09/21/2009 – Making Change Part II

Today we tour Riga, Latvia, a beautiful blend of old and new.  Latvia was conquered by the Teutonic Knights to bring Christianity to the pagans.  By the late 1300’s Riga was dominated the the Hanseatic League — a confederation of German merchants who controlled the trade in northern Europe until the 1600’s.

Around 1900 Art Nouveau architecture came to Riga, bringing highly decorated exteriors to the buildings.  Today we saw a great combination of old German, Art Nouveau, and modern buildings.  We also attended a dance performance performed by local children.  Our final stop was an organ recital in St. Mary’s Cathedral – this was (until recently) the largest organ in the world (6768 pipes).

After our tour, we entered a local souvenir shop and bought a few postcards.  Presenting our 10 LAT bill to the cashier, she asked if we had any change.  We didn’t, which forced her to go through all her change to come up with 80 LAT cents, including five 2-cent coins.  At the next shop, we got a few more postcards, but when we tried to pay, the cashier said she had no change, so we left.  Finally, at the third shop, they were able to sell postcards and give change.  Somebody needs to investigate who’s hoarding all the change in Estonia & Latvia.

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