I loved our trip to Riga and I love visiting new places. All this being said, Riga had a kind of uneasy effect on me too.
We booked a room in a local woman’s apartment, we still hadn’t tried www.airbnb.com and wanted to try it out. We are budget travelers, so we opted to stay a little further from the city center to save some money. We booked the room for 5 nights Aribnb is fantastic, easy and user-friendly, if you haven’t tried it yet you should. We are actually thinking of renting out our place when we travel ourselves.. back to the topic:)
While Riga center and Old Town is beautiful, the area we stayed in was very run down. It looked like it hadn’t been maintained for 20-40 years, maybe longer. Our host told us, that one day the hole end gable of an old apartment building just collapsed. Some of the houses were wooden houses, so cute, but falling apart. A lot of the buildings had ornamentations and details on them.. you could tell that they were beautiful once, and build to impress.
I was a bit uneasy in that neighborhood and had a nagging feeling when walking the stretch back and forth between our room and the center, I couldn’t figure out why, because the area was safe enough. Also I had trouble sleeping at night, and even though our room was fine, I was glad to leave for Vilnius.
I later found out, this particular area, right where we stayed, used to be the Jewish Ghetto during the second world war (marked in black on the map above). When I compared the maps from 1940 and ’42 with the one of today it creeped me out. So many people suffered and lost their lives in that particular area!
Pictures from the Jewish Memorial in Riga
I don’t know if it was the history from this place affecting me in some way. I don’t even know if it is possible to get an emotional reaction or sense of something in history, just by being in the same place. I believe in God and that there is more between heaven and earth than we might understand and see. I have never experienced it this way before though.
Have you ever tried something like this?