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Walking in and Around Riga: Everything You Need to See in Latvia’s Capital

Walking in and Around Riga, Latvia
Shivering fingers and frozen toes didn’t stop us from pursuing our morning agenda in Riga, Latvia. Our troop of South East Asian blokes wanted to do a leisure walk around the city center and understand why this underrated city stood out from our Baltic city must-visit list.

Located near the mouth of the River Daugava, the capital of Latvia is small, quaint, and historical. It is home to more than a mouthful of cool museums, cultural centers, and unbelievable architectures. I like the city, particularly because it’s way inexpensive compared to neighboring European capitals, and you can easily navigate your way around the city, without wanting or needing to rely too much on Google Maps and all that. It took us two full days of incessant wandering and exploring every inch and corner of Riga’s Old Town, which is copious with many shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Quite early in the morning and just skipping breakfast, we decided to hunt for the familiar cultural spots in Riga, like the Nativity Cathedral, Freedom Monument, Bremen Town Musicians, Victoria Park, and Miera Lela, which is the hippest place in Latvia. It took a bit of time, because it was also freezing cold when we were there, so our bulky boots, and marshmallow jackets sort of prevented us from brisk walking like a stereotypical Singaporean style of walking. Hahaha!

One thing that you’ll clearly notice when you decide to explore the city on your own via foot trips and walkathons is that there’s this timeless charm about Riga. The Old Town alone, which is over 800 years old full of history, and even recognized as an official UNESCO Heritage Site, is like pieces of pictures from an old fairy-tale book. The magnificent architectural masterpieces and the simply romantic cobble stoned streets are so relaxing to look it. Some pockets of the city look a bit run down to be honest, but that’s what keeps Riga real and relatable. You can feel how their history struggled and fought for their own independence through the outstanding works of art seen across Riga too.

While I must agree that if it is your first time in Europe, you can skip Latvia; I would say that it’s worth visiting if you would like to see the real side of the Baltic countries. Personally, this is my favorite country among the rest of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). I think Estonia and Lithuania are equally special, but Latvia has something more than meets the eye that you have to experience firsthand.

Just a bit of an insider info – did you know that the Baltics have been dominated by the Swedish Empire, Germans, and a bit of Russian Empire? So needless to say, you’ll see very distinctive influences of food, culture, and architectural styles almost everywhere. I was quite intrigued as to how it turned out, especially since it initially seemed like it was more dominated by the Swedish culture… but the more we wandered around, the more I discovered more of its Russian influences and of course, the Latvian spurs of signature styles. Now, what do you think? Check these Latvia photos out and let me know?

Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!

bowdywanderscom Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!
Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!
Hello, world! Hello, 2019! Hello, lucky 7! Hello, friends, humans, and readers from all walks of life. How are you all doing? I know, it has been a while since I last posted over here, but I want to let you know that I’m also doing pretty good, not so bad. Catching up with life as we know it. I have been traveling quite a lot for the last three months, prior to this post, which is why there has been little to no updates over here. It has been an exhausting yet exciting experience to hop from out city to the next… yes, it never gets old, right?

bowdywanderscom Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!

So first things first, just a bit of an overshare on what has been happening to my offline time - I have been to quite a few cities in cold regions across Europe, and I also started my 2019 in my hometown back in the Philippines. I guess you have noticed, there is something about these two places that really interest me to keep coming back for more. Yes, all is well, all is well. I am really looking forward to all the posts that I am about to share with you about these cities (have you guys visited any Balkan countries before?), hopefully, some tips, and more photos for you to enjoy! But of course, how about you? How did you manage to spend your remaining weeks of last year, and the start of this year?

bowdywanderscom Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!

And, second of all - this year is particularly special because it’s officially my seventh year in sunny Singapore! Wow. I cannot even imagine that I would last this long. Has it been that long, it feels like yesterday? I still remember the day I flew to Singapore, it was (still) Sunny, and I went straight to my condo to leave my things, grab my trusty old camera, and went straight to Marina Bay Sands to take a million photos of the Merlion and the Singapore skyline. Wow. Time flies, right?

Just to give some idea of how distant that seven-year was… let’s just say that back then, there wasn’t even the Downtown line yet. Back then, SG50 hasn’t been celebrated yet. In those days, the Singapore National Gallery hasn’t been built yet! I didn’t even enjoy hopping around different cafes and coffee shops during those days, and now, as you know, after more than a hundred cappuccinos and mocha drinks, Singapore has been my coffee heaven of choice. And of course, during those years, I was still living on the West side of Singapore, just a stone’s throw away from Malaysia. Nowadays, as some of you may know, I am a legit upper (North) Eastsider!

bowdywanderscom Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!

Wow, Singapore now holds an indelible place in my heart for so many good reasons, but most importantly because it has sparked so many opportunities for me to travel to various different places, be it touristy, family-oriented, or off-the-beaten. If you are interested to live in Singapore now or in the future, do let me know? Maybe I can be of great help to you too! 

Last before I go do other stuff, I am actually a bit stomped these past few days, I’m trying to search for other alternatives other than Skyscanner, and I couldn’t find anything that could be better, do you have any recommendations? Oh, and happy Chinese New Year soon! I will catch up on my regular posts soon. Yes, all these last few items are random. Let’s do this, 2019! :-)

bowdywanderscom Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo Living in Singapore, The Lucky Year!

[SINGAPORE TRAVEL] Read the rest of Explore Singapore Travel Blog Series:


December 2018: Newly Visited Nearby Cafes & Bars in Singapore

December 2018: Newly Visited Nearby Cafes & Bars in Singapore
No, I have not abandoned you, still here! Since my last post about cafes and other things, I have started to participate in what I call a very looooong trip.  Yes, I am still nursing a weeklong jetlag, and so my only therapeutic approach is to solve it with a bit of coffee-blogging.

We are back at it – December, is the official last month of the year. Did you know that the Latin word “Decem” means ten, since the original Roman calendar only had ten months in total (yes, started in March to December). I always find this month the fastest and the busiest, even with the winter solstice and its fewest daylight hours, with all the festivities and exchanging of gifts and merriments here and there, the month of December flies by so fast, I don’t know if you will still have the time to completely visit all these places.

Nevertheless, you’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of nicely inexpensive neighbouring cafes, restaurants, hangout places, and bars in Singapore to discover while doing your rounds of parties and meetups with different people this season. Whether it’s for some simple coffees and cafes, or a restaurant and bar hideout, it’s great to know that you can rely on these picks for you.  For the month of December, here are the places I recommend for you to try and enjoy!

MO Bar – Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Address: 5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039797
Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 A.M. Fri – Sat 11:00 A.M. – 2:00 A.M.
Official Website: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/marina-bay/fine-dining/bars/mo-bar

The bar’s sophisticated décor incorporates travel artefacts, hand-carved wooden sculptures, etched metal panels and hand-woven tapestries. A distinctive bar counter takes centre stage and offers guests a front row seat to view the skilled mixology team in action. Read more at: https://weekender.com.sg/w/dining/thirstythursday/thirstythursdays-newly-opened-mo-bar-serves-up-top-tipples/

Ai Fruits Cafe
Address: #01-38, 809 French Rd, Singapore 200809
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Restaurant/Ai-Fruits-1508063459520114/

The health benefits of plums include relief from indigestion, influenza infection, and anxiety-related problems. The antioxidant power of plums helps in treating ailments such as osteoporosis, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes and obesity. It helps in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, cardiovascular health, cognitive health, immune system strength, cellular health, electrolyte balance, the nervous system and aids in skin care and blood clotting. Read more at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Restaurant/Ai-Fruits-1508063459520114/

The Scoop Place
Address: Siglap Centre, 55 Siglap Road, #B1-22, 455871
Opening Hours: Daily 1:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Official Website: https://thescoopplace.sg/?fbclid=IwAR2oRtHzxIq_sFvHwjfCyO6NvATxq9ygIIg2ogm5NpHZJXkz166mYCabbOU
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheScoopPlace/

Wasn't expecting much tbh because the place looked so shabby. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the ice cream - smooth, creamy, not icy, full of flavour. I tried several flavours (prices range from $3 - 3.90 per scoop) and was pretty impressed with the alcohol infused ones, especially the Guinness coffee - genius. Pecan ice cream that I picked had a nice toasted nutty taste with fresh tasting roughly chopped pecans. Waffles were good, fragrance of the batter was there but pockets weren't deep enough. Somehow a round waffle gives me more satisfaction than a rectangle one. Read more at: https://www.burpple.com/the-scoop-place

El Mero Mero
Address: 30 Victoria Street, #01-20 Chijmes, 187996
Opening Hours: Mon - Thu 12:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M., 5:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M., Fri – Sat 12:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., 5:00 P.M. – 11:30 P.M., Sun 12:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M.
Official Website: http://elmeromero.sg/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElMeroMeroSg/

l Mero Mero, when translated into English, essentially means “top dog” – a Spanish term that is being used colloquially. Well, diners are surely nodding their heads in approval to that after a taste of its specially curated World Gourmet Summit Masterchef Dining Delights menu. If anything, El Mero Mero serves up a feisty fiesta of authentic Mexican flavours and here’s why. El Mero Mero strikes a balance between light and intense flavours. Read more at: https://alvinology.com/2018/04/21/el-mero-mero-offers-a-feisty-fiesta-of-authentic-mexican-flavours-for-world-gourmet-summit-2018/

Hokkaido Cheese Toast
Address: 3155 Commonwealth Ave W, Singapore 129588
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Official Website: https://saychiizu.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/saychiizu.sg/

Since when has cheese and toast become THAT instagrammable? Say Chiizu Toast has garnered some social media attention with its cutesy yellow packaging, toasts of varied flavours, and most important of all – that stretchy cheese. The viral Cheese Toast store is also set to open at VivoCity, The Clementi Mall and White Sands, all in January 2018. Read more at: http://danielfooddiary.com/2017/11/18/saychiizutoast/

Graffiti Sky Bar
Address: 1 Gopeng Street, 078862
Opening Hours: Daily 3:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M.
Official Website: https://www.carltoncity.sg/dining/graffiti-sky-bar
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CarltonCityHotelSG/photos/?tab=album&album_id=357264411073168

A stunning view of the city skyline greets you as you step into the Graffiti Sky Bar while our selection of lovingly created cocktails ensures you are suspended in a state of bliss. Chill out, wind down, or warm up to a night out. Read more at: http://drinksomewhere.com/outlet/bar/1098/graffiti-sky-bar

LAURA Baguette Cafe – Heavenly Indulgence
Address: 2 Tampines Central 5, #01-01 Century Square, Singapore 529509
Opening Hours: Daily 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Official Website: https://www.centurysquare.com.sg/store/laura-cafe/

Let’s run through a few quick facts before we get to the good stuff. Century Square houses more than 130 stores, with more than half of its directory filled with new tenants and new-to-market concepts. Each level of the six-story mall features a different category of brands, from food takeaway kiosks in the basement to fashion/athletic wear on the first floor to entertainment on the top level.  Read more at: https://coconuts.co/singapore/lifestyle/century-square-just-made-comeback-new-food-fashion-entertainment/

PUTIEN SingPost Centre
Address: 10 Eunos Rd 8, #03-106 Singapore Post Centre, Singapore 408600
Opening Hours: Daily 11:30 A.M. – 2:30 P.M.; 5:30 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.
Official Website: http://www.putien.com/outlet/singpost-centre/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/singpostcentre/

SingPost Centre Mall has recently opened, with anchor tenants NTUC FairPrice, Golden Village, and Kopitiam. All right. Singaporeans are getting excited visiting Paya Lebar again? Especially for GV with laser-sharp images? Located next to Paya Lebar MRT interchange station, the SingPost Centre houses the new General Post Office, which combines counter service with technology-enabled innovations such as POPStations and SAM kiosks. I will focus on the food aspects. Read more at: http://danielfooddiary.com/2017/10/07/singpost/

Nasrin Restaurant - Authentic Cuisine
Address: 58 Arab St, Singapore 199755
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.
Official Website: http://www.nasrinpersiancuisine.com.sg/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NasrinTurkishCuisine/?rf=194812447208617

Craving for a hot plate of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine? The gorgeous interiors of Nasrin Restaurant (pictured top) will have you grab a table and survey its menu of mouth-watering appetisers, signature dishes and chef specials, including Turkish faves like kebabs. Read more at: https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/arab-street-singapore-guide/

Dong Po Colonial Cafe
Address: 56 Kandahar St, Singapore 198904
Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Official Website: http://www.dongpocc.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DongPoColonialCafe/

We were exploring Kampong Glam one day and a friend of mine recommended having breakfast at Dong Po Colonial Cafe. Started by Kelvin who is a 4th generation baker, he quit his graphic design job to fulfil his father’s dream of keeping the old family recipes alive. He learnt how to bake from his father, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu and worked as a pastry chef around the world. Read more at: https://www.misstamchiak.com/dong-po-colonial-cafe/


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