April 20, 2016
There’s nowhere quite like Riga, but it’s the people who live here that truly make the city unique.
For almost 100 years, the Laima Clock is where relationships have begun, friendships have flourished and the wildest nights on the town have started. It’s not unusual to see someone here nervously checking their watch and hoping for some of the clock’s luck to rub off on them as they await their first date. Milda, who looks down on this spot from the Freedom Monument, would have a few interesting stories to tell
Dill is an ingredient used sparingly elsewhere in the world, but that’s possibly because Rigans seem to have most of the global supply. We put it everywhere from salads and soups to meat and fish, and even serve drinks with the leaves inside.
Riga is a bustling city, but we feel a strong connection to the forest. We might work in IT or recruitment during the week, but at the weekend our real skills are rummaging for mushrooms, tapping birch trees for their sap and collecting wood for bonfires. Some inhabitants of the forest actually feel a similar connection to our city, like the wild boars that occasionally wander in to rummage in Riga.
If you see a man walking with flowers in most places around the world then there’s a good chance that he’s in trouble. However, Rigans think there are few reasons not to buy flowers and will proudly stroll through the city clutching an odd number for their loved ones, whether they haven’t seen them in years or haven’t seen them for a few hours.
Most people think of ice cream on summer holidays and trips to the beach, but Rigans will buy it even when there’s ice outside then take it home to combine with some unique ingredients, like rye bread or Rigas Balzams. This is understandable as Latvian ice cream is actually among the best in the world. Even the President of Estonia decided to make a very brief international visit in 2014 just so he could cross the border to buy some from a Latvian supermarket.
You’re never too far from an ice rink in Riga. Ice hockey has been played here for almost a century and Latvia is now one of only three countries, along with Canada and Finland, where it’s the national sport. Mischievous fans have even been known to lay wreaths at foreign embassies in Riga when their national ice hockey team is defeated by Latvia.
All cities have parades, but only Riga has one to celebrate our blonde residents. The Go Blonde Festival began in 2009 as a slightly bizarre attempt to ‘promote economic growth’ and ‘cheer people up’. It’s now an annual event and attracts visitors from around the world.
People in larger countries might get excited when they see their celebrities in real life, but statistically Rigans have a few celebrities in their circle of friends. We’re more likely to see the nation’s actors, musicians and sports stars walking around the local supermarket than in the pages of the magazines sold there.
Some people have to go to museums to see great art, but Rigans only need to look up. We’re almost always walking beneath gargoyles, naked maidens and elaborate flower motifs because the city had an economic boom when art nouveau became fashionable and it’s stood the test of time.
There are miles of pristine beaches just a short Taxify ride from Riga and we start thinking about them as soon as the last snowdrops of winter have melted. If the sun is shining then that’s usually good enough for us to grab our swimming costumes from the back of the cupboard.
Rigans know that the first Christmas tree was recorded 500 years ago in their city. There’s even a plaque in Town Hall Square to mark the spot. Our Estonian friends also claim to have decorated the first Christmas trees, but unfortunately for their tourism board they don’t appear to have kept any records.
Budget airlines began flying to Riga in the early 2000s and helped connect the city to the world like never before. One unexpected consequence however was the sudden arrival of groups of men wearing superhero and other unmentionable costumes as they party the last of their single days away in the Old Town.
The transport industry in Riga isn’t broken, but technology can do better. Taxify is transforming the way people move by connecting Rigans to convenient, reliable and affordable rides at the touch of a button. Use promo code “TAXIFYLV” to get €5 off your first ride.