Trip to 100 Cities Around the World with Gallery Park Hotel

Old Town, Riga, Latvia

Recently I visited Riga, Latvia and thousands followed along as I explored this year’s European Capital of Culture. It was even better than I imagined.Careful observation and unhurried recreation in Latvia allowed me to unveil a multi-cultural gem with locals, much like Canadians, who enjoy life and appreciate their cultural roots steeped in traditions and values. From Air Baltic’s CEO to the staff at the hotels to the locals in the streets, the people in Latvia are down-to-earth, friendly, and appreciative. It is a country that reflects its entire history. From the diverse architecture to the performances, Latvia is as diverse in its offerings as its people. Do you want to see for yourself? I’ve found a way that could make that a possibility. Continue reading

5 Best Luxury Resorts

Beaver Creek Lodge, Colorado

After 2 years of extensive travel around the world, I’ve chosen my five favorite luxury resorts. These establishments stand apart for their personalized approaches, creativity, extraordinary physical attributes, impeccable standards of excellence, and extensive amenities. They are the ultimate in luxury and sophistication. I’ve only included resorts that I’ve visited in the last two years. While there are thousands of resorts I’d like to consider, I have to cross them off my list first. Continue reading

Did You Ever Consider Latvia as a Beach Destination?

Jūrmala Beach, Latvia

I wanted to visit Latvia since I learned about its strategic war location in high school. I figured as the heart of Europe, it would have a diverse culture with even more diverse architecture. It wasn’t a wrong assumption and Riga’s role as the European Capital of Culture this year is proof. What I didn’t realize is that it’s home to great adventures in Sigulda, including bobsledding, rock climbing, bungee jumping, and a Tarzan park, and the town of Jurmala is an extremely popular beach destination. With therapeutic thermal waters, peat mud, pine forests, healthy maritime climate, dunes, and beaches covering 32.8 kilometres, Jurmala is the largest resort city in the Baltic States. Since it’s too cold for swimming , I wasn’t exactly looking to get in the water but seeing the Baltic Sea was on my list this year so I made the short drive from Riga to Jurmala to check another item off of my 2014 list. What I found was more than a check mark; it was magnificent! Continue reading

Extreme Bucket List Item: Bobsledding – ✓

Bobsledding, Latvia

The thought of actually accomplishing some items on my bucket list scares me to my very core. One of them is bobsledding. In Sigulda, Latvia the track is 1420 m; it features 16 curves and allows for a maximum speed of 125 km/h. That’s insane. Who says, “I want to get into an open-aired vehicle and zoom down an ice track at 125km/h?” I couldn’t leave it to the unknown though. I had to give it a try and see how intense it was for myself. Now I can say with firsthand experience it actually is insane. What a rush! Continue reading

Welcome to Riga, Latvia – The European Capital of Culture 2014

Walking in Riga, Latvia

Each year the European Union selects two cities to share the title of capital of culture. The European Capitals of Culture in 2014 are Riga in Latvia and Umeå in Sweden. Riga is the Latvian capital and with its population of about 700,000 it’s the biggest city in the Baltic region. Riga was founded in 1201 and the oldest part of the city with its distinctive medieval influence has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Rīga’s 2014 European Capital of Culture program is called Force Majeure, affirming the positive impact of culture and the ability to swiftly bring positive changes to the city and its residents, at a time when many different forces majeures roam the world. Continue reading

The History of Riga Speaks Through the Streets

Freedom Street, Riga Latvia

Before visiting Latvia, I had little understanding of their turbulent history. I walked the streets when I arrived and found beauty around every corner. The varied architecture, stunning skyline, and mix between modern and old made we want to look deeper into the roots that created such a diverse setting. I asked tour guides and locals about the diversity and visited The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia to walk into Riga’s history and down the streets of the past.  Continue reading

Turned On by a Woman at the ESPA, Riga

ESPA Riga, Latvia

I’m no stranger to massages. I’ve had more than a handful in the last two years. Normally, I lay on the table wondering if I should have established a safe word. The answer is usually “yes.” No need this time; she knew exactly the way I like it… maybe even a little too much. Admittedly, I was turned on by the female masseuse at ESPA, Riga. I left thinking if this is what massages are suppose to feel like, Darren is not allowed to go anymore.  Continue reading