Day 3 and first half of Day 4

We tasted the local cuisine for dinner before we left Vilnius. Mushrooms and potatoes and lots of cream– delicious and thank god we don’t have to eat like that again! So heavy!!!

The bus ride out of Lithuania into Latvia where Riga is located was really interesting. We passed so many flax and barley farms and very thick forests. We stopped for lunch on the Baltic in a town called Jumla (not so sure of the spelling, but I’m close). It was a little like Brighton Beach in the late 50s– carnival in town, Cuban cafe with music, slimy waters and beautiful beach.

We headed into Riga and went straight to the Opera House. (Mike posted a link to the video of the private performance we heard!). We walked through the Old Town to our hotel which is incredibly lovely. It’s called the Grand Palace Hotel in Riga and it’s considered to be a boutique hotel. The rooms are rather large and very comfortable- wi fi free throughout– and we tasted Stolly Elite– quite nice, before we headed out later for dinner.

This morning we started with a tour of the New Town which has more than 100 art nouveau buildings, many of which were designed by an architect named Eisenstein. (His son was a film maker during Stalin’s reign). The designs are incredible and you will see pictures of the buildings as soon as Mike loads them on to the website.

We again toured the Old Town, walked along the cobble stones and have returned to the hotel to rest, have lunch, shop or whatever before taking the Jewish heritage tour this afternoon.

What us so incredible to see, among the many incredible sites, is the obvious contrast between the buildings that were erected during the Communist occupation that ended here in 1991 (starting in 1941), and the buildings that were in place before that time (or which have since been restored to their original designs after the Russians left).

Lithuania is a Catholic country. Latvia is Lutheran. They don’t share a currency, and neither uses the Euro but both want to– they are just waiting for the economy to settle down!


  1. Debbie, you are better than Fodors! I feel as if I am walking down those streets with you, but alas, I can’t taste the herring. Keep enjoying this incredible trip.