All posts by Lelde Benke

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. […]

Latvia’s Answer To Poland’s Milk Bar – The Ēdnīca

riga ednica

As I slowly savoured every piece of my pierogi on a recent trip to Warsaw, I wondered why Poland’s “bar mleczny” or milk bar has achieved cult status while its no-less-deserving cousin, the “ēdnīca” leads a much less celebrated life in Latvia. Here, it’s either a place we just don’t talk about or joke about. […]

Riga’s Art Nouveau Area From A Local’s Perspective

Ausekļa iela

Having now benefited from the literal quietness of Riga’s Klusais Centrs (Quiet Centre) or Art Nouveau area for over five years, I’ve developed a deep liking for more than the quality of sleep in this part of town. Light traffic, a high density of office spaces and no lack of greenery keep it calm. I […]

Moving To Latvia: Cian’s Story

life in jelgava

Cian Guckian moved from Ireland to Latvia and was happy to share his insights to help and encourage fellow expats to adapt to life in Latvia. What brought you to Latvia? Love brought me to Latvia. I met my partner Lena Pavlova in Dublin. She’s from Jelgava. I’d been to Latvia before to see an […]

Moving To Latvia: Joe’s Story

Joe Horgan

Joe Horgan came to Latvia on a one-year scholarship. Six years later, he’s still here and living in Jelgava. We caught up to chat about his move and choice to stay. How Joe decided to move to Latvia I came to Latvia in 2013 as a Fulbright scholar. I wasn’t really sure where I wanted […]