Thursday, August 09, 2012

Passage of Time, Riga Cathedral

Yesterday (Fri) we took a cab across the wide Daugava River to the Latvian National Archives, in a very Russian (read tawdry, low-budget) office building in a rather run-down but EffStoppish neighborhood of old-fashioned wooden houses. There we talked for a hour with a researcher. An even more informative session later was with the young and disheveled but brilliant and articulate assistant to the head of the Jewish Museum, who not only cleared up many "technical" questions of F&D's about language, Jewish provenance, emigration/population stats, etc., but produced a lot of related documents, including a huge contemporary book listing the history of every house in Tukums!! This office was much grander and located in the art nouveau district just beyond Oldtown, where we walked around and lunched in a terrific restaurant, called The Riviera. I had am amazing salad with fruit (strawberies, raspberies, blueberries and a bed of spinach with gorgonzla and nuts) and a bouillabase with calimari, octopus, prawn, mussels, and fish, while "the beautiful people" swished around us. Riga has a high quotient, surprisingly, of very fashionable young people, balanced out by a large number of scruffy bluecollar types and babushkas. As noted, the nightlife is astounding even on weeknights. Reminiscent of Florence or Venice.

After all these revelations, I took a whirlwind tour of the National Art Museum, which had two fllkors of a wide variety of paintings, including some interesting contemporary stuff and some Russian dada collages. There are many parks, including a strip along the canal, filled wth sculpture from deco to cubist. And finished off the night by going to the opera, in the gilded and maroon-velvet decorated opera house. My feet are killin' me, but I know the layout pretty well by now...lots of squares, each with its clubs, caf├ęs, and bars, winding narrrow streets with enormous cobbles...the architecture is all over the map - some reconstructed after the war, but some very old churches, some 17th C., and of course a lot of colorful and histrionic terra cotta and art nouveau, even outside of the designated district.
Bracing the column

Time past

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