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  • Elizabeth Barenis

A last look at Riga...

September 7, 2018


My days in Riga seemed to fly by so quickly. Every day was so full of activity and discovery that even though I found myself thoroughly exhausted, I also had a supreme feeling of fulfillment. On September 7, I took a bus to Daugavpils to begin my artist residency at the Mark Rothko Art Center. But before I delve into that chapter, I'd like to share a few more interesting pearls of Riga's culture, with regard to food, art, and family.


FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT


A trip to the movie theater looks like this:

If I had more time, I would have seen "The Nun"


Concessions anyone? Popcorn and Pork Rinds

Fresh-squeezed OJ to drink











Here's another popular snack available at street vendors in Riga:

Hot dog in a tortilla



Still on the subject of food....






Typical Latvian meal from a small family restaurant; sauteed chicken with noodles and slaw





McDonald's is also an option

Best to eat everything on your plate as the public trash bins are quite small:




ART


I visited ARSENALS Exhibition Hall in Old Town Riga. On display was a fantastic exhibit about Identity (how fitting since I was exploring my own!). 90 contemporary artists from around the world participated. Here are a few which stood out to me:


1.





2.






3.




FAMILY


In preparing for this trip, I dug through many boxes of documents, photos, and letters which were saved by my grandmother. In the process, I came across some letters which apparently came from a family member in Latvia. It was a shot in the dark, but I decided to write to the address. Several days before leaving the U.S., I mailed a letter written in Latvian. To my surprise, I received an email reply during my stay! It turns out that my father's cousin and her daughter and granddaughter were living in the Riga area, and we all agreed to meet. The youngest, Alvine, was able to translate for us. Zenta and Liene treated me to a wonderful lunch at Restorāns "Pētergailis", and I found out so much more about my family.



After lunch, Liene was so kind to lead us on a tour through Old Town, where we explored some of the historic buildings. Along the way, I found this eye-catching prismatic installation in one of the central parks of Old Town. Watching these dazzling mirrors moving in the breeze reflected the theme of my journey, of finding small pieces of myself and my heritage.





Next post coming soon: "Time for art: Daugavpils"

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