As somebody who is fond of journalling, I will oftentimes find myself skimming through the shelves of the romantic stationery and coffee shop “Manilla” on Tērbatas street, one of the loveliest cobblestone “almost” pedestrian streets in Riga. It is the one shop that reminds me of the Western European stationery shops I would visit in the 90s and early 2000 as a teenager – the ones with handcrafted journals, hard-cover notebooks, status pens and calligraphy tools, inks, stamp seal wax and much more.
Yet, in some way, it is never like the ones I visited in Paris, or London as a teenager, but now, perhaps… This is a boutique manifested by a little girl who grew up in the Soviet era, when she dreamt of beautiful paper of various kinds, how it smelled, what it felt like to touch it, how the pen slid as she wrote on it. It is all things subtle – things you didn’t have in Soviet times, when all you had to write on was a hospital-green checkered notepad or newspaper margin… It is perhaps too girlie and doesn’t have status pens, yet it still sucks you in with the ephemeral beauty of paper, inks, stamp seal wax, and notebooks, notebooks, notebooks… They also offer calligraphy classes, toys and games for kids, and coffee. Go see for yourselves, will ya?