After living for a while in bustling Paris, my hometown in Latvia seems like an oasis of peace. It’s very green and quiet. Walking for half an hour along the river without meeting a person is normal. It is quite shocking for my husband though, who comes from a city with a population of nearly 8 million, that’s four-fold of my entire country.
We went to Latvia in mid-March, which is a very beginning of spring. The temperature can still get below zero, but you can smell spring in the air, and you can taste it in the birch sap – a drink that is harvested at the break of winter before trees start to have leaves. Birch sap is an excellent natural detox. If you still look for the signs of spring, raise your head and you will see flocks of geese winging their way back from the South.
Latvians live very close to the nature. People like to harvest everything that is harvestable from forests and meadows, starting with birch sap in spring ending with mushrooms in autumn. This also shows up on the shelves of the supermarkets. In recent years entrepreneurial minds started to turn national passion into business. Every time I go to Latvia I find new and innovative products. I’m always happy to stock up on sea buckthorn juice, herbal teas, dried mushrooms, berries and other superfoods that I can bring back to Paris.
Another national trademark is love for sauna. It’s hardly surprising for the country where during its hottest month (July) temperature averages at 17° C. Honestly, I can’t skip going to sauna when I’m in Latvia. It is the best cleansing ritual for the body and mind that I know.
This was our first trip outside France with a baby. We had quality time with family and close friends and fully recharged our energy reserves for return to Paris. As always, there was not enough time for everything, so there are things on my wishlist for my next visit:
- Take a milk bath at Milk Manor Berghof http://www.pienamuiza.lv/en/milk_spa
- Discover hipster district in Riga
- Get together with my friend for a tea afternoon and home-made jam tasting session
Images: ©2016 Peachtree Alley