How to spot a foreigner in Riga

Taking into account the fact that the vast majority of Latvians are white (apart from when they’re solarium orange), and the vast majority of foreigners living here are white, you’d think that everyone would blend in together nicely.

Not so. Foreigners living in Riga actually stick out like a sore thumb. So, if you decide to visit, or (god forbid) move to Riga and find yourself repeatedly banging your head off a brick wall with the locals, you might want to take a look at:

Linda’s easy-peasy, sure-fire way to spot foreigners in Riga!

1. They’ll be dressed a little more ‘sedately’ than the locals. Unless they’re Russian – then all bets are off. (See? I didn’t even mention leopard print… oops.)


“Going out to buy bread”

2. They won’t be wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals, just because the calendar says ‘May’.

3. They’ll be wasting away, holding a door at a shopping centre or station as streams of Latvians walk through.

4. They’ll be out cold at the door of a shopping centre or station, having expected the person in front of them to hold it.

5. They probably won’t look like they want to kill everyone in the room/city.

Spot the, um, foreigners...

Spot the, um, foreigners…

6. They’ll be wondering what they did to make passers-by/cashiers/waitresses hate them so much.

7. If it’s a woman, she won’t be looking at herself in every window she passes. She’ll be too busy trying not to break an ankle on the 5 billion potholes in the pavements.

Watch your step

Easy now…

8. If it’s a married couple, they’ll look happy. (If it’s a Latvian couple wearing rings and looking happy, they’re married alright – just not to each other.)

9. If it’s any couple, the woman will be looking mildly petrified, while the man is looking rather pleased with himself. (The Latvian Girl Death Stare is only applied to women; men get the Latvian Come-to-Bed Eyes – let me assure you, this doesn’t last.)

10. If they’re Irish, they’ll be sticking their hand out to stop a bus.

11. If they’re Irish, they’ll probably also try to say ‘thank you’ to the driver as they get off the bus.

12. If they’re driving, they’ll be clinging to the steering wheel for dear life, wondering if everyone else in the city got their driver’s licences from a cereal box.

13. If they’re cycling, they’ll be clinging to the handlebars for dear life, wondering if they should be following the rules of the road or the pavement, both or neither – watching the locals provides no clues.

14. They’ll be speaking Latvian while the shop assistant speaks English.

15. They’ll be staring in confusion at the little plastic tray the shop assistant is pointing at when they’re trying to give her money.

16. They’ll be looking shell-shocked throughout most of the winter.

17. They’ll be looking shell-shocked each time they come out of a public toilet. (I got chatting to a couple of Swedish women at the weekend. They were only here for a few days and it was their last night so I asked them what they thought of Riga. One of them replied, “Hmm, the toilets are disgusting.”)

She's not wrong.

She’s not wrong.

18. If they’re newbies, they’ll be giggling every time a Latvian says “Šitas”.

19. They’ll be overheard saying something like “I thought Eastern Europe was cheap! I could get this for less in Dublin/London/Madrid/Berlin…”

20. They’ll be bleeding after saying Latvia is in Eastern Europe.

So what do you think? Is there anything I’ve forgotten?

Or, if you don’t live in Riga, how do you spot a foreigner in your city?


About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Expat, Humor, Humour, Latvian people, Riga, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

209 Responses to How to spot a foreigner in Riga

  1. Hoho! Love the post especially, Nr. 8: If it’s a married couple, they’ll look happy. (If it’s a Latvian couple wearing rings and looking happy, they’re married alright – just not to each other.)!! Ok, so I’m a British person living in Germany so I’d better do both:

    If they’re Brits. in Berlin, they’d be walking around in groups looking dazed at all the cheap alcohol as beer is cheaper than water, because in Germany, beer isn’t alcohol!
    If they’re Germans in the UK: You can spot them ‘cos they would be quite tall, wearing a sport jacket in “summer,” and wondering where all the fish and chips are, and totally shocked that only tourists have Afternoon Tea nowadays!

  2. Diana says:

    Love your posts! Anyway…MANY of the items on your list would apply to Italy as well. #3 is fab. My husband and I often have little discussions about how I need to learn the ways of the Italian world…..meaning: think only for yourself and stop smiling at strangers!

  3. 1WriteWay says:

    So often I can’t decide which is more funnier: your posts or the crossfire in the comments. So many of your criticisms of Latvia could be applied to many other countries/places. I come away laughing with you, but not necessarily at Latvia. I’m adult enough that I would make up my own mind about Latvia if I cared to. Some readers who seem to take more delight in trashing you and your posts than in actually reading them. Do they realize that they only serve to entertain the rest of your readers?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Probably not – I think they’re more focused on attacking me 😉 What they don’t realise is that I’ve weathered the worst of it, so it’s pretty much water off a duck’s back at this stage! The next one should get some interesting comments… 😉

    • Mārtiņš says:

      “Some readers who seem to take more delight in trashing you and your posts than in actually reading them.”
      You obviously don’t know that it is a highly developed skill of Latvian – without reading an article being able to give a negative or hating comment.
      Also when an article is positive, patriotic, a duty of a careful reader is to re-read it, find a tiny mistake (could be grammar if nothing else) or some imprecise fact (what do we have google for?!) and tell that the author doesn’t know the topic, some insult also would go, especially if there are some photos. And a commentator will always know the topic better than the author, – doesn’t matter if it’s nuclear physics, medicine, architecture of fashion.

  4. Katrina says:

    Points No. 12 and 13 made my day 😀 But then, have you been to Indopakistan or Caucasus, do you know how they drive THERE?

  5. archecotech says:

    The most grossest thing about Russia are the bathrooms. If I’m in public I’ll suffer almost unbearable pain not to use them. They have no clue what a toilet brush is for.

  6. Another hilarious post! #3, I must admit, was my favorite. “They’ll be wasting away, holding a door at a shopping centre or station as streams of Latvians walk through.”

  7. Piektdienis says:

    Genrally it is very easy to spot middle age or elderly foreigners, because they have differently (probably healthier) looking facial skin. The difference is very marked, especially between Latvian vs foreign men.

  8. in belgium, we’ve got 2, 6 (though its less of a hate, more of an i’m-so-bitter-youre-here scowl), 12, aabsolutely 13, 14 substitute french mixed with dutch, flemish, german..just not the one you want, 16 and 19. makes the move back to the states muuuch easier.

  9. Mārtiņš says:

    When I was in London, an English man told me I have Eastern European accent. It was O.K. for me to be referred as Eastern European. My ears didn’t bleed. I’m sure many people from Western Europe say Latvia is in East. So really many ears bleeding hearing this or just 2?

    About spotting a foreigner – in 90s (a bit less now, but still) you can spot him by the brand glasses which locals usually can’t afford.

    • Expat Eye says:

      There was that English guy running through Latvia a while back who referred to LV as being part of Eastern Europe – he was slated for it. Poor bloke. Most of my students still refer to it as being Eastern Europe as well though – but I’ve been sent articles that ‘prove’ it’s in Northern Europe 😉

      • Emmi says:

        oh but the Latvian accent is indeed somewhat similiar to Polish/Czech/Ukrainian accent especially for a Brit who knows none of those languages and just defines all of them as “eastern european”. Swedish and finnsish accents to me personally sound completely different. Anyway if someone says to you – Oh you are from Latvia, that`s Eastern europe, right? You can reply by saying – well geographically Latvia is located in Northern europe, we are balts, we have a lot of cultural/mentality similiarities with finns, estonians, scandinavians (pagan traditions, somewhat cold/reserved personality) but then we also have similiarities with eastern european nations in terms of food, taste in clothes, gender relationships etc. so you could put us in the eastern european basket as well. yet we prefer to be called northern european because we feel more cultural connection with them. any polite person after that would get it. theres no need to flip out and go like “how dare you call us eastern european! we have nothing in common with them!”.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yep, totally agree! There’s a reasonable way to explain most things!

      • Mārtiņš says:

        Then it might differ from person to person. I personally identify myself closer to Eastern European. Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and they way of thinking, world perception is more understandable than Estonians, Finns. I feel us not that reserved. You can already feel Estonians being much more reserved, colder than Latvians. And on the other side – Lithuanians are more open, extrovert than Latvians.
        I don’t think pagan traditions don’t unite us.
        I ignore that geographically we should be North. They have completely different history too. Soviet culture impact. Not only negative. Movies, sense of humor; also Baltic, Slavic languages are closer neighbours than Finns, Estonians (Finno-ugric).
        I remember a story of one Latvian woman living abroad – one Norwegian guy had a crush on her. And she was disappointed by his too cold approach (which is probably in their culture as she thought) – he talked offered his hand, talked about marriage. No body contact, all he could do was touching her with a stem of grass. So yeah, I don’t want to be added to that Northern group. I feel we are a bit hotter blood running in our veins.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Aw, I wish a man would touch me with a stem of grass 😉

      • Mārtiņš says:

        should I feel close to these pagans – Dyster Svart Mørke

      • Emmi says:

        Martins, I obviously do not mean you personally. Im talking more about those people who desperately want to be perceived as Northern europeans but at the same time cannot help but have similiarities with Russians, Polish etc.
        As for scandinavians, you know peoples temperament and emotions go up the further you are from the north. Swedish, Norweigains and Finns can be creepers, and the situation you described is not rare at all. Latvians and Lithuanians are Im sure much more lively due to their nature and the fact that they have been influenced by slavs for hundreds of years (think grand duchy of lithuania – after living with russians, Poles and Ukrainians under one roof, certaily some characteristics rubbed off on them). But still life in scandinavian countries seems much wealthier so a lot of Latvians would rather look up to swedes, danish etc rather than Eastern europeans. I can only judge by the Latvians I met in Uk and those who socialize with my German friend. They seem to hate everything to do with Russia and soviets and would rather be perceived as Nordic people.
        All in all, why not just call Latvia a country in the baltics, a region between eastern and Northern europe?
        what Im basically trying to say is, not that many westerners understand the history of Latvia and hating on them for confusing Latvia with eastern europe is stupid. just imagine you met a canadian girl at the bar, thought she was american and she starts freaking out – how dare you calling me american! Im canadian!

      • Expat Eye says:

        I did that a couple of times in the past – asked a Canadian what part of America they were from and a Kiwi what part of Oz – they just said where they were from and I apologised – no worries at all! 😉 Embarrassing though! Now I just say ‘Where are you from?’ 🙂

      • Emmi says:

        thats what Im saying – canadians, americans etc have no problem when foreighners mix them uop, they just correct you because they understand not everyone can tell the difference between english accents,. same way Latvians shoudlnt freak out if someone puts them in the wrong “box”. I dont even get offended when people abroad assume Im German because I speak German! I just reply that Im Austrian thats all.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, same when people think I’m English!

      • Mārtiņš says:

        At a boring strip-bar in Hamburg I was asked – am I British, are you from London? I didn’t mind. Sometimes it’s so tired of explaining where Latvia is. Does it really matter to them? As I understood it’s something similar when being asked “how are you”? Nobody really cares in Anglo-Saxon culture. Some phrases are just for keeping up conversation.
        So, I might be from Nordic regions (cool if somebody thinks we’re rich as Scandinavia (we have corruption, totally different mentality – utopia, naiveness and populism is what Vienotība wishes – the Scandinavian model); it’s O.K. with Eastern Europe, London, Poland, Lithuania as well. I really don’t feel offended if somebody is not perfect in Geography and doesn’t want to be.

      • Emmi says:

        thats the right attitude=) you seem like a really nice guy
        I do tend to be just a tiny bit disappointed when people confuse Austria with Australia…. I mean cmon….

      • Expat Eye says:

        That is kind of unforgivable! 😉
        And yes, Martins sounds like a total keeper! Wonder where he’s been hiding for the last 4 years… 😉

      • Mārtiņš says:

        You made me blush:)

      • Expat Eye says:

        Shy guy… 😉

  10. eNVee says:

    Ok, I’ll tell you the secret. Latvians are able to spot non-latvians very well. Every time this happens we try to look angry, make death-stares, slam the doors, mess up the toilets and use any possible way to confuse a foreigner. Why? Just for fun and to read about it here! 😉

    Nr. 18 – best combination of latvian words to use in english-speaking countries: “faktiski šito pusīti”. 😉

  11. Kris says:

    Latvia is not the only country with bad toilets. I live in Dublin and they are disgusting here…And I’ve seen Irish people travelling to Latvia in T-shirts when it was – 30C. Mind you,on the flight back they had big woolie jumpers on…hope they had their toes attached…

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t remember the toilets in Dublin being that bad – except maybe by the end of the night in the bars. And some in central Dublin look like they haven’t been done up in around 60 years – and are cold!!
      Maybe they didn’t realise it was going to be -30 when they stepped off the plane – or they’d had a few hot whiskeys before the flight to prepare them 🙂

  12. Just for the difference of opinions:
    Very nicely done and different opinions about living in Latvia.

  13. janis says:

    Well after I started to read your blog, I actually tried to become “nicer”, and it weird, because I am nicer now – I am holding doors in supermarket and saying “Good day” more etc., but some people are staring at me like – what do you want from us – you – weird person 😀 It is not easy in Latvia, but I think it is, because of Soviet mentality is still in people. People don`t trust each other as much as in other countries. Sorry for English.

  14. isbergamanda says:

    Hahaha, number 8 is great! I noticed that in Venezuela it is rare that anyone wears a wedding ring…much easier to sneak about with someone else!

    -Amanda at

  15. Cindi says:

    I lived in Maryland, USA for 15 years. We were inland, and I’d take my daughters three hours away to Ocean City, a resort-type tourist area on the Atlantic Ocean (I hated it, they loved it, I scored major Momma-points). One visit I saw a bumper sticker on a car:

    “If it’s tourist season … why can’t we shoot them.”

    (I don’t know if that will translate well in a non-American culture!!) I laughed, although I was the tourist at the time.

    You can tell the tourists in the Bergen, Norway area by the number of cruise ships polluting the harbor, and the hordes of people wandering around with cameras hanging from their necks, a dazed look in their eyes, and the way they stop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BUSY ROAD to take photos.

    I should shut up, though … I was once a tourist in Bergen, and I probably did the same thing. 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, yeah, I always hope I’m not an annoying tourist when I go places but I’m sure I am sometimes 😉
      Love that bumper sticker!

  16. barbedwords says:

    I definitely think it’s a good idea that you’re off to Berlin soon…

  17. DG says:

    They take a pee at our Freedom Monument.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, and all guys are sex tourists. Yadda yadda… 😉

      • DG says:

        Sex tourism is reality.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Oh, I know that, but not every guy is one. Nor does every tourist pee on the Freedom Monument – it was a few incidences. It kind of bugs me that nobody seems to notice the locals peeing all over the rest of the city.

      • Mūdzis says:

        So… it’s fine for you to generalise Latvians while we can’t do the same regarding the tourists? 😛

      • Mūdzis says:

        The little joys of hypocrisy…

      • Expat Eye says:

        Wonderful, isn’t it? 😉 The next post will be informative and not at all generalising, I promise!
        It’s a guest post so I can’t take credit for it 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Saw a local pee in a bush beside the Freedom Monument today. Then his lady showed up and he took her by the hand. Really classy. But I guess he probably won’t make the 9 o’clock news because he’s not a foreigner. The little joys of hypocrisy.

      • Emmi says:

        oh that bloke Roosh V….. sometime ago I was searching for books on life in Ukraine and came across his book “Bang Ukraine” on amazon. obviously this guy is travelling from one european country to another writing manuals on how to have sex with local women. I would never pay money to read such crap but out of interest I went on his forum and read extracts from those books. pretty hilarious. This guy has the stereotype that all eastern european girls are whores and he is trying to prove it but he simply doesnt get any attention from any girls except for sluts and scammers. all good girls run away from him.
        the truth is that if you are a douchbag and have nothing to offer to the world, scammers will be the only girls who`ll have you. In any country – including the western world. By the way I read his forum, now this guy has actaully landed in russia. He s trying to pick up local girls in clubs and they seem interested in a friendly american but once they see what a bag of crap he is, they run away. so now this guy is trying to develop a tactic on how to get them into bed and if it doenst work out, we`ll see a “dont bang russia” manual coming out. as for latvian women “dont bang latvia” is actually a proof that this guy got owned in latvia, so local girls should be proud he doesnt recommend banging them.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I feel sorry for the Russians now 😉 Parts of his writing are quite funny (just the wording) but the whole concept is just beyond seedy!

      • Emmi says:

        this man simply cannot come in terms with the fact that all women all over the world want love and reationships. And if you as a man can only offer one night stands, decent women will stay away from you. that guy gets rejected everywhere he goes, so he starts waving money bills and scammers come to him. then he writes books on how eastern european women are materialistic. really? some dudes on that forum keep raving about how ukrainian women want gifts on dates. Ive lived in Ukriane for 1 year and met tons of locals including some girls who went out with western exchange students. we would all go out together as a group and everyone always paid for themselves. I dont remmeber any ukrainian women trying to make us westerners pay for her 😉 In Russia local men do tend to pay for girls on first dates, they paid for me as well, but the dates usually take place in really modest cafes and there are hardly any wealthy people in russia so if all local women were looking for a rich daddy where would they even find one? I know an Austrian guy who is sitting online on some russian dating site and tries to get girls to come visit him im Austria. so far nobody agreed and he came to the conclusion that he`s not rich enough for them. I would say he doesnt have half of a brain, thats the problem. by the way he refers to all austrian and german women as “feminazi”. Id rather be a feminazi than date smb like him.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Wow, he sounds like a great guy! I would definitely be feminazi as well! 🙂

    • DG says:

      Yeah, tu quoque much? (yawn)
      Still, taking a pee at the Freedom monument an looking for whores is morally wrong, agreed?

      • Expat Eye says:

        I would say taking a pee on the Freedom Monument is incredibly disrespectful.
        Visiting a prostitute? I wouldn’t say it’s morally wrong, no. As long as they get paid. Cheating a prostitute (or anyone) would be morally wrong 😉

      • DG says:

        Good girl.
        But we still despise sex tourists, y’know.
        P.S. The author of this book might be your buddy, I guess.
        Do you find him showing respect?

      • Expat Eye says:

        He’s no buddy of mine. I find the whole thing distasteful. But I heard that the women here couldn’t decide whether they were offended by the concept, or more offended by the fact that he was recommending NOT banging them 😉

      • DG says:

        Are you saying all women here are whores? I am a woman and you just offended me.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I have no idea how you managed to get that out of my comment. But I guess some people just like feeling offended. Xenophobic much?

  18. Anna says:

    I was chuckling along, and then broke out laughing loudly on that last one – while on the Metro!
    In Moscow, when I am in a foreigner-friendly neighborhood (the Center, basically), I can pick them out by their perpetual smiles (check this out ) and in the summer by flip-flops in the city. Ok, that last one applies only to Americans 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! And hey, I wear flip-flops in the summer too! My feet are BLACK at the end of the day though – I have to carry around baby wipes with me 🙂

  19. Ice_Badger says:

    around here, you can spot the foreigners because they don’t know nearly everyone in the town…
    Horsham is a very local place…I have lived here for 13 years and I am barely out of “Foreigner” status…

  20. wasd says:

    – They will respond with smile on their faces.

    Talking about plastic trays, I think I once offended casher in UK, because I didnt know that it is not polite to place money on table/till and you should give it in hand. I recieved angry change slam on the table afterwards ^^

    Other than that – spot on.

    • Expat Eye says:

      A student of mine offended/amused a cashier in the UK by asking for 2 coffees. But he held up two fingers (with the knuckles facing out) which is the same as holding up your middle finger in most other countries 😉

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        I’ve been wandering if it’s only the UK? I’ve done the same here, once only though 🙂
        As for the Eastern/Northern Europe, how about the fact that the Ural Mountains are the geographical border between Europe and Asia which puts Latvia in the centre of Europe (nothing to do with the EU though) 😉
        I have nothing against being Eastern European, as long as they don’t think Latvia is in Russia.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I hope nobody still thinks that!

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        Ya know, geography. I confused a Royal Mail postman by asking why Ireland (yours) is “overseas” (if you send a parcel) but the Northern Ireland isn’t 🙂 You still cross the sea technically. Although I know what mean.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, yeah, I can understand the mistake!

  21. Andrew says:

    When you’re in public transport, foreigners are always the loudest talkers 🙂

  22. June says:

    21. If it’s a man, he won’t be swimming in his undies, whether they be cool boxers or tightie-once-were-whities.
    22. If it’s a man, he won’t be looking at his muscles in every window he passes.
    23. If it’s a man, his hair won’t have an army cut. (Unless said foreigner is actually in the army.)
    24. If it’s a man, they won’t be wearing an Adidas tracksuit.
    25. If it’s a woman, they won’t be wearing jeans applied with a spray gun.

    Right – I’d better stop before I get myself in trouble! Before I get slaughtered I actually like all of the above (apart from the swimming in underwear thing).
    I never use the plastic tray. I can understand it for change but if I’m handing over a note I just hand it – they can take it or leave it!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Love these! You should write your own post on it!

    • wasd says:

      For defence – short cuts are really practical. You can be ready in 3mins or less if you are in hurry.
      Other than that and undie swiming (oh yes we do) you have met someone who really likes “jersey shore”

  23. bevchen says:

    If they’re holding out their hand to stick a bus or thanking the driver, they may also be English. I thanked the driver of the airport shuttle the other day and he looked at me like I’d just grown an extra head. 😉

  24. Actually it’s much easier than you described- just one look is enough. Foreigners can’t tell the difference between Russians and Latvians but locals can with a precision from 60% to 90% (depending on a person’s experience and abilities). So- if “the object” do not fit into “Latvian” or “Russian” category- it’s almost sure foreigner. It’s a combination of face, figure, dress style and behavior.

  25. freebutfun says:

    A hint for your next location: can you guess what kind of a reaction I got when I once I G-land claimed that you can normally tell if some in is from th eastern or the western parts? 😉 anyway, I got 6/7 right but apparently I was still wroooooong….

  26. So Latvia does the plastic tray thing as well? I didn’t know!

  27. I can always spot a tourist from 100 paces in NYC. It doesn’t matter where they’re from, but they’re not from around here — that’s clear. One dead give away is that usually they’re wearing really, really white shoes. Oh and waist packs. 😛

  28. Sharn says:

    Oh dear gods lol

    Usually we know tourists because they all have the camera around their necks, are speaking in another tongue and looking like little deer in headlights.

    Or they are in big groups being herded around by a tour guide.

  29. Inga says:

    I live in England and in 99.9% I am sure who is who. Latvians are still Latvians. Dress smart or die style

  30. nancytex2013 says:

    At this point the tourism bureau of Riga should be PAYING to relocate you because you cannot be doing them a favour. 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      No thanks. Latvia doesn’t like paying for anything. They’d probably just bury me in a forest somewhere.
      I’ll make my own way out 😉

      • nancytex2013 says:

        Definitely the better option of the two.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yup. One way ticket to Berlin – I’ve decided 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        You do what you gotta do, right? In the meantime, I’m taking a leaf out of your book and working out every day 😉 Today, a walk in the park and 30 minutes’ pilates – and some German tongue practice, easily the most difficult!

      • nancytex2013 says:

        I’ve had some German tongue practice myself. But that’s another story for another day.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I had a student ask me for ‘tongue practice’ once – he meant pronunciation, but I couldn’t stop laughing 🙂

      • Gerardo says:

        You are so cool :)))

      • Emmi says:

        Berlin is a great option. On one hand it is full of foreigners, local German people are one of the friendliest in the country and unlike other big German cities (Hamburg, Munich etc) in Berlin you can always find somwehat affordable housing/prices plus the job opportunities are good too. If you get tired of local food, there so tons of asian/european restarants, great cultural scene etc. BUT it is not the prettiest city let me tell you (you ll prolly have to sneak to small medieval cities from time to time to get that “german feel”), and the crime can be a bit of an issue in some areas so make sure you rent a flat in a decent place.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I will 🙂 Yep, I’ve been to Berlin before – and LOVED it. And my friend knows it pretty well and has told me some areas not to move to! Going there for a week next month – to live like a local 😉

  31. I see it’s not just Anna digging her own grave tonight… 😉

  32. plianos says:

    21. They cannot call Ventspils “The Paris of the Baltics” nor Sigulda “The Swiss Alps of the Baltics” with a straight face.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I thought Riga was ‘the Paris of the North’?! I have to check out this Ventspils – and potentially have a word with the mayor 😉

      • Antuanete says:

        Riga was “Small Paris” 🙂 Never ever heard of Ventspils being called that; even mayor of Ventspils doesn’t dare to think so of their city. Probably because Ventspils is considered to be family-friendly (and boring as hell to others, except maybe people who are into sports), whereas Paris is too much vine, kisses and other naughty things. Officially, Ventspils is “Pilsēta ar rītdienu”.

      • Expat Eye says:

        City of tomorrow? What’s Daugavpils??

      • Mārtiņš says:

        Having a word with the Bürgermeister is a must! Arrange it. By the way he might be more smiling person than you.

      • Expat Eye says:

        He’s been in charge for 25 years. I’d be smiling too 😉

    • wasd says:

      We – latvians can’t eather. You can add Kuldiga – “The Latvian Venezia” or something like that.

    • xyz says:

      Never ever heard Ventspils to be called Paris of the Baltics…nor Sigulda- the Swiss …ALPS!!…. something about Sigulda being compared to Switzerland I have heard.. but not to Swiss ALPS 😀
      Actually,years ago a family friend who lives in Israel visited Latvia for the first time, was comparing it to Swiss because it seemed very green to him in comparison to the desert he was used to see in his country. when i heard him saying that, i thought he was simply flattering us but after having lived myself in a country where you see sand, more sand and nothing but sand when you go outside of the city, I saw Latvia with different eyes 🙂

  33. Emmi says:

    I thought short and flip flops are more an american thing. Everywhere I ve been in Eastern europe guys refused to wear shorts and stuck to long pants even during hot summers. The ukrainian men have a strange habit of wearing weird white boots in summer but never flip flops! americans on the other hand are very casually dresses (shorts, flip flops, workput clothes, hoodies etc) and would be easy to spot

    • Expat Eye says:

      We had a warm-ish week a few weeks ago and the Latvians’ shorts came out – they haven’t taken them off again even though the temperature has dropped around 15 degrees 😉 I’m back in my winter coat again!

      • Gerardo says:

        I can spot a difference in shorts…
        Local guys would wear very short shorts , and if shorts are in pastel colors such as soft blue then for sure the guy is Latvian , while foreigners would use shorts a bit lower than the knee and for sure with a baggy loosen fit 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’ve also noticed some colourful trousers and shoes on guys – reds, oranges, pinks… 🙂

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        I thought it was a British thing walking around half naked, flip flops in January, babies in pushchairs all year round with barely any clothes on. The natives here are never cold. I understand there is no winter but there is no summer either.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Last summer was amazing! But I know that’s not typical, unfortunately – same in Ireland 🙂
        Now today was flip flop weather here – I had to buy a pair as I wasn’t prepared in advance!

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        It’s warm here as well at the moment, Ireland must have a bit of summer too. Back to raining on Tuesday though. It’s good to be prepared.

      • Expat Eye says:

        We get a summer every now and then – people think it’s a heatwave when it hits around 20 degrees and race to the beaches!
        Lots of red people 🙂

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        It’s predicted to be one of the hottest summers in … years (sorry, didn’t pay attention). Although last winter was said to be the coldest in blahblahblah years as well. Didn’t see any snow in the UK, managed to get to -20 C in Latvia in January. Not going there in winter again before moving back permanently.

      • Expat Eye says:

        You’re moving back permanently?

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        I might be. I would love to. Taking it as a challenge to stay strong and smile 🙂 Not in the next 3 years though, it’s cheaper to have kids here 😉 all in reproducing, a Latvian. Have to convince my hubby being poor is ok though.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Is he English? It might be tough 😉
        Shame the blog won’t still be going in 3 years – you could definitely have done a guest post! But you can start your own blog! 🙂

    • LigaFromRiga says:

      He is Latvian although seems to be a bit Estonian (insider joke, referring to someone being slow). More Latvian than me, I don’t mind not having leopard print and D&G handbags, quite happy to have my sewing machine and my garden as you might imagine.
      Not much of a blogger myself but will keep reading your Germany adventures. Tried the white asparagus last week, don’t see what they find in it though.
      Your blog kept me my sanity for months while sitting in the hospital by my son’s bed. Although I don’t enjoy Irish bacon and sausages, you remind me of my wild days living alone in Riga. Nice to keep in touch with that bit of my personality 😉
      Oh, and it’s nice to see comments from the people I actually know. Latvia is small.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, really?! Who do you know??
        I’ll try to keep up my wild living for the next 3 months – shouldn’t be too hard as it’s summer now! 🙂
        Sorry to hear that your son was ill and glad that the blog helped you a bit – always nice to hear something positive 🙂

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        I don’t have much expectations that your lifestyle will change when moving to Germany. That’s a good thing for the blog 🙂
        I know Antuanete and Nikolajs from long ago. Don’t think they know each other though. Glad I never met his mum 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, his mum is lovely – as long as she doesn’t get the shitty stick to you 🙂
        Maybe I’ll meet a lovely German and settle down – start a mommy blog… 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Oh, and I haven’t met Antuanete but I’m a big fan of Nik’s 😉

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        Looking forward to that even more now 🙂 Linda sharing her own recipe of the Apfelstrudel.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I imagine it will be more about beer and sausage but I guess you never know 😉
        I live in hope that one day I’ll be a good little hausfrau 😉

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        I might be a bit mischievous tonight but ‘beer and sausage’ doesn’t have anything to do with food, does it? 😀
        By the way, how old are you? Not a polite question, just can’t guess from the pictures and the writing.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, don’t worry about being polite – I don’t 😉
        I’m 36. Well, the beer has to do with beer. The sausage works on a couple of levels 🙂

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        Oh dear, hasn’t you grandma told you to hurry up with the hausfrau thing? 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        She died a few weeks ago – at the ripe old age of 92 🙂 But she always admired my adventuring ways – she sort of lived vicariously through me for the last few years. Never any pressure to be a hausfrau from her or my mam! Although by Latvian standards, I really should be a grandma by now… 😉

      • LigaFromRiga says:

        You make me feel like an alien with all you say about the Latvians. I don’t belong anywhere now.
        Sorry to hear about your grandma, although she must have enjoyed her life a lot 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        She did. And she was a great-grandma in the end too! Luckily I have cousins 🙂
        I recently met a Latvian girl who’s just moved back after 15 years in the US. She feels like an alien now too – I think I was the first person she identified with since being back!

      • Expat Eye says:

        She blogs here – could be good preparation for you if you to decide to move back 🙂

  34. bmagpub says:

    Thank you google translate – I out in #18 to listen, and chuckled. You(r blog) came up in a telephone conversation yesterday – I was talking to a Latvian and mentioned I was following a blog coming from Riga, and was told her son was born in Riga, and her husband was from the countryside. However, I didn’t dare mention leopard print! :-).

  35. Liga says:

    Very accurate, In Ventspils in addition to what you have listed the poor foreign souls will be told that their home towns cant possibly be half as good as Ventspils. Dont hope for any politeness, a foreigner will have to prove that he or she is worthy the suffering and patriotic Latvians respect. They dont smile for no reason, you know, and they are proud of it, human decency is not reason enough!

    • Expat Eye says:

      From what I’ve seen of other Latvian ‘cities’, I find it hard to believe that Ventspils is better than everybody else’s hometown! But I’ll reserve judgement until I go there 😉

      • Mārtiņš says:

        Still, it is not allowed to to urinate on show-windows there. I’m mentioning this just in case.
        It’s only acceptable if you are from NATO. Nevertheless mayor Lembergs doesn’t accept it. Federal laws and city regulations contradict at this point. Emergency meeting session being called right today to discuss the inhospitality of the mayor.
        Anyway, if NATO trainings and leisure activities will be over by the time you are in Ventspils, you will enjoy the city.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Seemingly if you let your grass grow too long, he doesn’t like that either 😉 I don’t think I could live in Ventspils…

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