While in Riga, we had the chance to meet Tuwa’s friend, Nina and her family. They are an American-Latvian family who speaks three languages.
At first it was just going to be a short coffee date – we tried an authentic Latvian coffee shop that they recommended. But after that, they hang around, much to our enjoyment.
We had a goal that day – to search for that darned black cat on a tin roof. And our american-latvian friends became just as curious.
Our obsession started when cousin and I noticed that there were many souvenirs depicting a black cat on a roof. Now that’s only in Riga – so we just had to see the cat!
Note: We are not talking movies (featuring Elizabeth Taylor) nor plays (Tennessee Williams) nor a nervous person. Remember “Cat on a hot tin roof”?
Anyway, we were supposed to find the cat on the roof of a yellow art noveau buildning on Meistaru-Amatu streets. The house is called Cat’s House.
The story goes that a merchant who owned the building was refused entry to some guild because he was Latvian. This was before the first World War and membership in this guild was for Germans only.
So this merchant erected two black cats onto the roof and positioned them so their backsides faced the guildhall. (Is that some kind of an insult?) Only when he was finally accepted in the guild did he turn the cats around.
But I guess there’s a patriotic thing in the story (that I simply can’t empathize with).
When we finally saw the cat, we were like – “Is that it? That’s the cat we are looking for?”
My cousin, still optimistic, said: “But look, there are two cats!”
As if an extra feline statue would make the experience more exciting. 🙂
Anyway, besides searching for the black cat-s, we went in a Latvian chocolate house plus stared at a window display of an amber jewelry shop.