Austria, Cannes, culture, Czech Republic, food, France, history, Hotels, Italy, Milan, Nice, photography, Prague, SPAIN, Stockholm, Sweden, The French Riviera, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian, Vienna

Going Places: My 2019

As 2019 is coming to an end and we are moving to a new decade, I decided to write my traditional yearly travel recap and highlight my travels from the year 2019. Unlike my last year’s edition of Going Places, this year I stayed within Europe, but I visited more countries than last year, in total nine of them.

February: Sweden

2019 started very well for me since I moved to one of my most favourite countries – Sweden. I was based in Gothenburg, which now proudly is in my top three cities in the world, but meanwhile, I also discovered almost the whole of Sweden. I visited so many cities I even stopped counting after a while. I went from Stockholm all the way up to North and experienced wintery-snowy weather during May in Boden.
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April: Italy

To run away from the Scandinavian winter and super cold Spring even, I decided to treat myself with a nice Southern-European trip. Visiting Milan in the beginning of April was extra busy due to the Milano Design Week. It was my first time in Italy and I still miss my morning walks at Brera and stopping by at GOD SAVE THE FOOD for my daily dose of croissant and cappuccino, my evenings at Dry Milano. You can see my Milanese trip in a nutshell here.
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April: France

After Milan, I decided to take a weekend trip to the French Riviera. It was also my first time in France, and since one of my most favourite things to do is watching tv series, I was lucky enough to attend the Cannes Series Festival. A true highlight of my trip to Nice was where I stayed. You can see a full article from my French weekend trip here.

I stayed in Nice and discovered the city on foot, took a little swimming in the sea and enjoyed the warm April days. I took a train to Cannes where I spent one whole day to attend the Cannes Series Festival. Since I was super busy with the Series Festival, I didn’t have much time to discover Cannes, but I still managed to sneak out and to see the most iconic places that were close to the beach.
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April: Belgium

As a chocolate geek, I am still surprised why Belgium wasn’t my very first travel destination. But better late than never, I finally visited the European capital this year to try the most delicious chocolate and waffles in Europe. If you trust Google and queue for the most traditional and oldest waffle cafes in Brussels, you might spend the whole day in the queue. So my advice would be to discover Brussels on foot, check out the city’s popular vintage stores, and in the evening, try the Belgian waffles outside the touristic center, skip the queues and enjoy your daily dose of endorphins without waiting for your order forever.
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May: Malta

Being already a bit fed up with the almost never-ending Swedish winter, in May, I decided to treat myself with a one-week getaway to warm and sunny Malta.

Malta was one of the most unexpectedly beautiful countries I have been to this year. If we ignore super uncomfortable transportation and traffic in the streets, Malta is definitely an amazing destination to swim, enjoy the sun, eat delicious food and discover the historical parts of the country.
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July: Czech Republic

You already know from my Instagram that I am an architecture geek, I love taking pictures of beautiful buildings. And speaking of architecture Prague was the highlight of my European trip in 2019.
You can check out my more detailed and eco-friendly guide to Prague here. But let me once again highlight how unexpectedly beautiful and cheap the capital of the Czech Republic was. Also being very well located between Austria and Germany, you have quick access from Prague to Vienna (one of my most favourite cities in Europe), or to Berlin – every hipster’s dream to find. And yep, don’t forget to try the Czech beer or every dessert lover’s favourite Chimney cakes.
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August: Austria

Vienna is one of my most favourite cities in the world, so, while visiting Prague this July, I could not help myself but go on a weekend trip from Pague to Vienna in August.

Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for several years in a row for a reason. I can talk about thousands of reasons why you should grab a suitcase and go to Austria right now: like Mozart, Viennese coffee, Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud and etc. But you will not fully get what I am talking about until you visit the Austrian capital by yourself. You can check out my article about my Viennese trip and find some inspiration about where to stay or go in order to make the best out of Vienna in just two-three days.
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September: Catalonia

Barcelona is one of the most iconic cities in Catalonia, we all agree on that. But this year while stopping by in Barcelona for two days, I decided to discover more local and less touristic cities in Catalonia.
Even though Catalonia and Spain are quite cheap, one weirdly expensive thing there is regional trains. So in order to stay within your budget, I would highly recommend you to use the BlaBlaCar app and go to almost any city for around ten Euros.

From Barcelona, I decided to go to Montserrat, Lleida, and Tarragona. Even though Lleida is not as touristy as the other cities mentioned above, I enjoyed my stay there the most, getting to know the local culture, people were super friendly and welcoming. There were a lot of vintage-hipsterish hang out places where mostly locals or Erasmus students would go.

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December: Poland

I took a quick trip to the capital of Poland from Sweden in the middle of December. Warsaw turned out to be a very beautiful city with loads of veggie-friendly places and vintage stores where you can also find rare Soviet-era souvenirs.
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For 2020, my goal is to go out of Europe and discover at least some parts of Asia. You can follow me on Instagram and be the first one to see what’s up for the next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

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breakfast, brunch, fika, Hotel, Hotels, photography, Stockholm, Sweden, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

An Instagrammable Guide to Stockholm

As you might have noticed from my Instagram, I am living in Gothenburg for almost a year already. Last Summer, when I visited Scandinavia for the first time, I surely highlighted my trip to Stockholm, which made me come back to Sweden for a much longer period because of coffee shops, a healthy lifestyle, Fika, people, and eco-friendly culture.
Since then, I have visited Stockholm five times, and as an architecture geek, I am falling in love with the city more and more every time.

Here’s my very Instagram-friendly guide to Stockholm.

Where I Stayed
The most important thing for me while booking a hotel is the location. It is crucial for me that the hotel is budget-friendly, centrally located, but in a calm area. On top of that, it is also my concern that, as a conscious traveler, the place I am going to stay is eco-friendly. That’s how I found a perfect match for all of my needs and wishes, which happens to be Hotel Tegnérlunden right in the heart of Stockholm.

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Hotel Tegnérlunden is located at Tegnérlunden park, where you will meet a statue of the iconic Astrid Lindgren. A lot of bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
The hotel has many options for breakfast (including vegetarian & vegan options), the breakfast venue is located on the 6th floor, which means that you will have an amazing view over Stockholm city center while having your daily dose of nutrition.

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The iconic Gamla Stan
The old town of Stockholm is full of 17th, 18th-century buildings, narrow colorful streets, modern Nordic and international restaurants, cozy cafes and a lot more attractions like the Royal Palace or Storkyrkan Cathedral. Make sure to discover the old town on foot!
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And in the evening you can enjoy nice cocktails in modern bars full of local and international people.
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Where to Fika
Fika is probably the most Swedish thing you will ever experience: a coffee/tea break with something sweet like Swedish chocolate balls or cinnamon buns. You can fika (it is also being used as a verb) with your friends or even on your first date.
If you are a coffee lover like me, Stockholm will also be your favorite destination. You have cute little coffee shops almost everywhere, that serve very delicious Swedish desserts. My favorite fika places change almost every month, but one place that always tops my list is Rosendals Trädgård where you can go for plants shopping right after your coffee break.
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My other fave fika place around Sweden and especially Stockholm is Johan and Nyström. They serve hands down one of the best coffees in the country. The minimalistic Scandinavian interior design makes the coffee shop a great place for meetings, and even for work.

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There are also various cozy coffee shops around Gamla Stan that you definitely need to check out. For your best breakfast & brunch experience, you can also check my previous blog post about Stockholm.

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3edf41e5-7cc5-45e1-b35d-92e9d7061bd9Even though I have been to Stockholm several times, this was the first time I visited the Swedish capital during wintertime. It might indeed be colder here than in other countries in Europe, and it gets dark pretty early, around 3pm, but I would still suggest you visit Stockholm during late November/early December just to enjoy open-air ice-skating, Christmas flea markets around the city, and a lot of mulled wine while walking around the city.

Here are some pictures I took while discovering Stockholm by foot on Skeppsholmen, Södermalm, and Norrmalm.

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I hope you will enjoy your stay in Stockholm and make sure to share your favorite destinations with me on Instagram.

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25 Hours in Vienna

In 2019 Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for the 10th year in a row by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. So this August, while visiting Prague, I decided to go on a weekend trip to Vienna and to revisit one of my most favourite places in Europe.
One of the main reasons why I always wanted to go back to Vienna since 2015 (when I first visited Austria) was a bit more than just famous museums or outstanding architecture. More and more travellers like me are seeking more of a sustainable approach when it comes to travelling. So if a conscious holiday sounds right for you, then Vienna is definitely a place to be. Starting with an enormous amount of green areas in the city, a lot of vintage stores and sustainable fashion designers, the city is also very pedestrian and cycling friendly.
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Now let’s talk about the city itself and where to stay there in order to make the best out of your vacation. To be honest, I spent way more than 25 hours in Vienna (around 72 to be exact) but soon you will realize why I decided to name this very blog post “25 Hours in Vienna”.image2 (3)

25 Hours Hotel in Vienna (Museums Quarter)

I mean, be prepared to have an architectural WOW factor in Vienna, especially the old town is full of amazing buildings. Absolutely every facade is a solid architectural masterpiece. And yes, this architecture is extremely beautiful and all, but sometimes… all you need is something just a bit quirkier than your standard hotel. So that’s exactly why I decided to spend my weekend in 25 Hours Hotel in Vienna.
Located right in the heart of the Museums Quarter (MQ), 25 Hours will be not only your favourite hotel but your favourite hang out place in the city. Their open bar has one of the best drinks, music, and sunsets in Vienna. I think nothing shows the true spirit of the Viennese life more than this crazy hotel: creative, artistic, fun, vintage & different. Their sustainable approach to the zero-waste and eco-friendly environment is one out of many other reasons why I will definitely go back there!
The hotel features a circus theme and the illustrations in the rooms are made by a Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek. And the outstanding interior design is made by Dreimeta.
In order to make your trip even healthier, you can attend the Yoga sessions that 25 Hours Hotel offers three times a week, or simply relax in the spa area with a steam bath and sauna!

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25 Hours Hotel in the Museum Quarter, Vienna

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View from 25 Hours Hotel Terrace

My favourite thing about mornings at 25 Hours Hotel was breakfast. As a vegetarian, sometimes I struggle to find the right nutrition on some hotel breakfast buffet because most of the hotels go for meat-based dishes. But not at 25 Hours! Just like their logo says “come as you are” they really are aware of the diversity of their visitors and this place makes sure everyone will feel equally welcome here.

After a decent breakfast, you also have a lot to discover in the Museum Quarter by itself: two of the most important museums MUMOK and LEOPOLD are located there, where they also run temporary exclusive exhibitions from all over the world.

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If you happen to visit the Austrian capital in August like me, be prepared for the heat. But once again, Vienna is a place with a lot of options. You can either join the locals on a hot sunny day and get refreshed at the Danube Island, or chill out in one of the many parks that Vienna has to offer. My favourite park in the city center is Stadtpark, which is very close to the old town. You can also visit Burggarten or Sigmund Freud park in front of the Votivkirche. And if you want to go to a more peaceful place head to Prater, or visit my all-time favourite park Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark on the 18th district.

And if you are a museum person and want to see the most iconic Kiss in the world, you should definitely check out the Belvedere Museum. The palace was built in the 18th century as a summer residence for the Prince Eugene of Savoy (what a lucky guy, don’t you think?).
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For your historical Viennese coffee and Sachertorte experience head over to Demel, a famous pastry and chocolate shop founded in 1786 that once served the Royal court. After Demel, you can have a luxurious shopping experience at the Golden Quarter. BUT if you trust me and go for more eco-friendly shopping, you will have a lot of options in Vienna! Places such asGreenground andZerum offer modern fashion made from organic materials. You can find super trendy vegan bags all from recycled polyester and more.

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Graben, Vienna

The food scene in Vienna deserves a completely separate post because, with a lot of Austrian traditional cuisine, this city is also one of the most vegetarian & vegan-friendly places I have ever been to. You have an enormous amount of options to try the most delicious vegan and vegetarian food from all over the world. And here’s a special shout out to Café Mendez for finally satisfying my cravings for the Mexican food with the most delicious vegetarian burger!

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Cafe Mendez, Karlsplatz, Vienna

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates and be the first one who will hear the news from me! 

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Where to Stay in Prague

It is no wonder Prague has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe during the last couple of years. A city where you can enjoy beautiful architecture, delicious food, one of the best beers and most importantly – cheap prices even during the most touristic season; July-August.

Prague’s beauty comes from that it wasn’t severely damaged during World War II. Therefore many of its historic buildings still remain intact today. Its buildings were also relatively untouched during the 17th and 18th century, which nowadays make Prague one of the most breathtaking cities with an unusual mix of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

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View from the Astronomical Tower in Prague

Here is where to stay in Prague in order to make the best out of your trip without breaking your bank!

1) Residence U Černého Orla
Located right in the heart of Prague’s old town, just 100 meters away from the historic Charles Bridge, Residence U Černého Orla is set in an elegant Baroque house. If you are looking for a vintage styled, centrally-located and budget-friendly hotel, you should definitely check out Residence U Černého Orla.
One of the best things about the hotel is the breakfast, which is served every morning during the weekdays from 7 – 11 a.m. and during the weekend from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Residence U Černého Orla Restaurant. It includes not only Czech but also international cuisine. You can have a fresh start of the day with a French or English breakfast alongside a lot of other options in their menu.
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The comfort about Residence U Černého Orla is that you can basically walk to anywhere in Prague’s old town and discover every little street by foot.
The iconic John Lenon Wall is just a two-minute walk from the hotel.
Also, if you’ll take my advice, leave your windows a bit open while you sleep, trust me, you will wake up to the most delicious Czech Chimney Cake smell, which is every dessert lover’s dream to find.

 

Another good thing about the hotel is that every day from 3 – 5 p.m. you can enjoy free snacks like fruit, club sandwiches and cookies.

If you need any help or advice from their friendly staff working there regarding entertainment in Prague, they will help you out at any time by arranging tickets to theatre performances and more.

 

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2) MeetMe 23
Another budget-friendly and super modern option you have while staying in Prague is MeetMe23. Located right in front of the Central Station and around 400 meters away from the National Museum of Prague, Meetme23 will give you a really comfortable vacation experience, with 24 hours reception desk. They even have a fun game called Escape-Game, which is your chance to win free drinks in the hotel’s restaurant.
Breakfast is served every morning from 7 – 10 a.m.
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You will also meet those cute blue figures at MeetMe23, where you will be able to create your own little figure right next to the reception desk, which will be a nice memory from your Czech trip.
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Now that you have an idea about where to stay in Prague, let me tell you about the Vegan-friendly places in the city. Because, as a pescatarian who is on her way to be vegan, it can be tricky for me to find good food on the go. While I love vegetarian food and am always ready to try something new, it’s next to impossible to find a meat-free dish in some areas.
If you’re a pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
As locals told me if you went to Prague ten years ago and said you were vegetarian, you might get a few raised eyebrows.
But thankfully things have totally changed since then. Places like Vegan’s Prague, Beas Vegetarian Dhaba, or Veget Bistro Café will blow your mind away with their super delicious Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine.

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Vegan Sushi in Prague

Stay tuned for my amazing weekend trip I took to Vienna while visiting Prague. Coming your way super soon!

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Astronomical Clock in Prague

Meanwhile, you can follow my journey on Instagram. Make sure to share your travel stories with me!

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Arctic Monkeys, brazil, Denmark, lisbon, Norway, Oslo, portugal, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Sweden, travel, Trips & Other Stories

Going Places: My 2018

Do you also get asked by the end of each year questions like “So, how would you sum up your year? Did you get what you wanted?” I decided to recall the highlights of my amazing 2018 chronologically and share them with all of you.

January 2018: LISB-ON
First time when I visited the Portuguese capital to do my summer language course was in 2016, and that’s when I fell in love with the Portuguese language, culture and the city itself. Then I had a bit of longer reunion with Lisbon in 2017, but it seemed like spending 2-3 months there were never enough. I  wanted to have the experience of living in Lisbon for a longer period and also I wanted to become fluent in Portuguese. This goal of mine was finally achieved when I got the Scholarship to do the part of my Masters at FLUL.
Going back to the city where you made a lot of new friends and unforgettable memories are always one of the best things that can happen to you. Being in Portugal for the third time, it really felt like home. Arriving at Terminal 1 at the Lisbon Airport, I had a feeling that after one year of “being somewhere else” I finally found my way back home. We all have different stories in absolutely every city we’ve ever been to. That’s why we like some cities more than others. With every new visit, you realize that something has changed, that there’s something you did not notice before and always something new waiting for you. Sometimes you miss those cities like you miss a person, and you can’t wait to see them again.

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Rossio, Lisbon, Portugal

March 2018: Rio de Janeiro
While walking around LX FACTORY in Lisbon and doing some Vintage shopping I saw a quote on the wall of one shop there saying “Do you remember your dreams?” and I thought of one of the biggest dreams of mine: BRAZIL!
Since I was way closer to Brazil from Portugal than I’ve ever been from Georgia, I decided not to postpone achieving my goals for more and I booked my trip to Rio de Janeiro. It was totally worth it. Everything happened so fast and unplanned, sometimes I still question the reality of my Brazilian trip, but you can see Rio from my perspective on my first edition of the series Let’s Go Somewhere

June 2018:
OSLO
Coming back from Brazil, I immediately booked my trip to Scandinavia, because I decided that 2018 was about to be “The year of my goals”. Even though Norway is way more popular with its wild nature and mountains, I decided to visit the capitals of 3 of the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
with a lot of handsome people, fancy coffee shops and beautiful parks, I had a total privilege of seeing the iconic “SCREAM” live and witness the cold, rainy Norwegian summer, but it was so worth it.

STOCKHOLM
From my previous blog post, you can have a sneak peek of why I loved Stockholm so much. When I took a super long ride with a train from Oslo to Stockholm, the weather was finally nice and summerish. I got to know some of the most fun Swedes while walking around the city or chilling near the riverside. One of the main things I have realized was that Swedes are not as socially awkward as some people say they are. I have heard sentences like: “a Swede will never talk to you unless you make the first move, after that they are friendly, helpful and nice.” Well, I suppose each one of us has a completely different experience in every country. So from my experience Swedes are pretty outgoing, helpful, funny and friendly. Thanks to them I discovered some places in Stockholm where only locals hang out and I was also lucky enough to celebrate “Midsummer” with my newly-made Swedish friends.

COPENHAGEN
After visiting Copenhagen I finally got it why Danes are considered as the “happiest nation” in the world.  I can’t really say that my experience in Denmark was completely different than the other Scandinavian cities, but there was something magical about the Danish capital that made me want to re-visit the city all over again. Copenhagen has this mystic vibe of attracting everyone and making it super hard for each one of us to leave.

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen

So far Copenhagen proudly has the 1st place of my all-time favourite cities. And the Tivoli Gardens deserve a completely separate post dedication because this place is really as magical as in the movies.

July 2018: LAGOS
Re-visiting the places where I have been to in Portugal was one of the best decisions ever. I visited Lagos in 2016 and after 2 years I have realized how much it has changed in a way that there were a lot more tourists and new pubs opened/owned by Brits.
The weird thing about tourism in Portugal is transportation. Even though Lagos and Algarve coast, in general, is the most touristic destination of all, they still don’t have a lot of transport options from Lisbon to there. For example, you can’t find a train going to Lagos, so if you don’t rent a car, the only option for you left is a bus, which is actually comfortable but a bit too tiring. image4
July 2018: NOS ALIVE & ARCTIC MONKEYS

Since 2007, when the FAVOURITE WORST NIGHTMARE was out, Arctic Monkeys keep being my favourite band. As music is one of the most touching pieces of art form that can influence your life, the quote of my beloved Alex Turner explains it all why I fell in love with the Monkeys: “There’s always that one band that comes along when you are 14 or 15 years old that manages to hit you in just the right way and changes your whole perception of things.”
Exactly on my flight day to Lisbon back in January, Nos Alive (The annual festival that takes place near Lisbon every July) announced that they were hosting THE ARCTIC MONKEYS. So the first thing I did after my 5 hours flight to Lisbon and being all jet-lagged, was getting the Nos Alive ticket. Hands down it was one of the most memorable shows I have ever been to.

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Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, Nos Alive 2018, Portugal

August 2018: LISB-OFF
So let me get a little emotional here. As my Exchange Program was full of adventures, dreams and new experience, as they say, everything has to come to an end. So by the end of August, I left Lisbon full of new experience (academic and life experience as well) hopes and new dreams. Can I just mention how important it is for any student to make an exchange program at least once in their lives? Because it is so mind-opening and helps you grow culturally on a level that nothing else will ever help. Being on an unfamiliar ground makes you more familiar about your true self. Suddenly you learn how to communicate with people from different cultures, you learn that there might be someone on the other side of the world who will become your best friend. It outdoes absolutely any kind of “office job” experience that you can get by doing the same job for years and years. So please do yourself a favour and promise me to pack & discover the world right now.

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Miradouro da Santa Luzia, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon will keep being my home doesn’t matter where I am/will be based. This city gave me so much love, friendship, experience and opportunities that it’s impossible for me to talk about Portugal without being too emotional. How can I not adore Portugal when this country received me with the warmest welcome for the third time in a row!

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Lisbon, Portugal

The hardest thing in 2018 was saying goodbye to Lisbon, realizing that this specific chapter has been closed for now.

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@thefedorahat girl in Lisbon

While writing this blog post I have realized how many things can happen in just one year and how we should always take risks and follow our paths.
Share your 2018’s adventures with me on Instagram and let’s have a fresh start of 2019!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

With love,
Ani
@TheFedoraHat

 

 

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Let’s Go Somewhere: Rio de Janeiro

Let’s Go Somewhere is a new project by The Fedora Hat where I will talk about the dreamy destinations I have been to. Of course, I decided to start the series with Rio de Janeiro, since it has always been a dream of mine to visit Brazil at least once in a lifetime.

Being born and raised in the capital of Georgia during the late ’90s, Brazilian culture with Globo telenovelas and Bossa Nova was very popular there, still is. Rio is definitely every Georgian’s dream destination, but if you for a second look at the map and see how far Brazil is from us, you will realize why most of Georgians think that they will never make it to South America. In my case, living in Portugal helped me a lot to achieve my goal since I was way closer to Brazil than ever before. So at the beginning of March, I booked a direct flight to Rio de Janeiro with TAP Airlines and spent the most exhausting 10H on the airplane, but oh boy, it was so worth it!

Here are some tips from me before you head off to Brazil’s most iconic city and discover Rio like a local:

  1. Rio is not THAT scary.
    First things first! Before my trip to Brazil, I read some blog posts about Rio and how dramatically scary it is. Also being friends with a lot of Brazilians in Lisbon, they warned me too about the danger in the city, but after seeing my confused face mixed with a bit of panic, they added: “To be honest, there might not happen a thing, but the CHANCES of happening something horrible are rather high.” I definitely confirm this quote, because literally, nothing happened to me during my stay in Brazil. It’s always better to be on a safe side and not to show off with your expensive cameras or phones. Try to always be and act like a local. One thing I did was keeping my phone always in my fanny pack and not wearing too many accessories or attention-catchy things.

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    Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  2. The iconic touristic places.
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    Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Of course, Rio without Copacabana, Leblon or Ipanema is a Rio wasted, but my tip would be in order to avoid extremely overpriced hotels or Airbnb in these areas, you can simply book a cheaper option somewhere close by and take Metro to anywhere. Metro is the safest transport option in Rio and is newly renovated with air-condition and some Portuguese tiles’ art going on. Unlike Europe, in Rio they don’t have daily/weekly/monthly pass in Metro, so basically you need to charge your card for each use. One way ticket costs 4 Brazilian Reais.

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    Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    While at Copacabana make sure to visit Lala’s Coworking de Beleza & Café , where you can have the most delicious Brigadeiro cake while having your nails/hair done!

    Also, unlike the European city center, the center of Rio (Centro) is pretty dangerous if you visit it after 5 p.m. During the day the neighbourhood is busy with Business centers and working people going on, but after 5 in the afternoon you might be the only one walking there, that’s when it gets a bit scary. From Centro you can walk to either Lapa and check the famous stairs, where you always have at least one Brazilian playing the perfectly out of tuned Bossa Nova

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    Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Or also to take a walk and visit Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) and check what the future holds.

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    Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    For swimming forget Copacabana and Ipanema and go to Barra da Tijuca instead, where usually the local people go. The beach and the water there is way cleaner, and the neighbourhood – safer. It was one of the fewest occasions where I could take pictures without my friend shouting at me to keep my phone in the bag.
    Also, you will find a lot of cosy & fancy coffee shops with (finally) free Wi-Fi in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood.

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    Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  3. A taste of the famous Açaí while visiting the Botanical Gardens of Rio.
    When they first warned me not to ever use my phone in the streets of Rio, my first question was “but how am I going to orientate without using GPS?” but Rio turned out to be the easiest place to walk around because basically everything has the same name. For example: for The Botanical Gardens you have the station called “The Botanical Gardens” which is situated on “The Botanical Gardens” avenue, easy-breezy. And on your way there, you have one place called BIBI, where they serve the best Açaí in the whole city!

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    The Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  4. Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer.
    Since I had a really bad experience and I almost left Rio without seeing the main attraction (Christo Redentor) I decided to share my tips for you. Being in Rio at the beginning of March it was foggy and cloudy most of the days. And if it’s sunny down on Copacabana, it might be super foggy at Corcovado, so it’s better to check out their website Corcovado ao vivo where you can see live if the Statue of Christ is visible. Because when I first went there, they were not even selling the tickets due to clouds that made the statue disappear.
    My advice would be to take the shuttle bus to Corcovado instead of the Funicular because it’s way cheaper and also it stops at one viewpoint place “Mirante Dona Marta” from where you have the most beautiful view over Rio de Janeiro.

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    Mirante Dona Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    The ticket office usually opens at 8 a.m and it’s always better to go there early because around 10 a.m. there were so many people at the Statue already that you could even barely move, not to talk about how many failures we had during taking a decent picture.

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    Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  5. A day trip from Rio.
    A really cool day trip you can have from Rio de Janeiro is Petrópolis. It takes around 2H to get there and you have buses going almost anytime during the day. The trip is quite cheap and is worth visiting because from a very Brazilian city of Rio you will end up in a German look-a-like, safer and more “European” Petropolis. If you’ll read a bit of history from the early 1800s, Germans immigrated to Brazil and started spreading their culture there. Nowadays, the most “developed” parts of Brazil are exactly the German-influenced parts. Fun fact about Petrópolis is that during his last years, Stefan Zweig was living there with his wife. He ended his life there. You can even watch a movie about his life called “Stefan Zweig, Farewell to Europe” and you will see a lot of Brazil going on there.

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    Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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