I am sorry that Ivan G ["Letters," TBT #580, Nov. 1, 2007] will not be returning to Riga after his last two visits. I will next be there for my 60th visit or so early in the New Year. I am the first to admit to frustrations there, such as the ludicrously short opening hours of the museums and the last airport bus leaving well before the last plane has arrived, but minor issues like this will certainly not stop me from coming regularly, both for business and for pleasure. They will also not stop me from actively promoting Riga in Britain.
I do not think I have ever taken a taxi in Riga so cannot comment on their drivers, but my two feet or a 0.30 lats bus fare have always seemed a more sensible way to get around. When I bring tourists, they often ask me to devise itineraries that can include a ride on a tram. Perhaps it is just a sign of middle to old age, but I am quite happy to go to bed after a long evening meal, a concert, a firework display a hockey match or whatever else Riga happens to offer whenever I am there. Bribing doormen to get into clubs seems a sad waste of time and money.
The tourism figures for Riga of course speak for themselves. Whilst a regular annual increase cannot be grounds for complacency, they must show that Ivan G's dislike of it is very much a minority opinion.