Kayaking Down the Daugava

Kayaking Down the Daugava
09 August 2016

IMG_3866I think I’ve talked about this frequently in recent posts, but a lot of my expectations for my stay here were generated from my first Google search of “Riga, Latvia”. Overwhelmingly, those first few couple search results I read ended up being things I either wanted to see or do during these six weeks. Consequently, I also came to the decision at that moment that Riga would DEFINITELY have a lot to blog about. Between the beautiful architecture, different local legends, museums and periods of history there would be PLENTY of material to write about.

My parents, who planned to come visit me here, did the same search, looking for stuff for all of us to do. And not just anything, but the slightly unusual or unique. We Kennedy’s don’t like to just see museums and neighborhoods and war memorials. While that stuff is good and I completely recommend it, we usually go for the more out of the way sights as well, or go for an experience rather than a checked box on a tourist list.  Sometimes that means an element of danger, or being put in kind of sketchy situations, or coming out with the weirdest stories. But we go for the coolest experiences we can find.

IMG_3861 (1)

Luzumpunkts Office

So when “Kayaking on the Daugava River” came up high on the Google Search, we were instantly sold! With my experience rowing competitively, the idea of getting out on the water and seeing the city from that angle seemed perfect. I mean, granted, rowing and kayaking are COMPLETELY different, but it was still a cool idea.

The company Lūzumpunkts was the best option that we found, both for the price and the quality of gear you get. They offer kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboards tours, and for insanely low prices. It’s 20 Euros for a 2 hour kayak tour, or 15 Euros for a Stand-Up Paddleboard for three hours. They offer two tours as well: the first is slightly shorter, averaging out to about 2 hours in a kayak, and goes through the canals surrounding Old Town and then out onto the Daugava River. (The pictures in this post are from that tour). The second crosses the Daugava and goes around the city on the other side (the bank opposite Old Town). It averages out to a slightly longer trip (3 hours), but we were told it’s not quite as scenic.

s_8_251_1454042033Per the manager of the boathouse and online reviews,  Night Tours of the Canals are even better than day tours if you’re up for it. In the canals you’ll go under approx. 8 bridges, each lit up at night by different colored lights. It makes for some great pictures. Also, once out on the Daugava, you’ll be able to enjoy seeing Old Town with a lit up skyline. Definitely a view worth seeing.

Either way, the river is a beautiful way to appreciate Riga! The way the river winds itself around the parks surrounding Old Town, the nice water you float across, the fountains in the canals, the overhanging bridges on the Daugava and the canals, and most of all the company you’re with (or not, if you prefer the silence of solitary exploration)… It all creates a crazy cool time that’s not to be missed.

Information can be found online at their website, http://luzumpunkts.lv/eng/kayaking-in-riga/, as well as prices, tour details, and location. The address put into any GPS should get you close, but to get there follow the listed directions on their site. It can be tricky to find.

Overall though, definitely a slightly unconventional, but completely unforgettable way to appreciate Riga.

Mark Kennedy currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga

Posted by Mark Kennedy

Всем Привет! My name is Mark Kennedy, and I’m currently studying Russian at the Liden and Denz Language Center in Riga, Latvia! To say I’m excited to be here is a severe understatement. Currently I'm going into my fourth year at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where I'm enrolled as a dual-degree candidate, earning two degrees in Russian Language and Literature, and French Horn Performance. I started my study of Russian during a two-year mission for my church in St. Petersburg, Russia. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! My language learning started off as kind of a trial by fire: with only 12 weeks of training beforehand, I was thrown into Russia and expected (to attempt, at least) to hold full on conversations with people. In the beginning it wasn’t pretty, but the sink or swim mentality of it all forced me to work hard from the start, and motivated me to really overcome any issues I had quickly. Combined with a personally guided plan of language study and some study materials, I came to love the language and the Russian people a TON! Two years later and I’m still studying it… Outside of Russian language, my French Horn degree keeps me busy. Favorite composer is probably Richard Strauss, and my favorite symphonic work is The Rite of Spring Suite by Stravinsky. (Debussy Piano pieces are my favorite non-symphonic works). I’m also into basically anything arts related: singing, dancing, listening to Maroon 5, drawing Sharpie art, going to art exhibits, going to orchestra concerts, etc. In terms of sports, I was a collegiate rower for the University of Michigan in 2011-2012, when we won the National Champions Team Trophy, and I play Ultimate Frisbee. I’m excited for this opportunity to write for Liden & Denz, and to share my enthusiasm and excitement about Riga and the Russian language!

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