I departed my hotel in Vienna, and headed for the airport. I had booked a ticket on one of the many budget airlines in Europe, where a plane ticket costs less then the train or bus. Vienna airport was much like we would all expect and airport to be, however the constant lack of customs or borders in Europe is still very interesting to me. The flight was quick and uneventful aboard a small plane. Arriving in Riga, Latvia however was very interesting. Once the plane landed at the airport, it simply taxied for a few minutes off the runway and stopped. The door to the plane opened and everyone got off the plane not far from the runway. Luggage was simply removed from the plane and placed on the ground alongside it. Once you found your luggage in the pile you walked along the taxiway, passed other planes, and into a small terminal building. There was no customs, border check, or any other security. Simply in the back door of the building, walk a few steps, and out the front door. That was all there was to the airport, but it was quick and easy, so who am I to complain.
Riga is a small city but very beautiful. The old town had all of the European charm that I had come to expect. Two of the main attractions in Riga, which both I enjoyed very much are the Freedom Monument and the Occupation Museum. Much of history has had Latvia being controlled by one large superpower of another. Having been occupied by other baltic states, Germany during the World Wars, and Russia all the way up to 1991, Latvia has a diverse history. Since its independence in 1991, Latvia has began a strong push to establish itself and its identity. Latvia joined the EU and even started recently using the Euro currency. Both the Occupation Museum and the Freedom Monument show the long and difficult struggle that Riga had in history.
The nightlife was very fun in Riga as well. I spent a night at a old Irish pub, which was one of the first bars to open after Riga became free again. People were very friendly and there were a lot of travelers. I made a point to head over to the famous hostel in Riga for a few drinks, and had a great time meeting people from all over the world.
On a side note, I would have posted pictures if I did not accidentally delete all of them off of my camera from Riga. So from courtesy of google I have at least included a picture of the Freedom Monument and Occupation Museum I spoke of earlier.