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Three for the Weekend: Latgale ceramics, German masters and two fine rivers

In Latvia this weekend? Congratulations, you couldn't have chosen a better time to visit. Here are three things you might like to consider doing.

1) Ceramic taster in Daugavpils

A major new festival of ceramics will launch in Latvia's second-largest city, Daugavpils, in a month's time, but you can get in the mood this weekend with a freshly-opened exhibition "Peteris Martinsons. Porcelain Drawings" in Daugavpils Park Hotel Latgola to commemorate Peteris Martinsons, the greatest Latvian ceramist, and to introduce the events of the 1st Latvia International Ceramics Biennale.

The 1st Latvia International Ceramics Biennale will begin with July 15, 2016, with an opening of a ‘Martinsons Award’ exhibition and the exhibition of Daugavpils ceramists ‘Welcome to Daugavpils’ at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre. 298 outstanding applications from artists form 44 countries had been received for the ‘MARTINSONS AWARD’ exhibition.

Latvia's eastern Latgale is renowned for its distinctive pottery, so it makes a perfect place for the very best in ceramics art to showcase. While you'll have to wait a few weeks for the actual festival, the internationally-renowned Mark Rothko Art Center is open to satisfy your artistic cravings until then.

On July 20-21, the Biennale events will move to Riga, too. 

2) Germany scores in Riga

June 17 sees the opening of a major exhibition of contemporary German art at the 'Arsenals' gallery in the center of Riga.

Titled 'Elective affinities' it consists of 77 works by 53 different artists (valued at €100 million) with many luminaries of the post-war German art scene represented including Gerhard Richter, Rosemarie Trockel and Georg Baselitz.

The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and examples of video art, with a few singular examples of Conceptual Art with both West and East Germany represented.

3) Between two rivers in Amata

If you like the great outdoors, head to the central Latvian district of Amata (about 75km north-east of Riga) on Saturday for a day hike walking from the source of one river, the Amata, to the source of another river, the Gauja. The 23-km route includes some of the most beautiful and unspoiled scenery in Latvia and when you reach your destination there will be food, drink and entertainment laid on with the possibility of camping overnight.

Transfers are also available for those not able to complete the whole distance - or who'd like to get back to where they started for the princely sum of €2.

If you want to do the whole thing you'll need to get up bright and early for an 8 a.m. start from Elkas hill. Contact the local tourist information center (+371 28681083) for more details.

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