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Viennese Balls 2019

Processed with VSCO with m3 presetOne of the most beautiful Viennese traditions: the famous balls. I admit that my absence in the past 2 months has been determined partially by getting ready for balls, then attending them, and then recovering from them. What a life!

This year I attended 3 balls and there is one more to go: the best night of the year, Life Ball. But it’s a completely different format of a ball, and this post is about the traditional ones that are held in Hofburg, the palace those born in the 1900s know from the cartoon “Princess Sissi”.

Viennese Balls are strict in dress code and traditions. Floor length dresses only for women and tuxedos for men. Traditional Austrian clothing, dirndl and trachten, are allowed on a certain occasion. To the ball held by the United Nations, one can be dressed in a national costume of another country, too. That was the one we kicked the ball season off with.

IAEA Staff Association Ball

this one was a lot of fun due to the number of acquaintances we met there. Crowd of young and ambitions people, interesting conversations while drinking wine in gallons, cool fun music and the best techno and disco dance floors out of all balls. Yes, you read it right! There are modern DJs at the balls, too, and after midnight the palace turns into a rave.

Ball der Wiener Wirtschaft

this one is much more traditional than IAEA ball. The crowd is significantly older, but nevertheless dances quadrille with even more enthusiasm than the young ones 😉 The classical part of the ball, from the opening ceremony with debutants to the orchestra and singers of the main ballroom, was of the best quality. Pure aesthetic enjoyment! Also, more seating areas than dance floors, if compared to how the other balls were organised. Suitable for those who are more into music and performance rather than crazy nights out.

Kaffeesiederball

This one is said to be the coolest in Vienna. We had a lot of fun because we gathered a large group of people. Even Polina flew on from London for the occasion. What can be more exciting than a bunch of friends dressed in amazing gowns pre-drinking all together in one of the most elegant bars of Vienna? We chose Park Hyatt Bank Brasserie&Bar for the occasion. Not something that happens every weekend, huh?

Apparently, the pregame was awesome, because we came to the ball itself very late. I would be regretting this a lot if it would be my first ball, but luckily I already saw the opening ceremony of another ball, so didn’t feel left out as we rolled into the palace just before midnight. Next year, however, I would give it a desperate try to show up a bit earlier. But the later you come – the longer you are likely to stay! We stayed until the very end at all balls, but after this one we even went to a club. Also one hell of an experience in a long light gown! But this is Vienna baby, so in fact half of the club was dressed like that, too. Ah, this time of the year! Elegance and never feeling overdressed. I wish I could just wear gowns all year long. Sometimes I do, though. But such occasions as balls really make one feel special.

Since I started talking about Viennese traditions and clothing, in between the balls we had a night of dressing up un traditional Austrian dirndls and going to a heuriger. Usually this is a kind of entertainment for summer, but our dear Olivia had her farewell leaving Vienna for New York, so we had a proper reason.

I am honestly quite excited to be in Vienna the upcoming summer (I always left before) and experience things like Kirtag and all the crazy wine festivals that I missed before.

For now we are saying goodbye to the Ball Season and are looking forward to wearing our gowns again next year, searching for more down to Earth entertainments meanwhile.

 


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2019 go!

Happy New Year 2019!

This is not a post of resolutions, I stopped making those when was 15 because, sorry, it’s stupid. If you need change in life – you don’t necessarily wait for nasty weather of January to start making it happen. This is more of an appreciation post. Thanking 2018 for being over, too.

There were a lot of changes for me in 2018 (most happened in summer btw, so nice weather is indeed alright to make things different). I graduated, and Uni Wien is soaking less soul out of me now (MA program still does its best, though); started an awesome job, first time working full-time in life, which was not as much of a shocking change as I anticipated and was warned by everyone; I traveled: visited my beloved Italy 5 times and came back to my favorite place on Earth, Hong Kong, and the only thing I promise to do in 2019 is to write posts about it which I’ve been postponing since 2016, as well as explored new places like mind-blowing Korea, hidden castles of Germany, new places in awesome Portugal together with re-discovering the well-known ones; rode tens of km’s of new slopes combined with the old good resorts. I went to Russia few times, saw Sochi where I spent so much time as a child looking all brand new now; even visited Nizhnii Novgorod! Felt young and crazy again on Malta with the girls. Together with my parents, we found a new home-to-be. I am happy that before starting to work a lot, I devoted enough time to seeing my family, spent good deal of time with Dani’s family and managed to have more reunions with friends than usually and even to come to St P where a big part of my heart still is; I cried at the first wedding of a close friend, hugged my mom and dad on their Birthdays, was by Dani’s side during his glorious moments like creating the World’s biggest negroni and, in general, didn’t miss out on any fun.

Despite all that greatness, 2018 was one of the hardest years ever for me and for my close ones. So, happy it’s over and looking forward to a more easygoing 2019, please!

Happy New Year and may the Force be with y’all!


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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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Malta

Снимок экрана 2018-08-16 в 15.59.15

Hello from sunny and funny Malta!

The island is known as a popular destination for teenagers due to its various supply of English courses and even broader choice of nightclubs. Despite being in our mid-20s, we decided together with the girls to give it an ultimate try and hit it up for Diana’s Birthday celebration. Wooohooo! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI admit, it feels completely different now to travel to such a teenager place, even though just a few years back I myself went to exactly the same packed clubs and drank exactly the same sugar bombs aka free welcome drinks in Llloret de Mar, Mallorca, Barcelona, Aya Napa and at many more destinations that I don’t even want to leave links for here, since some posts are quite embarrassing. I am not claiming such places don’t amuse me. But let’s face the reality, we have become old venerable ladies. Now we seek for something comfortable, fancy-ish and not as loud and sweaty.

Since I skipped this when was 16, here is The Old Ladies’ Guide Around Malta.

We stayed in St. Julian district. I don’t have much to compare to, but I liked it there: quiet (just perfect for old ladies) streets with neat houses; at the same time, a lot of cafes, pools and bars nearby. Hugo’s Infinity pool and Intercontinental are worth visiting. Nice people and staff, not overcrowded, stunning views and the feeling of being exclusive, especially looking down at other pools which look like aquariums. Entrance fee of 20 euros is fair for an entire day spent at such terraces, if you ask me. It also secures you from very young and very drunk schoolkids, no offence, I am just jealous! At nighttime those places turn into dance floors, where the old ladies danced like they were 16 again.

The best way to move around is using the ecabs service. It’s similar to Uber but frankly not as effective, once we had to await our car for more than an hour. Renting a car was no option because nobody was prepared to drive on the left side of the road with that maltese traffic. Anyways, moving around the island is quite easy and not very pricy.

Valletta is a capital and the most beautiful place in island, I heard. To be clear, we went to Malta mostly to celebrate a birthday, i.e. chill and drink non-stop, so sightseeing wasn’t our priority. I would love to have few more days for it, though, since Malta appeared very charming, diverse and definitely worth exploring!

Ta’xbeix Port was the area that looked the most beautiful among everything we had seen to me. We moored there on a yacht, which gave us a chance to enjoy the views of Valletta and the Bay from far away. I don’t have much pictures because at that point I was already half breathing due to my seasickness, but the seashore took the rest of my breath away.

Talking about the yacht – a must do! If you go as a big crew (we were 6 people) and can split the price – don’t hesitate and hire a private one! It’s an unforgettable experience, to sail from the early morning on, see as much of the island as you can never cover by car/bus, not even talking about the views and experience of swimming in the clearest high seas waters . Our awesome captain, who learnt the word “buchnyom!” suspiciously fast, took us on a long beautiful journey to Gozo, on another island; Comino, where we snorkeled in the famous Blue Lagoon and in the waters around; St. Paul’s Bay coastal waters and further to the open sea. Snorkeling equipment is a good thing to have on you, as well as waterproof iphone cases! Booking a yacht is easy online, there are multiple agencies with harmonized price ranges. Enjoy!

Where most of tourists spend their time are the so-called beach clubs. A beach club doesn’t have to be on the beach, sometimes there is only a pool, so better research a bit and chose what you desire. We went to Café Del Mar and 1926 Beach Club. Café del Mar is a bit posher (25 euros to get a sunbed), with pretty girls in pretty swimsuits, fancy drinks, sometimes way too cool music, but there are no little kids and the atmosphere was nice and fun. A large pool with view above the sea is a perfect spot for taking pics, but there is no sea access. 1926 Beach Club is smaller and simpler (10 euros for an entrance, 15 during weekends), there you most likely get a beer and go down to the rocks to chill if a small swimming pool gets too full. The stairs down to the sea are a big advantage! I liked it even more than the first club despite children in the pool and limited area. Watch out, their chef is quite lazy and 2 hours before the closing he already refused to make anything but pizzas and burgers for us, which was a little disappointment since the menu looked very promising.

My most important topic, the food. Well, it’s no Italy there. Typical “resort style” food, not bad nor good, with few negative feedbacks but mostly good enough to keep enjoying the holiday. Seafoods, good sandwiches, pizzas and stuff are edible in St. Julian and most of those fancy hotels and beach clubs, but I won’t expect anything outstanding. Lore and Fitch was the only restaurant I would like to point out – perfect steaks, high quality service, nice view, etc. Some other restaurants looked fine too, but then the eggs came overcooked, half of the menu was not available… I would recommend to give it a try and travel the island more for the food, go to fishermen village, eat away from the tourist areas. If only we had more time and less party to do there – I’d definitely do that!

Most of the bars are those Mallorca/Lloret de Mar/Antalya bars I mentioned at the beginning of this post. When I was 16, I loved it! I am sure it’s still a lot of fun if you are tipsy! I would easily make my old bones dance to that 2000s music and drink those cheap sugar bombs they serve, but since we went partying during the weekend, the clubs and bars were TOO crowded. By too crowded I mean you couldn’t even see the ceiling, and that was too much at some point. We did manage to find a different bar, though! The Thirsty Barber is a treasure if you search for higher quality leisure. Amazing drinks, big dancefloor there all the guests jumped when a band started performing life. It was proper fun of a kind that you find in a cool pub in London, if that helps to imagine the vibe. The staff was very attentive and brought us shots for Diana’s birthday at midnight, and the overall experience was a 5+.

I liked Malta. Easygoing fun, a lot of beautiful doors, tanned happy teenagers and boats. So if you don’t yet have a large family and wanna feel young and wild – Malta is a place to see. And hopefully see my girls on another trip soon!


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UPD: summer rocket launch

Summer! How many good emotions are in that word! Especially for people like me who fiercely hate the cold and are strongly affected by dull days. MondseeMy summer has been going well, can’t believe the first month is already over! Even though the holidays started earlier this year for me since I passed my last exam at the beginning on may. Yes! Shit got real!!! I graduated and am now a Bachelor of Sciences in International Business Administration with my alma mater at the University of Vienna. Moreover, I have already been accepted to Masters which I hope to be able to combine with work, but let’s see where life will turn next! Anyways, it’s over! I drove to Vienna from Lignano together with my parents to make it official together with one more thing – introducing Daniel to my family. What a day.

The period of uncertainty I am having now is quite confusing, but at least I am happy I had taken the decision to stay in Vienna for few more years and don’t have to bother with moving to another city/country, which I had done 4 times in my life already, and which was always one hell of a fuss. Some of my classmates graduated together with me and some are leaving Vienna forever, so June has been a bittersweet month of partying at last, helping around with packing 5 years of life in 2 suitcases… and goodbyes. I think I learnt to say goodbye. There have been a lot of very painful ones for me. But thanks to them, I am capable of appreciating everyone my life introduced me to and letting it go on. A new chapter is about to begin for many of us, isn’t that wonderful and exciting?

Alongside with personal reasons to be emotional now, Vienna always gives out a lot of emotions to its inhabitants and guests in June – namely Life Ball and Pioneers festival. Together with all the terrace openings and streets becoming crazily busy and festive, those 2 events won’t let one be bored in this heat! I again worked with the Pioneers crew this year as a part of social media team, doing backstage support and assisting photographers and interviewers, and it was awesome! Always happy to see familiar faces among festival volunteers, too! So many this year! So if you can make it to Vienna in June and become a volunteer (you don’t have to be from Vienna, we will host you for the time of the festival!) – come join next year and have a blast! Very thankful for Pioneers for making this all happen!

Life Ball is another event that attracts people from all over the globe. The entire city waits for it every year losing breath. The most spectacular event in Austria and one of the brightest nights in the world! This year I was a cinderella who had not got a Life Ball ticket because was awaiting friends to come that day and thought I couldn’t go. But 2 hours before the Ball started, as I was sitting at Dani’s terrace, out of a sudden he says I should run to the Ball and he got me a VIP ticket! What a fairy! So you see, the impossible things become possible sometimes 😉

Yup, Dani has a terrace now! A super cozy beautiful summer oasis in the heart of Vienna, check it out at Graben 26!

Besides balls and festivals and summer starting, June is completely full of Birthdays. Also, before going to Lignano I had Ksusha over in Vienna, so another reason to celebrate!

I love this month, you can tell! We made another roadtrip and took the girls to Hallstatt. I have been there in winter and now finally visited it in summer. It’s breathtaking! The only downside is a lot of tourists, so if you go there for a view, I’d recommend to also drive to other lakes around it. We loved Traunsee: crystal clear water and no tourists at all! Last week we also made another roadtrip and went for a picnic to Mondsee. I never realized lakes can be so awesome! I swim either in seas or in pools because I can’t take cold water, so even oceans are not really my thing if it’s not the Carribean (even though I once went swimming in Portugal in April). But Mondsee was so warm! We drove up to a random Badeplatz («beach»), unwrapped our cheeses, hams and baguettes there, popped tiny retro bottles of Aperol and enjoyed ourselves so much! If you are in Austria and have no time to drive to the sea – Mondsee (and I suppose other lakes in the area) can really make your day! 2.5 hr drive from Vienna and it doesn’t compare to any crowded public swimming place.

This week Vienna is hosting another amazing event – a Liquid Market, which is gonna be grandiose this year with a bar-scene superstar aka my boyfriend making a big surprise, so make sure to follow your favorite Viennese bars 😉 Specifically for that event, I am staying in Vienna until the end of this week, to again take off to my beloved Italy right after.

Stay tanned and tuned!


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UPD: 25

This is just a short tribute to my family and friends, who have been there for me since 25 years already. I am not making any resolutions as I turn one year older this time, because probably for the first time in life I can tell that I am exactly where I wanna be. I am surrounded by awesome people only. “Only” is an important remark here: my friends and family have always been there and been awesome, but I almost always had extra people around. Now I am quite sure that this is it: those are mine. I am very happy in my relationship and am only looking forward to have more of it! I finished university this year, which was not an easy cookie! Recently I started a job that is already very challenging – and that’s what I always needed! In order not to challenge my personal relations, something has to challenge me, and here it is! Really looking forward to learning there and am thankful for the opportunity.

Besides all of the above, I am just having fun in life! This is precious to say when you turn 25. Thanks to my parents for everything in life, and to my friends and Dani for making every day an unforgettable experience. And may our glasses never be empty!


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Bayern

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetRoadtrip is always a good idea! I love it so much when me and Jamila jump in the car, get 100500 sandwiches and the biggest jar of hummus for the way (we should better think of getting the biggest canister of diesel, considering our experience of walking on a highway to the gas station), turn the music up and wooohooo!

We have been both super busy recently with work, studies. celebrating my birthday and making it through spring break without failing everything in life, so I was double excited that we managed to spare couple days and go somewhere. And this time we had an extra reason, even though there is no reason needed for a roadtrip – Spirko was in Switzerland, so we decided to use our chance and meet up in the middle. We hesitated between Innsbruck and Munich, but since neither of the girls had been to the beer capital before, we decided to hit Bavaria up!

The drive there was super easy and fun, we are still hoping Germany had no vignettes and speed limits on highways. In less than 5 hours we made it to Munich. The spring in Europe is extremely hot, so it was a total pleasure to drink cold beers in the sun. As those who have been there know, historical center is tiny and 2 hour walk is more than enough to see all the main things. It’s just as cute as it has always been! I visited Munich few times with my family and then came to Octoberfest, but I must admit I love it without crowds of wasted singing tourists even more. What always surprises me is the shopping opportunities scale. Why the tiny Munich has it all, and huge Vienna hasn’t even heard of &other stories, Topshop, Abercrombie&Fitch or even Sephora?! I remember I even took a train to Munich to buy my first iPhone! So, if you like to shop – you will be surprised there!

We stayed at Bar Hostel and it was awesome: cheap, in the very city center close to a huge parking lot; large light clean rooms – and a 24/7 bar! There are a lot of cute cafes in that area, too. We had a random breakfast at Kochspielhaus and enjoyed it. I’d buy bakery there every day, if it was in my neighborhood!

Don’t have much must-do advice to give, besides the obvious one when in the city – Hofbräuhaus München. I am usually not a fan of touristy places, but this one is a proper one to experience real Bavarian spirit, Octoberfest culture, original German beer and sausages. And two worlds of my friends finally overlapped!

The next day we had a plan to see more of the real Bavaria while driving to Neuschwanstein castle. A famous prototype of Sleeping Beauty’s castle is a real Disney fairy-tale. It’s stunning! So is the way to it, which we had no idea about. One has to drive quite a while (about 2 hours, depends on which direction you are coming from) after exiting highway, and the route goes through tiny villages that look like Milka chocolates commercials. Extra green grass, extra pretty cows and extra traditional Bavarian sites.

The castle itself is seen from far away. It’s quite easy to get there with a car, and it seemed to be accessible with public transportation, too. Buses even go up the hill to its walls, but we decided to take a picturesque walk. Different routes go through the magical forest, but the coolest view is found from Marienbrücke! We had to find this out ourselves after checking few decks out, no idea why nobody mentions it, but I hope my hint will be useful for someone! We went inside, too. You can’t take pictures, but the tour is worth it! Very beautiful interiors, much more modern and unique than we expected. Do you know, that Newschwanstein was the first castle with central heating and sewerage system?

And then of course the time of breathtaking pics came!

My next trip in 2 days will be via airplane, so awesome playlist will unfortunately be rocking only in my headphones, but I am still excited, as I always am for any travels 😉