The Puķu Balle or Ball of Flowers is an annual summer event organized by the Latvian University Botanical Garden in collaboration with the Botanical Garden Friends Society. It aims to gather horticulturists and floriculturists in a venue which showcases their skills and creativity. Together with Couchsurfers, I went to the University of Latvia (Latvijas Universitāte) to witness this wonderful initiative and learn a little bit more about plants and the Latvian culture.
The Ball of Flowers is not just all about displays of flowering plants. It also consists of cultural events like concerts and competitions, art exhibitions and installations, landscape architecture, workshops, activities for children and flower markets.
Founded 1922, the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia houses around 6000 species of plants. It offers guided tours, seedlings and indoor plants for purchase, and venues for events. It is situated Pardaugava, across the river, and is only 10 minutes away from the city center. Read more about the garden here: Latvian University Botanical Garden.
I really had an amazing summer in Riga, Latvia! Aside from Couchsurfers, I spent some time in Riga with a Slovakian in her 50’s. Let’s call her Anna. Met her at the breakfast table in the hotel, went with her to the Flower Show, walked with her across the Old Town, and had dinner with her in an Armenian restaurant. She had lots of stories to tell, both blissful and painful ones. Life is good. 🙂 True enough, the heavens sent us people to teach us lessons or give us a hint on what to do. Anna left me a wonderful message: “You’re young. Look around. Don’t rush.” I’m so glad that I didn’t settle with what I had at that time, because the future is definitely better! ❤
Riga is undoubtedly worth the visit! The locals are nice and generally, friendly. I met some strange ones, too, like Mikael, a streetguy I sat on the bus with going back to Riga airport. And oh, that man who randomly asked for my passport and travel documents in the airport. Too much for looking “exotic”. 😀 Oh well, looking forward to visiting the rest of the Baltics! Cheers!