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BCN’17: upd

IMG_0460Hey hey! Summer is still here, I got another month of vacation and have a lot of plans ahead. But first, to catch up with Bcn.

It’s very hard to write anything on holidays. With two weeks I can manage to catch up afterwards, but 7 weeks is a tough cookie. I will do my best and at least drop some notes about where and what to eat in the area, but for now I only got half an hour between having submitted my thesis and meeting my girls for lunch. Yes, I’m in Vienna now. Unfortunately, I happened to be in the middle of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, so I left the city several days earlier than planned. But fortunately, I have an extra week in Vienna. I had never been here during summer holidays before and I’m actually enjoying it at the moment.

Anyways, away from sadness of recent horror in Catalunya which I can’t believe could have happened in such a beautiful bright place which is supposed to be the happiest place in Europe. My summer in Barcelona was amazing despite everything. The girls came to visit me, Jamila stayed for 2 weeks, then Ksenia came for another 3 weeks, so I didn’t have a single day when I was bored. Moreover, I needed a vacation from a vacation when my head touched the pillow as I landed in Vienna. Three full days in bed to get some rest after an amazing and super intense time were needed before I can start making memories of it. The pics and the stories will follow, of course!

Learning Spanish, eating everything and everywhere, having sangria for brunch, going to the sea, exploring hidden narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and screaming like crazy in Port Aventura – that is what going to Spain means to me. It is by now most likely my second frequently visited country (after Italy, of course) and I never get tired of even doing the same things there. Barcelona is a very special city. Even in beloved Italy, I try to always go to different places. Spanish experience is Barcelona for me. Hope to see you soon, beautiful!

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BCN’17: intro

Hey hey! IMG_3917Just to clear up what I’ve been up to: I am currently in Barcelona, since a month. I am doing a language course, will definitely leave a feedback and tell everything about the school when I am done, which is gonna be in another month. Two months in Barcelona: what else can one dream of? When I finished my last course of Italian (except university classes), I was sure I was done with language schools for the summer. But last year in Cuba I almost accidentally started to learn Spanish. This brought me to the desire to learn another language, and I am quite into Spanish I admit. Even though nothing will ever replace Italian for me.

Anyways, I am here since a month; leaving Austria for the holidays this summer was the hardest ever, because, a little sneak-peak into my private life, I am now very happy and complete there. But comfort should never stop one from exploring further! I see no electricity in my Bcn apartment since 4 days as another great adventure. And, of course, am extremely grateful to my local friends with hot showers and sockets. Spain is a tricky one, yes. Jon Snow knew nothing yet when I was complaining about trains being cancelled due to a strike in Italy 3 years ago – that was a kindergarten of what mess can be. Love it.

First three weeks of my stay here I wasn’t exactly in Barcelona. My family and friends were staying in Sitges – the place we absolutely fell for last year. We tend to never come back to the same vacation destination, but that was an exception which worked out again. I was staying for the weekends at beloved Melía and coming to Sitges more or less every day during the week when I have courses to have breathtaking meals (yes, I find it ok to apply that adjective to food), endless night talks and to play tennis with dad. Will write a separate note about it, because Sitges is a place to be.

Barcelona was not boring for a single hour either! The fun is just to come, as Jamila arrived 2 days ago and we are expecting more and more people to join us 😉 When I arrived, Jane and Rustam were in Barcelona, which couldn’t be better timing! Food, cava, Rustam’s head spinning from our girly talks as Katya was joining us. Flex pride worldwide!


I even finished my thesis last week, now it’s official! Never thought I’d be able to work that fast and productive while being on summer vacation. A great relief!

When everyone left, I flew to Berlin for couple days to unite with my schoolmates there and have some crazy Berlin-style nights and mornings. A separate post is going to be devoted to that for sure. Sooner or later. Not easy to find time in Bcn. Becomes especially challenging when your apartment doesn’t provide electricity.

Now we gotta finish our Spanish homework and the plan for the following weekend which is promising to be amazing. Yuuhuuu!

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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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UPD: Easter break highlights

92dvk6rqix8Happy Spring Break everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“È Primavera, Sarà Perché Ti Amo”

img_0660Happy Spring!

I actually do see the beginning of this season as a national holiday at least. All the sorrows are over whenever there is sun and one can relax on the terrace awaiting an Old Cuban rather than having to crowd inside bars having their nose tickled by countless fur coats of the other guests.
I waved hello to spring still being surrounded by snow; currently we are closing the skiing season at Cortina d’Ampezzo, an old famous resort in Italy about which I will write on my way back to Vienna. From my hotel room glass door to the backyard, I am viewing the mountains covered in snow while writing this, but there is significant difference between going on skiing vacation in December and in March. It’s so warm now, sometimes +10 even up on the peaks; the surface is much softer and even though it is more of a free-ride than sufficient distinct slopes – this is even greater for a snowboarder like me; and, my favorite part, – the sun goes down so much later. Still having it above your head even when you go down to the valley having had enough extreme adventures for the day makes one wanna stay outside, go for a walk, sit in the sun for lunch and just stay active rather than locking themselves in a warm hotel being scared to look outside and see severe winter there. I love spring for that feeling of constantly craving for more activities. It unites people somehow, too. I am feeling more than united with my travel companions now and am very satisfied with how this skiing season went. About to join the union for some seafood dinner, so I better wrap it up.
The winter wasn’t that tough I’d say, usually there are more negative events happening. For me personally all the sad stuff always happens during the cold season, this coincidence makes me even more alert whenever the dull months approach. So this winter was an okay one I guess, but nevertheless something unpleasant had to be happening, of course. February is usually the toughest. Somehow it’s always a break-ups month for me, whatever can be meant under the definition of a break-up. It’s all fine now, though. The great healing moment in spring other than nice weather is making plans for the upcoming summer. I have been doing this for the past couple of weeks and seem to more or less have an idea of what I will be doing this year. Excited juhuuuu! All the good things are already waiting just round the corner, right? Welcome, spring!

pics taken at Neusiedler See, end of February

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UPD: back on track

Hey, guys! I am alive and I am back to Europe. tulqqdt4vrcExactly a month has it been. I still have no way to write a complete story about my summer trips that has to also be followed by a lot of thoughts. And there are a lot of thoughts. What I saw and experienced this summer changed me a lot. I started appreciating such things as drinking water, to begin with. Living in a Cuban society interacting with people being stuck in such an unusual for the modern world situation literally blows your mind! I am inspired (I never ever use this stupid phrase!) by Cuba, I will talk about Cuba, I will always remember what Cuba taught me. And I miss Cuba.

I was also lucky to visit Mexico this summer. Was a short trip but I managed to see/eat/drink a lot of amazing things. And this I can’t wait to share as well!

As I returned to Europe, my friends flew to Paris to meet me there and spend some time in the city with less English and white people to overcome my cultural shock a little bit. It was a very useful buffer before coming back to Vienna. And Paris was just so sweet this time!

I am praying now that with my extremely tough upcoming semester I will have time and inspiration to write about my summer experience. Would be such a shame to just let the impressions slip away! I still can’t forgive myself for writing absolutely nothing when used to live in the US. Won’t let it happen again! Posts are arriving soon!

Meanwhile, happy beginning of the school year for everyone! It’s the first day of fall for us, but luckily we caught the last sunbeams and made a trip to the lake yesterday.

Hope you are all safely returning from the vacations that were just amazing and warmed you up enough to meet the autumn.

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Cuba: Arrival

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetHello from Havana!

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This is my first post from Cuba so I want to stick to the events and try to keep the plot away from emotions, but typing the second sentence it already seems impossible. Ohhh this place is something! Honestly, I think it is going to be the most amazing traveling experience of my 23 years of life. And I have had some!
It’s been 10 days since I came to Cuba and I don’t even know how to describe even a tiny part of what a hurricane has been happening in my head since the very first second I left the aircraft.
Well, if trying to stick to the facts, the unusual experience started even before boarding in Paris. Entering Cuba is tricky. Far more tricky than I had thought. As a Russian, you need absolutely nothing to enter the country and stay here, only your passport. But it is not the case for the rest of the world, and the problem is that the regulations are being changed so fast by the Cuban authorities that nobody knows for sure what you need to be admitted. I was flying with a bunch of Europeans who need travel cards or whatever to enter the country. They were used to be provided by the carrier airline. But not anymore. Which not everyone knew about. Now if you need one, you have to obtain it yourself in advance at the embassy or travel agency. All websites still say completely the opposite so a lot of people on my flight just weren’t allowed to board because they didn’t have those and they couldn’t be issued anywhere. I was one of those people who would be kept from boarding not possessing those. AirFrance don’t know the regulations. It took a lot of time and patience to prove that I need damn nothing to come to Cuba. I was eventually allowed to board but I was literally crying at the gate not knowing what to do. Make sure you know your rights and the up-to-date Cuban regulations, I’d recommend to have those particular ones applying for you printed as well.
The flight itself was fine. The sun was shining extremely bright the whole time as we were traveling west so I didn’t really sleep, so I appreciate AirFrance for at least serving you as much wine as you need. As always, I met alcoholic people on the plane and it ended up being fine, 12 hours flew fast. Funny how they don’t care much about security and not even all flight attendants wore uniforms. I guess you see that only flying to Havana!
Talking about bureaucracy again, in general, better have hard copies of everything you can think of. The Internet in Cuba is another tricky thing. It is becoming more available for the tourists. You have to buy a card that contains login and password and will grant you 1 hour of surfing. Those are being sold at special offices and cost 2CUC there, but I yet have not bought a single one there because the line is enormous. I get those unofficially which is possible, too, but they cost starting from 3CUC then. The connection itself is available only at several hotels where you have to come already having a card, the aren’t sold at the reception as many think. The locals can not enter hotels for the tourists, though. As well as any other tourist areas. It is in general not welcomed to be hanging around with foreigners for them, so whenever Cuban guys are with us, they are constantly being stopped by the police who would check on their documents and ask a lot of questions why is a conversation a case at all. You as a tourist talking to a local can be asked, too. So, if you are dark and you speak good Spanish and can be mistaken for Cuban, carry your ID with you. I don’t have the problem, but I have another one – I am being starred at by basically anyone. Kids, women, dogs – whatever. They are nice here, though, but they really want to draw foreigners’ attention, so be ready for whistlers. They won’t touch you, but a lot of action around you is guaranteed. Just take it easy, they really mean no harm.
It is very dirty and smelly in the area where I am staying, Habana Vieja. It is though not dangerous anywhere. The only thing that can happen to you if you are not attentive is that you can be tricked with money. There are two currencies in Cuba: CUC (convertible pesos you get when you exchange your money) and CUP (the currency locals use). Just be careful and check the change. And be aware that US dollars are a subject to 10% tax while exchanging and American credit cards are not accepted. Other than that, everything is quite straight forward and you shouldn’t worry much ebout being robbed or anything like that, knock the wood. But it’s anyway incredibly beautiful. Снимок экрана 2016-08-24 в 1.15.05
Back to my arrival. It all depends on the terminal you arrive to, of course, but for me it took about 3 hours to get out of the airport. The customs are very harsh. They check on anything, open everything and make you fill in tens of declarationish papers. Just be patient.
Immediately as I got out I felt an extremely positive vibe. The people are so sweet, so is everyone who arrives here and feels this optimistic energy. I got to know 2 locals and 2 tourists right a way; we took pictures together and had a ride in a cool car from the 50s.
I think that’s enough for today. Honestly, I just want to enjoy the view on the ocean and another daiquiri which are incredible here! Will try to write soon about my Cuban experience itself.

God bless the Internet!