David F. Baucom is a former U.S. Navy rear admiral (RADM) who recently transitioned to the civilian sector. Having spent years stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, he and his wife were able to travel throughout the world. One of RADM David Baucom’s most recent trips on active duty was to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Known as an affordable destination that offers some of the best features of traditional European culture and architecture, Latvia’s centerpiece is the capital, Riga. The city’s distinctive tableau of cobblestones and German Art Nouveau buildings provide an ideal area for walking. At the same time, the center of the city combines old world charm with a cosmopolitan, modern atmosphere.
For those interested in exploring the traditional Baltic seaside, Jūrmala offers a wide beach just an hour from Riga. The Ethnographic Museum there provides a glimpse of fishing-centered village life of the past.
Another highlight is the “Latvian Venice” of Kuldiga, which combines old architecture with labyrinthine sand caves and Europe’s broadest waterfall. Many of Latvia’s towns have castles, with particularly well-preserved examples in Sigulda, Madona, and Cesis.