Last Latvian Summer

img_4098As the sun rises later and sets earlier with each passing day, Mother Nature announces that fall has arrived, with her crisp breezes and turning leaves. Even though autumn is my favorite season, its arrival this year is a cruel reminder that our remaining days in beautiful Latvia are quickly slipping away. With only about nine months left in our tour here in Riga, our last Baltic summer has officially come to an end. We spent a good chunk of it with family and friends who came to visit us, and proudly showed them the city and country that have become our home over the last eighteen months. We snapped countless photos along the way so that we could forever cherish the true wonder that is summer in Latvia. Here are 50 of my favorites.  Continue reading →

Swedish Getaway

IMG_4414Last weekend, M. and I had the chance to visit Stockholm with our dear friend, L., who lives in another part of Sweden. Just an hour’s flight from Riga, Stockholm was the perfect place for a quick summer getaway. Spending two days in a place barely qualifies as visiting, but with a tight work schedule and limited time, we made the most of this opportunity to get a small taste of Sweden.  Continue reading →

Tarator (Cold Cucumber-Yoghurt Soup)

It’s summer time! And in Bulgaria, that means time for the Black Sea coast, long evenings at the outdoor cafes, and of course, tarator. This cold cucumber-yoghurt soup is divine and can be eaten as a snack, a first course, or, if you’re like me and eat it by the bucketful, it can serve as refreshing and healthful meal. With ingredients similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce, tartator is easy to make and only takes a few minutes. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

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A bowl of freshly made tarator is perfectly complemented with a piece of banitsa, Bulgaria’s national pastry.

Summer Solstice: Latvia’s All-Night Party

IMG_6245Last night, on the longest day of the year, I watched and listened as grandmothers and small children, teenaged girls, and young men drinking beer sang and danced to traditional Latvian folk music under dark, low-hanging clouds and light rain. Wearing laurels on their heads and smiles on their faces, the people of Rīga were festive and lively as they celebrated summer solstice, arguably Latvia’s most important national holiday.  Continue reading →