During my layover in Riga, I was starving and wanted to try the local food. Even though it was April, a thick coat was required to deal with the freezing temperatures of Northeastern Europe. Before I left the airport, I used the WIFI to research some local eateries and this restaurant called Lido came highly recommended.
The inside of the restaurant was very homely with wooden furniture and dark walls. Latvian music played softly in the background with inaudible lyrics. Several different dishes lined behind a cafeteria style line with trays waiting in the beginning. I ordered the pork belly with mashed potatoes and a large stein of beer.
At the end of the line, there was a woman dressed in traditional garb that didn’t mind being photographed and was very friendly. She taught me the Latvian word for cheers, which is “Priekā”.
“Beer is cheaper than water”. Whenever you ask another backpacker about the Czech Republic, this would be their usual answer. My specific reasoning to visit Prague was to try the absinthe and drink many of their ridiculously cheap beers. It was surprising to see that water was priced around 1.5 while a bottle of beer with equal volume went for about 1.25. For a thrifty backpacker such as myself, this minor difference in price resulted in many breakfasts accompanied by a liter of beer. In my opinion, the best brew I was able to try was Budweiser. A small Czech company that dwarfs itself in size compared to the global conglomerate we all know of with the clydesdale horses. Not too long ago, there was a lawsuit in regards to the naming rights. I heard they settled it and both companies were allowed to use the name, but it’s pretty difficult to get an American Budweiser in Prague.
Amongst the backpackers I met in Amsterdam, there was a general consensus that the Heineken served in Amsterdam is of a different formula and taste to the imported Heineken in other countries. Investigation into Heineken’s website claims that this would be false except in Ireland and Sweden(due to special alcohol regulations).
However, trying it for myself, I was able to notice a slight difference. In the States, I never really liked Heineken due to a somewhat metallic, tinny taste that just didn’t sit right with me. The Heineken in Amsterdam was missing these unpleasant attributes that caused me to hate it in the first place. It was clean and refreshing.
The reason for the difference can be due to several reasons. During the importation process, it could be exposed to certain levels of UV light that can change the taste. Constant movement could be another factor. Temperature changes depending on the region. There isn’t any solid reason that stands out compared to the others but if you’re ever in Amsterdam, you should try a Heineken for yourself and see the difference.
A regular size in Munich will hold a liter.
You sit on picnic tables with strangers.
The beer doesn’t taste like pennies.
It’s fascinating to watch these tiny German girls carry 12 glasses of beer at once.
People will just randomly start singing for no reason. That person might sing alone or everyone in the room will join them.
There are plenty of places to pee.