The modern state of Latvia didn’t exist until the 1920s. But the ethnic group, rather most of the groups that make up the country are ancient and have been living much longer. Various tribes that settled that today make up a Latvian identity settled here and it is remarkable today the country has retained much of its customs and identity despite hundreds of years of foreign rule.

The occupiers have come and gone but the Latvian identity remains. However of course the occupiers didn’t leave without making their mark, the German influence (particularly in architecture, but also culinary) through Prussians or even the Teutonic Knights who were given a papal blessing to invade. Or the Swedish who settled here, and then the Russians including a more recent Soviet period. Today in Latvia you can enjoy the greenery of the countryside. Huge national parks and lakes and in Riga probably, well certainly the best example of Art nouveau architecture in existence. I prejudged here and honestly didn’t expect it to be so interesting. Thankfully I was wrong, very wrong.