• Europe,  Ukraine

    Lviv – expectations vs reality

    Expectations: Lviv is beautiful, but a bit run-down. Reality: I was so unfair. I thought that Lviv has many post-soviet buildings and that it’s mostly ruined. IT’S. NOT. TRUE. Lviv is beautiful. There are endless townhouses and they’re not that ruined. Maybe it’s the yellowish color which makes everything look optimistic, maybe it’s something else. One thing is sure: I was very surprised how pretty this city is. Expectations: It will be cheap Reality: Lviv is cheap. It’s very cheap. There’s no comparison to Western Europe or USA. Of course, there are more expensive hotels, restaurant, etc., but on average – Lviv lets you go a bit wild. You can…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Ferrari & Modena

    Balsamic vinegar. Luciano Pavarotti. Enzo Ferrari. Food, music, fast cars. Modena knew what to do to attract people. I know nothing about cars, but I’m a proud owner and one of the biggest fans of Italian cars starting with an F. Fiat. Even though I’m an ignorant and I’m driving not the F I should, I was really enthusiastic about going to the Ferrari museum. A good design is a good design and I will appreciate it. Always. So we went. Ferrari=Maranello, so we went to Museo Ferrari in Maranello (a small town next to Modena). I still have no idea if it was a right choice. Apparently one museum…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Unexpected Venice

    One evening at the lake Garda we had a geography crash course. To be more precise: geography of Northern Italy. Weather apps were merciless: it would rain. Heavily. So we took a map, a few weather apps and started looking for a best place to go. Apparently it would rain everywhere. Except Venice. So we went to Venice. We googled only to things: the cheapest parking (Tronchetto) and a viewpoint. Everything else was as spontaneous as possible. And I’m not a spontaneous type when it comes to my holidays. It was probably the only time when I had no idea about a place I was going to, except the common…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda: east side

      The west side of Lago di Garda is done, it’s time for the east side. Is it better/more interesting/cooler? Spoiler alert: it is. The landscape is totally different. The road goes next to the beach and water, not high in the mountains. It feels more like a seaside. Of course if you ignore the mountains on the other shore. And the ones behind you. Unfortunately the weather forces us to change our plans and we haven’t seen much of the east side. But the things we saw… Well, I have to go back! Peschiera del Garda   Our “Italian Lakes” guidebook ignores Peschiera. Really, Lonely Planet? We went there…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda: west side

    Lago di Garda is 55 km long. Between 4 and 12 km wide. It covers the area of 370 km2. Why am I even bringing that up? Well, to enlighten you how big it is and how impossible it is to see everything in one day. So here’s what you should do and what we should have done. Divide it to east side and west side. Let’s start with the west side – more popular, more crowded. More interesting? We’ll see in the next post. Sirmione THE place to be, so you can expect EVERYONE there. Literally everyone. Our first attempt to visit Sirmione ended with a big escape from…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda

    Question: a typical holiday destination? Answer: Lago di Garda. Hesitation: what? Why? Answer: it has been a holiday destination ever since Roman times – Roman senators had their holiday homes there. Well, not really homes. Villas. Luxurious, located on hills and with stunning views. They even had spas. Seriously. Even today in Sirmione you can take a stinky, beautifying sulfide bath.   So what was after the Roman times? It’s belived that Saint Francis of Assisi established an hermitage on Isola del Garda. Now, you’ll find a private villa there. Once a week its doors open for average citizens to take a tour around it. In Sirmione, Maria Callas had…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Verona – more than Romeo and Juliet

    Verona. The city of Romeo and Juliet. Ok, we’re done with that, can I move on? Verona, a city hurt by Romeo and Juliet. A city which is so associated with this couple that no one is looking for anything else there. Poor Verona is a victim of a Shakespeare related marketing. Btw, not a bad marketing if you ask me. Juliet’s house with Juliet’s dress and Juliet’s bed and, my favourite, Juliet’s tomb. Cool, but she DIDN’T EXIST. And hundreds of people are going crazy under her balcony and are sending her letter. From what I’ve heard – she’s replying. Ok, guilty as charged, I went to Juliet’s house.…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda – expectations vs. reality

      Oh how I love doing this! Writing down my expectations before the trip and confronting them with reality once I’m on the trip or back at home. This time I decided to make it even more fun to everyone (I hope). There were 4 of us on our trip to Lago di Garda and around (like far away around, like 150km to the east and to the south). It took us 11,5h to get to our destination and you have to do something in the car, right? So I asked everyone to share their expectations on the way to Italy and their reality on our way back. Our plan…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Sa Pa: what if

    We were supposed to see rice terraces, hills, lots of green and we were supposed to walk a lot. Instead, there was lots of coffee and even more rain. We arrived in Sa Pa in the middle of the night by a sleeping bus. It was raining. We could sleep inside till 6am. At 6am it was raining a little less, but on our way to the hotel it started raining heavily. Few hours later we put on water shoes and went for a walk. Or swam. We swam for a coffee. The first coffee. Sa Pa is a typical touristic town in the mountains. Everyone goes there for trekking…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Postcards from the seaside: Mui Ne

    I have an issue with Mui Ne. Mui Ne is weird. A town, that stretches along the coast for 16 km and has over 100 beach resorts. Full of Russians, with Cyrillic alphabet everywhere. Kitesurfing. Fishing village. More holes than pavements. And lots and lots of sand. Postcard 1: the beach   We’re arriving in Mui Ne in the evening, after a heavy rain. The next day it’s mostly raining and there’s no electricity, but each day it’s getting better. Each day the sky is less cloudy and when clouds disappear, we miss them a bit. If there were no clouds on our first day, we would be totally fried.…