Category Archives: Travel

Thank you, Riga!

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It was amazing to experience you the second time in my life. I was ten during my first visit. The Dome looked gigantic and the streets and roofs seemed from Anderson’s stories back then.

So, thank you today, for

your sunny self and rays of sun on your walls

a gentle intro into winter,

the youth creative spirit on your probably most visited spot

amazing dinner at 3 Pavaru in good company. This place is special:

the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant;

the coolest waiter who knows his job so well that he anticipated all my wants and needs (food-wise, if other ideas get into your minds),

a surprising entree on the house,

the finishing touches the chef magically handles right under your nose,

a blend of flavours and tastes that takes you to the world of wonders

And, most importantly, thank you for very efficient, committed and generous partners, a pleasure to work with.

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Meaningful souvenirs

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Meaningful souvenirs

Bringing staff from trips is tempting. Money is easier spent on vacation. A new item brings into the house the need for space and care. Only thinking about dusting off all those trinkets on shelfs makes me tired. And there is not so much space on the fridge for new magnets. If it is not integrated into your kitchen furniture.

In Amsterdam I discovered a new kind of souvenir – make your own mug. It is proposed by Heinen Delfts Blauw, the ceramics maker.

It brought a new experience of coloring it together with my kid: discussing the colors choices, dividing the work, waiting for the final result while it is in the oven, sharing the first sips of water, … And that is what I call souvenirs.

Thank you, Netherlands!

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on our first night in Amsterdam we had dinner at Rianna & friends in Czaar Peter neighbourhood. It was close to her closing hours, yet she fed us. The home-made meals were delicious: carrot soup with ginger, rice with chicken and pineapple and lasagna. We tasted the Texels beer from her home town. Rianna, the owner, shared her story and ho she became a cafe owner and cook after her career as a nurse and in healthcare management. She enlightened our evening with her sunny personality and shared tips about places to see and things to do in the neighbourhood and the city. Thank you, Rianna! We also came back for her coffee one morning – a flavour rich coffee – served with Rianna’s warm and sunny smile. Check out https://riannaenfriends.nl/

Amsterdam was a reminder to me. someone smart said “you do not get to choose your childhood, but you get to choose your second childhood”. I became a child in the land of wonders at Nemo science museum. Running mesmerised from one experiment to another up to the roof, keeping the pace with my kid, was wonderful! I warmly recommend it to families visiting Amsterdam.

Artis – the zoo – is another wonderful spot to explore during an afternoon and admire the plants and animals. Baby elephant and baby giraffe, butterflies and the aquarium were the highlights of our visit.

if you want to understand more about how this nation developed, then the Maritime Museum is a must. The virtual reality experience on the replica of a Dutch boat is awesome.

Amsterdam has many things to offer and “Believe it or not” is another thing to discover with your little curious ones. It is home to the world-famous Ripley’s collection of wonders from all over the world.

We also loved the Amsterdam Hermitage and its inner courtyard. It hosted the Three Graces expo. We also learned about Amsterdam’s influence on Peter the Great and his subsequent development plans for the Russian flotilla and the city he built – Sankt-Petersburg.

A canal cruise with a young and fun captain – blue eyes included – was another highlight to see the city from a local perspective.

What I loved most about the Royal Palace was the square in front of it: a place for all kind of street artists to display their art and perform their shows. The inside of the palace is worth a visit: it seemed the least opulent of the royal palaces we visited.

Tropen Museum was a wonderful experience. It is humbling to see how Dutch present their colonial past: with acknowledgement and respect for all who felt the taste of their swords and bullets. The museum had a special exposition to experience Morocco. All visitors got passports with Moroccan visas, got “on board” and “descended” in Casablanca to stroll on improvised Moroccan streets.

We also ventured on seaside to Enkhuizen – a lovely town with an open air museum to see and experience the life of its inhabitants as it was 200 years ago. We get to craft and to taste the sea – the smoked herring was delicious. We also put our feet into the Nord Sea – unusually well-behaved that day.

Amsterdam has a museum for almost anything from bags to cats, prostitution and marijuana, art and diamonds. It also has plenty of outdoor places to see. For a sunny day, we chose Oosterpark and fed the ducks and pigeons. The Botanical Garden is also a beautiful destination: you get to be in two different climates inside the tropical greenhouse and outside in the open by the canal. The coffee and lunch at the Botanical Garden is delicious. The only downsize is that only visitors can benefit.

Back to our museums track, we popped in the Diamonds Museum and discovered why Amsterdam is called the city of diamonds. I am convinced now, I do not need a crown. I had my doubts.

We skipped the Rijks Museum this time and spent some time in its gardens and playful fountain.

Roof top dinner is a must in all my trips, so we tried The Kitchen in de Bijenkorf on pur last day and it was very pleasant. We said good buy to this wonderful city of joy, tolerance and freedom. I know now where do French go for the “Liberte” in their trinity of beliefs 🙂

Thank you Bishkek

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Thank you Bishkek

for marking the most Eastern point on my trips map so far,

a Georgian memory relived at Mimino over a fine khatchapuri and a nice glass of Georgian wine in great company,

your splendid twilight colours and sounds,

the cutest babies I saw: those cheeks and eyes!

a sense of two worlds and two time dimensions in one place at the same time,

my first bite of Kyrgyz food at Buhara restaurant,

Moldovan products on supermarket shelves. A sort of Moldovan dream on Kyrgyz land (“vis” means dream in Romanian),

a perfect ristretto by a very modest barista who shared his story of learning the trade in Moscow for seven years. My appreciation of his skill (after I saw the machine he works on) made him even more humble. People here seemed generally very humble.

a new kind the self – respect and respect for others from the professionals we interacted with,

Last but not least, a very committed team and great partners to work with!

How Haut Koenigsbourg fortress lost it to Monkeys Mountain

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Not literally, of course.

1 May. Labour Day. France. Family trip plan to one of most famous fortresses in Alsace: Haut Koenigsbourg. Incited by 1 May invitations “all – to the fortresses” which invaded Facebook, I bought the train tickets Strasbourg-Selestat on-line the evening before. They are polite, the French railway: tickets for itineraries offered on line are guaranteed strike-free.

The next morning, Labour Day lesson 1: no buses or trams. They expect you to know that. Especially, after some years one lives in France. So, we do some “kilomètres de solidarité” to the railway station. Some celebrate the Labour Day. Some have to labour it.

The train is on time and we get to Selestat. Labour Day lesson 2: read the small script. The navette driver announces that of all castles only Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today, as he heard himself this morning on radio. I open the facebook event on Alsace castles, click couple of pop-up sites to finally get to the text in small letters: Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today. Merci beaucoup!

The driver’s entrepreneurial spirit comes to rescue. He tells us about La Montagne des Singes on the same itinerary and offers not to charge the kid for the trip.

20 minutes latter we are there, meeting the loveliest creatures. Sorry, Haut Koenigsbourg you lost it to monkeys this time. Without even a battle 😉

Time spent there was lovely: we fed them with pop corn distributed by the park’s employees

watched baby monkeys playing

witnessed a love story

and learned how to stay zen even when surrounded by hoards of curios visitors

Thank you Tbilisi

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For the sunshine which inspired us to work faster to go out and enjoy it

A new discovery – the Rooms Hotel in Vera neighborhood. The hotel gets my Client satisfaction award of the year on food, comfort, and genuine smiles of the personnel.

Finding the proper tune with new partners on an uneasy topic

Finding a dose of oxygen in Oxygen roof top bar at Radisson in great company.

For a heartwarming meeting with my dear Georgian friends at Lolita. Cool atmosphere. Very good food.

For the yellow belt for my kid on the occasion of her successfully passing the master’s test while mommy is in mission. Bakar, you made our day. Illimited gratitude.

Superb white roses in full bloom in November

Kudos to street artists with a clear message. Find it!