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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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Valencia; photopost

IMG_0792I just got back from my spontaneous short midseason holiday in Span and have to share this craziness ASAP!

This time I cheated on my one and only love, Barcelona, and went to Valencia. My first time in “real Spain”, i.e. outside Catalunya. I loved Valencia so much; it’s so beautiful and neat, and its narrow streets and old balconies gives it some kind of that spirit I always scent  in Italian villages. But what made it really special was that I witnessed the famous Fallas (“Falles” in Valencian) festival, the business card of the city.

The Falles (Valencian: Falles, sing. Falla; Spanish: Fallas) is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments burnt during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired by the original Falles de València celebration. The Falles festival was added to UNESCO‘s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list on 30 November 2016.

Each neighbourhood of the city has an organised group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the famous dish, paella, a specialty of the region. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. A casal faller is also known as a comissió fallera.

  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falles

I hope the short description explains somehow what all those gigantic figures represent, and they are indeed massive! I’d say you can easily see several 30m tall fallas around you at the same time if you stand at some major intersection. It’s incredible, one feels like Alice in Wonderland once she became very small.

Any festival means enormous crowds, loud nights and craziness all around, but if it’s a festival in Spain – multiply all by 10! So, if you are not a fan of pure madness, you better stay away from Valencia during Fallas. But I personally found it to be an absolute must-see-once-in-a-lifetime.

When in Spain, it’s of course never about just one event. The views, the see, the food, the architecture – we tried to get as much as possible of everything, which is, of course, tricky during such major event, when the cabs can’t even enter most of the city parts. But we did a great job I think!

Traditionally starting with a photo stream from the spot. The story behind my trip will follow 😉IMG_0787

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it’s all about jamón

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typical for any part of Spain tapas-places got my heart many years ago

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…so did churros

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I’d name the Central Market to be the main sightseeing zone

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the streetart is just as eye-catching as the giant prawns

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the Cathedral is famous for keeping what’s believed to be the authentic Holy GrailIMG_0945IMG_0956IMG_0962

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completely different in all senses part of the city that I loved even more than beautiful historic center – museums and the aquarium compose a futuristic sight that you would never expect to discover in such an old traditional cityIMG_0977IMG_0979IMG_0982IMG_0988IMG_0996IMG_1018IMG_1020IMG_1030IMG_1031IMG_1049IMG_1056

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flowers and fireworks; everywhere, non-stop – so beautiful, Disneyland is a kindergarten compared to Valencia during Fallas!


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Berlin

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetWhat a place is this Berlin! If I had to describe it now to someone who had never been there – I would be in trouble.

The first thing that I observed as we were driving to our hotel was Togliatti (my hometown) all around. I knew that there would be a lot of Soviet architecture, but didn’t expect THAT much similarity. I swear I could even name the streets those would be if we were in Togliatti! We drove through the whole eastern part of the city to reach the hotel and I never lost the feeling that I was just back to Russia. Maybe only smooth and clean roads would make a difference, but once some crazy girl jumped out in front of the car and we almost hit her – that absolutely felt like home. Eastern Berlin really is something most of my European friends have probably never seen in their lives.

First night we just walked in the direction of Berliner Fernsehturm – another quite weird thing to be in the very city centre. It was in general hard for me to evaluate where the city center begins and ends at all. But when we found ourselves in the street that after 3 days became my favorite in the city – Rosenthaler Strasse – no more Soviet backyards where it’s impossible to park mattered. I think we spent more time in that area than I ever spend in Vienna center. It’s simply the quintessence of the best street food and the most lovely boutiques, all in one place! We had our first Berlin dinner @Revolver Burger (I was sure the name was Kreuzer Burger, no idea where that came from, but just in case I will mention both), and it was just SO good. Usually when we travel we look for some delicious exotic food places in advance, but Berlin’s exotics for me personally was the street food. SO good.

What do you do after some intro sightseeing and the best burger in town? A fancy bar, of course! From the barkeepers I know I had heard so much about “bar culture” in Berlin, so we were extremely excited. That night we went to Amano that I had already heard a lot about. It was exactly what I expected: chilled atmosphere, very good cocktails, nice music. I think it can be really a lot of fun if you know people there, like out Viennese bars are so precious for us mainly because of that.

The next morning we were gonna start with sightseeing, but that area around Rosenthaler Platz had attracted us so much the night before so that we went back there to grab brunch first. Which of course ended up with shopping. Berlin has EVERYTHING, from UrbanOutfitters and AllSaints to the cutest handmade fashion in the windows next to the most desired mass market. When I become rich – I will go to Hong Kong first, and then to Berlin simply for the jewelry to begin with.

We did manage to do the sightseeing after. I won’t focus much on it, though, because that’s the stuff you all can find in any tour guide. I can just say that Berlin is extremely interesting for any kind of tourist. It’s not only its disturbing and controversial history but also some kind of gloomy and even freaky spirit that is maintained there nowadays. I wish I had weeks more to visit museums there (which I only do in Florence and Cairo; not my type of vacation) and explore the most significant city sights.

Another place (other than “go try all the burgers you can find!”) I definitely recommend in Berlin and which you can’t just come across by accident is Klunkerkranich. It’s something between a terrace open area with DJs all days long and hipsters laying on the couches with some punch and a typical afterhour place for hardcore party people, if you know what I mean. Quite authentic, though. I felt like that only at some people’s apartments, but never in a public area. Loved it.

A very important part of Berlin culture is graffiti. I have never seen anything like that, even in the US. It’s more than just arts, it’s history looking at you from the wall. There are a lot of remarkable places, but definitely go see Teufelsberg Spy tower, East Side Gallery and the walls of Niederbarnimstrasse.

The neighborhood around last location is worth walking through, too! I have hardly seen so many attractive food places one after another, they just don’t end no matter how many corners you turn around! Was very hard to chose a place to eat, we changed our mind like ten times, eventually stopped at Homemade, and the food was just great! We had a problem with their service, but my shitface got us extra lemonades and any cake from their delicious selection for free, so that was no problem. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor three days we were doing just sightseeing and foodtasting during the daytime…

…and during the nighttime we kept exploring the bars. Two highlights I must name would be bar Tausend and Buck and Breck. Both are similar in being very hidden and hard to get in, in both you ain’t allowed to take pics. I like that kind of concept a lot. But the places themselves are very different.

First we tried Buck and Breck. We went early to be sure to get in, because the bar has only 16 spots and they hardly let more than that in. Yes, a bit cocky, be ready for the doorman (who comes out only after you ring the bell on the wall – the door itself looks like just a closed shop at night) to check on you. Drinks are pure alcohol, a lot of spirits; barkeepers consider themselves to be presenting arts there for you. And you gotta respect the performance – talk quietly, sit straight, don’t move chairs and ashtrays, don’t take out your phone. You are are watching the beauty of barculture from the front row. Simply enjoy! And be aware that strong drinks mean it there.

Buck and Brecks inspired us to search for another Gatsby style exclusive and elegant place rather than going for typical for Berlin Berghain style of party (well, we saw Berghain at 3 p.m. the next day – nothing changes there as day and night switch). That’s how we found ourselves on the way to Tausend. I simply knew about it from somebody who had worked there. It is so hidden under an iron door of abandoned storehouse under an old railway bridge that you never just pass by. People who go there know where they are going. There is just a small window in the iron door. You wait. They even open it only if they consider you as their potential guest – if not, they won’t even bother. But even if the door is opened for you – there will be a second round if getting in, too. Speak German everywhere in Berlin while entering any worthy place, only German! But be ready for the Tausend doorbouncers’ German to be very hard to keep up and joke around with, at least for those who don’t have German as mother tongue.

The bar is magic. I can even claim that is the best bar I have ever been to. You feel more special and exclusive than anywhere. But it’s not the doorpolicy, secrecy or whatsoever, no. You are just feeling yourself in some movie about the 30’s mafia. I know it is very regular in Tausend to turn around and see some celebrity. And they don’t make any big deal out of it, at all. They can just not let a celebrity in. Because at Tausend it doesn’t matter who you are. If you are there – just have fun and enjoy life. They also had the best playlist I have ever heard at the bar. There are performances there, too.

I know bars, I have my bars where I feel like at home any time, where I can just go talk to a barkeeper whenever I want to talk.  And with my tradition to be friends with bars and never betray them I honestly would never expect myself to feel that comfortable at the bar where I had never been before. And I was! On top of that, everything, from shelves to ice cubes, is such good taste there. And the Eye got our hearts. That night out was beautiful. Especially when I was laughing like crazy lisping while trying to get to know some policemen.

Ok, my idea to keep it short didn’t work out. I can talk about Berlin for ages now with anybody who had been there. Finally getting to the conclusion, our last destination as we were driving out of the city: Teufelsberg Spy Tower. First of all, read the history of the hill itself, it’s quite weird. So is the place. Very creepy and cool. Now I know the real meaning of word “underground”. Indeed it is. Not only it’s open for visitors now (in restricted hours), but we also met a guy there who invited us to the party – yes, they have raves there. Just imagine one of those as you look at the place (and remember, I am posting pretty pictures of it, in reality it’s much more freaky). Must be one hell of a rave.

Berlin, you are amazing! Thank you! Will be back. Kisses.Processed with VSCO with a6 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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Punsch Fests’16

Hey Folks!

We are dying here buried under book piles as the midterm exams are approaching but I still took a moment to organize Christmas dinner for my family and buy a ticket to the mountains to join them there soooo so soon! Meanwhile got an idea to share some events in Vienna now which those who are (going to be) here might enjoy!

Save a date for Punsch im Garten @Heuer organized by my amazing friends from the Whiskey Union; Motto’s annual punsch event and Rooftop Punsch @Bloom. I personally am a total Grinch and never even drink punsch or go to Christmas markets, but those events are really something more than that! We already attended another one by Motto – Charity Punschfest, and really enjoyed it especially having eaten all their endless free sweets. 

So, check the parties out! 😉

And wish us good luck at the exams and to make it through the hardest month of the year and start our winter holidays drinking marathon!

FROHOHO 15241227_573159099541869_4899097766848569657_n