The historical and geographical center of Riga, Old Riga lies right on the Daugava River. The river empties out into the Gulf of Riga after flowing from central Russia. During the medieval age, Riga was a mighty harbor and a member of the Hanseatic League, a powerful confederation of merchant guilds that flourished in Northern Europe from the 13th to 17th century. I spent a day exploring Old Riga and Central Riga at the end of July. Before my three week trip to Finland, I booked a flight from Riga to Vienna, where I planned to visit an Austrian friend from Iceland for a week. My boyfriend and I didn’t actually get around to planning how and when we were going to make it to Riga from Helsinki until a few days before we left, but it turned out to be a great three day trip- an excellent introduction to the Baltic states that left me eager to see more.