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UPD: fine 2018 kick-off

 

I decided to try to go back the hashtag #UPD from time to time. This blog has become solely a travel diary during past year, and I like it that way. But remembering that it started as a more personal thing where I was sharing emotions and events of my life alongside with pieces of traveler’s advice makes me wanna write down sometimes what’s happening around, too.

Writing this, I am on my flight from Moscow back to Vienna. I am now employed (*triple wohoooo from my mom here*) and had an unexpected short trip to Russia this weekend. Besides doing some serious adult stuff, I got to fly home and spend some time with my family again, as well as with my closest friend in hometown. Surprise trips are always great, but I couldn’t remember the last time I was in Russian in March, so the picture of spring in my head has shifted a bit: the forecast showed me sun, stable relatively warm for the region temperatures and no precipitation, so I came as my most classy elegant self, in a white suit. Well, don’t. Not in March. Hardly could I imagine this much of unidentified dark liquids flowing down the streets. One would hardly recognize that the car I was driving was once white as well. Thinking positively, I wanted no more snow this year – I didn’t see much snow since it was covered with mud. But I finally felt the spring!

Besides giving myself champagne showers for starting a job, I have been giving them to the others a lot recently. March is a big month of never-ending Birthdays. My closest ones in Vienna, Daniel and Jamila, have theirs one after another, accompanied by few more celebrations, so I had a good deal of rushing around town with presents, surprises and flowers, testing my baking skills and hiding in hallways watching youtube tutorials of how to pop a bottle once I break in at midnight, and other good stuff. I love Birthdays. I probably enjoy others’ even more than my own, which is coming up in two weeks. I find it super cool to be born in spring: everyone is happy and emotional after long winter; good vibes are in the air and people really enjoy the celebrations.

On top of pleasant weather changes and multiple reasons to celebrate (as all good stuff seems to happen in spring: everyone gets jobs, boyfriends, divorces and first tan), spring is a ball season in Vienna. I am not Austrian enough yet to annually attend classical events like the Opera Ball, which I actually would love to start doing in the next years. But I enjoy going to the great parties like Life Ball or Techno Ball – it was indeed grandiose!

 

As it turned out to be a very positive blog entry, so let me accompany it with few new and fresh must-visit spots in Vienna!
  • I already shared earlier that Daniel’s unique talent of a bar-chef brought Clandestino to this world. Now the bar has become popular and even more cozy and absolutely awesome with all the Star Wars gifts he receives, my fruit bowl and finest snacks menu by Mercado Nikkei, so let me invite you once again for a fantastic drink on Wed-Sat from 7 p.m. on. If you are in Vienna during this spring break – check out the upcoming event!
  • My favorite bar in Vienna since long before, Roberto’s, proudly introduced its new creation – another bar in the very heart of Vienna. Starting from 10 a.m. now at Jasomirgottstraße, 7.
  • There are some more new-openings that I found really great, including Birdyard and Bar3. Both are also offering delicious dinner opportunity.
  • And, of course, Kleinod. Not new, but always there for us!
May everyone’s spring be as smooth and nice as mine, and let the warm weather finally come to us!


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Lech am Arlberg

Снимок экрана 2018-01-24 в 21.26.37Season’18 has officially been opened!

Those who know me are aware that I am a passionate snowboarder. Paradoxically, that didn’t make me any more passionate about winter – I still extremely dislike the cold and I am a Grinch. But the Alps make me happy. Because it’s usually sunny here. It’s not exactly the low temperatures that annoy me but rather high humidity and lack of light in winter. The mountains are dry, clean and sunny – and even more amazing when you can observe them on a relatively high speed that the snowboard gives me. Under the hashtag #snowboarding there are some of my alpine stories, but the history of my relationship with mountains goes back 15 years.

This year we started out adventures at a new spot where had never been before – Lech. We know Austrian Alps the best I assume but there are always new slopes to check. I liked the snowboarding possibilities in Lech: there are relatively wrong connected routes to neighboring valleys, the lifts build up a comfy chain without many horizontal crossings. Apres-ski choice is just awesome! But there are not many young people since this resort is quite expensive. Be ready to pay starting with 35 Euros for a bottle of simple wine at a regular cafe (in comparison, at Bad Hofgastein you’d pay 14 for it). If you want to have more younger people and party around – chose St. Anton which is next to Lech. We went there couple times and enjoyed the food, shopping and the choice of entertainment. But the slopes must be more crowded there, whereas Lech was very easy-going with no queues even on the weekends of the high season. 

I can’t tell much about gastronomy of the town. We had dinners in our hotel and found out that was a better alternative after had tried few places in town. The two Italian restaurants (Olympia and Don Enzo) were ok, but they are still Austrian Italian restaurants, if you know what I mean. It’s not the dinner you would eat anywhere in Italy, honestly. The traditional Stube Handl Tyrol was nice – affordable real Austrian food, if you are a fan you gonna be satisfied. Still, nothing special in town. However, there are better restaurants in Oberlech! Hotel Sonnenburg has very delicious tartar, for example. 

Verdict: a good compromise between a fun town and good quality slopes, shift towards the slopes. Better for families and people with income above average than for the students. Was a very warm and cozy vacation for us because we stayed in a nice family hotel and went as an entire family ourselves.

…the season is to be continued in a few days! In the most unexpected from me place 😉


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UPD: Life Ball & PIONEERS Festival

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Happy Summer, guys!

I am super excited for the upcoming season, despite currently struggling through finals and writing my thesis. It’s gonna be amazing, yes! As always, summers are always amazung, aren’t they?

I actually have been receiving a lot of positive surprises recently, and my life twisted around gradually 😉

But now – it’s just a short update to share that all is super cool, and I am just being too busy with uni stuff. Will soon write about our trip to Croatia; I got it as a present from my girls, it happened, and it was greater than great!

 

 

Another awesome event that recently took place and got us involved – Life Ball! Anyone who lives in Vienna knows its scale; it’s been getting more and more international attention, as well. More accurate info can be found on their web page, and I just want to share that it was absolutely great! It is so much more than just dressing up to go out and party all night long in one of the most beautiful sceneries ever. Spectacular way to raise aids awareness.

The coolest thing is not only the Ball itself, but the afterparty, which everyone in the city names the biggest party of the year. Yay!

 

And one more thing I wanna tell you about now – Pioneers Festival.

So, from the beginning, Pioneers is, as we were saying all the time, where tech startups meet investors. They do a lot of cool stuff in different cities, but as Vienna is trying to become a startup hub now, the huge event is held here annually. I feel honored that I got to work there, and my tasks were just a dream: I was part of backstage crew, helping out the main photographer and managing speakers before and after they go on stage to make sure that all media procedures are followed, and we get pictures and interviews with everyone we needed. One hell of stress it is, won’t deny! But the scale of the event was just breathtaking! And all of numerous afterparties that the organizers held were super cool, with a possibility to talk with the most creative and innovative people in a very chilled atmosphere. I even got to meet the president of Slovakia😱

Three days of excitement, responsibility pressure and fun fusion! Thank you, Pioneers, and I honestly hope to get a chance to join it again next year!

 


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ACUNS Annual Conference 2017

Implementing the 2030 Agenda

The 2017 ACUNS-UN Vienna Conference—hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)—is a major multi-stakeholder forum for Vienna-based organizations, civil society, the diplomatic community, and academics to discuss actions, potentials and challenges linked to the realization of the Agenda. The conference is an occasion to share best practices, explore potential future collaborations, and engage in inter-sectoral and inter-agency dialogues. (source: acuns.org/2017-vienna-un-conference/)

This main theme is sustainable human development. Participants learn about the contribution of UN-based organizations as well as about their future projects. Great ideas shared, outstanding people presenting.”No-one is left behind” was the motto of this annual meeting. 1

I was lucky to be a part of this major event being held at the United Nations Office in Vienna. Being a volunteer from ACUNS was a great experience which gave me not only the understanding of how such occasions are organized and the chance to listen to the greatest people from the UN-based organizations, but also realize myself as a part of hardworking team with its responsibilities, choices to be made rapidly and any stressful situation to be dealt with together.  0I was a member of ACUNS social media team doing mostly all the photography (the toughest part is not the technical one, actually, but knowing what and where to upload asap so that all the social media channels can operate their life broadcasting properly) but also helping out with posts whenever someone wasn’t there to do it right away – which is what matters the most for SMM.

I had “my” speakers as well which means that while running the social media channels each of us had to write transcripts of their presentations to later summarize it in one press release ACUNS coordinators will prepare. I consider myself lucky to have had one of the most interesting speakers: Ana Raffo-Caiado, director of technical cooperation department at IAEA and Alois Mhlanga, the UNIDO representative. Nuclear energy being one of the main cornerstones (and probably the most problematic and controversial one) of sustainable development is a very interesting topic to finally get deeper into. But I honestly found all five panels as well as scholar’s sessions (especially the one devoted to child marriage in Syria!) very informational and extremely exciting. Cuban representative in the UN, Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, was the most appealing speaker to me, who also managed to run his session at the conference perfectly well organized.

Very surprisingly to myself, I found the “Cleaner Industrial Production and Energy for Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth” panel the most exciting one. Not having been aware of the topics much, I was so caught by the discussion that at some point even realized I was forgetting to do my job. Well-done! Such a pleasure indeed.

And the main reason why I am writing about this event is, of course, to thank my team. I find it quite hard to work in trams in general. It’s usually associated with stress for me, and I’d rather do everything myself or have some separate tasks. But this time we all were one mechanism that had to function properly without any breaks. And I believe we managed that quite successfully despite any technical problem we faced. Thank you guys for this first working experience that has become such a positive one for me. Thank you for sharing all stress, time-pressure, gallons of coffee, GBs of information, jokes and after-party cakes. You are the best ❤

I am really looking forward to staying a part of such great team and participating in the future events held by ACUNS. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter 😉


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Ischgl

Ho ho ho! img_5094

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a blast!

I spent my winter break together with my family at a wonderful location in the Austrian mountains – Ischgl. We had already been there before but that time serious injury made us cancel our plans. So we though why not come back this year?

Ischgl is indeed an amazing place that I would highly recommend to skiers and snowboarders because, first of all, it’s quite easy to reach from airports of Munchen or Innsbruck or by train from anywhere in Austria/Northern Italy/Bavaria and, second, the resort suits for any level of skiing. That’s quite a rare combination. Most of the trips to the Alps we end up spending 4h in taxi to get there or pray on black slopes. Ischgl is really comfortable in any sense and also offers a lot of activities apart from skiing.

So, the season is opened!

Every morning we would go up on to the highest point, have a look at the beauty and then cross Swiss boarder to go down to Samnaun and have a route there. Come back to the Austrian side in the afternoon when the sun is there, have lunch and snowboard more and more. And, of course, the saint tradition of après-ski!

The places that I highly recommend for après-ski aroun Ischgl would be Pardorama restaurant  with literally the best view one can find; also suits for non-skiers as the location is reachable with cable car A2. Alpenhaus is a great one for the ones who prefer to take their skis off and have a drink right away on the mountain. Idalp is fine if you book lounge on top in advance. We started celebrating New Year’s eve at Mountain VIP Club which offers really high class cuisine – but make sure to make a reservation really in advance!

If you prefer to have your final ride back to town and have an après-ski drink there – then Fire&Ice (don’t go in, stay outside, they will soon be dancing there!) and the bars around it suit perfectly. There are also a few as you go down red route number 1. Plangger Delikatessen is a must-visit for a drink and some snacks/oysters outside or at the bar upstairs as well as for purchasing some rare alcohol, salami, cheeses, spices, oils and chocolates. Last time we lived on the other side of the city tunnel and I remember one hell of a party there every evening as well. Ischgl is very cool for young audience – you won’t be bored after having taken your boots off 😉

What else I love about my family other than we all share passion for mountains – another passion that is a very important part of any experience for us. And that would be food.

Austria is not as exciting with food choice on winter resorts like France and Italy. Sometimes you can find yourself in the village where there are only sausages and schnitzels available for dinner. But Ischgl is great there, too. Restaurants choice is impressive. From all the places we have eaten at I definitely stand up for La Candela (we ate there 5 times which we never do!!!) – it’s cheap and delicious, but they don’t take reservations, so make sure to come before 7 if you don’t want to wait in a long line; La Nona is another good Italian one which is very special for us now as my sister’s fiancé proposed to her there ❤ ❤ ❤ ; for Christmas dinner we booked Sunnalm and it was so good that we made a reservation there 2 times more; Bära-Falla I find a good choice for lunch as they have good pizzas and röstis, everything there is fast and you can come in wearing skiing boots; Trofana was our choice for New Year’s Eve, the dishes on the fixed menu weren’t as creative as at Sunnalm, but they offer amazing Thai food and the best tartars at the restaurant downstairs (be ready for long waiting times, though). There are definitely many more remarkable places for meat-lovers and, in general, for those who love to eat well, but I mentioned the ones that left a trace in my heart stomach.

To conclude with, Ischgl must be beautiful during any time of the year. There wasn’t that much snow as we just arrived – and the slopes with grass and small lakes in between them were nevertheless gorgeous, so bicycle riders should also consider the spot!

Vacation is now over, I have been working like crazy and taking semester exams at the same time since I came from my trip (which was one hell of an achievement at the end). But let my next post be devoted to what I am up to now. And now I’d just thank my family again for being such amazing travel partners.

Happy New Year! Follow us to 2017 and let it rock!Processed with VSCO with a5 preset


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Roadtrip: Vienna-Dresden-Berlin-Prague

Happy winter everyone! As I am done with my exams now and am not yet on vacation in the mountains, let’s try to catch up with the missing posts (Hong Kong, Spain, Paris, Cuba and Mexico – good luck to me!). I used to be much more responsible with maintaining the blog, but adult life is slowly getting me, too. Said somebody who just woke up after Sunday funday  – so, hopefully, the change will take many years and never be completed.

At the end of October we had a long weekend and immediately decided to take advantage of it and leave Vienna for several days. Last time we were more people as we planned our roadtrip, but now even being just two it still turned out amazing!2First of all, traveling in the direction of Germany is simply cheaper, than to Italy. You pay less or nothing at all for the roads, same goes for parking (only Prague is an exception, being there with a car is a challenge!). And, on the other hand, Berlin can be so tricky with being granted an access to some places, so being less people can actually serve as a benefit. Anyways, here we start!

We left Vienna around 6 in the morning to be sure we avoid any possible traffic at the city exit. 170km to our first stop – Třeboň, a nice small city in Czech Republic with bright gingerbread houses and an outstanding view on the lake. Before reaching the place we only had to stop once at the boarder to buy a vignette for Czech roads which was around 10 euros for a week, so we used the same one on our way back.

Třeboň turned out to be indeed cute. It’s that kind of a place where all the yards are open to walk through them watching rabbits and chickens; there are no people in the streets and you can’t have a coffee to go early in the morning, only sit down and enjoy the moment.

After breakfast at Třeboň we had almost 300km to Dresden. Which would have gone perfectly fine if the highway wasn’t just closed at some point. Just closed. With no warning signs before, nothing. No info was on the satellite either as out GPS couldn’t rebuilt a route after we had to drive around. This is the moment when you realize that paying more for Italian roads, but having electronic boards with any kind of info so that a complete idiot can drive through the whole country with no navigation at all, might be worth it. We lost hours and kilometers circling around abandoned villages trying to make it back to the highway, not knowing after what distance it was gonna be open again. Tricky, very tricky.

We made it to Dresden quite fast after got out of the trap, though. And still have got no speeding tickets. Just for you information 😉

What a beautiful city!!! I was astonished. It started pouring but it didn’t even matter once we saw the old town. img_1078Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with p5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetWe spent only about 3 hrs in Dresden, but I absolutely fell in love! Running out of fuel, as always, we circled around all parts of the city looking for gas station, so we saw pretty much the whole landscape from the car. But walking in the historic centre was very impressive, too. Even more shocked I was when mom told me that it had been completely destroyed and then rebuild after the WWII. Not being a huge fan of traveling around Germany, I definitely recommend Dresden as a destination to visit. Gonna come back myself for sure!

The last part of the driving, Dresden-Berlin, ca. 200km, went smooth. We were already getting tired after having lost so much time in the trap on Czech roads, but we made it to the hotel until midnight. Driving through the whole Berlin was actually the longest part. But the whole thing itself is quite doable with 2 drivers.

Long sleep to enjoy Berlin the next days! img_1158I am going to write a separate post about Berlin itself (earlier than in 2018, I promise!), so let this one be just the roadtrip part and Prague. I have been there so many times already and have written so much, so I’ll keep it short.

Talking about Berlin again, it was crazy! The only thing is – 3 days wasn’t enough. We definitely need more and more to explore this controversial place. I honestly didn’t even expect that I would like Berlin at all! So we didn’t intend to plan more days there, and that was a big mistake. Wherever you decide to visit it, take a week. Especially if you are into underground culture – you are going to dissolve in Berlin’s moody atmosphere.

On the way back we didn’t have to drive the whole destination to Vienna as we were stopping in Prague for the next 3 days, so we were quite relaxed about the trip and decided to drive at night to simply get more of Berlin before saying goodbye. After dinner we got in the car, put some cool music on and in a relaxed way took off. I was driving the whole way to Dresden which was not hard at all even with no daylight. Fast German highways, brav0! I still didn’t get why you don’t have to pay for the roads of such quality when even shitty Czech ones damn charge you. Same goes for parking – it was free almost everywhere in Berlin, even in the city centre. We don’t know the system and I might provide some incorrect info now, but we personally ended up paying only for the hotel parking lot, even though we used the car a lot to get around the city.

So, back to the scary experience of having to drive through the Czech Republic: after Dresden we switched and Jamila was to make it to Prague. The distance was even shorter than the one I had to overcome, but then we got in the same goddamn trap again! At some point, after having made 300 circles following the arrows, I just saw the sign saying we were on our way back to Dresden. The only thing that helped us to get out of there was that we knew already what was going on. Imagine yourself driving in the middle of the night with no streetlights whatsoever, no signs, no info boards and absolutely no people around. And then you are just lost and your navigator keeps bringing you to the same damn point after which the highway is closed but it doesn’t have a clue about that. I think we would have just stopped somewhere, slept in the car and waited until the sun is up to try to navigate ourselves somehow… I have no words about Czech roads and level of not-giving-a-shit: after 4 days there still was no sign in advance warning about roadworks. Somehow Jamila made it while I was freaking out in one of the abandoned villages with scary lights in one window. I am scared of darkness, and that was Halloween night. So, my friend deserves a medal. She just took a completely different route through another cities, but making a circle instead of trying to drive directly to Prague really made more sense. I even had dreams after that night that I was just endlessly driving around that devil loop.

It didn’t get much better in Prague because the parking situation is horrible there. You just can’t park anywhere if you are not a resident. There are tiny spots for non-residents which you have to know about because you don’t just run into them on occasion. But the trick is, you can only stay there for 6 hrs. So every 6 hrs you have to go back to buy a new parking ticket. And then there is another Czech style thing; parkomats keep accepting money only for 2-3 hrs and then they spit a ticket out at you without letting you insert more coins. Lovely, huh? So, the whole time in Prague we either were returning to the car every couple hours buying a new ticket or risked being fined (the fine is not that high there, so sometimes you just stop caring, and we actually didn’t receive a single one).

But I still love Prague, no matter what! This is somehow like the Italian charm of nothing ever working. We were very lucky with the weather catching the last warm sun rays before winter came.

We called our roadtrip a bartrip, actually. One of the reasons to go to Berlin was to experience its amazing bar culture. So we continued in Prague. Following friends’ recommendations, we went to Black Angel’s and Bugsy’s bar. It’s forbidden to take pics in the first one, which I already like because Vienna’s best places have such policies as well. But it’s very intimate, exclusive and just good taste. If you want more loud fun, though, then Bugsy’s is perfect! I tried the most unusual cocktail ever there: it looked like regular pistachio ice cream, but was so intense with alcohol, too! The finger food was good as well. So, 5+ goes to both.

Some other places in Prague apart from shops and regular sightseeing were Café-Café, Bake Shop (the best quiche I have ever tried! Even Viennese Le Bol or Hidden Kitchen hardly compete!) and John Lennon graffiti wall. It can’t compare to the Berlin kinds of graffiti art, of course. But the walk there is lovely and around it there is a lot of action, street musicians playing Lennon’s songs, and just the neighborhood where you find it itself is very cute.

We also went to O’Che’s for my friends performance. They are just so good, you know that if you follow my Instagram. So many talented people I know happen to live in Prague🙀. That’s the main reason I love to visit Prague – my school friends and their friend I have known for a while already since I usually crash on their couches. They have such a community there, that we never had in Vienna. And they all are always very pleasant to visit again and again, drink with for the whole night and then go eat the best ever street quesadilla not even noticing they forgot to put meat in mine, so happy we were that night.

Another must-do in Prague for me is Marks&Spencer food. It is just so good! We don’t have it back home, so we loaded the car full of food, said goodbye to my Prague friends that even came to see us in the morning when we were leaving; grabbed the best of a kind (after Joseph Brot’s one with poppy seeds) cheesecake at Café-Café and took off back to Vienna.

Driving from Prague is very easy and not stressful at all. We took the route through Brno and in 3 hrs were already stuck in traffic jam to enter Vienna. That was the barroadtrip. Well done! Looking forward for the next one, planned already!

Coming back was great, too, as we arrived just on time to meet our love Elisabeth, who made our next 10 days just as much fun as any roadtrip ❤img_2079


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UPD: back on track

Hey, guys! I am alive and I am back to Europe. tulqqdt4vrcExactly a month has it been. I still have no way to write a complete story about my summer trips that has to also be followed by a lot of thoughts. And there are a lot of thoughts. What I saw and experienced this summer changed me a lot. I started appreciating such things as drinking water, to begin with. Living in a Cuban society interacting with people being stuck in such an unusual for the modern world situation literally blows your mind! I am inspired (I never ever use this stupid phrase!) by Cuba, I will talk about Cuba, I will always remember what Cuba taught me. And I miss Cuba.

I was also lucky to visit Mexico this summer. Was a short trip but I managed to see/eat/drink a lot of amazing things. And this I can’t wait to share as well!

As I returned to Europe, my friends flew to Paris to meet me there and spend some time in the city with less English and white people to overcome my cultural shock a little bit. It was a very useful buffer before coming back to Vienna. And Paris was just so sweet this time!

I am praying now that with my extremely tough upcoming semester I will have time and inspiration to write about my summer experience. Would be such a shame to just let the impressions slip away! I still can’t forgive myself for writing absolutely nothing when used to live in the US. Won’t let it happen again! Posts are arriving soon!

Meanwhile, happy beginning of the school year for everyone! It’s the first day of fall for us, but luckily we caught the last sunbeams and made a trip to the lake yesterday.

Hope you are all safely returning from the vacations that were just amazing and warmed you up enough to meet the autumn.