As the name of my blog says - all dreams come true - so in the beginning of March I made my biggest dream in the sphere of traveling come true. I visited the city I am in love with for more than seven years - picturesque, breathtaking, bright and colourful Barcelona.
I went there alone and because of it was a bit scared before my trip, but in the long run everything turned out well and the only negative thing of travelling alone was that 90% of my photos are selfies. At the same time I planned everything really thoroughly, and had managed to visit all but one places from my "Must see" list.
So here is a bit more details and some photos of my trip.
First day, or, to be precise, half a day was an orienting one.
That moment when you intentionally go not in the right direction from the airport because there palms outside and you want to see them. That moment, when together with pigeons there are a lot of parrots in the streets. That moment when you go round the metro station and can't find the right way to go to your hostel. That moment when you've booked a bed in 12-people room without breakfast, but you are settled in 6-people room with breakfst. That moment when you see the thing that 7 years ago made you fall in love with Barcelona - the great Sagrada Familia.
I started second day from visiting a famous food market La Boqueria. It's a place, where all your sences are happy - it's bright and colourful, it smells thousand smells, it sounds hundreds languages. It tastes perfect! ♥♥♥
Then I went to my main destination Mount Tibidabo. On my way there I met a nice Spanish woman who grew up in Barcelona, but now lives in Portugal. Though at that day she came to visit her parents and the places she likes most in the city. So together we spend a couple of hours in a cosy cafe with a perfect view on Barcelona.
After finishing my mojito I took the funicular and went higher to the Mount. There is an adorable amusement park there and a majestic cathedral. Despite of my ligh fear of hight and strong fear of spiral staircase I went to the very top of it and enjoyed the breathtaking view on the city being 560 m above the sea level.
In the evening I wondered along the streets and observed two more Gaudi's creations - Casa Batlo and La Pedreira.
I felt so happy!!!!♥♥♥
The third day in Barcelona was rich with the following moments:
- Mediterranean Sea. It was cold and almost raining outside, the water was really ice cold but I couldn't resist the desire to walk in water a bit :)
- the first Paella in my life in a local cafe where the menu on the wall was written in UKRAINIAN!!!
- Park Guel - a place that astonishes you with the unbelievable workd of Antonio Gaudi
- Magical Fountain of Montjuik - light and music show, hundreds of tourists and great mood
The last day, or a half of it, was pretty hectic, as I needed to go to the airport, but wanted to visit the Gothic Quarter before. But I've managed to do it and enjoyed the view of Barcelona Cathedral.
So I left the city being even more in love with it and with the strong desire to come back!
If one day I have an opportunity to visit all the places where my friends live I will certainly travel half of the world. Of cource a lot of my nearest and dearest are in Ukraine, but some of them live and work in Germany, Austria, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and even China! A few people I love are from the USA; my penfriends who have already become true friends for me are waiting for me to come to Italy, the Netherlands, Belarus and Taiwan.
Travelling, as any other thing in life, needs to have a beginning, so in December 2016 I started my "Visit a Friend" tour by going to my dear Lena in Poland.
Wroclaw is a city where my Lena studies. It's a city with a lot of things to see. It's a city with the most charming christmas fair.
Here I tried the famous polish baked cheese and the tastiest doughnuts. Here I've got to know that in Poland being a principle is almost like being a king (yes-yes, till nowadays each principle has a sceptre and a festive fur gown). Here I visited the Univercity that is decorarated like a palace.
An interesting thing about Wroclaw: there are a lot of small dwarf-monuments called "Krasnoludek" in the city. Noone knows exactly how many. Every year some companies (not just one) install new ones. They can be anywhere - on railwaystation, in a supermakret, in the middle of a square or hidden somewhere in the corner of a quiet street. Looking for these dwarves can be like a quest for city's visitors. So come and see how many krasnoludeks you can find!))
I had heared so much about this city before I went there. Ukrainians, Germans, Polish people - all said that it's one of the mosyt beautiful cities in Poland. Can't say that it's bad - but for us it was a one-day-visit, and as we spent there 48 hours it was already a bit boring for us.
Still there are things to see and places to go in Krakow. Wawel castle is the best one of cource.
Poland 2.0))) 28/01/-31/01/2017
My January was very active but almost without travelling so willing to change the situation I got on a bus and went to my dear Lena again.
This time our small vacation was a home one - lasying around, chattering and watching films - what can be better for two good friends.
Still one day we dedicated to a small but amazing trip to Walbrzych and its outstanding (3d in the whole country) castle. The weather was great, the landscapes even better. Thus my January finished positively.
A month and a half ago my friends-volunteers and I had an adventure of visiting Belgium. Three days, three cities, a bunch of experiences and emotions, sometimes really controversial ones. So to those interested in this country or in my trips further is a short story about it and probably some tips.
I'd like to start with a really important piece of advice: so, when you are planning to fly/go/sail somewhere - NEVER let the cheap tickets be the reason of your choice.
There we were, a big group of people longing to spend time abroad together; we found plane tickets to Brussels - 8 euros one way, were amused by such a price, quickly discussed the opportunity and booked the flight. We were happy to save about 20-30 euro each. Only later, after the search for the hostel, local transport tickets and googling nice caffees have we realised our mistake - Belgium is really expensive. Sometimes terribly expensive. We even had a thought to say "bye" to tickets' money and stay at home, as three days in Belgium would have cost us a half of a month salary... Still, in the long run we boarded the plane and went to explore the capital of EU.
Brussels. A visit in dark colours.
The city we went to first was Brussels. The city I have no desire to come back to is Brussels. The city of contrasts, sadness and fear is Brussels.
Being so important for EU this city is not a good example of prosperous, tolerant european city. Of cource, there are many nice places to see, and in the pictures I've uploaded you can see it. We tried to have fun as much as possible. But... here we saw much grey, many things that made us shudder with dread.
In the airport the soldiers are armed completely, they are holding chatter-guns, their fingers tight on triggers... In the streets, even the central ones are hundreds of poor people, hungry beggars, suffering homeless sleeping in carton boxes right in the street. There is much rubbish on the ground...
The city is as if devided into districts of different cultures and nations... I always considered myself a tolerant open-minded person, I still do, but the things we've experienced in Brussels moved me and scared me... Our hostel was in a turkish district. And it means that everything there is authentic for this culture. Names of shops and caffees are written in authentic language, noone speaks English, or French or German...
We happened to appear in the Morrocan district, and when a group of us - 6 out of 8 fair-haired, blue-eyed youngsters went in a caffee to buy a snack, we felt as if being posed on exibition. The exibition the audiece doesn't seem to like...
Result: everyone of us said - Thank's Brussels but we won't meet again.
To cheer a story up here are some pics of nice places of the city (yes, there are some, even a lot of them there).
Ostende. A place that inspires.
Ostende wasn't a dreamed-about destination, it was just a coastal city nearest to our way. We went thetre and experienced happiness, got inspiration, got rid of bad thoughts. Why? Because the North Sea is just perfect!
It was Ostende where I first saw an extremely big seagull and a coffee-automat where one of the options is soup)))
Brugge. A city where "Love is in the air".
Small Brugge makes you want to stay there forever. It amazes with its romantic atmosphere, ancient buildings ( can you imagine Swarowski shop in a house built in 1650, yes, it's possible), artistic doors and windows, numerous channels... Brugge is a place that makes you happy. It's a place I'm already dreaming to come back once more. It's a place really worth visiting.
Oh, I haven't posted anything here for such a long period of time((( But believe me, during your EVS you are always busy - either working or having fun with friends, and in short moments when you are alone and don't have to do something the only thing that seems attractive is sleep) Or sometimes a good book. So sorry for a long silent period, but here I am now with a short story about my work.
I live in Fürstenwalde, but work in Frankfurt Oder, so every day I have a 20-30 minute-long journey to our office. My organisation is called GLOS - globales lernen an Oder und Spree; its main tasks are to deal with fair trade, environmental protection and cultural diversity. So we organise small workshops for children and adults, as well as movie nights or cultural nights.
Here in Deutschland people don't like to be on photos on the Internet, so I barely have a couple of pics from the events we've organised or attended.
One of the topics we worked on with a group of adults.
Two last weeks were the most busy for me as we held many wokrshops at school, presented our countries at the events for JuSeV (my coordinating organisation) volunteers; also I presented Ukraine's winter holidays and traditions at the cultural event at work.
One more really bright thing that happened to me in frames of work was participation in the conference in Poland. It was informative and active, and the people there were great! I'm still inspired by this great event.
Last weekend here was a long one, as on Monday 3d of October people celebrate German Unity day, so my friends-volunteers and I decided to use this period of time on its fullness, and after several days of planning and discussing we've got the following:
Day first. Dresden.
On Saturday morning 8 people got on the bus and sat off in the search of adventures. Our first destination was Dresden - a city of unbelievably beautiful architecture.
Dresden is considered one of the most important cities in Germany's history, so a lot of celebrations of the national holiday took place there, - concerts, video-charts with politicians, street-food festival. We've got a package of different booklets about Germany in a nice labeled bags) That was nice.
As we had too many things ahead we didn't go to the innumerable museams of this beautiful city. And here are the things we visited
1. Zwinger mit Semperbau - a complex of museums (which we didn't observed this time) and beautiful palaces. But better see than read, so here are some pics of this marvellous place
As this week is free for me I've decided not to spend each day of it just in front of my PC, so yesterday I went to a magnificent place - Sans Souci palace in Potsdam.
I was affraid - as I have never travelled abroad and alone, but tried to fight my fear and went to this trip.
On the bus going from Potsdam railway station to the place needed I've met a wonderful group of people - a man from Canada who is a pilot, and two girls - Chinese and Korean - who are stewardesses. So together with them I went to explore the beauty of a new place. In the long run I may say that going out my comfort zone was definitely worth is. Here are some photos to prove my words:
Time flies...Not so long ago I was busy with my documents and now it's the end of September and here I am - living in a beautiful, bright and peaceful city Fürstenwalde. Everything is so new and unusual that I could have written about it onhundreds of pages, but as I don't want you, my dear Reader, to fall asleep while reading, I would try to put all the stuff in a nutshell. So here we go.
Fürstenwalde is a nice city in 50km distance from Berlin. What I really like that unlike big cities this one isn't suffering from the extremely high speed of life. Here I feel as if in a fairy tale - bright houses, beautiful churches, small shops, and (tha fact that leaves much to be desired in my homeland) polite. In a shop they say Hi and Goodbye to you, smiling sincerely, not artificially. In the street they greet you even you've met just once before. When you ask someone where something is they don't just explain - they go with you and show. A teenager, an adult or an old person - they all are open to you.
Our house is situated right between the cathedral and a music school. So each half an our we hear the bell toll and almost every day we may enjoy the music (yesterday there was a saxophone playing, and now I'm writing this post while the piano sends its pleasant melody to me).
Also there are several parks and a beautiful river Spree here. These places are perfect for a bicycle ride or a walk with friends and family in any weather. I say nothing about dogs which have plenty of space to play at.
I'm lucky to have great people around me. Here are six of us now, and two more are coming soon. Representatives of Hungary, Belarus, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine are living together as a friendly family.
That's how I live here, if shortly. My work starts next week, but now I relax, enjoy the new things and travel a bit. But it's the subject of the next 90% photo-post.
My story starts pretty simple: like the great majority of people all over the world I've dreamed of travelling and meeting new people since my childhood. Being a freshman I met Peace Corps volunteers and along with being inspired by them and their work I kept questioning myself, - what on Earth can make a person turn his life upside down by moving to a really distant country where he'll be a total stranger. But as our friendship grew and we got to know more about each others' life and work I understood - volunteering is a unique life-changing opportunity that none should miss when he gets one. It's an experience that any work or studies are able to give. It is a chance to change the world and yourself for better. Since than I felt that sooner or later I will certainly need to devote a part of my life to volunteering.
Tending to be a bit indecisive when dealing with some global things I could have left this dream of mine at the state of a dream but in 2014 my friend Ani went to do EVS in Germany. It was the first time I heard the details about this wonderful program and the time when my dream transformed into a goal.
I've spent a year and a half in the search of a project. During this time I've sent about 30 applications, wrote to more than 15 organisations, went through 7 interviews... Several times after getting one of the uncountable refusals I was about to give up my efforts, but then continued the search keeping reminding myself that EVS is a great chance to learn something new, to share my knowledge and show my skills, to meet great people, see the world and find my real self. So after the year and a half of trying and waiting I was chosen to be a part of a great project GLOS in the small but cosy and picturesque German city Frankfurt Oder.
Currently I'm doing last efforts in collecting the needed documents, so if everything goes well I'll spend the Indian summer in a new country. So wish me luck! :)