November 9, 2005: Kyushu - Latvia Snow Club
(No.5) World heritage Riga Old Town
The late Dr. Ukichiro Nakaya was a Japanese snow and ice researcher who created artificial snow crystals for the first time in the world. Mr. Kentarou Nakaya, a nephew of Ukichiro, one day introduced us of a very good tour to Latvia to join an official meeting called "The dialogue of ice and snow exhibition" to be held at National Museum of Natural History in Riga City in November.
After the walk in Old Riga, we took lunch at a near by restaurant close to Freedom Monument.
The menu was of Latvian food.
Each of us ordered various dishes according to the favorite. The vegetable was very natural and good.
Most of us meet each other for the first time, but we soon became good friends.
In the afternoon, Ms. Ieva guided us through the Old Town. This is a historic site of an old wall.
The wall was removed except this part and the city grew constantly, she explained.
Churches were everywhere in the town. This is St.Peter's Church who features its height of the spire. An old elevator took us to the upper deck of the spire that allowed us to look down whole Riga city.
The wind was so strong and cold that we had to avoid it in the opposite corner of the tower. The view was great, however. Across Daugava river was our hotel Radisson SAS.
Dome Cathedral soars high. Red roofs and church's spires make a medieval scene.
Cranes work here and there to restore old buildings.
What was in the sky?
A cat. This is Cat's House. A merchant who lived in the house was refused to join a guild. He got angry and turned its cat monument's tail to the guild union house. After a while he was allowed to become a member of the guild and he turned back his cat's tail to the original position. A funny story.
The happy Cat is now the symbol of the Old town.
Three Brothers building tells the history of the town construction. Each building has different width and different setback from the street.
We were luck to have a chance to enjoy a performance in the Opera House in the evening. Only ten Lats, or 20 US dollars,was enough to enjoy a local modern ballet.
I was very glad because I had long been wishing to experience the European opera. The hall wasn't too big, but was surrounded by royal boxes and multi-staged galleries.
In front of the stage was an orchestra box. I could see the ballet just close position of the box. The program today was Bright and Stream by Shostakovich.
I explored the royal boxes and lounge in the intermission.
After the Opera House, we dropped in a small restaurant and toasted to the night of Riga by enjoying the lingering good atmosphere of the performance.
NEXT:(No4) Walk around Riga NEXT (No6) Snow and Ice Dialogue Exhibition