Italy and a little bit of France

It’s been more than seven months already and I finally found some time to blog about our Italy and France honeymoon trip in May, 2013.

We wanted to see many things, but didn’t want to spend the entire holiday in a car, so we tried to leave some time to chill. This resulted in the following plan:

Rome and Vatican → San Marino → Bologna → Florence → Cinque Terre  – Riomaggiore → Monaco / Menton → Nice.

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Vienna, Austria

Schengen visa is still valid. It means we’re going for the next trip to Europe. First Copenhagen and Malmo in March, then Stockholm in September, and now Vienna in October.

Actually, I wanted to go to Vienna for years already. Some even think that it is one the best cities in the world, included in all three ratings: The Economist, Mercer, and Monocle. I am not so sure about quality of life as this is not a kind of thing that can be understood during a two day trip, but it is certainly a nice place to walk around and enjoy some good coffee in.

 

This time, there will be very little text, but some wonderful music and kind of mediocre pictures.

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Stockholm, Sweden

Morning coffee at home. Train to airport. Boarding. Print-outs about Stockholm. Over there by lunch time.

After Copenhagen and Malmö in March I continued discovering Scandinavia and decided to visit Stockholm. Same format, “weekend + a day” trips.

As one might expect Sweden is very comfortable in multiple respects. There are free Wi-Fi and sometimes audio-guides in museums. In toilets you can sometimes find plastic glasses, so you could try some high quality tap water.

The usual attempt to see how average people live outside of city center was made indirectly. We took a bus from the airport to Marsta and caught a train there to Stockholm. Another immersion in everyday life happened in subway at rush hour, at about 9 AM. I should say that this experience disproved “empty trains” stereotype”. In fact, it was quite crowded. But politeness, as well as perfectly air conditioned and amazingly quit trains made it quite tolerable.

When talking about Sweden, people first think of IKEA, high taxes, social equality, low crime rates, and long life expectancy. All these things have their place, of course. But Stockholm is also a city of awesome sunsets. Of course, pictures are helpless way of transmitting the atmosphere. But it’s better than nothing.

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Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden

I visited Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden in March, 2012 and want to share some pictures and impressions. From the happiest and the second happiest countries in the world.

Copenhagen, Denmark

It is funny that when I checked the most popular Google query with “Copenhagen” word was “where is Copenhagen” and the most popular query with word “Malmö” was “where is Malmö”. I am sure that you, unlike those guys, have no doubts about the actual location of Copenhagen. So, I will skip the introductory part about Denmark and Scandinavia. Most likely, you can even find Malmö on a map in under 10 seconds. But nevertheless I will tell you that it is only half an hour away from Copenhagen. So, if you have some time left, you might consider taking Copenhagen to Malmo train.

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Singapore

After 10 days of relaxation in Thailand and quick run through Kuala Lumpur we finally arrived to the country I wanted to visit for many years. Singapore.

Travelers’ reviews of Singapore vary from “the whole city is just one huge shopping mall” to “a place where you can meet all the cultures of Southeast Asia better than in the countries of origin themselves”. As always, truth lies somewhere in the middle and depends on your initial attitude as well as a chosen route. I personally enjoyed Singapore a lot.

 

Marina bay, Singapore

I’m not going to tell you a long story of what unique place Singapore is and how highly developed it is compared to the surrounding countries.

Instead, let’s better look at the pictures which I will briefly comment.

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Guide to Ao Nang Krabi in Thailand. Bonus: breath-taking pictures!

A month already passed since our trip to Southeast Asia. Winter sights and grey colors that we see everyday on our way to work don’t look unfamiliar anymore. Pictures from the trip, on the other hand, seem to originate from a completely different world. World that we were able to escape to for a while but that fades away now. I guess, blogging is just another method to get back in those days, awaken the memories and store them in a more reliable form. I invite you to join my reminiscence and travel with me to 3 countries of Southeast Asia. What I promise from my side is (hopefully) beautiful pictures, (probably) useful advice and (supposedly) witty comments.

Incredible Ao Nang beach

Well, we had an ambitious plan: 10 days in Ao Nang – Krabi (Thailand) → 2 days in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) → 3 days in Singapore (Singapore ;)) → 2 days in Bangkok (Thailand) → back to Moscow. Total of 5 flights (2 of which were connection flights) & one bus + transit to/from airports + subway. Not without a pride I can say that we carried out the plan on time in full. Continue reading

Romania today: what to be ready in Bucharest and where else to go

I came to Romania to work for 3 months. Frankly speaking I wasn’t full of enthusiasm about it from the very beginning. It’s not all that exotic — same old Eastern Europe, it’s not widely known as a perfect place for tourism and vacations with great beaches and service, it’s not in the list of the most developed and advanced countries in the world that would be interesting to see. In other words, I could not find a single reason to see it.

But at the end of the day why not to use the opportunity to visit country which I would otherwise most probably miss? Wouldn’t it also be interesting to see the country that only left its Soviet past behind in 89 and already joined EU in 07? Aside from that I didn’t know much about the country to be honest. Others around me didn’t seem to know significantly more though: I was quite tired of jokes about Count Dracula long before actually going there… In fact, it appeared to be quite an interesting country to visit.

Romania, Bucharest

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Japan: temples, palaces and gardens

I would like to devote this post to Japanese temple, imperial palaces and just gardens. I believe, you can enjoy their beauty and sophistication regardless of your attitude towards monarchs, religion or concept of God in general.

Japan, Tokyo, Shinto shrine

A couple of words about religion. Buddhism and Shinto prevail in Japan, so these are the ones that I’m going to cover here. However, in general Japanese tend to associate themselves with few religions at the same time. Moreover, only 20% of population actually believes in any God.

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