Category Archives: Travel

Thank you Brussels

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for staying true to your majesty-grey reputation

for having infiltrated chocolate into your hospitality – thanks NH Hotel for the sweet surprise

for the that great feeling of having talked to my mentor just to realise how much our discussions mean to my growth

for a new discovery – Pierre Marcolini and his chocolate. La Maison Pierre Marcolini is a pioneer of the “bean to bar” approach in chocolate making. My loved ones loved the truffles and financiers.

and for the sunny home city upon my return.

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Thank you Vilnius

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Thank you Vilnius

for a show of Lithuanian activism – a protest at -2 for the sake of geese. Dear hotels, please pay attention to the pillows you order!

for a wonderful evening tour by my awesome Lithuanian friend and a taste of traditional cuisine in superb company.

your simply adorable Christmas Market (Kalėdos Sostinėje) on the Cathedral Square (Katedros aikštė) in the city’s historic center. 48 white wooden stalls offer local crafts, goodies and Christmas decorations. The jewel of the Square is the Christmas tree. 25 meters high, this year it pays tribute to the concept of time. My pics do not do it justice. I also witnessed a superb Christmas miracle idea to let passers-by transform dark into light: by a wave of their hand, trees light up and music plays to turn the scenery into magic. Superb idea!

Vilnius has a second Christmas tree and fair:

Thank you also for new and renewed partnerships, and a special kind of hospitality.

a superb winterish sunrise

followed by perfect white snow

surprising inner courts

a very special door to the University library to celebrate the origins

amber souvenirs for friends and family

a place of prayer at the Gates of Dawn and a reminder that humble is beautiful

Fun 10,000 meters up in the air

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Me and my kid are on a plane to Nice. “Mom, relax. You are always tense on the road”, sound advice from the youngest and wisest family member.

We take off. Up in the air.  I read. Talk to my kid. 20 minutes later: “…. Marrakesh ….. we…..if you wish….Marrakesh!” I hear  the flight attendant’s voice.

My brain is collecting the pieces: “The plane is certainly bigger then the regular internal flights. And the flight attendants are of North African origin…. And they play specific music. …. Did we take the wrong passage, walking to the plane? These small airport! Oh, No! … And I was laughing last year about a consultant who instead of a flight to Florence boarded on one to Minsk”.

Face palm. Repeat. Done with relaxing on the road.

– Sweetheart, I think we are on the wrong plane.

– It’s ok, mami. It’s ok, the kid is trying to reassure me. Her beautiful brave face.

My brain: “I have money to buy a ticket back. Are our passports ok? Do we need a visa for? ….”

I take my ticket and move to catch the flight attendant.

– I think I am in the wrong plane.

– How come?

I show them my ticket.

– It is the flight to Nice!, the flight attendant says cheerfully.

– Why did you say “Marrakech?!

– I am from Marrakesh! he smiles.

– Who cares? 10000 meters above the earth?!

I am almost replacing my words with long beep sounds. I was far from my kid, in case you wonder.

– You do not want to go to Marrakesh? he keeps on smiling.

– No! Not today. I go to Monaco today. And I do not plan to look at Monaco from the other side of the Mediterranean.

Back to my seat. “We are fine. We will land in Nice, sweetie!:)” I say fully relieved.

“Mom, I also heard “Madrid” 🙂

“Sweetie, the other flight attendant introduced herself. She is from Madrid. The guy is from Marrakesh. They add a personal touch”.

After 5 minutes we all hear the pilot: ” We will land in N I C E in 20 minutes. The weather in N I C E is …”.

Amen.

We land happily in Nice.

“Welcome to Marrakesh!” I hear the flight attendant behind me. I turn with a smile. My middle finger has a slight temptation. The lady in me wins 🙂

Dear, whoever who had the idea of saying other cities names when the plane is 10000 meters up in the air, please do not. Let’s keep it standard on this one.

Thank you Monaco

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Thank you Monaco

for your Monaco Gastronomie. Its 23rd edition in Chapiteau, next to the Roses Garden, delighted small and big alike with a variety of goodies to indulge on.

We loved the demonstrations by chefs, all made in the spirit of sharing – le partage. So, I thank them all for quite a few chefs’ tips shared with a little bit of French nonchalance and humour.

We tasted Raviole Gyosa de volaille et foie gras by Lauren Colin of L’ Intempo at Le Meridien Hotel and risotto with pumpkin and Saint Jacques by Patrice Guillet, sous-chef at Brasserie Cafe de Paris.

We also tasted some of their wisdom. “La cuisine – la passion, un respect des ingredients, simple, sans la transformation exageree” Patrice Guillet, sous-chef at Brasserie Cafe de Paris.

We indulged on quite a number of good quality products of all sorts from ice cream, panetonni, chocolate to cheese to ham. Pity, I travelled only with hand luggage this time.

Monaco for kids

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ok, ok, and accompanying adults.

The fame of Monaco as the world of rich and famous as we know or imagine it: heliports, diamonds, luxury and adults games and playgrounds.

I was on a quest of demonopolizing the adult centered view of this harbor of fun. With this in mind, we quickly found out that Monaco is generous for all ages and spirits.

When travelling with the kid, safety comes first. Security wise, Monaco is one of the safest places. The number of police officers per capita is the highest in Europe. It is one of few places where I, a hand holding mom, let my kid wander away from me.

So, for now, here are a few things to choose from for a long weekend with kids in Monaco:

1. Larvotto beach

Small in length, it manages to accommodate a playground for smaller ones and a sports ground and it still leave enough space for free play and lounges. It is also a birds feeding spot, if you are into this.

The waters of Larvotto beach are part of a maritime protected area so the water quality is monitored daily. You can swim with fish even very close to shore.

2. The gardens: Japanese, Exotic, St. Martin, Rosarea of Princess Grace and more

You can have a fun botanic open air class in any or all of them. Trees are marked and their origin explained, to explore trees from different parts of the world. For long walks, you can embark on a marked trees path throughout Monaco, to discover the most spectacular ones. It can be a new sensorial experience: touching leaves of different texture, listening to the sound of leaves playing with the wind … .

More on gardens https://www.hellomonaco.com/sightseeing/parks-gardens/the-captivating-charm-of-monaco-gardens/?fbclid=IwAR2BHy6KK4k-h_L-nHANr87FqTSfDt6WwRGMjxyfmT0rQ3o8yn9ekzCawfM

3. Oceanographic Museum and its panoramic roof

It is always a pleasure to visit it. I recommend to buy the tickets online and skip the waiting line. It is a world of oceans wonders and a platform to educate young and adults alike. This year, we felt royal to be greeted by the Prince, even if from a screen. Monaco invested traditionally in ocean research for dozens of years. It started with Prince Alberto I and the famous explorer Cousteau. This year expo is devoted to the Monaco Blue Initiative and Monaco’s commitment to ocean protection. Kids and adults can learn through touch screens about maritime protected areas, what it means to eat fish responsibly, what it takes to decide with sustainability in mind.

4. Fontvieille area museums

The small and cosy stamps and coins Museum offers a visit to the monetary and early communication history of Monaco.

The private collection of Cars of Prince H.S.H. Rainier III

We loved to walk around the carriages and cars of 100 years and more history behind. The latest sports cars, official cars of Princess Grace, cars decoration elements delighted kids and adults alike.

The Naval Museum

5. The Exotic Garden, the cave and the anthropology museum

From the Exotic Garden you can descend into a 600 meters deep cave. I would recommend the descend only to kids 8+ and with good shoes on. It can be slippery.

The anthropology museum is small and hosts a temporary expo. This year it was devoted to migration.

Thank you, Bucharest!

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for your unique taxi drivers. This time I got a free lecture about Romanian politics and democracy seen from behind a taxi wheel, by 60-year-old Giga, a most proud Romanian. And all that in the notorious Bucharest traffic. I got to the airport in no time. Giga is talented at his job.

for your melancholic fog

for new partners who aspire to make Romania a better place to live

for Marriott style hospitality, who is also mindful of the city’s heritage and promotes it to visitors

the sweet gifts to spoil my colleagues

my husband’s favorite cookies. Probably the only ones I do not bake, so I owe you on this one

& new beautiful stationery with a Romanian touch for my kid.

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.