My rendezvous with Riga began much alike any other melancholy date.
I groaned in despair as my bus circled Riga’s uninviting skyline amidst a desperate searching for parking spaces amongst cramped streets. Judging from my first glance, I was ready to call the date a day. My eyes didn’t sparkle at architecture of the buildings, the charm of the surrounding city didn’t prompt a spark of excitement in my stomach and above all else, the exterior walls of the city didn’t leave me with a desire to tell the social media world exactly where I was. Much alike any dating myth, the inconceivable happened – I persevered past my initial impression of the city and looked for something deeper and more beautiful and there I found just that.
In stark contrast to the city’s boundaries, Riga’s main city centre oozes an understated beauty that if not searched for can be easily overlooked. Riga’s unique charm cannot be attributed to a vast opulence nor grand tourist attractions, quite the contrary Riga’s heart and charm belongs to historic Lutheran and Catholic churches, as well as modern eateries and bars lining the cobblestone back streets of the city. Riga can boast a simple yet authentic beauty whereby residents walk amongst historic wooden buildings and medieval castles unaware of the glory of their streets. Whilst the residential streets outside of the inner city sanctuary may suggest austerity, the vibrant cosmopolitan cobble streets communicate otherwise.
I guess it’s true what they say – the moment you overcome first impressions, however incriminating they may be, you are more inclined to find a diamond in the rough.
Riga is that diamond.