and carob. 60 cents each!
At Rama, they also have the tastiest desserts. My favourites were these sugar free treats made only out of dates, hazelnuts and carob – 60 cents each!

After eating, my head was a bit clearer and I found the hostel just 100 metres from Rama! I rang the doorbell and was let into the building. The hostel is situated on the top floor of an old apartment building.

Walking up the stairs I wondered where I’ve ended up because the staircase was not very compelling…
Walking up the stairs I wondered where I’ve ended up because the staircase was not very compelling…
But once inside I fell in love with the place! The hostel was clean, quiet and cheap. A night in a seven bed dorm cost a whopping 9 euros…
But once inside I fell in love with the place! The hostel was clean, quiet and cheap. A night in a seven bed dorm cost a whopping 9 euros…

It was so nice to just hang out in the hostel common room, drink tea and talk with other guests and with the hostel’s Australian manager, Eve. It felt like being in someone’s home.

The first day in Riga I just walked around the city enjoying the sunshine!
The first day in Riga I just walked around the city enjoying the sunshine!
This beautiful fountain is located near the hostel.
My friend Nina calls this my signature pose. I’m starting to see what she means…
Rainbow over the fountain.
House of the Blackheads, one of Riga’s most famous symbols, and St. Peter’s Church in the background.
The old town is full of colourful houses.
The buildings have plenty of interesting details.
At the Dome Square.
Daugava River flows through Riga.
Lielais Kristaps – legend tells this man used to carry people across Daugava River. Once he carried a small child who became heavier which each step Kristaps took. With his last efforts he managed to get on shore at it turned out the child was Christ.
Vanšu tilts is one of the five bridges crossing the Daugava in Riga.
Yes, I do!
I had dinner at Miit, where you can eat a tasty pearl barley soup and drink a freshly pressed juice for around five euros.

Another hostel guest had told me about a day trip to Sigulda National Park that was organized through Couchsurfing. It’s great going abroad without any big plans what to see and do, because then you can join others for these kinds of trips. On Saturday, seven people parted Riga and took the train for about one hour to beautiful Sigulda.

After the train arrived in Sigulda, we walked through the small village of Sigulda towards Sigulda National Park.

The park was magnificent and the company was the best! People who participate in Couchsurfing are usually the kindest and most open minded people you can possibly meet.

We started our walk through these tall trees.
Sigulda National Park had such beautiful scenery.
Fran’s camera had a flippable screen – best camera for selfies!
Mine’s not too bad either :)
Our walk continued past this small lake.
Sigulda is so gorgeous, you’d never guess who lives here…
It’s the Devil, and this is his cave. Legend tells the walls of the cave have become black from his breath.
Crossing the bridge to the other side.
Locals enjoying these cottages named after the seasons.
We stopped at this cosy café for some potato pancakes.
Taking an interesting shortcut to make the train.
At Sigulda train station after a long walk with fantastic people.

In the evening, some of us went out for dinner, and afterwards the others headed to Ala Folk Bar but I was so tired after walking all day that I headed back to the hostel (okay, truth be told, I was the oldest one in the group but not let in due to my young looks – not the first time that’s happened…).

The next day I participated in a free walking tour. There are two different companies that operate free tours: Tours in Riga, which organizes a 1 ½ h tour in the old town and Yellow Free Tours, which organizes a 2 ½ hour tour outside of the old town. I participated in the first mentioned.

The tour starts at 11 am in front of St. Peter’s Church.
The tour continues along colourful houses and cobbly stones towards the old town.
Statue inspired by the folktale “Musicians of Bremen” by Brothers Grimm.
Old towns are so cute.
Most restaurants are open even during Easter.
The sculptor of this cat originally had it facing the other way around, with the cat’s bottom towards the guild he was not admitted to.
The Freedom Monument honours soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence.
The Freedom Monument honours soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence.
From the Freedom Monument we headed back towards the old town.
From the Freedom Monument we headed back towards the old town.
I loved walking in these small alleyways of Riga.
The tour ended at a restaurant near this square, where those who wanted could taste Riga Black Balsam, a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur.
After the tour, I went up to the top floor of Radisson Blu – probably the best place to see the entire city.
I crossed the Daugava River to have a look at the other side of town.
The area is called Pardaugava – literally translated “over Daugava”.
In the area, there were some apartment buildings with beautiful trees on the front yard…
…as well as more rugged places.

On my last night I joined another hostel guest, Dave, for a walk around town.

The House of the Blackheads looked amazing at night time too.
The House of the Blackheads looked amazing at night time too.
Beautiful reflections on the Daugava River.
Beautiful reflections on the Daugava River.
We had drinks at Ala, where I was let in this time :) They had a swing inside!
We had drinks at Ala, where I was let in this time. There was a swing inside!

My return flight left on Easter Monday but I still had time to visit Riga Central Market in the morning.

At the markets, they have a huge variety of things for sale. I made sure to buy some famous Latvian honey!
At the markets, they have a huge variety of things for sale. I made sure to buy some famous Latvian honey!

Riga is a cozy little city and I loved spending my Easter there. But I know that the best places are made up of great people, and my journey wouldn’t have been half as good if it weren’t for all the wonderful travellers I met during these four days, so thanks to each and every one of you ♥