Hi everyone, it's report time
I first want to kick things off by saying what a fantastic beery place Riga is, it far exceeded our expectations with some amazing bars, delicious beer and the friendliest of locals...it's a very special place to us .
So then...after a very smooth two and a half hour flight from Manchester we arrived in Riga just after midday local time, after retrieving our bags it was outside to hail a cab into town.
Now a word of warning here, after watching several videos on YouTube about things to do (and not to do) a common "not to do" is get in a cab the wait outside the airport. You are clearly tourists and easy pickings for shady operations, instead we used the local BOLT app (like Uber) to hail a cab and in less than a minute we were on our way - the fare to our hotel just €12.50.
Linda had picked us a stunning hotel in the absolute perfect location, we were staying at Le Chevalier Relais on Lívu Square and so after a quick unpack it was off to explore and seeing as there was a Belgian bar located just 2 streets away that would be our first visit.
The Kwakinn, conveniently located less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel. As expected this place was a homage to all thing Belgian...decor, beer food - everything was connected to out beloved Country, is it any wonder we visited more than once.
Our first drinks and two mighty Tripels were ordered in the form of Westmalle and Straffe Hendrik.
Next was some food...and another beer, Flammkuchen with a side of fries and a Cuvée des Trolls hit the spot.
Even the napkins brought to our table were Belgian themed.
Filled very fulfilled we exited and set about exploring, so it was a gentle 15 minute stroll across town to Riga Central Markets and to have our first taste of Latvian beer.
The markets consist of 5 individual WW1 Zeppelin hangers that from the outside (and structurally) haven't changed in over a century.
Each individual hanger houses unique items (the 5th is on its own) fish, meat, vegetables and food and in the food one is a stall from local brewery Labietis, it's a small bar with around 5 taps and a fridge filled with cans and bottles.
A Labietis Porter - rich and roasted, the perfect welcome to Latvian brewing and after finishing a selection of bottles were bought.
After another stroll around town Linda decided that it was cocktail time so across the park from our hotel was the Radisson Blu hotel with their skyline bar on the 26th floor.
This would be my first taste of the infamous Riga Black Balsam (albeit in cocktail form) with outstanding views over the city of Riga, quite the special place.
Our last bar of the day was another located just around the corner from our hotel and another that became a firm favourite - Banshee...a modern corner bar with some amazing local beers on offer.
My first choice was a brand new beer that had only been released a couple of days ago and one that had just gone on tap, it was from local brewers ÂRPUS and their QDH - 12% Quadruple IPA...stunning.
A pair of fruited sour beers, so thick and juicy.
So with day one drawing to an early end (we'd been up since half three) it was back to our hotel.
Day 2 next