Санкт-Петербург

IMG_7579.jpg

Photography from my trip to Russia’s gateway to the west. Saint Petersburg had a lot to offer in terms of views, attractions, and food. Or, in other words, everything your traveling heart desires. All in all, you can feel the boiling of culture and scenes more than you would expect before visiting Russia for the first time.

Where to stay? Rubinstein StreetIMG_7593

The street with the dreamy name of the Polish pianist boasts with a lot of gems in terms of bars, breakfast places and a fair share of hostels and hotels. Only a few steps from Nevsky Prospect, St Petersburg’s main street, it’s an ideal place to start exploring everyday.

Winter Palace/ HermitageIMG_8374

Got eight years? Then you can look at each and every artwork inside for one whole minute. For everyone else, focusing on some exhibits could make more sense. Special tip for all sights in Russia: use the ticket machines to avoid queues.

St Petersburg by nightIMG_7677

Just look at the wonderful lights of the city and enjoy a little vodka (or gin cocktail, for those who care less about tradition) in one of the numerous bars.

Museum of Soviet Arcade MachinesIMG_8396You pay your museum entry fee, get some coins and go! At least that’s the idea, most machines sadly were broken and the good ones were being overtaken by kids. But if you are interested how the Soviets spent their spare time, give it a shot!

http://www.15kop.ru/en/

Don’t miss: Street Art MuseumIMG_8156

No matter if you have Banksy tattoos on your ankle or just generally like creativity, don’t miss out on the Street Art Museum. You can see here a replica of the Winter Palace with a Lenin statue in front. There are more installations all around, a dream for every Instagrammer.

http://streetartmuseum.ru/

I’ll try to tell you more about Moscow and food in Russia next week…

Advertisements

malta – things to do

I spent my birthday in Malta and had an awesome time with awesome people. Here are some of the things you should not miss in between the balconies, water and narrow alleyways.

Some facts:

  • population: 431.333 (Malta is small, yet very densely)
  • currency: €
  • language: English and Maltese
  • fun fact: Britney Spears’ great-grandfather was born in Malta

ll.jpg

1. Ferry Ride to the Blue Lagoon

Even though this is quite the tourist trap, I’d still recommend a boat ride to the Blue Lagoon. Sure enough, your view might be blocked by drunk tourists but it is still calming to sit in the sun and dip your feet in the crystal clear water. Maybe you’ve also guessed it, I’m quite the pineapple addict and they do cocktails served in hollowed-out ones here – called “Blue Lagoon” and quite instagrammable. 😉

lml

2. Stroll around Valletta

This will be on your list anyways, but just to mention it again. If you miss the green in the sandstone area, the capital of Malta boasts some amazing parks. It’s easy to explore the entirety of it within a few hours and you should definitely check out Soul Food for fresh and tasty Buddha Bowls!

 

IMG_4794-Recovered3. See Mdina

One of the highlights definitely was this little gem of a fortified city. A definite must see is the movie about its history which will give you some background info. It’s well-made, despite being 3D. If you choose to eat here definitely pay the extra money to sit on a rooftop and enjoy the view over the island.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the smallest country of the EU as much as I did! Let me know what your favourite spots were.

ldna

香港 The Best and Worst Vegetarian Restaurants in Hong Kong 香港

Going to a new country as a vegetarian always makes you a bit anxious – will the friends you meet tolerate the search for vegetarian food? Will you be able to enjoy food stalls and find restaurants where you like the food?

If you go out with friends, the sharing culture of the Chinese makes it very easy to just get a bowl of rice and convince them to order some veggie dishes. Alone, however, it will be a bit harder.

However, through some research I found out about one nunnery and one monastery that offer vegetarian food.

The Best – Chi Lin Vegetarian

Pagoda.jpg

Next to the beautiful wooden Chi Lin Nunnery there is Nan Lian Garden – including a golden pagoda, a waterfall and – behind said waterfall – a vegetarian restaurant.

hk food.jpg

Dim Sum from Heaven – great vegetarian food in Hong Kong

After a week in Hong Kong I could finally enjoye some steamed buns. Other than accidentally ordering a desert as pre-course, I really enjoyed the variety of Dim Sum, Fried Rice and amazing fruit shakes. I did not understand what half of the ingredients were – so here’s a little overview:

The Worst – Big Buddha

IMG_4172.jpg

After the aforementioned good experience I thought it were a good idea to check out another restaurant next to a holy place. But of course, just next to the Big Buddha this one was for the masses of tourists going there. After buying a normal or premium meal ticket, you are lead into a huge food hall where food is served rather roughly, the taste is not refined at all. I would definitely invest in the tad bit more expensive ticket next time, as at least the room looked nicer.

IMG_4311.jpg

I won’t even show you the food, here’s the garden instead

As an alternative, I’d recommend you take a picnic in the way calmer Wisdom Path area and enjoy the calmness it offers. And then, when you return, go to Branto Pure Veg and enjoy some delicious Indian Food instead.

img_4144

Bonus: Broccoli Trees as seen from the glassed flood of the Cable car to Big Buddha

 

6 things learnt in Poland

IMG_2456kl.jpg

near main square, Krakow

1. There is a ton of nuns. I’ve tried to figure out why the country is still so catholic despite its oppression during the Communist regime. Of course, to do with Poland’s history and the church replacing governmental structures, being a place of coming together. Judaism is on the rise, however, as many people find back to their routes.

IMG_2619kl.jpg

Schindler’s Factory, Krakow

2. Schindler in real life: wasn’t just like in the movie but there were pots involved. The factory is one of the best museums with interactive installations makes history feel alive for you.

IMG_2811kl.jpg

Park Chopin, Warsaw

3. There is a free Chopin Concert in Warsaw every Sunday. Go there. It’s super cool. Don’t try the waffles sold in the small stall located centrally in the park.

IMG_2501kl.jpg

Cloth Hall, Krakow

4. You can meet a lot of amazing people in Poland. Despite the population not being overly international, people are open-minded and lots of travellers pass through. Couchsurfing’s new Hangout-feature really helped finding amazing people in the area.

IMG_2678kl.jpg

Warsw

5. You’ll always end up in one place when in Warsaw: Pawilony. It’s basically like the same bar over and over again with hallways inbetween. It’s amazing. I especially recommend Comix Bar (super-hero themed shots)!

6. Political opinions: I learnt that the Communist Party is forbidden there and young people are less prone to feeling left-wing.

P.S.: Contrary to its reputation Poland’s cities are a Paradise for vegan food!

5-ourite places in Kopenhagen

1.jpg

After a rather disappointing Rock am Ring experience I decided to take off a long weekend and share through a weekend in Denmark. We went by BlaBlaCar, stayed over in an AirBnb and went back with gomore.dk. Saving money on travel helps you enjoy your sightseeing more and worry less about , after all.

Borgen Danish Flag.jpg

1. Borgen
As a viewer of Danish Drama I didn’t miss out on the Danish parliament, visiting the secret night-discussion spots of twilighty politicians.

Tivoli Lantern at Joyride.jpg

2. Tivoli
A view like this or similar is to be expected from Tivoli, which is not only the second-oldest amusement park but also a go-to place for the youth. On Fridays, evening-tickets are available from 7pm and you can enjoy a concert or just the magical fairy atmosphere.

Nyhavn by Night.jpg

3. Nyhavn
The number one place for people who like bucket lists and places-to-go-list readers. The beautiful colours of buildings reflecting in the water (and prices) are almost too much to handle – be it by day or night.

IMG_2202.jpg

4. Food – Smushi and Døp

For my Veggie friends: there are options! Denmark’s third-most-famous thing, Smørrebrødis available in sushi dimensions (half size, double price though) at Smushi, a place uniting Danish design and food (and somehow Japan).
There is an amazing hot-dog stall called DØP just next to it to fill your stomach after with a variety of sausages and hot-dog variations. I recommend the one with mash and pickles, but make your choice.

Untitled-1.jpg

5. Everything else
Everything. So much beauty to discover just strolling around the neighbourhoods and independent Christiania with its Green-Light district. I also enjoyed the Lille Havfrue quite a lot – whoever is disappointed by her size should probably lower their expectations a bit and understand what “Lille” means. 😉

Bishop and WarriorDoorframe House Christiania.jpgIMG_1837.jpgMan Underwater.jpg

Scotland-Roadtrip to the Dunmore Pineapple

IMG_0025.jpgTo everyone’s surprise I have never actually blogged about pineapples here, but maybe I’ve just been waiting for the right moment. So as this weekend I went to the Pineapple House near Dunmore, Scotland, with Sara and Alex, it seems like a good moment.

A brief history of the pineapple (fruit)

The fruit of the  Bromeliaceae family (same as strawberries – there ARE pineberries) was discovered by Columbus himself in 1493 on is second journey to Guadeloupe and named as a piña de Indes (he was not a smart man). It was brought to Europe in the 16th century, first recordings of the name by French explorer André Thevet stem from 1555. And yes, the name basically stems from Europeans thinking it just kind of looked like a pine cone on an apple.

12764388_1117280081626009_888647796804648261_o.jpg

More interesting is the etymology of its other name – Ananas. It stems from the Tupi word nanas, literally translating to “delicious fruit” (smart people here). There are some urban myths about the name stemming from banana crates where the b was simply crossed out as they lacked pineapple crates. I have not found any evidence for that so far.

Charles-pineapple

Charles II being presented with the first pineapple grown in England.

Starting to be cultivated in only the 17th century, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality because of being associated with the return of ships from long journeys. You may often see pineapples in castles, carved in guest beds or on paintings – they could actually be rented by the hour back then to show wealth and, well, hospitality.

Today, pineapples are mainly grown in Costa Rica, the Phillipines, Thailand and Brazil. Sadly, their cultivation causes quite a lot of trouble as more pesticides are used than in most other tropical fruit.

A brief history of The Pineapple (house)

The house, built in 1761 by John Murray, was actually used for growing pineapples. The actual pineapple, however, is said to be built in 1776 (designed by Sir William Chambers, who is also responsible for Somerset House and Kew Gardens). That was when Murray returned from Virginia, where he had spent the time in between as a governour.Dunmore_pineapple_north_elevation

The pineapple itself is 14 metres high, mixes several architectural styles and is one of the most impressive architectural representations of the symbol, showing off what stonemasons can do. Today you can actually rent the pineapple as a holiday home.