DiscoverAn Englishman in Latvia
An Englishman in Latvia
Claim Ownership

An Englishman in Latvia

Author: Alan Anstead

Subscribed: 12Played: 115
Share

Description

I first lived in Latvia as a diplomat from 1996-1999. I returned to live in Latvia in 2022. This story-telling and reportage podcast is my personal observation of aspects of life in Latvia and things to see and experience.
32 Episodes
Reverse
On Mežaparks

On Mežaparks

2024-04-1432:33

Mežaparks is a suburb of Rīga, Latvia's capital. It is a beautiful area of villas, a forest park, and a zoo. The Englishman George Armitstead, while Mayor of Rīga, created it in 1901 as the first Garden City in the world. Join me as we explore this delightful neighbourhood of Rīga and learn of its fascinating history. Walk with me through the park, as people have done for over 100 years. Join me on a visit to the zoo. Let’s also dig deep into what the great man George Armitstead accomplished ...
Sir Stephen Tallents was a distinguished British civil servant and a trailblazer in public relations. I focus on his work in Latvia between 1919 - 1920. Due to his skill and determination, he assisted Latvia and the other newly independent Baltic States to achieve peace and prosperity for 20 years. His story is fascinating. Join me as we learn more about the man and how he operated, like how he created the Tallents Line border between Latvia and Estonia. We will even visit the tow...
On music

On music

2024-03-1735:58

Latvia has a rich music scene, from classical music to the internationally acclaimed Song and Dance Festival, ancient folklore dainas, and a thriving popular music culture. In 2000, Latvia even came third in the Eurovision Song Contest! Not bad for a country of 1.8 million people.In this episode, we will explore the folklore, classical and popular music of Latvia. I will tell a few stories from the 1990s and the present day. Join me on a musical journey! Thanks for listening!
On public transport

On public transport

2024-02-2626:44

For a visitor to Latvia, there is a massive choice of public transport. From trains, buses, smaller mini-buses, trolleybuses, trams, and coaches. There are also a few taxis. A few of these forms of public transport are brand-new. Many give you a feel for life during the Soviet occupation. There was even a song written about my favourite tram line! Let’s take a deep dive into public transport in Latvia. With a story or two to bring the topic to life. Thanks for listening!
On sport

On sport

2023-12-0345:08

Latvia is a nation that loves sport. it has achieved outstanding sporting success. We will examine that success. We will look at the most popular sports in Latvia, some Latvian sporting heroes, and share some of the proud glory from 2023’s success in ice hockey and basketball. Above all, I wanted to discover why this small country was so good at certain sports. Thanks for listening!
On the Suiti

On the Suiti

2023-11-2232:07

The Suiti are a 400-year-old ethnic Latvian group. They are Catholic people in the centre of the Kurzeme region in western Latvia, surrounded by Lutherans. They preserved their culture over the years by never marrying someone from a different ethnic group or religion. This has resulted in the Suiti developing distinct traditions. The Suiti are creative people with fantastic fabric designs. Their culture has been recognised internationally by UNESCO.We explore Alsunga and find out more a...
Anatole ‘Tony’ Lapine lived a dream to be a great car designer. He was chief designer at Porsche for nearly 20 years, one of only four chief designers at the car maker since it was founded exactly 75 years ago. He had a hand in shaping some of the most impressive and iconic sports cars ever. Despite being a refugee from war-torn Latvia, his story is a remarkable one of ambition backed up by hard work, a bit of luck and a sense of humour.Let’s explore his story, look at the cars he designed fo...
On Kuldīga

On Kuldīga

2023-10-1734:31

On a bright weekend at the end of September, I went to Kuldīga. The town was buzzing with people, strolling the cobbled streets, sitting at cafes, walking down to the waterfall. The small electric tourist buses were full. Why? Kuldīga had been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list a few weeks beforehand. In tourism terms, that is a huge thing.We will look at Kuldīga's journey to gain this designation. We will explore what you can see and do in Kuldīga. Come with me to Kuldīga, the small, un...
On Ķemeri

On Ķemeri

2023-10-0233:50

Ķemeri is a former resort in Latvia. It has seen many highs, like being regarded as an outstanding spa of the Russian Empire, rebuilt to be one of the finest resorts in the Baltics during Latvia’s first independence, and later developed into a sanatorium for the Soviet elite during the Russian occupation. To the lows of being destroyed during the World Wars or from neglect. When Latvia regained independence in the 1990s, it was practically abandoned.A love of hydrangeas took me there in 2023....
In the 1990s, while working as a diplomat in Latvia, I bought three paintings by the artist Edgars Valdmanis. I found the first one in a gallery in Rīga’s old town. It is a landscape with trees in the pointillism impressionist style. Soon, I had my second and third paintings from this artist. The third one, a winter scene complimenting my spring and summer paintings, won an award in Latvia. Fast forward 25 years, and I still have the three paintings. I wanted to learn more about the arti...
On film and animation

On film and animation

2023-09-0837:20

Latvia has a rich history in film and animation making. It is also re-emerging as a significant industry. Latvia is the choice location for many European and UK films. I will take you on a tour of Latvia’s Cinevilla studio. We will explore the history of Latvian film and animation and discover a few fascinating characters. We will visit the Latvian Film Museum in Riga and talk to the Head of the Museum about the importance of film and animation in the cultural life of Latvia. Thanks for...
On Latgale

On Latgale

2023-08-2629:27

Latgale is Latvia's easternmost region and the country's poorest. It is a region of contrasts, with some distinct cultural differences from the rest of Latvia. For example, while most of Latvia is Lutheran, Latgale is predominantly Roman Catholic. The region’s history helps explain the religious differences in Latgale and its ethnic diversity. I spoke to Aldis Pušpurs to find out more about Latgale and Latgalians and to Father Guntars Skutels, a young Roman Catholic priest, for his pers...
On St. Saviour's

On St. Saviour's

2023-08-1422:39

St. Saviour’s Church is in the old town of Rīga. It is an Anglican parish church, part of the Church of England. It was founded on British soil, shipped to Latvia in 1857, and built with British red bricks. It has a fascinating history, from being made by British businessmen in Rīga for wayward British sailors, to being closed down as a church during the Soviet Russian occupation and becoming a student disco, to reforming when Latvia regained independence as a church for an English-speaking c...
On the Livs

On the Livs

2023-07-2838:36

The Livonians, or Livs, are an indigenous ethnic group in Latvia. They were one of the first nations to settle in what is now modern-day Latvia. They speak a different language, yet only 30 people can now converse in it fluently. Few people outside of Latvia, and many people living in Latvia, are unaware of the Livonians. We will get to know this wonderful ethnic group. I speak to the Chairperson of the Livonian Union to get an insight into the Livonian language, culture and history. Thanks f...
On Song and Dance

On Song and Dance

2023-07-1425:44

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is probably the most important Latvian cultural event. Held every five years and started 150 years ago, 40,560 singers and dancers and a 500,000 audience joined events in Riga in July 2023. We look at this phenomenon and explore interesting aspects of the festival like the food served to participants, how environmentally friendly it is, what the police were up to, and love and dance. Thanks for listening!
On Jāņi, midsummer

On Jāņi, midsummer

2023-06-1720:31

Midsummer is the biggest annual celebration in Latvia. Bigger than Christmas or Easter. As with many Latvian traditions, it is pagan in origin. It involves oak leaf or flower garlands, a special cheese, plenty of beer, fire and singing, and witches! I’ll tell you about the origins of this celebration. I’ll share my experience of participating in Jāņi. An Englishman’s guide on how to enjoy Jāņi. Thanks for listening!
George Armitstead was an engineer, entrepreneur and the fourth Mayor of Rīga. He is fondly remembered in Latvia for turning the city into a modern European capital. The city flourished under his management between 1901 -12. He was also British. I want to share his interesting story with you. We will go on a hunt around Rīga for memorials dedicated to him. We will also visit Jaunmoku, 70 km from Rīga, to discover his connections to the palace. Thanks for listening!
On wetland bogs

On wetland bogs

2023-05-1833:48

Approximately 10% of Latvian territory is peatland, and 5% is wetland mires - bogs or fens. These mires act as carbon sinks and play a massive role in helping to reduce the impact of climate change. We explore two bogs and one wetland lake with fens to find out more about these beautiful wetland mires. Thanks for listening!
On the coronation

On the coronation

2023-05-0729:10

On 6 May 2023, King Charles III and Queen Camilla were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth in a coronation. How was this event marked in Latvia, and what does it mean for British-Latvian relations? I report from the British Ambassador’s coronation celebration at Latvia’s National Library. I make the official coronation dish at home in Rīga, albeit with a Latvian twist. We look at King Charles’ past visits to Latvia. And include some amusing stories on Britain and the...
Latvia has a long tradition in fashion, from stories from ancient times of knitted mitts and folk costumes to Latvia being the centre of fashion in the Soviet Union during the Riga Fashion House era, and to the present day - holding the only fashion week in the Baltics. In this episode, we will explore folklore and traditions, and end with a wonderfully rich discussion with a former top Latvian model. Thanks for listening!
loading
Comments