2012 – The Year of the Smile

First of all I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.   In the past I had a tendency to delay the beginning of the year to February.  Main reason being is that my birthday falls in January and I used to find it difficult making resolutions and thinking about fresh starts…when all I was really wanting was to continue the celebrations.  Perhaps, coming to an age where one begins to forget how old one is, you begin to opt for more subdued birthdays.  This year, I am looking forward to sharing my first birthday with Henry, my new boy!   He gave me the best Christmas present I could have hoped for – a smile!!!

 

Therefore, I suppose I am conforming and yes have decided to make a few resolutions both on a personal and professional front.  Yep, there are the standard eat more healthily, exercise daily, watch less TV, read more blah blah but what excites me most about 2012 is a concerted effort to smile more.

 

Some year sago, a department store in New York City, in recognition of the pressures of its sales clerks were under during the Christmas rush, presented the following homely philosophy.

 

The Value of a smile at Christmas

 

It costs nothing, but creates much.

It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.

And if in the last-minute rush of Christmas buying some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!

 

Lets not save up all our smiles for the festive period….no matter how austere, or troubled the world may become in 2012 it is so important that we keep smiling! 😉

 

The binge drinking generation is starting to grow up.

The media might have to re-look at the image they paint of groups of drunken men flying out on low cost airlines to places like Riga, Tallinn and Budapest for the weekend.
Instead of stag parties and sports tours spending their entire foreign sojourn sat in pubs and strip clubs the tide has turned with these groups now demanding something more meaningful and indeed, memorable from their trip.
If you visit Latvia you can experience the thrill of the bobsleigh (even during the summer), in Prague shoot an AK-47, in Budapest de-tox in a spa and wellness complex and in Tallinn play ice cricket.
The new generation of young men are interested in all kinds of adventures and experiences ranging from the bizarre, through activities such as Ice Fishing in Vilnius, to the high-class such as attending world-class opera at Riga’s National Opera House.

Every week Travel Out There delivers a whole host of interesting, strange and wonderful activities to foreign tourists in Europe. After all we are your number one experience agency! These people do not spend all their time sat in pubs and it is time the popular press realized this.

FHM Hotspot

In October 20o9 Travel Out There played host to FHM Holland for the weekend. You can read the article on our website – http://www.traveloutthere.com/en/show/page/dutch-fhm-article, at the time this coverage was great for us and the exposure in Holland proved to be a success, with many Dutch coming over to Riga and our other destinations to become part of the TOT family. We have stayed in touch with the guys from FHM and have developed a good relationship with the magazine…so you imagine how pleased we were when we received the long awaited FHM Hotspots video, made during their trip.

This 8 minute video captures Riga and some of the things you can do with the TOT team perfectly…if your Dutch its even better (the video is in Dutch). So we would like to once again say a huge thanks to the guys that made the weekend possible and to the guys at FHM for coming over and helping us share this fantastic city…

 

Happy viewing

[youtube width=”600″ height=”365″ video_id=”Ge4d7IBORyg”]

Where is Riga?

There is one ‘Riga’ outside the borders of this planet. However, since space tourism is not so well developed right now and I’m not sure that the small planet which got the name ‘Riga’ way back in 1971 has anything to offer you, I welcome you to land back on Planet Earth and open the map of Europe.

Before we find out where is Riga, we have to clarify where Latvia is (we are back on Planet Earth – no places out of reach now). Some people will tell you that Latvia is a country in Northern Europe, others will say – Eastern Europe. Great! Excited by the North?  Want to know what life is like in Eastern Europe? Perfect! Latvia is a country in North-Eastern Europe, along the shores of the Baltic Sea. Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland – all share the same sea with Latvia. On the other side of Latvia, you might get lost looking at the huge mass of Russia, so get back to the left side of Russia, where it has the border with Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Here we are – in the middle of 3 Baltic States you see one country called Latvia.

Where is Riga? ‘The City of Inspiration’, ‘The Capital of the North’, ‘Nordic Paris’ – these are other names for this city.  In Latvian, its called Rīga – with a long ‘i’.  In other languages you will find this city as Riqa, Рыга, Рига, Ρίγα, Riia, Ríge, Ryga, Riika… That’s the city founded way back in 1201, and celebrating it’s 810th anniversary this year.

The biggest city in Baltics, one of the oldest cities in Europe, the main industrial, business, culture, sports and financial center in the Baltics – Riga is located in the heart of Latvia – next to the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Riga). You can reach Riga by airplane – the biggest airport in the Baltics is located here. Little Baltic sea cruises have become quite popular to reach Riga from Nordic countries. From Russia, for example, it’s quite easy to come by train – you will get out right in Riga city centre.

Of course, all roads in Latvia lead to Riga and it is not only because Riga has always been the capital city. It has a lot to offer: from medieval Old Town to Art Nouveau architecture, famous opera, sparkling night life, arts and adventures. Did you know that this year Latvia was chosen from a pool of 160 candidates in the third annual survey as one of the Top 10 countries for adventure travel? Have you heard that Riga is included among the Top 5 European cities for summer travel? While the capital of the neighbour country Tallinn (in Estonia) is the reigning European Capital of Culture 2011, Riga is getting ready for 2014 when it will carry this title. Riga is where the magical Riga Black Balsam was made more than 250 years ago and definitely the best place where to taste it.

If you were initially searching for the planet named Riga and wanted to go there, I would strongly advice you to change your plans – let the space tourism develop – the city called Riga (in Latvia, Baltic States, Europe) is getting more and more popular every day, and it’s not without a reason. Where is Riga? If you are on Planet Earth, Riga is close and within easy reach!

Written by Kristine Fedotova author of Your Friend in Riga

Slider & Title image courtesy of Roy Marvelous