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Lignano-Rome-Saint Petersburg-TBA

I love this feeling, when I’m writing a post while almost boarding a plane to somewhere new. Because I know that once I am there – I’ll have so many fresh impressions that going back to previous trips will be tough.

So, a quick recap of my August before the last trip of this summer (unbelievable!) starts.

Lignano, Rome and Saint Petersburg, together with Barcelona and Venice where I went just before, are my most visited cities. Nevertheless, I am no less excited to go there every summer again and again! Lignano is like my second home now, a short vacation getaway at any time when I need it; Rome, Venice and Barcelona are just my perfect cities for a weekend, despite tourist crowds and all that what the locals hate, for me their energy I get charged with is worth making my way through any crowd; Saint Petersburg… well, I used to call this place home. And it still has a big part of my heart that I left there forever. It’s nice when it’s not broken but is left with my best friends who live there, and I can always visit and dive back into how it used to be; priceless opportunity.

This time in Lignano was special, because I went with Dani. It’s amazing to bring along someone you love and show them “your” place, with special corners, favourite restaurants, tennis courts from where I sent him so many pictures with parents. For him it is also a special area, where he spent a big deal of his childhood. Chilling on the beach sipping Aperols, stuffing ourselves with the best foods, reading on the rooftop while he is getting his sleep recap for the past year. I already can’t wait to be there next June again and reopen another amazing season!

Trip to Rome was also very cozy and full of comfort. You see cities completely differently once stop being a first-time tourist there. When this rush to see/eat/photograph all the musts is over, comes the time to fully enjoy the city. I was also very glad to go with Lena and spend some quality time together before she moves to Moscow.

Regarding the places, we were mostly sticking to my favourite route that I described last year, with mandatory meals at Urbana 47 and Cantina e Cucina, adding Campo de’ Fiori, rooftops at Forum Hotel, Monti Palace Hotel and Capo d’Africa, pizzeria Emma and cultural stiff outside of Vatican for the first time: MAXXI Museum of Modern art impressed us a lot; whereas Galleria Borghese where I wanted to go since many years turned out to be a big disappointment. Everything is relative!

We visited during Ferragosto, so a lot of places I wanted to visit were closed. It’s like I could’t manage to see Trevi Fountain for like 4 years in a row while it was on reconstruction, same is happening with Mercato Monti for me now. Next year, maybe!IMG_3894 2 Going to Saint Petersburg had even more wonderful purpose than eating and looking at Caravaggio. I was invited to my dear friend’s wedding. Skakun is Skakun no more! This was so beautiful and full of love that I couldn’t be happier for my friends.

Saint Petersburg is a place full of love for me even without such magical events as weddings, thanks to my friends and the memories there that don’t fade after more than 7 years.

I got to meet many more people than are in the pics, which makes it an absolute strike in terms of amount of cathing-ups in 36 hours. I love you, guys!

So do I love crab meat! Lisa, as always, took me on a gastro tour. Last time shawarma was what impressed me the most, together with Subzero, which I hit again for breakfast (because why not sushi for breakfast). The new discoveries were Harvest and DuoAsia, and they brought to an absolute ecstasy state.

As hard as it always is to say goodbye to my friends in Russia, was saying goodbye to those who are leaving Vienna now. Too many goodbyes at once for me!

As always when writing a post on the go, I have no time to properly wrap it up now. But maybe it’s even better this way, before I get too sentimental. Time to pack suitcases! For someone it’s bringing a new stage of life, may it be marriage or moving from Vienna, to me it will be opening a door that I closed 10 years ago.

Yup, I am finally going to New York!


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BCN: food

Tapas life and more. Let’s finally dive into this world of Catalan food.

Some data was gathered by me back in 2017, and even though I tried my best to check if all the places are still there and asked my local friends if they are still just as good as before, slight changes on the Bcn food scene from what I will describe here may have occurred. 

BRUNCH

The most important meal of the day for me. Even though I believe tapas are quite suitable for breakfast just as much as they are for dealing with evening craving, I still worship brunch in its classical understanding. So, top my avocado waffle with that poached egg!

  • Cafe Alsur. That’s a chain. All of the places are very cozy, with friendly stuff, air conditioner (not a must for cafes thing even in Bcn heat) and great ambient. I wrote most of my thesis there as well as got wasted at 11 am a few times, so it’s a place for any occasion; and their waffles are the best!
  • la Boqueria. A food market in the heart of Barcelona that attracts both locals and tourists with its choice of anything fresh, from juices to seafood delivered straight from fishermen. I love walking in early in the morning to grab a fresh juice and empanadas for breakfast on the beach.
  • Brunch&Cake. The most instagrammable brunch in Barcelona. Expect to wait quite long to be seated though. But if you want a perfect picture of your brunch, with the brightest mimosas and the fluffiest pancakes decorated by flowers and colorful sauces – that’s a place for you!
  • Federal Cafe. Even though hidden on a tiny square in the Gothic Quartet labyrinth, there are queues to be seated as well during brunch hours. I preferred to come in the afternoon for a brinner and enjoy all the same amazing egg dishes, toasts and coffee, but in a less crowded vibe. The place is very stylish but minimalistic. I love their tiny tables at the window seats. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  • Lulu. Also a bit hidden from pedestrian streets most of tourists take, but quite popular, it’s a place with quite a small menu made mostly out of simple toasts, but they are delicious. And they have 1L sangria on cava, wohoooo!
  • Milk. Another popular place, which is no surprise. I’d recommend coming earlier. We came already at 9, and by 11 it was impossible to get a table. But it’s located on the street with a few other amazing brunch places, so you can always give it a try, and if not – you won’t have to look for something else long. Turkish eggs and Crab benedict are love! milk
  • Tropico. A more quiet place, nevertheless great breakfast choice, fresh juices and design. A famous map of the world where everyone takes pics is found there, for sure you’ve seen it once if checked Barcelona in instagram locations. Omelette with goat cheese and honey impressed me so much that I started making it at home. tropicoA few more places where I loved brunching but can’t find pics now:
  • Flax&kale. Also very instagrammable. For me was a bit too healthy, but vegans and those who would rather replace sauce hollandaise with a watermelon in the morning will love it.
  • Benedict is a famous place, that’s one of those on the same street with Milk. It recently opened a new location, Belliny. Same menu, 400% less crowded. Loved their variations of Benedict, just ham seems boring for me after seeing how much one can actually make out of it!
  • EatMyTrip was a tip from my local friend. The dishes are just soooo pretty! Definitely on my list for the next trip!
  • Caravelle. Old good brunch yet so new and different.

TAPAS

I will be honest, I am not a fan of Spanish cuisine. I prefer my seafood completely raw, which is not a Spanish way, and my bread basket containing at least 6 kinds of breads, which is definitely not a Spanish way. And tapas excite me only if they are REALLY unique. So you can be sure that those will blow your mind, because I’ve tried a lot.

  • Bormuth. Located on my favourite street in el Born, it’s quite a typical tapas place. But they are just so delicious there! Croquets, tartare toasts, patatas bravas with an egg on top, jamón on a warm plate…I even ate the russian salad there! And never have I ever though I’d be amazed by meatballs. Sorry USA fellas, but the American way made ones gross me out. bormuth
  • Cañete. Just the freaking best tapas place in the world. All said.

     

  • 9 Granados. More chic, but still fits within tapas culture with its menu to share. Delicious! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  • El Quim. And we are back on the Boqueria market. Who said it’s only bites to go and juices there? You find soooo many proper haute cuisine, just in a market stand format, that I am pretty sure I haven’t even tasted the best things there yet. But this one place had such attractive smell that I even ate fried fish there which I normally dislike.

     

  • Honest greens. A new place in town that already won people’s hearts with it’s smart concept of building up bowls and salads from whatever you want, but if that whatever includes raw tuna, shitake and all the freshest greens – I’m in! Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

SEAFOOD

What would be a trip to Barcelona without the best seafood? Don’t go for it anywhere, it is just as likely to be frozen as it is in the city far away from the coast. Sitges where we used to go on a holiday with family has much better fish and seafood to offer than Barcelona, however surprising that may seem. But there are great fish restaurants in Bcn as well, just make sure you know where to go.

  • Can Fisher. Fresh. What else is there to say? Amazing view to the sea itself, too. Far from the city center, which is often great for a fine dining experience. Ironically, I only have starters that include meat captured in a picture. The seabass in salt was so huge that couldn’t fir in one. I guess. So you’ll have to believe me on that one.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  • Mordisco. Seafood classics as well as dishes like squid ink risotto. Charming room with a glass ceiling. You can take me on a date there!
  • Xemei. This place won my heart. I’d say it’s the best dinner I ever had in Barcelona, not counting pizza from Frankie Gallo maybe. It’s not a seafood restaurant but a Venetian cuisine one. Great when you can’t see tapas anymore 😉 It has the best seafood pasta though! Their menu has meat choices, too. The place itself is so special that it’s worth going there if you don’t care about the size of clams in your plate.

    A dinner bonus for those who don’t eat fish. The best meat restaurant in town – Buenos Aires. This steak will make you go crazy!

BARS

Here we are on my favourite page of gastronomy. The bars. No, THE bars.

  • Creps al Born. My number one place in Barcelona. Great cocktails, cool staff and amazing vibe of the bar adds up to a bonus of great sweet and savoury crepes they make there. I would totally include this place in my brunch list as a Sunday hangover must-do (on other days it opens at 6 pm, so use your chance for a proper Sunday funday!)
  • Numeronueve. Located just around the corner from Creps al Born, a classical bar with original cocktails menu, cozy corners for dates and a wide bar for those who wanna chat with a cure barkeeper. You get to dance there a lot as well. It was one of my first bars in Bcn where I went with Dasha already 6-7 years ago, so I love it tenderly. numero 9
  • Boca Chica. A fancy beautiful bar. Everything there is just iconically beautiful, from bathroom mirrors to coasters. Make sure to dress up a bit. It’s so different from typical Bcn bars where anyone can come in shorts that this contrast brings you to a royal feeling. Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  • Pulitzer Hotel rooftop. A great daydrinking place, too. Almost always has a DJ, crowded but with a cool crowd, not with tourists who walked in from the beach still in their flip flops.
  • Ocaña. Located in the centre of Bcn tourism, you would never expect it to be so special.Just walk inside, go downstairs to a speakeasy bar Apotheke, take beautoful stairs up to observe an amazing Mexican restaurant. Sit on the terrace to feel this energy of the city – it’s so concentrated in Plaça Reial!

Presumably me and Dani saw each other for the first time in Ocaña, when he was managing it and I was visiting Barcelona, before we actually met again in Vienna 3 years later. So this is a special place foe me not only because of their delicious octopus and silky cocktails.

  • Mr Robinson. A bar where you can brunch as well. Not sure what makes it so attractive to me, a cute menu styled as a journey around the world book, wooden bar or suitcases, but I really like it there.
  • Bar Brutal. The coolest wine bar I’ve seen.Processed with VSCO with g3 presetAhhh can’t believe I FINALLY managed to share my favourite places in one of my favourite city! No idea why it was so hard in the past 3 years to finalise this post! Maybe one day I’ll even write about Hong Kong! Anyways, eat, drink, love, travel to Barcelona! I definitely will soon again!


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Cyprus, 5 years after

IMG_9410Cyprus! A sunny island with no concerns. I haven’t been there since our trip 5 years ago. Back then we went as typical tourists looking for parties, so we stayed in Ayia Napa. Nissi beach is still one of the most spectacular ones in my memory, and rocky landscapes are breathtaking. Not even commenting on the parties which I now would be too old for, same as Malta last year.

This trip was more chilled because I was visiting my friends at their house not far from Larnaca.

Feeling the heat for the first time this year was just so amazing for such a weather dependent person as I happen to be! And the food!

We drove down to Ayia Napa, I dived into my first trip memories while eating the best tuna and seafood at Vassos Tavern. Those restaurants seem all the same, even menus are quite similar, but quality of the food can differ gradually, especially at tourist areas. So don’t rely on what flyers your hotel might have at the reception desk, but better ask some locals or check out blogs for the best Mediterranean food experiences.

This time we hit Limassol, as well! Last time the hangover was too harsh on us to let us drive what seemed so far, but the guys made sure I check it out and meet with Polina, who lives there. Going to a place with the local is always a different experience, so I’m sure we had the best oysters at Puesta Oyster Bar and Grill. The place is said to have one of the best oysters you can find on the island, but it’s so charming, hidden from tourists, and offers such an amazing variety of seafood and local dishes, that it’s worth a visit even of you are no oyster fan.

Having always thought that Cyprus is a place solely for parties or getting old in a nice house in the rock, I didn’t expect Limassol to be so dynamic. The island is still more of a resort than a modern country, but that’s what islands are attracting us with, isn’t it? Definitely coming back soon to visit the guys again!

Summer, hello! IMG_9476_Facetune_12-05-2019-19-44-00

 


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Obertauern

IMG_5826_Facetune_16-03-2019-13-44-36And another new snowboarding location follows!

Despite not having much time off this season to properly go to the Alps for the regular 2 weeks trip I have been doing couple times per season since 14 years (ahh, amazing school/uni years!), I have managed to see surprisingly a lot of new slopes this year!

This trip was an amazing combo of everything, because we first went to Slazburg to celebrate Ruby’s Birthday, which was followed by an amazing skiing and apres-skiing weekend in Obertauern.

For the dinner (which we had en blanc, since it was indeed an outstanding culinary experience), we were invited to Stratmann. It’s one of those places no tourist has never found, and it’s just incredible. It’s one of those cases when I don’t write “if you happen to pass by – definitely check it out”, but “you have to GO there!”.

 

About Obertauern itself I’ve heard a lot, but had never been before. It’s a place for young crowds who want to party, but the slopes are great, too! A wide range of easy routes marked blue (but we found some black adventures as well, so a rider of any level won’t be bored there), and the coolest thing – slopes interconnected in a way that enables a round-trip through the entire area, somewhat like Sella Ronda of Italy.

We were there more to party than to do sports, but I am very proud of us that we actually managed to start at 8 a.m. and were killing it on the slopes until the lifts were closed. Then the apres-ski comes, and it’s amazing there! I lived the place called Kingsalm the most. It’s so rare to hear good techno music on the slopes! Most of the huts play traditional Austrian/Slovenian (depends on the area) music that is made solely for apres-ski and isn’t always the deepest lyrics or the best taste melody, I admit. That place had a great dj every day and even live performers, so cool! The vibe itself is also incredible, already during daytime it turns into Ibiza of the mountains.

There are plenty of traditional huts, too, and they are open all night long, whereas most of the resorts die around dinner time. Here one can surely go crazy! Even fancy restaurants, eg. Peakini, turn into crazy party places that keep the neighbours up all night long. You go, Obertauern!

The season of this year is over and despite loving snowboarding with all my heart, I can’t wait for this spring to start!


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Paris, Je t’adore

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetParis. How much garlic smell, macarons crackle, demonstrations noise and lights of fancy shopfronts in this word.

Last time I went to Paris was more than two years ago, so we decided to give ourselves a long weekend of pleasure of eating snails and foie gras, shopping on sales and just getting away from dull Viennese winter.

We finally spent enough time on Montmartre for me to understand how much I love it there! Last time we took a short walk because there were too many tourists; during my first visit in Paris we only went to the Moulin Rouge. I must admit I liked the city during demonstrations everyone is so scared of. No tourists, and even the locals stay in. Easy to get a table in restaurants, to take pictures without crowds in the background, and just to enjoy Paris the way it would be if it wasn’t too popular. The weather in January is also surprisingly fine! We came during the worst day of that week’s forecast, and it was still much better than what winter looks like in Vienna.

Yellow vests and constant complaints about winter aside, the main topic for me never changes – THE FOOD. This time we were better prepared than I was last times, when my travel companions were just walking me to the fanciest restaurants of Paris, like Chez Julien, Chez André and Fouquet’s, which are without any doubts amazing, but trying something different was what I wanted out of this trip. So, here we go with what we managed to eat in 48 hours Paris:

  • Hardware Soiété: opened by Australians, there is another one in Melbourne. Literally the best brunch I’ve ever had! Lobster eggs Benedict blew my mind! The entire menu is very creative and goes far beyond avocado and poached eggs, but not too far, where you get a leaf on a burnt crumb for breakfast, the time when you are the hungriest. I’d love to try everything in the menu! The staff is super nice, I guess mostly Australians, so here you are not afraid of not being understood – a common fear in Paris. The drinks are also flawless, Anfisa had her best cold brew there. The area of Sacré-Cœur is also pleasant to start your day there. Definitely a brunch-must-visit! The place was full, we came with no reservation (early, before 10) and immediately got a nice table, but when we were done with the food there was already a decent queue outside.
  • For our next breakfast, we decided to have it traditional French way: get a croque monsieur sandwich, cheese omelette, baguette and croissants with coffee in a random Parisian bistro. We found one near the Opera house, but all the ones we checked around seemed to have a similar menu. And I must say, despite being extremely touristy, it was great! Paris is a place where you shouldn’t be scared of something aimed on tourists only, foodwise at least. There are more places we discovered and I marked for brunch for the next visit, so maybe someone will try them out before me: Peonies, Season, Marcelle, Dersou.
  • Breakfast follows with lunch/dinner must-eats. The famous truffle pasta at Pink Mamma! I have eaten tens of truffle pastas in life, but that one was definitely the best! This gourmet group is in general always a good choice. La Felicità is another cool location with great ambient that many Paris experts advised me already. And not just the food is delicious at their restaurants, also the buildings and the rooms themselves are a treasure. 100% instagrammable 😉
  • Finding an absolutely perfect place for dinner was a challenge for me. A lot of recognised restaurants don’t have websites, don’t reserve and just don’t want to communicate, don’t have menus in English. Google research and platforms like tripadvisor don’t help much there either, so I went through some blogs and came across Chez la Vieille. It’s a place you never enter seeing from the outside: tiny door, no light on the ground floor, no spectacular signboards. Even the name is written with chalk, no kidding. And this was exactly a place I was looking for. The best foie gras way of serving I’ve tried, fine wines, intimate atmosphere (for some maybe even too intimate, the tables are no more than 10cm away from each other). Was the finest kick-off into Parisian food experience!
  • Another hidden treasure you are not likely to come across, that was recommended to me is Le Mary Celeste. Compromise prices on something I consider haute cuisine. We tried their tartar and pulled duck on brioche, and I think my stomach cried from pleasure. The bar itself is charming, too, but downstairs is one of those hidden places that might become your favourite if you live in the neighbourhood.
  • When in France, my main desires are snails, foie gras, beef tartar and their sandwiches of any kind. It’s not easy to find a fancy place that has all of this on the menu, because usually fancy places have only 5-7 things on the menu in general. So sometimes a proper classy French bistro is the easiest choice, especially for a larger group of people. We had our finest snails and sandwiches at Cafe Charlot, but I remember having visited a lot of restaurants of this kind during my previous visits to Paris, and I was always satisfied. Depends on what one is searching for, but if you are fine with very crowded, loud, smelly with food places and don’t care how fancy the ambient is – you may have one of the best dining experiences at one of those, so I’d say: don’t just follow the planned route of gourmet trouvailles, be spontaneous and enter any bistro that has a table available! We enjoyed sitting outside enjoying some wine on Montorgueil street: a loud, popular among tourists and younger locals, crowded area with a lot of places to chose from. Here we slowly shift from dinner to bars.
  • Experimental Cocktail Club: around the corner from the above mentioned street. A fun bar, like one of those I go to in Vienna. Young charming barkeepers, delicious nicely garnished experimental cocktails, cute couples squeezed around large groups of party people. There you easily find some adventure!
  • Again hidden, in fact, completely hidden: Candelaria. You have to go through the fast-food place that sells tacos and margaritas and confidently push a tiny disguised white door where the kitchen is. And you find yourself in an amazing bar! I have been in a lot of hidden bars, the concept of exclusivity has become a big deal in the past years. But those places are usually posh, people visiting them want to feel way too exclusive and sometimes it gets ridiculous. It’s not about Candelaria. Here you just feel like you have come to a friend’s house party. If we didn’t have so little time in Paris and weren’t therefore on a bar tour, I’d easily spend all night in that cozy bar full of tacos and people who all seemed to know each other.
  • Clown bar is found right in the circus and has one of the coolest old-school designs.  The food looked delicious, but we were already waiting for our table at le Mary Celeste, so this one remains a goal for the next visit 😉
  • Street crepes. Call it cheesy (they ARE cheesy! and I don’t know what cheese they put inside, but I wanna drown on it), call it tourists attraction, but those things are damn good! A perfect ending for a night out.

Other than eating non-stop (even though I am not even sure if anything other than that is needed in Paris), January is a great time for shopping: sales but less tourists. I discovered the area around Rue Vieille du Temple this time. Haven’t been much around the 3rd district before because most of the time my routes were built around some tourist sights. This district is a very nice place for walking, shopping and chilling in some cafe with a terrace. Won’t even start with Parisian shopping, you probably know it all. If you don’t, you will.

Most of attractions like museums, cathedrals, palaces, castles, viewing points, gardens and whatever else there is in Paris I had already visited before, so we took it easy with the cultural side. We went to Musee de l’Orangerie though, and it is spectacular! We expected a small room with 2-3 Monet paintings, but there is an entire palace of Monet! I’ve seen so much that though nothing new can be there, and it was a new Monet level. Other paintings it contains are also Paris-museum-level valuable and a pleasure to the eye, so I highly recommend the museum. A free entrance everywhere in Paris for European students is also quite motivating, thank you, Paris!

Hoping to be back sooner than it took me since my last visit! Paris, je t’aime! 

 


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Winter is Coming from St. P.

Being unable to come up with any decent title for this post because I already used up all possible ones for my countless posts under the tag, let it be a reminder for me that this winter Vienna got the first snow exactly when I landed from Saint Petersburg. And then I was 4 hours late for work after the train stopped. Because Austria just can’t deal with 3 snowflakes. Indeed, why would a country with Alps know what snow is?

Yup, surprise! I suddenly booked the next ticket available for Saint Petersburg, where I didn’t go since the summer 2016. Why that? Oh, there are a few reasons which are quite personal and are not all mine. Let’s just say I urgently needed to see my friends. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetLast time we all caught up was at Dasha’s wedding, and back then I was wondering when we will have a chance to reunite all together. My guess was that it can only happen at the funeral of one of us, since there are no more weddings on the horizon. Well well, I was almost about to be right.

Anyways, its good to see my beloved city again, after 2,5 years. Honestly, I was waiting to go there together with Dani and open up this chapter of my life for him. But with our completely different working schedules and Russian visa application procedure, it is impossible to go for 2 days together. May all visa centrums of this world burn in hell. So, for now it was just me, hi.

It was more about being with friends rather than partying this time. Also, partying is not very easy if the wind is so cold that your stomach gets frozen. Nevertheless, few times we warmed it up with some strong shots at iconic bars of St P, one of a kind which don’t compare to anything in Moscow or even somewhere in Zagreb. Special thanks to Elisabeth for creating a program for us on such a short notice. She is the real soul of Saint Petersburg for me since the day I met her, on the first week of studies at SPBSU, when she was snoring during class where everyone was shivering in horror from the professor.

В Питере – пить!

I can hardly express how much I love Saint Petersburg. Its vibe is impossible to explain, you can only feel it. And I feel it in all my buddies who live there, in every building, weird hipster exhibition/bar/popup store. All the bars where I used to go closed down or completely changed (as it happens every time I come to the city), so I trusted bar soul Elisabeth, and the choice was awesome! Just one night out and so many emotions, songs and hugs! Угрюмочная was super cool, with verysad barkeepers coming up with a customized drink for you based on how sad you claim you are. So simple and nevertheless so cool as a concept! There is even a vest to cry into hanging on the wall.

Orthodox didn’t impress me that much. Had to wait 40 minutes for a gin tonic after I needed to explain to the bar chef how to make one. And gosh, what is this name? Bar 8, which didn’t even bother to get a website, thats how spb-classy it is, was the best! I never really partied in that part of the city in a conscious condition, so that was something completely new for me, and the spirit on Petrogradskaya side of the city indeed differs from the center I was used to. But the best part if shawarma at 2 a.m.! Ah, that Saint Petersburg shawarma! But I admit, this time it crossed all borders of shawarma amazingness I have ever reached before: I ate the BEST one in my entire life. No kidding! Will share this pearl with the world: Shawarma on Kronverkskiy prospect 45.

Apart from shawarma, which remains the best part of my nutrition during those 43 hours in Saint P, we were eating only Asian fusions. I really lack those in Europe! Russian market of Asian food is something incredible, even though in reality it’s not proper authentic Asian, but some crazy hipster ideas a-la grilled cheese maki on a foie gras paste. Made in China was the coziest place, the best for companies on a weekend evening, when you still wanna hear each other and are not ready to dive into darkness, yet. Subzero is maybe too minimalistic, bit the short menu was great. Tiger Lily is a cool concept of a hidden-not-hidden-but-still-hidden place; music was exactly a playlist of  the Viennese X club, the entire concept was something of a kind, too. New York inhabitants must get a lot of that, but for Russia it’s still relatively new and therefore cool. The food was delicious and the prices were surprisingly low for such a hype place. I’d recommend to go in the evening and feel their club atmosphere, somehow it seemed cooler than just during the cafe-hours.

Saint Petersburg. Who would think that I’d come so spontaneously just for 43 hours! Let’s see what the next time we see each other is gonna be…

 


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#Lignano

Снимок экрана 2018-11-13 в 22.14.26Italy! I get so many emotions when think about this country. I’ve been there definitely more than 50 times and it simply doesn’t stop being exciting. My favorite city in Italy where I lived the longest is Florence. I also have a hashtag for Milan, where I lived during my Bocconi program. Now I think it’s the time to create a new hashtag for the place that is becoming our usual summer destination, and will remain one for the years to come – Lignano.

I went to Lignano already 4 times this summer, whereas wrote only about the first trip. Catching up a bit, now after my last visit last week I can claim I love it during every season! May-June is already warm but the official season isn’t open until the end of June, so the town is waking up, beaches are being set up, restaurants wake up after winter break (which 99% of them have); there are almost no visitors yet, just some Austians who also want to get the first warm sunrays of the year.

The summer is quite crazy there. Crowds of people. parties every night and long queues to get into restaurants last until the end of September. On the last weekend of September restaurants close down and the town changes so much that it’s hard to recognize. Completely empty streets, one-two cars passing by during the day, yet everything neat and clean but quiet and empty – that’s quite an utopistic view. Some can feel a bit freaky walking the streets where you might not meet one person, but we loved it. The town is all yours! You can shamelessly look into the gardens. No idea how the municipality fights marauders because I didn’t see any police patrols, but it seemed very safe and we never heard of any incidents during winter time from the locals. The only problem can be finding a place to go to dinner, since there are just a few functioning. But we solved it by cooking ourselves: seafood is still the freshest! Out of the season it’s better to stay in Sabbiadoro though; Pineta is indeed abandoned. In November you can still sit outside and sip your Aperol watching the real locals walking the main pedestrian street – a luxury not to be found anywhere in Italy during summer!

I wrote a lot about food in Lignano and around; you can find some recommendations under the newly created hashtag. The most delicious place for me is still Sandrocchia; and Agosti has an awesome location and great seafood. Lobster pasta remains my dish-to-eat-as-many-times-as-possible-when-in-Lignano, and those two places make the best one!

Another awesome thing about Lignano is that you can travel to so many places from there, from Slovenia, Croatia and Austria 1 hour away by car, to traditional Italian jewels like Verona, Trieste and of course – Venice.

I never thought I would fall in love with Venice when visited it as a child and then came back few times as a tourist level “buy a carnival mask” with friends during our Italian holidays. We were always in such a rush because it takes quite long to reach San Marco from the train station or car parking lot. And I had a feeling showing people San Marco is an absolute must, so we never really had the time to explore Venice out of that Santa Lucia – San Marco route that is marked on the houses with arrows. Now Venice is a place where I drive from Lignano for lunch, where I walk slow, where I know how to take Vaporetto and how to use those confusing parking garages. I take a direction opposite from the marked route, find myself at amazing hidden inner yards with dead ends into water. And I simply love going there.

I really want to go to Burano island, but last week Venice was flooded and direct transportation line there was closed. A goal for the next visit – lunch on Burano!

Small towns of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Guilia are really undervalued. Cervignano and Pordenone taught us more about everyday life of Italians from non-touristic cities, and it’s so different from those in Rome or Milan! This is how long it takes to really know the country – years traveling between all kinds of daily routines.

I am glad this chapter of Italian days in my life has started. Lignano, see you soon!