Sunday, September 15, 2013

Riga. Familiar and New.

Inside one of the pavilions at Riga Central Market.  Just about the prettiest display I've ever seen in a central market!

Today, we had a short road trip back to Lithuania - you'll have to read the next blog posting to find out what it was. But before and after the road trip, we spent time in Riga - we went back to visit some place familiar and we explored some place new.


Despite the not so nice hotel room we were sleeping in, we both had a good night's rest.  We were back at the Elizabete and we started our day with the ever so yummy breakfast buffet that they serve in their little dining room in the basement of the hotel.  I had not forgotten the wonderful smoked ham they have here - I greedily took every piece they had on the serving plate.  Too  bad for everyone else :-)

After breakfast, Bro and I decided to head back to Riga Central Market to pick up some food for a picnic lunch for our road trip.  I have to admit, while we've eaten our fair share of meals at restaurants, I've actually enjoyed our picnic lunches.

This time around, we took a slightly different route to the market and entered from the side, where the flower vendors are.  Latvians really do love their flowers - especially dahlias and roses.  But unfortunately, we can't do anything but look and admire, which Bro did plenty of.

Flower vendor tending to her plants.  So much attention is given here to everything being sold.

Bro has a soft spot for begonias.  These were lovely.

You can always on dahlias for a bright splash of color!

I love my flowers too but I am more interested in the food.  We checked out the produce vendors outside and then headed inside the pavilions where I swear I heard the smoked fish calling us! :-)

Oh....the produce just looks so, so, so good here.  Seriously gorgeous produce.

I would buy everything in this photo.  Love the heirloom tomatoes that had for sale in the market!

Colorful flowers and produce.  It's a feast for the eyes and stomach!

So much care is taken to display the produce, it looks like a work of art.  Notice how precisely each tomato is snipped.

I have never seen garlic so fresh.

An amazing selection of salad greens!

Scallions sold with their roots intact and kept wet.

He couldn't resist the raspberries in the bucket.  About $4 USD for the entire container.

This should last him about 15 minutes. :-)

Oh....we both wanted to buy it all.  It looked and smelled so good!

Smoked flounder.  Something new for us.  We had to try it.

Bro making his purchase of smoked flounder.  The fish had been coated with garlic before smoking.

You can just leave me here.  I can happily live in this case.

There cannot be a picnic without bread.  This Uzbek bread was being baked on site.  It smelled irresistible!

After our not so tasty Uzbek dinner last night, I initially had my doubts about buying the bread but the long line of customers changed my mind. 

What to buy next?

Tempted for a minute to buy cheese but decided to hold off on anything dairy.

Baltic food is not spicy which explains why they sell the stuff in such small containers.

From the market, we headed to Lithuania.  On our way back to town, it was just early afternoon so we decided to visit the The Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia, which is very conveniently located - just across the Daugava River from where our hotel is located.   Bro paid the small admission fee and we headed in.  I enjoy walking through botanical gardens but this is really Bro's element. I prepared myself to visit every square inch of this place :-)

The charming little ticket booth.

As with so many gardens, paths lead you from one collection to another.  It was a beautiful afternoon for a stroll through the greenery and flowers.


Lots of plants and flowers.  Since Latvia is in a temperate zone, most of what we saw were familiar plant species.


There was also a very unusual shaped greenhouse.  There was a small orchid exhibition taking place.  Bro is an avid collector and I was amazed that he knew every species that was on display!  He really knows his stuff!


Inside one of the greenhouse rooms.  Everything looked healthy and lush.

Autumn is already here; leaves are starting to turn yellow and fall.

The sidewalks were painted with garden scenes. I loved the snails.

We spent the most time in the dahlia patch.  I've never seen so many varieties before, in one place.


There were two large flower beds, separated by a flagstone path.

Flowers, large and small and in all shades of white and color.  So beautiful!


Bro rarely takes photos but he can't resist when it comes to capturing images of pretty flowers.

A collage of some of the flower photos Bro took.

Happy colors.

It had been a long day and I'm sad we're leaving for home tomorrow but I'm so glad that some of my last memories of Riga are of pretty flowers.