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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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2o¡8

IMG_1428Happy 2018! Now all the celebrations are almost over (there is an “Old New Year” on the 13th of January for the Russians, too) and I am currently on vacation in Lech, Austrian Alps. So, I have some time to put a tick for the first post of this year. Some might have noticed that I was trying to catch up with my missing posts while traveling in the train and wrote about my trips to Azerbaijan and Georgia.

A new year on the calendar doesn’t mean any gradual changes for me. I make no resolutions and expect no miracles, bottomless inspiration and motivation or extreme weight loss, definitely mot after the holidays I am having this year! This is just a nice-memories-post of how I spent the holidays this year. I decided to stay in Vienna for the first time and didn’t really have any idea what to expect. Traditionally, we started giving presents and sharing food at our pre-Christmas dinner with the girls. which we host few days before Christmas. Last year it was at my place, this time Isabella invited us and our Olivier-bowls over.

For Christmas, me and Dani went to his family. We all stayed in an amazing house in the woods of the Austrian-Slovenian Alps, isolated from any means of civilization. We could see the whole milky way from our balcony! It was just awesome. For me it was always the first time I was staying with somebody’s closest family since my Christmas in the USA. I felt as a kid when we all searched for our presents under the tree and passed plates full of home-made food across a huge dinner table during 3 days. Many thanks to the Schobers! ❤

For New Year’s Eve, we came back to Vienna. I didn’t make any huge plans since I knew that it is not as much of a big deal here as it is in Russia. We started with proper daytime barhopping across our favorite bars, meeting acquaintances, collecting champagne glasses and delicious snacks followed by hugs and empty bills. Motto am Fluss held a nice brunch (which I had smartly reserved in October) and, well, Roberto’s and Kleinod are my daily New Year’s Eve, and judging by the crowd outside, I am not alone there. I was sure that bars would be the most fun. They were indeed awesome, but I was surprised later at night, too. I was spending several New Years in recent years in hotels so I was used to people going out on the streets after midnight – it’s quite natural to do when you are not at your own home with your family and friends. But I was sure such a scene could be seen only on resorts and never expected such celebration scale outside in Vienna! Hundreds of people, concerts and drinks on every corner, so loud and so fun! I am super thankful that my closest Austrian friend Anna dragged us outside together with her family to join the city celebrations before going to our final destination – Dani’s newborn baby, Clandestino bar @Mercado. I knew I wanted to kiss him for the midnight, but staying there partying until sunrise was a pleasant bonus. The staff knows how to do it right, so a proper party was guaranteed in advance. Needless to say that I left Horst club wearing my long evening gown and completely unbothered jumped into a morning tram to go home.

First three days of this year I got up from the couch maximum 10 times I think. Cuddling with boyfriend, eating non-stop and drinking beer – what else to start a perfect year? Those three lazy days were just as good emotionally as all the celebrations!

I had to leave my comfy couch once to pack suitcases and head off to Lech. So seldom I got to spend Christmas with the family, and this year I had two! I was with my family for the Orthodox Christmas, which never happens because of my studies usually starting earlier. This year we got all together with my parents, beloved cousin and her husband to have wonderful joyful time in the mountains. I love our tradition which is turning 15 years this season for me and the parents, but I am also happy that we could go not as early as we always do and I got to spend Christian Christmas with Dani’s family and New Year celebrations (there were a few) with my friends who all also stayed in Vienna this year. It’s a magic!

 

 


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Frohoho

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Frozen hello from unusually cold this year Vienna! We are expecting the coldest winter in 100 years, which is a big demotivator to such low temperatures hater as me. 

I am also a Grinch, to those who don’t know (if such people exist, as I tend to scream about it on every corner). So this is no adore-artificial-lights-and-sugar-with-hot-water-called-punsch post. I am really not a fan of all this Christmas fuss at all. Why don’t I spend winters in warmer countries, one might ask? Well, because I snowboard every free week I get. This is the only good thing during this season for me, definitely not crowds of people in shops and smell if cinnamon that I am allergic to. Ok, sorry, done with the Grinch vibe. I am starting with the season only in January this year, this means the first time in Vienna for the holidays for me. I am actually excited! Doesn’t matter where, matters with whom, right? And unexpectedly all my friends are staying in town as well, so we are already starting with our pre-parties and giving presents in couple days! The presents I like.

I don’t make any NY resolutions since few years, either. Honestly, I get a feeling that they are for the weak. Why do you need a list on a specific date to make your life better? I am such plans and fine organization lover on everyday basis, some would even call it a control freak. But those lists are something I don’t understand. I am not saying that all this “new year – new me” is bullshit, nope, it can be a very strong psychological incentive for changes. But why follow some stupid bullet points and put pressure on yourself, if you can just be strong enough to follow what makes you happy and what drives your personal progress. So, no “visit Paris this year” for me, I’ll just go and visit. 

Even though I am not trying to come up with random resolutions here, summarizing the past year would take me just few sentences. It was a happy one, because I ate a lot of good food, I traveled to a lot of beautiful places, I spent it with the person I love. Not much more I need. I really find all those talks about personal achievements boring, so I am not gonna bore you, if I haven’t already. 

So, spend the holidays with the ones you love, if you got the chance. Merry Christmas and talk to you next year! Prost! 🍸

P.S.: Time to share the most exciting event for us this year: Daniel opened up his own bar, Clandestino. Whenever you are in Vienna, come visit! You will be amazed 😉 I am very proud, the best feeling to end this year with.


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UPD: Life Ball & PIONEERS Festival

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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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twentyfour

IMG_0826I turned 24 last week. And this is a little big thank you to everyone who was involved in my spontaneous Birthday celebration.

First of all, thanks to my amazing coolest ever parents! For everything. For those twenty four sometimes really tough for them years, for all of my birthday celebrations my whole life and for this one as well, which traditionally ended up with a trip!

My day actually started two days in advance, when the girls got us all “for dinner” which turned out to be the only chance they had to give me my present when we are together.

The restaurant Mama Liu and Sons was chosen for that, I had already been there but years ago, on a date. It is, like any place with soups and noodles, not a first-date-place haha, but it is worth trying; take the coconut-seafood-hotpot!

And…I received a trip to Croatia all together with my girls! The best things you can give me are food and trips, everyone had already figured that out I am sure. So excited, can’t describe! Thank you!

Another two days were just a never ending marathon of randomly switching between our favorite places, and everywhere I got cakes and champagne. If you follow me on Instagram and watch the stories, you know how absolutely happy I was that days/nights ❤ Really, guys, it’s probably just a bottle from your bar fro you, but means a lot to me!

Already saw my burgers cake, right? This is just as good as the hot chocolate churros lollipop I later got from chuchu. The story how the girls were gonna break into my house with their own keys and the cake and how I left home and they would have to chase me around town with it will always be my favorite! Alongside with how at 4 in the morning we realized that our gate was closing in 2 hrs and we hadn’t even packed. Oh well!

We DID make it to the airport, thanks to the cumulative effort of several people. But I would really just love to see us that morning and the following day that we spent in Brussels!

What surprised me the most other than our productive day of sightseeing and beertasting after 40hrs of no sleep is that when we made it to Lisbon that night (having been late for the flight, lost our luggage and running faster than ever), we still had energy to go out again! That was really one hell of a Birthday and keeping receiving presents and glasses, I feel like it’s still lasting 😉 Thanks again and again to everyone so much!

Travel stories about tough times jet-setting while being tipsy follow!


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UPD: Easter break highlights

92dvk6rqix8Happy Spring Break everyone!

I am not an Easter fan at all, the eggs-bird nests-and-bunnys market actually annoy me that much that last 3 years I carefully make sure I don’t pass by a single one of those. But spring break is something else for me because it’s traveling time, dislocating on to summer terraces time, and I am also a lucky one to always have my Birthday during these holidays.

This spring is already rich with events. A lot of new places either opened up or changed the concept, so every week we have something new to look forward to. Good news for those who are in Vienna – Tel Aviv Beach is already open and Motto am Fluss terrace is operating at its full capacity – probably my favorite places to sit outside in this town. Can’t wait for Pratersauna summer space to open up next!

A lot of people I know have their Birthdays at the end of March – April. Summertime must have some real love magic bringing so many kids being born these months! My whole April is usually just going to a Birthday party on almost daily bases. Three of those happened just last week only in Vienna, I congratulate at least 5 people who are away every day, and there are many more to go.

Btw, some lifehacks: if you need an amazing cake in Vienna that will be both delicious in exactly the way you want it and a masterpiece appearance wise – order one from eatandbake! I tried 4 of Mariya’s creations already and they are something I had never even dreamt of before! And if you need pretty neat and stylish bouquets – Vie de Flamme will provide you with the freshest and most beautiful flowers.

Going on with a minute for unsponsored marketing – new bars are in town! Josef just opened up recently and krypt is opening tomorrow. I have already been to both, too early to say anything, but they definitely look like very high potentials. Another art event, the opening of Julian Epok’s exhibition by Neni, took place last Saturday. It was very pink.

I am looking forward to a lot of different openings and events in Vienna which always brighten up spring. But honestly even more excited I am for leaving Vienna this Friday for my next trip, hehe. This year is the first time when I am not traveling far away for the whole Easter break because I am currently working on my thesis (and that’s exactly why I am writing this post now instead of doing my abstract) and can only leave for several days going within Europe. But I am still very very glad! It’s always nice to go somewhere warm, and, on top of that, it’s gonna be the two new countries for me where I had never been before. This will get me extremely close to completely scratching off whole Europe on my map, I will literally have couple more places to go to. Uiii!

Going back to my thesis now, have to finish last preparations for the trip tonight as well. Happy Easter, bunnies!


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València

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI already started my short narrative about recent trip to lovely Valencia with a photo stream. Coming up with a sequential story would be one hell of a challenge, because if you come to the city during Fallas festival – it’s quite a big loud mess around which makes planning impossible as you can’t even predict if you will ever be able to take a cab. So, I would rather just give some tips of what to do/see/eat.

Time to come: I would say not in summer. It is obvious that it gets extremely hot in that part of Spain during summer holidays, and on top of that Valencia doesn’t have a huge long beach, so I assume being stuck in stone jungles during enormous heat is not for everyone. The locals also complained about the city being so packed in summer that they themselves chose to leave and come back in autumn. Talking about the weather, middle of March was already enjoyable and totally suitable for sipping a drink outside. I guess March to June, before it gets too hot and pupils get out of schools, and then September to November are perfect for visiting. If you find yourself in Spain in summer only, then you might prefer to get an accommodation somewhere on the seaside and come to Valencia by car or by train to visit, as the city is definitely worth seeing!

Area to stay: here it gets a bit tricky. The thing is, historical center of the city and the beaches area are quite separated. Both are picturesque and offer all different kinds of hotels to chose from. But getting back and forth from promenade with seafood restaurants to the chain of old chaotic streets with neoclassical architecture of the historical sites would require a taxi each time, so better chose from the very beginning what’s more important for you – the view over the sea and fresh breeze or you can do with loud nights and crowds of people but would prefer to be close to all the sightseeing. We stayed in the center, but I like the rhythm of big loud cities. During Fallas especially it might be a good idea though to stay away from never ending explosions and book something on the beach.

Sightseeing: anything! I never say it like that usually preferring to have a plan of what I want to visit for sure, but in Valencia I would just advise to put some comfortable sneakers on and walk as much as you can. It’s very beautiful around. Start from the Cathedral (don’t forget to come inside to witness the Holy Grail!), check out all the little places that cell sweets on the main square, then walk around the Cathedral – there is more to come behind it; turn somewhere randomly and make couple circles – the best way to find most interesting shops, as they don’t have any advertisement whatsoever. One of the main attractions is the Central Market of Valencia, where you can buy anything from fresh fruit cocktails to professionally wrapped jamón leg. Try things, ask about things – there is really a lot that is unlikely to be found in the coolest supermarket. Around the marketplace there are some tapas places that cook whatever is being sold fresh. During Fallas it’s not easy to find free tables in cafes, but shouldn’t be a problem for the rest of the year, as the catering supply in Spain never stays below the demand. And just make sure to make as many turns around the corner as possible – you never know what’s there!

From the very heart of the city walk up to the former riverbed that is now a big park, Jardí del Túria. Nice views from there and the best spots to watch the Fallas fireworks which have absolutely incredible scale!

From there you can walk (we took a cab, though) to a completely different part of the city, Ciutat de les Arts i les CiènciesIt is a complex of museums and further entertainments that offers a variety of exhibition in modern arts and sciences. But what makes it so special is the architecture. The complex is composed out of huge futuristic constructions that to me personally looked like giant whales. It is very impressive to see it from different angles, and one indeed starts feeling like walking somewhere on Mars.

We also visited the Oceanogràfic of Valencia which is also a famous tourist attraction alongside with the Zoo, which drag not only families with kids but just the flora, fauna and beauty lovers from all over the world. I liked how it’s organized, all species were easy to find, and the path through the Aquarium keeps the visitor entertained throughout the whole way.

There is definitely a lot more that can be put into typical tourist list. Normally I try to search for the alternatives and explore new destinations in a different direction rather than a travel guide would recommend, but I admit that some places aiming to attract mostly tourists are worth seeing, too. That was the case with the Market and Aquarium of Valencia, as well as its beaches and traditional tapas places. One of the popular among visitors due to their location restaurants would be La Murciana, a seafood place with very cosy terrace facing the sea. There are several more places around that area, so that can be your destination if you decide to take a cab to the beach not being sure where to stop the driver.

If you want really good food and don’t mind driving for it a bit, leave the noisy city for one siesta time and visit La Lluna: a restaurant build in an old mill that served us the most perfect variations of foie gras, cheese dishes and traditional Spanish tapas than you can only imagine. Boatella would be another recommendations for the seafood lovers, and Bodega Montaña – for trying more and more tapas.

The sweets are definitely something in Spain in general. Valencia is no exception, and I could eat churros and buñelos whole night walks long. One must-try is also horchata con farton. You can find it pretty much anywhere, but the cult place is Horchatería de Santa Catalina.  Don’t be scared of the line at the entrance – it moves really quick, and what you are getting for waiting will blow your mind!

I always leave some tips of where to climb for the best views over the area. This time it was so bright and flaming everywhere in the city due to the festival, that we didn’t really need more of a view. However, following the tradition and relying on other bloggers’ tips, those are the terraces that looked the most appealing to me: l’Umbracle, 270 grados & Mi Cub on top of Mercado de Colón – another must-see.

What else? Shopping. Spain is very rich with that, anyone who has ever been there knows. Uterqüe and the other Inditex brands are cheaper and presented in a much greater variety here than anywhere else, as well as all the other national Spanish brands which I always find interesting. Walk along Carrer de Don Juan de Austria and the nearby smaller streets to see some small boutiques, and if you want something authentic – I loved Wakanda and Madamme Bugalu shops. But, basically, wherever you go in the city center, I doubt that you will leave with no pleasant shopping items 😉

Take couple days to visit Valencia whenever get a chance. You won’t regret! I am already planning to be back in summer, so you will hear something else from there soon again!