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November 2022

Riga, Prague, Mechelen

Hej allihopa! 

Last week was our second travel week (already, somehow) and this time I had the week off for personal travel. So travel I did! I went with a friend to Riga, Latvia and Prague, and then went by myself to Mechelen, Belgium to play the carillon (that fun instrument I talked about in this post). 

Now that I’m back in Stockholm, I’d like to reflect on the highlights and interesting details of my trip. 

Riga

Riga is a charming small city with a beautiful old town and an interesting art scene. 

Fun things we did:

Walked around! There is lots of interesting architecture in Riga and so many cathedrals and churches packed into a small area. There were also a few sprawling parks in the city center that offered a nice change of scenery. One particularly relevant architectural sight that we visited was called the Swedish Gate! 

Design Museum: we decided to go here on a whim and discovered a really well done museum! It was about various craftsmanship pieces in Riga over time, such as intricate book covers and coffee service sets that look too nice to use. Additionally, the building used to be a church and they have kept a lot of the original interior architecture, including large wooden beams in the ceiling and openings to some mysterious small staircases.

Latvian Art Museum: Most of the art in this museum was by Latvian artists, some depicting scenes from Latvia. There was also a temporary photography exhibition that I really enjoyed.

Tasty food:

  • Salmon soup and potato pancakes
  • Spinach dal
  • Cafe pastries

Prague

I would definitely go back to Prague – there were lots of things to see and do. We walked around for quite literally hours looking at all the architecture.

Fun things we did:

Views from various vantage points: Prague has quite a few options for looking at the city from above! We went up the Old Town Hall tower in the main city square. The Vrtba Garden was terraced so we could see the city from across the river. I walked up Petrin Hill as well to see the city from a park.

Museum Kampa: I visited the permanent exhibition of Frantisek Kupka’s work, which was fantastic. This visit was unplanned and only happened because I was in the area and needed a bathroom, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of Prague.

Prague Symphony Orchestra: There just so happened to be a symphony concert the last night that we were in Prague! All of the music was by Czech composers. They played selections from Dvorak’s Legends, a violin concerto by Jan Kubelík, and a symphony by Bohuslav Martinů. The violin concerto was performed by Pavel Šporcl, the violinist who premiered the piece, which made it a very special performance. Not to mention, the concert hall was a work of art in itself.

Medieval Fortress: We decided to do the 40 minute walk here… which was potentially not the best idea considering the fortress involves walking. Regardless, this was less crowded than the city center and since both of us are interested in history, it was well worth the visit. 

Tasty food:

  • Chimney cake: this is a churro like cake filled with soft serve ice cream. It was basically dinner. 
  • Banh mi: There was a delicious Vietnamese restaurant two minutes from our Airbnb that had vegetarian banh mi (!) and Vietnamese iced coffee. I am convinced that Vietnamese iced coffee is the best kind (perhaps even better than Swedish coffee)
  • Cabbage pancakes: we went to a traditional Czech restaurant one night, which unsurprisingly served a lot of meat. But these were very good!
  • Vegan stroganoff: There was a vegan restaurant by the medieval fortress that was very tasty! 

Mechelen:

I went to Mechelen primarily to play the carillon at St. Rombouts Cathedral and to practice at the carillon school there. But it was also very nice to be in a smaller city at the end of my trip to relax a little bit. 

On Friday I spent most of my day practicing the carillon, so there’s not too much to report there! Then on Saturday I was able to play the carillon recital with the city carillonneur of Mechelen. This was a lot of fun, and we played during the Saturday market so I know that a lot of people were listening. 

On Sunday I explored Mechelen a little bit. I went inside a few cathedrals, which are very ornate because Mechelen used to be the center of the area. I also took the train twenty minutes away to Antwerp to walk around and go to the Rubens House, an art museum displaying the works of Rubens’ studio in his home. There was a lot of interesting architecture there.

After all that traveling, I was (understandably) very tired. I got back into the swing of regular life pretty quickly though. Vi ses nästa vecka!

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One reply on “Riga, Prague, Mechelen”

Thanks Kayla. We are so happy that you are having a wonderful adventure! We’ll be thinking of you tomorrow as we have lefse and cranberries to go with Tday feast at Peters. Love you 😍

Sent from my iPhone Audrey Riis

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