If you travel through the Baltic countries you will certainly also visit Latvia with its beautiful capital Riga. But if you are in Riga there’s one place you definitely should visit especially if you want to recover from the pulsating big city life of Riga. That’s Jūrmala. People who know some Latvian will recognize in the name that it’s on the seaside as jūra means sea in Latvian and also in Lithuanian by the way. And more precisely jūrmala means seaside. If you love Riga with its old city and its typical art nouveau villas it’s even one more good reason to come to Jūrmala. Here you will find some more art nouveau villas along the seaside. In times of the Soviet Union Jūrmala was a very famous spa and health resort which attracted many tourists. Even Catherine the Great used to spend her holidays here. When you come to Latvia and you go to the first shop you will notice that they sell bottles with the label Balzams on it and you will probably wonder what’s this. No, it’s not for your skin and don’t use it when taking a shower. Balzams is a herb liqueur which contains more than twenty herbs and even a native Latvian is not able to list them all. Me either but now I’m going to tell you a story behind Balzams and Jūrmala. In times of the Russian Catherine the Great came to Latvia for holidays where she got a very serious and terrible cold. And the legend says that a Latvian pharmacist from Riga cured her with the famous Latvian Balzams. In those days it was a medicine but today it’s a popular gift from your Latvia trip. You will even find the famous Laima chocolate which is named after the famous Laima clock between the Old City and Esplanāde in Riga which contains some Balzams.