The next day the early birds woke and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at 8:30, and slowly the others got up and we managed to leave the hostel by 10:30, having chatted to an Estonian and British girl in the kitchen. Dom was still sad that the former receptionists weren’t on the desk, having asked one out for a coffee date. We walked to St Peters and, on discovering it cost 5€ to enter, split into two groups; the first climbing the tower and visiting the art exhibition in the church, and the second going for a drink in Golden Coffee. At the top of the tower, we told the others to stand in the tourist information square and we were able to wave down. In the church, we learnt a lot about the huge metallic roosters decorating the church spires and waltzed to the background music.

We then all visited the food market, where some were horrified to discover live fish and pig entrails on the stalls. We bought items to eat and a few knickknacks to take home. Joanne wanted to buy some linden honey, but the jars were too big for the airport security so she settled for some beeswax candles instead. Andy and Zara bought gherkins which were very juicy and strong flavoured. Zara also bought fabulous (read: horrendous) socks. We went back to the hostel for lunch and decisions on what to do in the afternoon. We all went to the Powder Tower and briefly the War Museum, and then attempted to visit Riga Castle and the National Museum, but they were closed for massive renovations. The phrase ‘divide and conquer’ sums up the middle part of the afternoon as Ally and Joanne then went to the National Library; Zara, Andy and Sam went to a hat museum (which was also closed), and George, Jon, Ollie and Dom walked around looking at the Old Town.

The food market halls

At 5:45pm we regrouped at the Freedom Monument and head to Riga’s Mezapark by tram. We wished we had brought a frisbee with us when we found out they had a frisbee golf park but we spent several happy hours at the lake, skimming stones and annoying the swans and then walked back through the twilight forest.
Dinner was at Folkklubs in Riga where we all ate a very hearty meal. Some people ordered 1kg of pork hock and vegetables for 8.50€ and others went for two main courses, under the false assumption that a 3.50€ dish of grey peas in a rye bread basket couldn’t fill us up. Oh how they were wrong! Some of us enjoyed drinking beer out of a 3 litre clay jug and others tested out the home-brewed vodka from the restaurant. There was a wonderful array of local beers, including Medalus (honey beer) and a hemp-ginger beer which was more like honeyed ginger beer, or mead.

 

 

 We then all went cheerily back to the hostel for our last night. Some random drunk Russian man decided to embrace us with his presence and sat down in our room telling us stories which was fine until he decided to start smoking. At that point someone fetched a receptionist and got him escorted out. At 7.30 the next day he returned, apologising and asking if his coat was in our room which had his passport and plane ticket in. After almost giving him the wrong coat, he got his coat and left, leaving us quite bemused!
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