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BCN’17: 7D

IMG_0462Whenever I travel somewhere for long enough time to have my camera on me, I usually come up with a major photopost that includes every pretty corner I spotted. However, Barcelona has always been such a place of interest for me, that I already have several galleries from the magical place. So, I will just leave some random shots and portraits of myself and my travel companions. I am sure, many more beautiful pictures from Barcelona are to come in my life!IMG_0541IMG_0515IMG_0436IMG_0614IMG_0624IMG_0661IMG_0693IMG_0694IMG_0704IMG_0734IMG_0797IMG_0820Miss you already, stunning place!


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Moscow

I found it a bit bizarre that I visit Moscow quite regularly, but there hasn’t been a single note named like this yet.

As always, I don’t find a way for my posts to follow my location changes. I just came back from my kinda hop-on hop-off trip around Caucasus and now am enjoying “babye leto” (Russian term for Indian summer) riding a bike and playing tennis in my hometown. But there is so much more to tell about!

A big must-eat-and-drink list from Barcelona will happen one day for sure (so will the ones from Hong Kong and Havana…)

After leaving Spain I had a spontaneous 10-days stop in Vienna. It wasn’t in my vacation schedule but turned out to be awesome with all the barbecues and family/friends get-togethers one following another. I liked being around Vienna (we were sometimes going to Klosterneuburg, called “close to Neuburg” by out Spanish friend) in August and will definitely plan to stay for some summer months next year.

Then, I left for my traditional annual trip to Moscow. I fly there every August and usually weather treats me with some tornados and flying cows passing by as soon as I land. But this year I have been so extremely lucky with the weather wherever I go that even in Moscow it was bit less freezing than I feared. Allowed to walk a lot, spend quality time with my sister and her fiancé, meet with my childhood friends and even catch up with the Viennese fellows who were also enjoying rare but pleasant warmth of the capital.

 

Here are some places I tried this time that are worth attention, in my opinion. I don’t go for the most luxury places which Moscow is famous for and which most of the foreigners visiting the city would prefer to try (totally understandable, Moscow knows luxury!). Those are more of what I see as better taste, something not very often observed in Russia. For the locals, they will probably be the most well-known and hyped spots which won’t interest them anymore either. But as a guest, I enjoyed stopping by:

  • Glenuill: a small place with tables placed extremely close to each other, quite intimate atmosphere in general and always smiling handsome waiters that treated us with a cake after our meal. I am not sure what made me like the place: that honey cake or crab pasta I had eaten before it. I am a big fan of crab meat but, unfortunately, it’s not served anywhere you go in the area where I live. Will be more commonly seen in menus in Russia. Anyways, I liked the little restaurant where I went straight from the airport. A nice place for dates. I had a date with my Jane there, and it was absolutely romantic!
  • Рыбы Нет (Ryby Net – “there is no fish”): a meat restaurant which I had already tried a year ago. It’s a typical trying-to-be-one-of-a-kind place of the big city centre, but I like it. Indeed good meat, and high patency ensures always fresh products. I ate a beef tartar there even though I usually don’t risk eating raw meat in those countries where I am not 100% sure about the quality standards. And the location is perfect for tourists, of course.
  • Итальянец (“the Italian”): an Italian restaurant, what a surprise! Famous for its Italian chef it has very well-organized menu and an option to vary any kind of pasta with any kind of sauce, etc. from the whole menu. On the side, there is another place from the same owner(s), a bit less posh but offering no less delicious range of Italian specialties. And you can chose from both menus in whatever the restaurant you picked a table!
  • Молоко (Moloko – “milk”): again, in the very center of the melting pot. But being on the street full of gastronomical wonders, it was the only one where nice staff found a table for us on a Friday evening with no reservation. Be ready that if you ask “Sorry, is there a free table” in Moscow, you may get an answer “How the hell do I know, go inside and have a look” from a waiter. It’s tough mother-Russia, baby! So, Moloko was the only one that agreed to have us, and tven though we were only drinking there, I could see that it’s a place that I call “good one”. The concept was for sure prepared by the professionals so was the cocktails menu. Very close to classic American bars’ standards but with some innovative approach. I ordered a rum-based cocktail with creamy caramel texture and lemongrass in it (since la Petite of Florence lemongrass in drinks is like crab meat in food for me) and was extremely satisfied. Watching the barkeepers was also a pleasure, and you know, I am a big fan of their craft!
  • Upside down cake is a place around the corner, where we tried to sit down for some sweets first. Their range of desserts seemed very attractive, and I had seen the place on Instagram a few times before. But they offer no alcohol at all. To me a cocktail is a perfect dessert, so I don’t really understand how one can position themselves as a desserts place not offering the main after-meal/instead of meal experience.
  • Americano: this is where desserts looked amazing! Can’t judge much as I was too full to eat there, but I loved their location and the atmosphere inside. Perfect for a quiet chat that shouldn’t be overheard or for loosing oneself to some reading or browsing.
  • I like W (W stands for Wine <3): if I had understood it correctly, it’s a chain for those who not only like wine but also like beer, etc. We like wine and food! And both were very good there! I ordered roastbeef salad, bruschettas and creamy sauce pasta with duck and was very satisfied. The place is a bit louder and might require a reservation on busy evenings, but it will be a cool location for a big company pregame or celebrating some event, too! The only thing that I didn’t like was that when we finished our meal and didn’t want more wine at that moment when we were just talking, the waiter kept coming up asking when we will order more drinks and ended up asking if he can bring us the bill when we repeated that we were good for the moment. But, again, that kicking out to seat new customers is common, so don’t get pissed at one particular place, but blame the service culture in general.

I must say I really enjoyed this time in Moscow. Maybe it’s the weather, as I am very climate-dependent. Maybe it’s the fact that all worked out so well with no plan and I got to see so many people. And I admit, I see the progress in the city, even in comparison with last year’s visit. You can pay with credit cards everywhere now; the city sites became brighter and cleaner. Let’s see what happens in the next years.


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Berlin Reunion

IMG_4867This is a short flashback to my weekend trip to Berlin this summer while I am sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane to Moscow. Jetsetting season, another month to go!

My school times friends invited me to come as a surprise for Alina’s birthday and I didn’t hesitate a moment to book a ticket BCN-SXF and see the guys. It’s indeed amazing to keep in touch with the people you used to hang out together with 10 years ago and still have so much to talk about. Switching from incredible heat Barcelona was experiencing that week was good, too. Even though I froze to my bones and regretted not having taken anything warm 10 minutes after I landed. 

My first time in Berlin wasn’t that long ago, and I liked it so much that was willing to repeat asap, so the chance to go came right on time. I already mentioned the places I liked the most in my post from the roadtrip, this time I also got to see Monkey Bar and some party spots. The bar is very nice, similar to what 25h hotel in Vienna offers, but it’s more of a summer place. Chilling on the terrace which is much bigger than the Viennese one was very enjoyable, so were the drinks and the music. And I was completely convinced that the Germans really don’t understand what weißer Spritzer is.

Taling about clubs and parties, again, we went for summer options around Schlesisches Tor. Was a completely different kind of party from what we had in winter. Both are very Berlin-style authentic, but are various experience. Watergate, Visionäre and IPSE were the ones that we hit, I personally loved Visionäre on Friday. And this time I talked so much to foreigners going there regularly to party that I completely understood the idea behind it. Would really love to keep on visiting Berlin from time to time to party.

P.S.: and that annoying fence in front of the Berlin Wall is finally removed!!!


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BCN’17: upd

IMG_0460Hey hey! Summer is still here, I got another month of vacation and have a lot of plans ahead. But first, to catch up with Bcn.

It’s very hard to write anything on holidays. With two weeks I can manage to catch up afterwards, but 7 weeks is a tough cookie. I will do my best and at least drop some notes about where and what to eat in the area, but for now I only got half an hour between having submitted my thesis and meeting my girls for lunch. Yes, I’m in Vienna now. Unfortunately, I happened to be in the middle of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, so I left the city several days earlier than planned. But fortunately, I have an extra week in Vienna. I had never been here during summer holidays before and I’m actually enjoying it at the moment.

Anyways, away from sadness of recent horror in Catalunya which I can’t believe could have happened in such a beautiful bright place which is supposed to be the happiest place in Europe. My summer in Barcelona was amazing despite everything. The girls came to visit me, Jamila stayed for 2 weeks, then Ksenia came for another 3 weeks, so I didn’t have a single day when I was bored. Moreover, I needed a vacation from a vacation when my head touched the pillow as I landed in Vienna. Three full days in bed to get some rest after an amazing and super intense time were needed before I can start making memories of it. The pics and the stories will follow, of course!

Learning Spanish, eating everything and everywhere, having sangria for brunch, going to the sea, exploring hidden narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and screaming like crazy in Port Aventura – that is what going to Spain means to me. It is by now most likely my second frequently visited country (after Italy, of course) and I never get tired of even doing the same things there. Barcelona is a very special city. Even in beloved Italy, I try to always go to different places. Spanish experience is Barcelona for me. Hope to see you soon, beautiful!


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BCN’17: Sitges

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetThis town means family time to me. Not much I wanna write here as those are quite personal and very happy moments for me. I am planning one big post about my favorite topic – food, food in Spain but especially in Costa Dorada and Costa Brava area. I’ve been collecting some pics and comments since last year trip, so something is gonna come at the end of my vacation this time. I want to include everything I discover in Barcelona as well, that’s why it’s pending.

Other than great food, the place offers typical for Spain sports and in general a lot to do: any hotel would provide you bikes for rent, for example. We are big tennis fans, so Sitges is our heaven. I love getting up early, going to the courts with dad, where everyone already knows and greets us. And now I practice some Spanish like that, too! Coming back to my favorite Melía hotel afterwards, when the breakfast has started, to drink ice cold champagne as the first thing that the body gets after having been sweating in tennis club. I would live a life like that! Wish I was born in a very hot country where tennis is a thing, really.

The beaches of Sitges are good, too. What’s a big bonus – one can get some quality tan being completely naked, as it is a rule there. Tanning topless is in general a normal thing anywhere in Spain, can’t even tell how much I appreciate that with all my hate towards stripes. Nobody is gonna stare at you, people go together with their kids to nude beaches and you just feel the freedom. Food, tennis, sea and freedom – what can be more of a heaven on Earth?


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BCN’17: intro

Hey hey! IMG_3917Just to clear up what I’ve been up to: I am currently in Barcelona, since a month. I am doing a language course, will definitely leave a feedback and tell everything about the school when I am done, which is gonna be in another month. Two months in Barcelona: what else can one dream of? When I finished my last course of Italian (except university classes), I was sure I was done with language schools for the summer. But last year in Cuba I almost accidentally started to learn Spanish. This brought me to the desire to learn another language, and I am quite into Spanish I admit. Even though nothing will ever replace Italian for me.

Anyways, I am here since a month; leaving Austria for the holidays this summer was the hardest ever, because, a little sneak-peak into my private life, I am now very happy and complete there. But comfort should never stop one from exploring further! I see no electricity in my Bcn apartment since 4 days as another great adventure. And, of course, am extremely grateful to my local friends with hot showers and sockets. Spain is a tricky one, yes. Jon Snow knew nothing yet when I was complaining about trains being cancelled due to a strike in Italy 3 years ago – that was a kindergarten of what mess can be. Love it.

First three weeks of my stay here I wasn’t exactly in Barcelona. My family and friends were staying in Sitges – the place we absolutely fell for last year. We tend to never come back to the same vacation destination, but that was an exception which worked out again. I was staying for the weekends at beloved Melía and coming to Sitges more or less every day during the week when I have courses to have breathtaking meals (yes, I find it ok to apply that adjective to food), endless night talks and to play tennis with dad. Will write a separate note about it, because Sitges is a place to be.

Barcelona was not boring for a single hour either! The fun is just to come, as Jamila arrived 2 days ago and we are expecting more and more people to join us 😉 When I arrived, Jane and Rustam were in Barcelona, which couldn’t be better timing! Food, cava, Rustam’s head spinning from our girly talks as Katya was joining us. Flex pride worldwide!

 

I even finished my thesis last week, now it’s official! Never thought I’d be able to work that fast and productive while being on summer vacation. A great relief!

When everyone left, I flew to Berlin for couple days to unite with my schoolmates there and have some crazy Berlin-style nights and mornings. A separate post is going to be devoted to that for sure. Sooner or later. Not easy to find time in Bcn. Becomes especially challenging when your apartment doesn’t provide electricity.

Now we gotta finish our Spanish homework and the plan for the following weekend which is promising to be amazing. Yuuhuuu!


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Favorite Summer Tradition

…for me is, of course, annual trips to Italy! This post is a throwback to the Italian trip of the summer 2017. Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetBack in the days I would spend whole summers mostly in Italy, only leaving for 2-4 weeks for somewhere else. The main reason, other than unconditional love for Italy, would be to practice the language. But now I speak decent Italian and from last summer on have been trying to broaden horizons and travel outside my favorite country more, as well as start learning some other language. Spanish was chosen to be the next one, as you remember from my 2016 summer trip to Cuba and Mexico.

Nevertheless, a trip to Italy is a must-do for me every summer as well as every winter, as Italy is not only the best way to spend hot days for me, but the most desired snowboarding destination, too. What a country!

My summer vacation this year started exactly like the one last year, by the way: we made a road-trip to Milan and then hit couple more places, including a lake. Trip with the girls last year was awesome, so why not do it again, we thought? We were different team this time, but it was just as great! I am so happy I bring all my friends to Milan and to my most beloved city of Italy – Florence. Last year I went there with my Australian friend, but this time we managed to include Florence in the road trip plan right away.

Four days in my favorite country to begin with – what can be a better kick off for the summer?! It’s gonna be a great one, I know! This time I don’t want to heap this post up with must-eat’s, as everything is a must-eat for me in Italy. So, let’s skip my usual approach to travel notes which always includes tips for restaurants, bars and view decks, and I will just leave couple pics here to remember how great this trip was. There is no need to prove that everything is worth tasting and seeing there 😉

Last year’s memories of the times when I studied at Bocconi together with breakfasts at my beloved eat me & go; nights at Aperol terrace dancing like crazy above Duomo Square and parking for free as if we were always locals there

Next stop – my one and only Florence. The voice announcing trains on the station still gives me shivers of the memories from those times when I used to come to that station anxious and happy; narrow streets every single one of which I still remember as if I had spent my childhood there; favorite bar La Petite where it all started 3 years ago; leather market and the “don’t let him take you to the big shop, it’s a forbidden experience!” from Sex&The City; risotto ai porcini and the view on Duomo cupola in the sun dawn.

I was the happiest there, in Florence. I am happy now, too. Just differently happy. More mature or more cynically happy, which is by no chance a measure of less happiness; just the difference. The time when I was happy in Florence was most likely the last one, when I was happy as a child. Now I am actually happy for the first time since then, since that other “happy”. Now it’s a grown-up happy. The concentration of the word happy in this paragraph must exceed the use of this term in my whole blog.

Away from redundant revelations: our final stop on the way back to Austria was at Garda lake. Last year we went to Como, and our horrifying experience with running out of gas on a mountain road was the most stressful memory until we ran out of gas on a highway on the way to Croatia recently :-/ Life doesn’t teach us much, I know! But the lake was nevertheless so beautiful that this time we decided we absolutely need views like that again. We chose Garda because had only been there in spring time before. It is absolutely amazing in summer, too! 

I claimed I wouldn’t give any advice now, but just one, please: go somewhere around Salò when visiting Garda: no tourists, perfectly quiet and beautiful. Felt like the air itself has its sound there. Loved it!

This year I was driving back with the gang, too. Last time I stayed in Milan due to the start of my studies there, and this year I was initially planning to stay in Italy until my flight to Spain. But at the very last moment things twisted around and I went back with the girls which was a good decision: the views on the drive back are breathtaking!

After our nice Italian days I came back to Vienna, which I never do in summer. I guess I am starting to feel completely at home there, if I actually want to be there even during my time off. Spending 5 additional days with my boyfriend before leaving for longer holidays felt very good. Now I am already away again, for this summer I moved to Barcelona. But about that – later 😉

Have great summer holidays, everyone!

Beso