We chose our #12CountriesOfChristmas tour to both see some of our favorite places during the most wonderful time of the year, and also check off a bunch of countries that we still needed to visit: such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. While we only spent a few hours in Riga, the capital of Latvia, it was easy to see why people visit. Despite the capital’s small size there is an abundance of beautiful architecture which makes a two hour stroll through town very enjoyable. Riga’s Christmas Market was centrally located in Dome Square, and we arrived early right as the stalls were opening up at 10am. As many of you saw on Instagram, I was surprised when the cute little cabin I wanted to buy coffee from turned out to only offer vodka at 10am. With a few of my Latvian followers laughing at my mistake and explaining “This is Latvia!” Haha! I latter learned from a reader that the sign hanging over the cabin was the name of a strong and well-known Finnish vodka called “Koskenkova”. When we finally secured a couple hot coffees we set off in search of the “Three Brothers”, a trio of the oldest medical dwellings in Riga. I loved their whimsical, trompe l’oeil facades, but my favorite building stood a couple streets away. The pretty blue restaurant “1221” at the beginning of this post is a cozy, family-run spot with over 300 years of history, and known for their truffle risotto-a weakness of mine!
After our short tour we made our way to Vilnius, Lithuania. We arrived at 6pm and unfortunately we stepped out into a cold, and wet wintery mix. I only did a few Instagram stories during our short visit because I didn’t want to pull out our camera with all the rain, but their Christmas market was surprisingly elegant with a ring of whitewashed cabins circling a massive Christmas tree done up in white lights. As we were walking back to the train station the rain turned to soft snowflakes and we caught a glimpse of how romantic the city can be under a blanket of snow.
All photos by David and Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com