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Guild press trip to Latvia

Six Guild members travelled to Latvia on 12 August to participate in a five-day press trip whose focus was the country’s Latgale region.

Six Guild members travelled to Latvia on 12 August to participate in a five-day press trip whose focus was the country’s Latgale region.

Latgale is in eastern Latvia, bordering Belarus and Russia. Russian is still widely spoken in Latgale. So too is Latgalian, a historical form of the Latvian language.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a statue of Daugavpils' former mayor Pavel Dubrovin
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a statue of Daugavpils’ former mayor Pavel Dubrovin, local guide Inese Sulina (second from right) and Daugapils Tourism’s Ilona Maksimcika (right).

Daugavpils in Latgale

Daugavpils, Latvia’s second city, is the most populous city in the region. Under its former name, Dvinsk, the city grew rapidly in the late-19th century as a railway hub. Several grand brickwork buildings remain from that era, including the former telegraph office whose façade bears shrapnel and bullet scars from fighting during World War Two.

Geoff Moore photographs a war memorial in Daugavpils during the Guild press trip to Latvia
Geoff Moore photographs a war memorial in Daugavpils during the Guild press trip to Latvia.

The city’s fortress is today one of Daugavpils’ principal tourism attractions.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers at the Nicholas Gate of Daugavpils Fortress
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers at the Nicholas Gate of Daugavpils Fortress.

It’s the site of the Mark Rothko Art Centre, the only place in eastern Europe where original Rothko paintings are displayed publicly.

A man looks at a self-portrait of artist Mark Rothko displayed at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils.
A man looks at a self-portrait of artist Mark Rothko displayed at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils.

Organising the press trip

Representatives of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia coordinated with Neil Taylor to organise the press trip. The programme included visits to attractions in and around Aglona, Kraslava and Preili.

Neil Taylor pictured by the Devil's Lake near Aglona in Latvia's Latgale region
Neil Taylor pictured by the Devil’s Lake near Aglona in Latvia’s Latgale region.

Commissioning editors looking for travel-related features and online content from Latvia should contact Valery Collins, Stuart Forster, Geoff Moore, Rupert Parker, Neil Taylor and Yasemen Kaner White.

Yasemen Kaner White in the courtyard of the historic Daugavpils Lead Shot factory
Yasemen Kaner White in the courtyard of the historic Daugavpils Lead Shot factory.

Throughout the trip the Guild members in attendance had the opportunity to draw upon the knowledge of Latvian guide Arturs Adamsons. Travelling by minibus meant time for the travel writers in attendance to ask questions and talk with Arturs about life in Latvia.

Arturs Adamsons, the tour guide throughout the Guild press trip to Latvia, at the aviation museum in Riga
Arturs Adamsons, the tour guide throughout the Guild press trip to Latvia, at the aviation museum in Riga.

Local guides joined the group to provide expert insights and insider tips.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers in Daugavpils with Arturs Adamsons and Ilona Maksimcika.
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers in Daugavpils with Arturs Adamsons and Ilona Maksimcika.

A day in Riga

The final night of the press trip was spent in Riga, Latvia’s capital city. Staying at the AC Hotel by Marriott placed our members within easy walking distance of attractions such as the Riga Art Nouveau Centre and Latvian National Museum of Art.

Arturs volunteered to accompany three of the participants to an art exhibition in the main building of Spilve Airport then to the aviation museum next to Riga International Airport. Thirsty-seven Soviet-era aircraft are displayed at the open-air attraction.

Guild member Geoff Moore in the cockpit of a MiG fighter jet in Riga
Guild member Geoff Moore in the cockpit of a MiG fighter jet at the aviation museum in Riga.

Getting to Latvia

The Guild members attending this press trip flew with Air Baltic from London Gatwick direct to Riga International Airport.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a woman in traditional Latgalian costume at Silene Resort and Spa near Daugavpils.
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a woman in traditional Latgalian costume at Silene Resort and Spa near Daugavpils.

Information for travel in Latvia

See at the Latvia Travel website to find out more about things to do and see in the country.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers at Lielborne Manor in Latvia
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers at Lielborne Manor during the press trip to Latvia with guides Arturs Adamsons (left) and Laura Stepina (right) plus the manor’s proprietor Nora Poiša (right of the sign post).
Stuart Forster

Author: Stuart Forster