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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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Lisbon

1Hey folks!

My exams week is finally over and I can find some time in between love, food, running around for my new volunteering (info to be updated veeeery soon as it’s gonna be amazing) and attempts to write my thesis, or at least get properly started and write a bit about our last trip, to amazing Lisbon.

First of all, I was astonished by the city. Never even expected it to be so marvelous. Admit it, most of us have that stereotype in our heads that Portugal is a poor place with shabby facades and dusty streets with abandoned dogs on them. Hell, no! I mean, we have only seen the capital and the ocean coast a bit, so I might be totally wrong with my impression of the country being a very bright shiny friendly place. Yes, there might be animals on the streets and very old buildings in some parts, but it’s so charming! Those cracked tile-works got my heart immediately as we walked to our place the first night we arrived.

Now switching to some more concrete vital things, otherwise I will be sharing my impressions here for hours. We stayed at São Bento, to the west from Bairro Alto: it might not always be the location closest to all the main attractions, but it is for sure the prettiest district we have seen. All those facades you would see on the postcards of Lisbon will surround you wherever you turn. See my recent photopost to get a clue.

The must-see list in Lisboa was mostly restaurants and small shops for us, as for all the beautiful views aver the ocean we went on a roadtrip. For beautiful pics my advice would be just to walk around the city as much as you can, there will be a lot of random view decks on your way.

But I can tell you about a very cool place with outstanding view, cold cocktails and very good music! It is TOPO rooftop terrace on top of Martim Moniz mall. When I discovered it in the bowels of travel blogs, I was sure it would be some posh place, like any kind of rooftop in Vienna is, for instance. Don’t get confused, it;s absolutely not! The place is very chilled, the waiters are friendly and relaxed (aka serve yourself), anyone can come in and dance there and you don’t need to look fancy. Very good ambient, we went there during daytime and then came back at night – loved it!

Now coming to my favorite topic – tips about food. Portuguese cuisine is quite diverse and very appealing to me personally, because it is based on seafood and also offers a lot of sweets. The national one is pastel de nata – a must-try! You will see it everywhere, literally on every corner. The original recipe is said to be invented at the legendary bakery named Pasteis de Belem. It’s quite far away from the city center, so we went there on that day when we rented a car. But Lisbon seemed quite developed transportation-wise, so I’m sure it’s not a problem to get there. We honestly went for pastel de nata only and imagine our surprise when we saw a gorgeous monastery right next to the place – Jerónimos. Sitting on the loan in front of it’s tremendous walls enjoying a 6-pieces pack of pastel de nata was one of the most enjoyable moments of our trip.

But if you are short on time when visiting Lisbon and want to quickly grab a traditional desert anywhere – I would say all of those that we tasted there were very good! So, just go for it, wherever! I bought some packs home from Fabrica de Nata.

There is even such cool thing as a cocktail with the taste of pastel de nata 🙂 Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI tried it at Dom Afonso o Gordo – a restaurant in a very vivacious neighborhood near the main Cathedral – another place to visit. From there take a bicitaxi to wherever you wanna go – it starts from 15 euros, but your trip will include several circles around the district and quite an interesting excursion. Our driver was super nice, charged us nothing extra for driving further than his route would normally be, and he told us really cool things about the history, stopped at the Roman Empire ruins so that we could have a sneak peek. I usually don’t go for such typical for tourists leisure, but it was so much fun! Watch out though – the town is very hilly, sometimes roads feel like real roller-coasters, so it’s easier than it seems to simply fall out of bicitaxi 😀

Away from sightseeing, back to food: the best seafood, according to bloggers, is at the restaurant called SeaMe. I tried to reserve a table there almost a week in advance and it was fully booked. Maybe too popular. I still managed to try their food though! Scroll down to find out where 😉

Not having got a booking at SeaMe, we went to another place that everyone was crazy about – Eatfish. Amazing! All just the way I love it: stone tables, no tablecloth, dimmed lights, pretty bar setting. And extremely fresh seafood! But not only the fish quality wins there, also all of the sauces in each dish were so perfectly correlating to the base taste, it was a pure enjoyment! A fun barkeeper who would satisfy any wish we possibly had made our evening as well. The place is a bit overpriced for Lisbon, but it’s absolutely worth it!

Right next to Eatfish there is another spot that I would recommend visiting – and that would be Mez Cais, a small cafe with tacos and different tapas. Aaaaand right next to that one there is Taberna Tosca, where I ate one of the most interesting dishes ever – prawns pancakes. That area around Praça de São Paulo is also full of little boutiques and galleries, where you can find a lot of handmade jewelry, interior design and fashion. I am pretty sure there are another nice cafes there, and that bar in front of Eatfish looked like a lot of fun at night, too.

A district where we lived, away from the loudest streets, was full of very appealing places as well. I didn’t write down all of the names, unfortunately, but for breakfast everyone highly recommends Heim Cafe, that was just round the corner from us. Round another corner there was that place we accidentally found on our first night and fell in love with – Petiscaria Ideal. It is very loud, cozy, with long shared tables and very delicious plates to share. Right away gives the feeling of a truly traditional for Lisbon meal. The wines were very good, too! And don’t hesitate to ask a waiter for some local ones, I wasn’t unsatisfied a single time. Watch out during public holidays, though – a lot of places I wanted to try were closed due to Easter.

We wanted to get even further away from tourists’ popular places and try eating somewhere where only locals go. For that I would recommend Marisqueira Uma and O arco. It is amazing how they are just 20m away from that weird street where there are a lot of restaurants with menus in 20 languages containing pictures of the dishes. And you know this hateful thing, when some guy is standing outside attempting to drag you in there? Please, never get involved in that kind of eating experience! Just turn round the smallest darkest corner – and you will find that small street with the best food in your life.

One of the most famous Portuguese national dishes is Cataplana. It is basically anything cooked in a big metal bowl – the way I understand it. Most of variations are seafood-based, with rice or thin noodles. At O arco we took one octopus and prawns cataplana for the two of us. Guys, there was a WHOLE octopus in there! I am a very good eater, I can take a lot, like a 50cm pizza for just myself is no challenge for me. That was like the second time in my life I couldn’t breathe from how full I was. And I couldn’t stop neither could my friend – that’s how delicious it is! Incredible, you would get maybe 10% of that amount of seafood in one dish in a typical fish restaurant, and do I even need to say that the whole cataplana was cheaper than one tentacle of an octopus usually is?

Last but definitely not least in my food-story will be probably the only place where everyone MUST go no matter what you like to eat: Time Out Market. It is a shared between many rivals pavilion, like one of those you would expect to be at when visiting some food festival. The difference is – the festival is always here. The most well-known restaurants and food (alongside with souvenirs and flowers) shops of Lisbon are represented here in a form of small tent-like cooking spaces. You order whatever you like from as many places as you can manage to try, sit at one of long shared tables, not forgetting to grab a glass of wine or a cocktail from the bar in the middle, – and simply enjoy it rolling your eyes up.

That is where I managed to try SeaMe food – the best crab meat, I admit! But it is really hard to chose what to go for if you can’t eat until you explode (like we can), as all of the places look extremely attractive. If I lived in Lisbon – I would not ever have traditional weekly brunch with friends anywhere else. Check out for the opening hours before checking it out – they are quite short, unfortunately.

There is more and more I could find out to share with you, but I am so sure I will be back to Portugal soon, that I want to leave something for the next times – hopefully I will have multiple visits to this magic country in my life!

I can conclude with a big thank-you to the locals, I think. Not only are they maintaining some real magical spirit in the air of their beloved country, but also they are simply very nice people. Very good English as well! Everyone would greet us, talk so friendly to us; a lady in the shop gave us advice about boys; the guy at the car rental dropped down the deposit to just couple hundreds for us; our elderly neighbor always smoking on the balcony facing ours is just the sweetest thing on earth; every team member of any place we visited was very helpful. It seems like people are just happy there. And they want to make every visitor happy.

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ACUNS Annual Conference 2017

Implementing the 2030 Agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Mexico

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetHaving known in advance that i would be spending quite long time in Cuba, I thought why not fly somewhere else around for a weekend? First I wanted to go to Colombia, but the flights were only to Bogota and my Colombian friends told me it’s not fun at all by itself, but I wouldn’t have enough time to get to the icean coast. And, well, honestly, once you have Cuban beaches around – you don’t really crave for more. So, I gave it another thought and booked a flight to Cancun, Mexico.

After my third week in Havana I got to the familiar José Martí airport expecting hell on customs again. Well, it wasn’t worse than any control in Russia. Next I was surprised by how comfortable the low-coaster flight around Latin America is! In Europe low-coasters mean the shittiest ever possibility to travel, sometimes I’d honestly chose a donkey. But my cheap flight Havana – Cancun was so nice! Very comfortable seats and alcohol offered! Bravo, Interjet!

Entering Mexico is one hell of a challenge, too. I needed a visa that I had to order in advance. I was so happy I had done all the bookings before arriving to Cuba. Those going there, keep in mind that it’s impossible to purchase any tickets and book any hotels from Cuba, only with tourist agencies (a friend of mine who I met in Havana wanted to join and tried to book something) that have very limited and very expensive range of routes available.

Apart from the visa thing, they give you two papers as you arrive. Both are only in Spanish. Ok, I know enough basics to fill in the migration card. But the customs one was really tricky for me as there are things like «how many dead animals samples and guns are you carrying across the boarder» in Spanish. Leaving the aircraft and getting inside the airport was tricky, too, as the doors were simply locked and we were all standing there until some smart guy just pressed the emergency door and we all calmly walked away as the sirens were going off. Lovely! Welcome to Mexico!

After having passed passport control being asked tons of questions (who the f*ck would want to escape to your country that you are that strict at the boarder?!) the next thing I noticed was how kind and helpful the taxi drivers were. Even after I had already told them I don’t need one (love saving two bucks), they still helped me to find a bus, and when I realized there was no money exchange outside the airport, they kindly walked me back in through the back door using their passes. Awww! After a bit pushy and sometimes annoying cuban guys I didn’t expect somebody to be so nice to me.
Another advice for those who want to save 2$ – there IS a bus to the Cancun center! Nobody knows how to find it and would tell you it doesn’t exist – it DOES. Fight the system, climb the fence as you go right leaving the terminal – it IS somewhere there! I promise! The company is called ADO and there would be a small window in front of the bus stop where you can purchase a ticket. They are extremely cheap and the buses are comfortable and fast. Taxi would cost approx. 250 pesos which is cheap, too.
The way itself was very emotional for me. We were passing by some stadiums which looked exactly like the one my American high school had. I got so sentimental! It was the first time in South America for me since I left the US after high school. I knew Mexico must look something like the US suburbs, but never expected it would give me so many feelings. I miss the US school times. Miss out stadium where I was throwing shit at P.E. teacher because didn’t want to run; miss playing in a tennis tram, leaving classes to go to the tournament with the mates; singing and eating donuts on the way back from another match we had won. Being in that kind of high school made me feel like being a part of something great, being in a team which always had my back. I am very happy for the Mexican kids because they seemed to have the same as I was observing them on that stadium.
Anyways, back from the nostalgic vibes. It took me about half an hour to get to the city. Then I struggled for 2 more hours to find my hotel, watch out with addresses in Cancun. Finally, some american guy came up to me and spent half an hour of his evening to search with me. How lovely is that! The people in Mexico are really nice from what I have seen.
The receptionist spoke no English; I guess even the visiting Americans speak Spanish here. Luckily, after 3 weeks in Cuba, mine was just enough to manage checking in and asking simple stuff.
I went for a walk down to the ocean. As I was staying in the center, not on the beach, everything looked quite industrial. But the streets are still very bright and colorful; there is music playing from every other door; people are dressed up enjoying summer night heat. It was quite crowded outside, and even when I walk away somewhere in the middle of nowhere to see the lighthouse, I didn’t feel unsafe. I guess the tourist zones of Mexico are perfectly fine with that. img_8148
My next pleasant discovery was a shop at the gas station. Seriously. I was thirsty as the heat was tremendous so I stopped to buy some water. And omg! There were yogurts there! Cheese!!! American chocolates! Beer! I swear, I started crying as I was holding some sweets, pack of cheese and wine at the cashier. It excited me so much that I decided my night was already complete, went back to the hotel, observed a horrible car crash on the way, turned on the TV – and OMG! There were Avengers! That was really a moment of appreciating the American culture. I felt so complete just watching TV, eating my chocolates and falling asleep with no lizards in bed. Cuban experience really teaches to appreciate simple things in life so much more. We must be thankful to live in the first world. img_8152
Good morning! It’s 5.15 a.m. and I am already on track! I was so excited to see as much as possible during my short stay in Mexico that the sleep wasn’t in my schedule.
I walked out of the hotel as it was still dark and started walking to the giant chain hotels area being sure that this is where the best view must be. I even managed to understand how the public transportation system can help me in getting there. Taxis are extremely cheap in Mexico, but sitting next to the locals on their way to start a working day is just very interesting for me. They didn’t have unhappy faces on the way to work at 6 a.m. which surprised me a lot. But as the bus made a turn – I realized why. With THAT view I would wake up before sunrise every day.

I got off near Playa Tortugas and took couple hours to walk along beaches in both directions. That was incredibly beautiful. The sunrise, bright purple sky reflected in warm water, white sand and the first surfers already on the horizon. Dreamlife.

I got back to the hotel right on time for breakfast. They made me take off my shoes as I was entering the restaurant zone and sprayed me with mosquito repellent. The food was good (and very diverse after Cuban rice and platanos), too.
The sun was up, temperature was rising – the time for me to board an air-conditioned bus on my way to Chichen-Itza! One can get there from the ADO bus terminal (intersection of Tulum and Uxmal). Take the 1st class – almost same price, but takes much less time.
On the way to Chichen-Itza I was not smart enough to just make it so I got off at the wrong station and this is how I visited Valladolid – a small village in the middle of Yucatan. A very bright and positive place. The locals were just selling fruits and dreamcatchers literally everywhere. Even though there were no tourists and I was the only blond non-Spanish speaking person, no one stared or pointed at me. So I guess they are either very polite or they still manage to see a lot of foreigners around. I walked around for couple hours to find out how I can now get to the pyramids, take pictures and grab some local food. Everyone I ran across seemed to enjoy posing for me shooting.
I finally made it! The archeological site of Chichen-Itza!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
There wasn’t a long queue to get in; i’d recommend arriving there either very early in the morning or couple hours before closing. I’d say 1,5hrs is enough to see the whole territory. But save some time for lunch and souvenirs there, too! I never buy souvenirs since trip to Cairo in 2005 I think. But there I couldn’t resist. They really ARE beautiful. From stone plates and skulls with maya or inca ornaments to handmade silver and gold jewelry unlike any you can see in stores. Bargain! It works very well there. For me it was even more exciting as the first Spanish speaking experience outside classroom. I spent quite a lot of time looking at all the stuff, and there is a lot, and eventually got a very good deal on a scull, plate with maya calendar for my parents and a silver ring. Another thing that surprised me that the sellers were not annoying at all unlike any souvenir market you can imagine. They are very friendly, even gave me some presents, but they don’t yell at you or try to persuade you to buy something from them. So, you can smile at them not being afraid to spend too much time in front of one tent.
Back to the maya ruins. The place is very relaxing and surprisingly quiet. It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so the nature around is indeed beautiful. There are tourists, yes, but the territory is so huge that you don’t even hear any voices. I enjoyed just sitting on the grass there and watching the main pyramid for some time. Until I realized I was sitting on an ant hill. Try walking deeper in the forest behind the ruins of columns, too. It’s an incredible feeling of uniting with the nature that had stayed untouched for thousands of years, only the Mayas managed to get there. I actually have no idea how they walked through the jungles there. They don’t seem to be passable at all. I had noticed from the plane already that there are just few roads across Yucatan. But from the bus it became even more clear that forests around are simply impossible to even walk through. Scary stuff for somebody like me who had barely seen jungle only on the way to volcanos in Hawaii.

Even though getting to Chichen-Itza takes some time and effort, I still highly recommend saving a day for that once you are in Yucatan. It’s worth it! Absolutely astonishing place. And you get to see some real Mexico around, too, unlike bays where only tourists stay. I remember that I called the Chichen-Itza site a very kind place when was still under impression.

Back to Cancun. I was so satisfied with my long productive day once I got back that wanted to just relax, have good dinner and walk around a bit more. So, the last night and the day after I spent just trying different tacos, walking around the town and going down to beaches. Playa del Carmen is an amazing place. It’s a bit further away but definitely worth going. The main hotels have beautiful terraces and rooftop bars, simply explore! If you want to get away from the hotels area and try the downtown – I liked a lot the area around Avenue Yaxchilán. Nice restaurants and bars, cool music from every door, life performances and people dancing. I even ran into a huge bikers’ party there, that was very impressive as well! My US experience memories striking again. img_8150
A weekend in Mexico was very informative and on the other hand relaxing after all the Cuban energy and bustle. Definitely a place to come back to!

But even after such nice and civilized time I was very excited to go back to Cuba, that much it got my heart. More stories from there are coming.


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Mexico; photopost

It’s time for Mexico!

The story about my trip there will follow soon, now I’d like to start with a gallery, like I always do with big important posts not to upload way too much content at once. Enjoy the views of Cancun, Chichen-Itza and small Mexican villages where you meet no tourists.

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welcome to Yucatán! I was so excited that woke up at 5 a.m. my first morning there to run to the beach and watch the sun rising. It was so much worth a sleepless night!

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On my way to the Maya pyramids I stopped at Valladolid village to see some real Mexican routine life, not just the fabulous hotels on the ocean coast

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People are so nice there! They all smiled at me when saw a camera and nodded as I was asking if I could take a pic. The kids were just getting shy so were there moms, and older people all waved. I spoke almost no Spanish at that time and I got lost, no one speaks a single word in English, but some ladies so desperately tried to help me! Adorable.

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Here we go! I finally made it to the archeological site of Chichen-Itza

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the Netherlands

0 Мне нравится Голландия. Что очень странно, ведь там нет двух самых важных для меня аспектов: жары и вкусной еды. Погода там действительно просто ужасна; даже Англия отдыхает. Прилетела я в +34 (что бывает раз в столетие), и уже через час началась сильная гроза, а температура упала на 17 градусов мгновенно. И эти ветра. Все мои знакомые, кто живут в Нидерландах, хоть раз рассказывали мне историю, как они держались за дерево. Но мне все равно нравится Голландия. И хоть этот менталитет очень далек, и я бы никогда не смогла жить в стране, где люди несутся как угорелые, все построено в строгом бизнес-темпе, и никто даже не наслаждается завтраком и бранчем, а вот на ходу едят все.. Брр. Не представляю, как можно так лишать себя основных и самых простых радостей жизни! Но Роттердам – это не Рим, где творится удовольствие от жизни. В Роттердаме творится Бизнес. И это чувствуется сразу. Мы уже были в этом городе в прошлом году, но тогда провели там меньше суток, и успели увидеть его только с высоты, с балкона Вовы. Прошло больше года, у Вовы уже новый балкон, вид с которого еще роскошнее, а я наконец-то узнала поближе и сам Роттердам! 1 После созерцания зрелищной грозы затем и небоскребов на фоне заката и знакомства с центром Вова повел меня в самое лучшее место, которое он мог выбрать! Отель New York. Это было место, откуда начали регулярно уплывать лайнеры в Северную Америку, и оно стало довольно легендарным. Атмосфера там потрясающая, вид на один из самых больших портов в мире завораживает…но мы, конечно, были там ради еды. Зная, что для меня самое важное, Вова забронировал нам столик в этом чудесном месте прямо у воды, которое насквозь пропахло свежей рыбой и морепродуктами. Такой экстаз от созерцания приготовления рыбных блюд был у меня только в Норвегии. Где, кстати, тоже нет центрально- и южно-европейского культа еды, но вот что-что, а рыбу нужно есть там. Я так и не узнала, англичане ли изобрели fish’n’chips, которые есть повсеместно и в Норвегии, и в Голландии. Но это уже было не так важно. Попробовав три разных сорта устриц я убедилась, что жизнь меня раньше не обижала: самые вкусные и жирные все-таки французские. Тартар из тунца не уступил самому вкусному, который я ела в жизни, в Torres‘e в Барселоне. А вариация из разных морских обитателей была просто безупречна. Что мне понравилось, так это неприемлемая для всего мира смесь такого рода ужина и… пива. Но пиво в Голландии и Бельгии совсем другое, и им можно запить даже ужин в хорошем ресторане. Кстати, осторожно, оно крепкое! New York может показаться каким-то пафосным местом, если послушать мой рассказ. Но вспомним, где мы находимся: в Голландии вообще нет такого понятия, как фешенебельный ресторан. Северным европейцам, как мне показалось (я не беру в расчет имперскую дворцовую Швецию сейчас), вообще понятия китча чужды. Так что место это выглядит очень просто, но с первой минуты понимаешь, что тебя ждет что-то невероятное. И обязательно бронируйте столик! …Как обычно о еде я рассказываю больше, чем о чем-то еще. Но если бы я читала чей-то блог (чего я, к сожалению, не делаю, так что если кто-то знает крутые тревел-блоги не с туристической информацией, а с советами вроде “где поесть и откуда посмотреть на город”, то поделитесь со мной! Пора бы мне уже быть сведущей в таком), то мне хочется больше впечатлений от конкретных мест, чем общей справочной информации. Надеюсь, что меня читают такие же любители помечтать о еде и виде. А вид в Роттердаме потрясающий почти отовсюду! Благодаря небоскребам и вантовым мостам. Меня всегда такие ландшафты впечатляли куда больше, чем вид на какой-то парк/лес/луг. Может это глупо и незрело, но природа пока что меня не особо удивляет, разве что водная стихия. Но ни облака, ни кусты и деревья не вызывают во мне столько эмоций и восторга, как чудеса инженерного гения в виде небоскребов, мостов, аэропортов, башен. Роттердам в этом плане – моя идеальная картинка. Так что после ужина мы пошли гулять пешком и случайно прошли км 8 без остановки. А когда я вспомнила, что в Голландии есть йогуртовый ben&jerry’s, которым, как и всем остальным крутым, обделена Австрия, то прогулка еще на несколько км ради ночного магазина показалась ерундой. 2 В Голландии нет культуры завтраков. Что я вообще подразумеваю под “культурой завтраков”? Неспешность. Бранч. Потягивание бокала просекко по утрам. Встречи с друзьями на первый прием пищи в день. Огромные тарелки, на которых как минимум лежат блюда из яиц, сыра и зелени; разный хлеб и ассорти того, что на него мажется; фрукты, сырое мясо/ветчина/салями, йогурт с мюсли, орехи, выпечка, утреннее сладкое вроде вафлей или оладьев с топингами, салаты и что-то еще по мелочи. Это то, что я делаю по утрам для себя и гостей у себя дома. То, как мы завтракаем с друзьями. И вот хоть ты тресни, но мне это важно. Остальные приемы пищи не так принципиальны для меня. И только нации, которые умеют так, наслаждаются жизнью. Пить кофе 2 часа с утра, прочитав всю прессу? Встретиться большой компанией и обсудить все на свете? Да! В Австрии все бронируют себе столы на завтрак, потому что нигде не сесть. Итальянцы, французы делают точно так же. Они даже открывают магазины на час позже иногда, чтоб только завершить завтрак. Потому что хорошо начать день – важно. Вот что я подразумеваю под культом утреннего приема пищи. Страны, которые этого лишены, как правило живут в бешеном темпе жизни. Булка на ходу, метро, беготня, противный кофе из автомата – вот вам и весь завтрак. Голландия такая же. Обо всем этом мне рассказывает Вова, который там давно живет, учился и работает. Так что это не мои наблюдения. И мне обидно за тех, кто считает хорошее начало дня тратой времени. Но это что-то вроде моего подхода, что долгий сладкий сон – трата времени. Кто-то не может без этого. Каждому свое. К чему я все это развезла? Бла-бла, нет культуры завтраков. Но я ее устроила! Мы нашли место, где есть некое подобие бранч-сета. И если дополнить это сежим соком и бокалом просекко, не обращая внимания на заинтересованную реакцию все вокруг, то получается вполне сносно! Произошло все это около рынка. Я бы вообще всем посоветовала есть где-то там. Откройте ссылку и взгляните, как там потрясающе. А сколько там разнообразных вкусностей! В стране, где национальная кухня не отличается богатством, а из чего сделан их крокет я так и не смогла понять, это место – драгоценный камень гурманства. И там все очень дешевое, свежее и ароматное. Второй мой день в Голландии перетек в вечер. Я встретилась со своей одноклассницей Мадиной, которая сейчас живет в Роттердаме, и после длинной прогулки и созерцания потрясающего вида на гавань из ее окна мы встретились с компанией ребят, с которыми отправились на пляжную вечеринку в Гаагу. 3 В Гааге мне тоже уже посчастливилось побывать раньше, и возвращалась я с огромным удовольствием. Эта набережная прекрасна. Но, честно, устраивать пляжные вечеринки в настолько ледяной стране – затея рисковая. Да, был мороз. Мне все время в Нидерландах всегда было холодно, даже когда я прилетела в Амстердам в зимнем пальто  марте. Но в итоге все прошло круто, и хоть пляжная вечеринка по-голландски однозначно отличается от тусовок на Ибице, все-таки это было весело! Когда все растанцевались на открытой площадке, измазанные в неоновые краски, было уже не до холода. Кстати, неоновые краски на вечеринке – это, конечно, прикольно, но тоже рисково. Ведь ими поливают толпу на танцполе. У голландцев однозначно свое видение крутой вечеринки. Мне понравилось, но тусоваться так каждые выходные я бы не смогла! Тепло, каблуки, платье и бокал вина мне все-таки ближе, чем измазанная красками толпа на танцполе у океана. 4 Вернулись мы часов в 6 утра, что означает, что ночь не была провальной. Я никогда не хожу на студенческие вечеринки в Австрии, а там это оказалось так интересно, и все ребята из разных стран и очень общительные. В чинной атмосфере венского старого бара, конечно, все совсем иначе. Уже наступил третий день. Снова умудрились найти вкусный завтрак по принципу “если у страны нет своей вкусной кухни – ешь восточную, не прогадаешь!” В обед я поехала в Амстердам. Там мы встретились с Вовой, который успел ночью накануне слетать потусоваться в Будапешт и прилететь обратно утром. Мы воссоединились в обоюдном пост-тусовочном состоянии и пошли гулять. Я очень рада, что уже все видела в Амстердаме в прошлом году, и мы просто болтали и мотались по центру без особых целей. Точнее, у меня было только две задачи: Steve Madden и, как и в любом городе –  Hard Rock Cafe. За три дня, что мы провели в Амстере в прошлом году, поели в хрк мы раз пять. Всегда верный выбор, где угодно. Ну и Стив, конечно же. Его магазинов больше нигде в Европе нет, только в Нидерландах и Бельгии. Так что для многих девушек Амстердам – еще и обувная мекка. Спасибо этой стране за то, что в воскресенье почти все открыто! 5 Хорошие воспоминания с прошлой поездки сюда, те же путанные маршруты, газировки с новыми непонятными вкусами, канальчики, огромные чайки и тысячи велосипедов. Мне нравится Амстердам. Обязательно иногда буду приезжать туда! 6 У меня был еще один день в Голландии, в который мы гуляли без остановки по Роттердаму. Сложно сказать, какой город мне нравится больше – в этой стране они такие разные! Местные не любят Роттердам. А меня манят его просторность, отсутствие туристов, новизна и небоскребы по всему городу, что редко где увидишь в Европе. Мой вам совет, если попадете в Нидерланды: не ограничивайтесь одним Амстердамом! Ехать до соседних городов очень близко, и вся страна соединена ветками метро; она вся одна как большой яркий город, даже на фото со спутника это очень сильно заметно. Используйте эту прекрасную особенность маленькой страны и посмотрите соседние города, не пожалеете!