Lori and I got up and got all ready the next morning, not sure what was going to happen or what to expect. When we got down to the restaurant, lo and behold we bumped in John Crowder and some more of the Happy Cosmonauts. We had a meet, greet and eat time together. After that, John led us over, with our host, Nik Bondartsov to the other side of the street. We took the underpass to get to the other side. Then we discovered how beautiful this church facility was and how into the arts they were. It was an incredible first impression. A wonderful experience.
We had a formal introduction, where John announced to all of that we were “vacationaries” in contrast to being “missionaries”. We were here to enjoy and have a great time, and assist in team ministry at ministry times during all the services. We were here to enjoy the sights, sounds, food, and happenings of Riga, and we were going to have a lot of free time to do just that. John said that we would all be free that first afternoon, to go and wander about the city and get to know the city and become familiar with it. Lori and I looked at each other and we were pretty jacked at the prospects of visiting the city right away.
Lori and I took off and walked down to the city and took in the sights and sounds, and a bite to eat, and also did some necessary banking. The banking in Riga is quite unique and customer friendly. Compared to our Canadian way of customer banking, the people of Riga get pretty awesome service. You get to walk up to a teller and there is room for two people at the counter, and there is a table there, and you sit down, and do your financial dealings seated. Pretty amazing stuff.
We discovered 3 churches on our walk. A Roman Catholic one, which was in the middle of a wedding celebration, and a Lutheran church. Ironically the Lutheran Church door was locked. Further on, we found an Eastern Orthodox church. This one caught our fancy and we went in and had a tremendous time there with the sights, sounds, devotional piety and prayers. It was a great visit. Lori and I both got some jewelry here and lots of prayer beads.
On our way back, we stopped for a coffee at a French Cafe. The young woman spoke broken English. It was a lovely time on our first afternoon in Riga.
A great site on touring Latvia, and Riga in particular. I have defaulted the link to the link that has the churches and their histories as a point of interest. LINK: http://www.latvia.travel/en/article/churches-riga