Our car enters Casteluzzo at dusk. 1.5 hours drive from Palermo through curvy highway filled with construction signs gladly ignored by locals and we spot the sign of the village we are aiming for. High hills with olive trees on their slopes, golden light and sea breeze greet us as we consult the navigation system for our street.
Traveling to St-Petersburg and not sure what to expect in terms of expenses? Than you are on the right place - this post is for you! As many of you know by now I moved from St-Petersburg to Germany 11 years ago, but still visit my home city on a regular basis. Whenever I get asked whether it is expensive to travel to St-Petersburg I always answer...
If your kid is under the age where cultural activities like museums, theaters and sports come in play than you might find it difficult to travel to St-Petersburg.
Russians love kids and there are plenty of things to do with your little ones in St-P, but according to Western standards it is not exactly a child-friendly city. You will find high chairs, kids corners and playgrounds anywhere you go as well as kids stores and entertainment programms - there is no flaw here. But to my taste most of them are way to bright-busy-loud for kids. I'm also not a big friend of permanent entertainment and try to find balance between kids and parents activities.
With parks and green areas located mostly outside the city center and with playgrounds squeezed in between busy streets (let's forget about crazy colors and the smell of rubber under the burning summer sun) it doesn't make it easy for the parents, especially if you are a visitor.
With our 2,5 year old daughter Olivia coming along there is always a challenge to find child appropriate places. In this I want to share with you my Summer 2018 catch of favorite locations and things to do in St-Petersburg with a 2,5 years old kid.
As my mom says: 'You can't be careful enough'. At some point she is right - we all should be more careful with our stuff and shouldn't go too easy about leaving our valuables unattended (ookay, now I also sound like my mom). But when traveling you want to relax and not being paranoid about your belongings - there are more important things to pay attention to than guarding your valuables day and night. Some countries are an easy go though - with low crime rates and high security. But what if you are heading to one where tourists are an easy target for thieves? I have to admit that in some countries I have traveled to I felt extremely uncomfortable because of the safety reasons (sorry, Brazil). But having Russian blood and living in Russia through 1990's helped me think straight and be as careful as I can but also enjoy the adventures. Having my bags snatched and cell phones stolen taught me to keep my eyes open and to expect the unexpected, but it haven't scared me from learning new cultures and traveling to faraway lands.
Let me share with you some tips I gathered during our travels on how to keep valuables safe without too much hassle.
I have to note here that those tips won't guarantee you safety, but they will help you to be more relaxed and prepared. But before I start please remember the most important rule of all:
Sometimes a badly made morning cappuccino (espresso, matcha latte, masala chai, herbal tea: tick what applies) can ruin the rest of the day. This can be especially annoying on your well deserved and much anticipated getaway. For those searching for spots where breakfast in Moscow can’t go wrong, Ekaterina from Moscow Mate Itineraries talks about her favorite go-to offers in Russias capital and shares 7 breakfast locations to start your day right.
I like Eastern Europe. I always feel home there. Countries with similar history and lifestyle each unique in their own way. Spending my first 20 years in St-Petersburg surely does play a significant role in my sympathie for the East Block.
Bucharest visit came rather spontaneously, actually as a necessary stop over. But we decided to stay a little longer than just between the flights and spent 3 full days in Romanian capital. Every time I told someone we are going to Bucharest I always got an answer back: 'What are you going to do there?' As if the city with almost 2 million inhabitants and centuries of history had nothing to offer! I was a bit discouraged, but as I believe that there are always things to see and do as soon as you keep your eyes open I thought that we'll manage anyway.
Long story short, we loved Bucharest (no big eyes, please) and realised that to 3 days is way too little to learn the city. This said, let me share with you some our discoveries and thoughts on how to make the most of 48 hours in Bucharest.