This is storytelling at its best. I first learned about the new hotel in Riga when I received an invitation from the owners to spend a couple of days in the Latvian capital. They were proud of their creation and wanted to promote the hotel in Scanorama.

A tad suspicious to such ideas, I and art director Annika Sundström boarded an Air Baltic flight to Riga and let the Cakstes guide us through the premises. And then they told us about the family’s history, and right there I envisioned the story I had to write.

A few months later we returned to Riga and commenced the three-day journey through the Cakste land, visiting the family’s country estate in Auci, and their old summer residence in Jürmala.

This is one of the stories I’m most proud of. Why? It’s not just an extraordinary family tale, it’s also a story about modern Latvian history. Through one single family’s fate, it tells about the anguish and suffering and yet pride that many Latvians can well recognize and relate to. And far more – it’s a healhty reminder of what real freedom, or lack of it, means.