All posts by Lelde Benke

Volunteering In Riga: Why And Where Do People Do It?

group of volunteers

In a world so focused on earning, buying and consuming, I find solace in one particular transaction that doesn’t involve money. An exchange in which the currency is time and effort. Voluntary work. I reached out to volunteers on Facebook to find out what drives people to help others and certain causes. In short – […]

How To Embrace Life In Latvia And Reframe The Negative Thoughts

love life in latvia

It struck me just a few months ago that I finally felt really settled in Riga. When I say finally, I mean seven years after moving back from my stint abroad to study and get my first work experience. This sense of calm and contentedness took me by surprise just like the pangs of homesickness […]

Readers’ Choice: 13 Best Places To Buy Fresh Bread In Riga

fresh bread in riga

As more and more of us begin to pay attention to what we put into our bodies, smart-thinking entrepreneurs have been quick to respond. A new wave of bakeries is promoting healthy, natural bread made from the heart using hand-picked ingredients. Their loaves come packed with seeds, brimming with beetroot or wheat-free and are more […]

20 Real Reasons People Love To Live In Riga

love to live in riga

What are you grateful for about living in Riga? While trying to stay positive in a pandemic, I addressed this question to followers and the Expats in Latvia group on Facebook. As the answers poured in, I got both the blog material I’d hoped for and the reassurance that beauty lies in simplicity. No one […]

18 Iconic Songs to Help You Understand Latvia and Latvians

latvian songs

I was born in Australia to Latvian parents. Through music, films and stories they, my grandparents and wider community raised me to be and identify as Latvian. That cultural education sure helped adapt to life in the ‘Land that sings’* when we eventually moved when I was seven. At school in Latvia we sang to […]

How You Can Support Local Businesses And Volunteer During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Riga

support local businesses riga

Whether healthy enough to venture outside the house or currently in quarantine or self-isolation, we can all find a way to help others during this unprecedented crisis. Support Local Businesses Independent businesses contribute so much to Riga’s distinctive flair. I’m in awe of the business owners who’ve adapted to the sudden changes by offering contactless […]

Highs And Lows Of Being A Freelancer In Riga

freelancer riga

Thirteen months ago I became a freelancer. Encouraged by friends and family, I felt confident I had what it takes and knew what it would be like. I was wrong about many things! I’ve been loving the freedom to respond to bursts of creativity when they actually occur, walk my newborn nephew in the middle […]

Opening A Restaurant In Riga: Vincent’s Story

vietnamese in latvia

How does one decide to move to Latvia and open a Vietnamese restaurant? Vincent shares his story of opening Bep Viet, a casual South Vietnamese spot on the Daugava riverfront in Riga. How did you end up in Latvia? I was born in South Vietnam, spent some time as an international student in Canada at […]

My Georgia Travel Guide: Kutaisi, Day Trips, Svaneti Region & Tbilisi

georgia travel guide

“Georgians have more time than the dead,” a fellow Latvian told us in Kutaisi where she runs a hostel. We didn’t know this saying before arriving, but soon picked up on the notion, learned to tolerate and gradually even enjoy it. Our 15-day independent travel experience inspired this Georgia travel guide. “It’ll leave when it’s […]

Tried & Tested Things To Do In Riga To Find Calm

things to do in riga beach

The cult of busyness has infected Riga. Get on any bus, tram or trolley and you’ll see more eyes staring at screens than gazing out the window or casting shy glances at fellow passengers. But, gradually, as more and more flames burn out and reach painfully obvious conclusions, people are pulling the brakes on busyness. […]