Picture of the Week

12 May 2015

Week 19: Riga and Copenhagen

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:31

Lots of travelling during this week. I flew to Riga on Monday. We were hosting an important meeting there, an annual event held in the country that has the presidency of the EU during that half-year, and so it was Latvia this time. I was looking forward to visiting the Baltics for the first time, and to make it even better, my flight back on the Friday went via Copenhagen, so I was able to stop for the weekend in my spiritual home.

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This is the room in which I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday:
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The organiser on the Latvian side, Linda, speaking with our communications officer Claire. Linda is a senior lawyer with the Latvian Patent Office. More importantly, she is great fun to be around:
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Walking around in Riga, always looking for little details as I do. One can cover up a construction site in various ways; might as well make it amusing:
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Artistic backyard:
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Riga has many quirky cafés and bars:
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I am not sure whether this wall art refers to a specific event or issue, but it was interesting nonetheless:
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The buildings reflect a Soviet past, the mural a very different present:
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Thirsty from my wanderings, I sought relief in this nice bar with a bookish theme. Latvian beer is excellent, incidentally:
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There was interesting art, too:
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And a friendly bar keep:
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Old Riga has many charming cobblestone streets like this one:
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And also some charming squares:
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On Wednesday afternoon, our Latvian hosts arranged for a guided tour of the city and a visit to the art/design museum:
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Then we were treated to tasting of various Latvian liquors, culminating with the (in)famous Riga Black Balsam:
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Stephanie topping us up. The Black Balsam is a herbal concoction with 37 different ingredients and 45% alcohol. Undoubtedly, it has medicinal purposes:
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Another interesting building facade:
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The evening culminated at Folkklubs Ala Pagras, a restaurant with traditional Latvian food and traditional Latvian dancing. Linda did an admirable job coordinating the beer orders from our big group:
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Latvians have a reputation for being quiet and somewhat stoic people. By her own admission, Linda is not a typical Latvian:
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The beer has arrived:
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And the food–enormous quantities of meat and various other tasty things. We did our best:
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Then it was time for a bit of exercise:
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As is often the case, my colleague Stephanie participated enthusiastically:
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Someone borrowed my camera and took a decent picture in which I appear:
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On Thursday morning it was back to business. The Latvian Patent Office had organised a conference at which I spoke, and which featured the award ceremony for various “trademark of the year” categories. Here is the chairman of the selection committee:
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Announcing the first winner:
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And a brief thank you speech. Not understanding Latvian, and being slightly hung over, I must confess that I did not particularly enjoy this part of the proceedings:
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Thursday night, our last in Riga, we ended up in a bar on the top floor of the tallest hotel in town:
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On Friday morning I flew to Copenhagen to spend the weekend there.

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This is Krystalgade, the street where Copenhagen’s main synagogue and Jewish community centre is located, and where Dan Uzan, a volunteer security guard, was murdered in the terrorist attack in February, an event which has profoundly shocked Denmark and is still having repercussions. I was sad to see a street in my wonderful, open city, blocked by police vans–this is, sadly, the new normal:
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People are still leaving flowers at the site:
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A memorial plaque has already been set up:
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Dan Uzan’s grave at the same cemetery where my father is buried:
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“No to hate and fear”:
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Progressive restaurant window in central Copenhagen:
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Langelinie, the park where the Little Mermaid is located. People like to use the stepping stones although sometimes it is easier to get out than to get back:
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Langelinie has a small grove of cherry trees, donated in 2005 by Seiichi Takaki from Hiroshima who owns one of Japan’s largest bread factories and loves all things Danish. So to celebrate the 200th anniversary of H.C. Andersen’s birth, he had 200 trees planted in Copenahagen. Each spring, during the flowering season, a Japanese festival is held in the park. This is the first time that I happened to be in town on the weekend of the festival.

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Selfies:
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Funny clothes and hair:
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Children trying their hand at sumo:
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Getting disentangled:
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The food line:
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My friend Beata’s children watching TV on a Saturday afternoon:
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Family bliss:
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Sunday afternoon we visited the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, one of my standard places to visit when I am in Copenhagen:
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More pictures from Riga and Copenhagen can be seen on my Frozenlight gallery.

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