Sunday, June 22, 2014

Madrid balconies


Madrid, love at first sight!

Our visits to Madrid are always special to me. Madrid is my husband's home city. He was born and raised there and sightseeing usually involves personal stories and experiences. Our visits always entail meetings with family and friends, it is always vivid and full of joy. The weather is always perfect there and the people are warm and friendly. And talkative! I could spend all my day just walking around and listening to the sounds of Madrid. Also I cannot not mention the food and wine....mmmmm! Chorizo, jamón, empanadas, cocido, croquetas, tortilla de patatas, churros...

For this post I chose lovely Madrid balconies. Colorful and graceful face of Madrid. I have some more drafted posts about Madrid so stay tuned everyone :-).


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sarajevo

After reading kuma's recent posts on her Balkan adventures I realized that I have some drafted posts of the summer visit to the Balkans myself. By the way, most of you are wondering who kuma is and why I keep repeating this word (I have two kumas :-)...). Well, I found a perfect explanation for you from an American expat living in Belgrade. Read it here! I enjoyed it so much!


Džezva and fildžani in Baščaršija - Sarajevo's old bazaar

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Dancing House - Prague

I know I haven't been here for a while :-(. I have been very busy lazy since we moved to Prague. New language and endless paperwork keeps me on the top of my toes constantly. Prague is definitely a European capital (probably one of the most beautiful ones), but the moment you step in to any of the administrative buildings you cross instantly to "Communism". Or, to tone it down, you can definitely feel you deal with people from some old previous bureaucratic systems. If you are from the Balkans, you feel at home :). 

 Suddenly everything makes sense. One truly understands the inspiration for Josef K's misfortunes. Der Process was written here for a reason. To name one example, only here (and probably in the Balkans) does it make sense to hire people who do not speak English in the police office dedicated to the registration of foreigners. Or any other foreign language, for that matter. 

To brighten up, you can clearly see a line between the old communist clerks and the young Czechs in general. Younger generations all speak English and have been abroad. They have different open minded views, willing to help and mediate when you come across the old guard office clerks who roll their eyes on you, clearly annoyed that they have to do some extra work their job. 

Another reason I was away for so long is that I don't know where to start writing. Prague is a true treasure. It is living history. It's amazing and intimidating at the same time. Each building is a gem of its own. It's a mix of Baroque, Art Nouveau and Gothic. Writing about any of the impressive structures of Prague will require a lot of research, which makes me thrilled and a bit scared at the same time. 

Before delving into history and old Prague I will start with the new and modern. My first pick is the Dancing House (Tančící dům) designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in a co-operation with the well known Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. The style is known as Deconstructivism or "new-baroque". Some other noteworthy landmarks by Gehry are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Beekman Tower in New York.   

The Dancing House is one of the fairly recent and controversial landmarks of Prague. Many criticize the building for its extreme contrast from the rest of the more classical Prague. To me it seems daring and refreshing. What do you think?




Friday, September 20, 2013

Belgrade

     It was great to be back in the Balkans after almost 7 years. And even better being back with my husband for the first time. I could also make a good joke here, playing with the Balkan stereotypes, but I will leave it open to your imagination :-).

     He had never been to the Eastern Europe before so it was very interesting to see the Balkans through his eyes. We arrived to Belgrade on Friday August 30th. My parents picked us up and we drove from Belgrade airport to the city center for a walk through Kalemegdan fortress and park for as much sightseeing as possible since we would spend only 10 days in the Balkans. In the heart of Kalemegdan fortress we found the perfect place for lunch at Kalemegdanska Terasa. This restaurant can definitely compete with any New York or London hot spot, but I have to admit that lunch was also priced accordingly :-).

After lunch I sent a couple of text messages to arrange coffee with my cousin and her family and it felt like I never left.

Panoramic view from Kalemegdan Fortress overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Sava and Danube


    Even though it drizzled a little bit we continued our tour through Belgrade's main street Knez Mihajlova. I happily posed for the picture in front of Instituto Cervantes de Belgrado (hint: my husband is Spanish :-)...) and then like real tourists we went to the tourist info office to ask about Belgrade's open roof tour bus. That was SOOOOOO MUCH FUN! Even my cousin and her son joined, despite the fact that they live in Belgrade. It was a perfect way to see so much in one day. We came back to Belgrade at the end of our stay for our friend's wedding but could not really count on those days to see anything else. The bus ride was 90 minutes long and you could choose to listen to the guide in more than five different languages, so everyone was happy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ethiopian restaurant London

      My sisters visited us for a week and we had an amazing time together. I took that week off so I was able to fully enjoy our reunion. We went to London three times and also to Birmingham, Oxford and Stratford-Upon-Avon. I gave them a PROPER midlands tour (for best results read proper with a British accent :-).....).

     The highlight of the week was definitely a lovely Ethiopian restaurant Addis. Or at least to me :-). I discovered Ethiopian cuisine in New York and I was positively surprised. Since then I am a fan.

      Dishes are usually served on a pancake-like bread injera with different kinds of stews on top of it. Ethiopians eat with their right hand exclusively using pieces of injera bread to scoop up the dish. I guess we were so hungry that day that we never took a picture of the meal itself but the one below will do for now. Injera is made out of teff flour which is also gluten free.   

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bandstand Tea Rooms


      Right around the corner where we live a new cafe opened recently. It's called Bandstand Tea Rooms because their windows overlook the band stand in the Leamington pump gardens. 

     The place is very cute. It looks vintage, has cute tea sets and plates, little vintage cupboards and great coffee and cakes. We went there last weekend for a chocolate cake and we returned already today for a piece of a red velvet cake. You can see it on the picture below. 

     We will definitely miss this little posh village and its cakeries and tea rooms. I already wrote about another great tea place in Leamington called Vinteas here but there are definitely more posts to come. Leamington always keeps surprising me. 




Thursday, August 08, 2013

Coventry - Sarajevo and Belgrade's twin city!

        Coventry is about 18km away from Leamington Spa. As opposed to Leamington, this little city is industrial and a little bit run down. It is closer to the University of Warwick and I was shocked at first when my husband told me he would rent an apartment in Leamington. I was in New York at that time and by looking on the map it made more sense to live in Coventry, which is the second largest city in the West Midlands, as opposed to this small unknown village. He said I would see for myself. 

Despite Coventry's "bad" reputation I thought it was very cute. The day we visited was sunny and perfect and I had so much fun. When I told my one and only British friend that we spent the day in Coventry and that it was very cute she said (with dry British humor): "I have never heard anyone describing Coventry as cute!" :-) 


Friday, August 02, 2013

Help me WIN the Expats in England Blog Award!

    Dear readers (meaning family and friends who have no other choice but read what I write :-)…) would you be so nice to write a small honest review of my blog on expatsblog.com?


     I am soooo excited and happy! My blog is featured on expatsblog.com just click on the badge below to leave a review and help me win the Expats in England Blog Award!




England expat blogs



    Thank you so much! Love you all!

Ivana

Saturday, July 20, 2013

British Heritage Membership



       Just a quick and useful post. We recently purchased a joint pass to all the sites under the British Heritage Trust. All the information can be found here. It includes many places you can visit for free or half price. Stonehenge is one of them too. So far we visited two places in the "neighborhood":
 Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden and Rushton Triangular Lodge. Kenilworth Castle is one of the premium sights. And indeed it looks premium and grandiose.


Elizabethan Garden Kenilworth

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brick Lane - London's East End

      What a great weekend in London! We had a visit from our friends, one of them a London expert. She used to live here for a while and made us a "must do" London list, which will be an inspiration for my future posts. She said she copyrighted it though, so I might be hearing from her lawyers very 
soon :-). 


One of our first stops was Rough Trade, the huge music store close to Brick Lane. This area of London is sooooooo Williamsburgish. When I googled the store to find the link I also found out they are opening a NYC store very soon and guess where in NYC? Yes, Williamsburg.  



Friday, June 21, 2013

Vinteas

             This is our favorite coffee place in Leamington Spa. It's called Vinteas. I mentioned it before in one of my posts so you can see some more pictures of this amazing place here. It looks magical! You feel like you are in a fairy tale. It is sooooooo Alice in Wonderlandish! It brings out the child in me!

             But the best part is that, at the same time, it's not just the looks. They have an amazing choice of cakes, teas and coffee. Disclosure: I am writing this under the influence of chocolate! :-) I also discovered my favorite tea here (yes, at this age. Hey, I am from the Balkans, we drink tea only when we catch a cold). It is rooibos. The tea is served properly (in a small teapot) and since all of the teas are leaf teas (not from the bags) you get a little tea strainer. Everything looks super cute! We loooooove to come here!

            Most of their cakes are from The Cakery and Sweet As. The Cakery is an amazing little place with the best cakes and cupcakes. We stop by The Cakery very often :-). In fact we have a birthday coming up so watch out for us, Cakery. As for the Sweet As, we have not been there yet but it is definitely on our "to do" list :-).   




Friday, June 14, 2013

Look right - meaning look proper.....!?!?!


                      I think I will never get used to the "opposite side of the street" thing!!!

You can always easily spot the foreigner, we are always confused and we look several times each way until we get enough courage to cross :-). The position of pedestrian street lights is also super confusing. You would expect to look for the light on the other side of the street but it is actually next to you and if you are at a crossroad you start thinking whether this light is for you to cross or for the perpendicular branch of the cross road?!?!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mallorca

    Long sandy beaches, beautiful Mediterranean sun and great food are things that I expected, what I was surprised about is Mallorca's rich history, hundreds of roundabouts and cycling turism

    Going to Mallorca was a natural choice, first because it's homeland(island) to one of us and second because it's a direct flight from Birmingham and only a 2h 25min long flight. Mallorca is one of the four Balearic islands: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera which form a province of Spain, with Palma as a capital city. Mallorca is the largest island of the four, hence the name maior larger, as opposed to Menorca minor smaller. 

    On May 3rd we arrived to Palma before noon, picked up a rental car and with the map in our hands we drove all the way across the island (1h :-)...) to the northeast beach Alcudia. Playa de Muro in Alcudia Bay was our base but we had a chance to see most of the island in the four days we were there.  
             
    Mallorca has around 300 different beaches and some of them, like Formentor, remind me of the Adriatic coast a little bit. Formentor is a small hidden Mallorca bay in the north (fourth picture below). 

Playa de Muro

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Royal Leamington Spa

              I am officially in love with this little village! Every day I discover one more thing that leaves me completely stunned. Leamington's population is about 49500. I keep calling it village because it looks very residential and most of the town consists of private houses. Only one street looks more like a town or a small city which is the Parade, the main street. But even there, apartment buildings are only two or three stories tall.

              Spring finally reached the UK and we went for a walk to a nearby park, Jephson Gardens, to discover that Leamington has a little botanical garden. The Temperate House has an admiring collection  representing plant evolution for the past 500 million years. They also have a small goldfish basin.

The Temperate House at Leamington Spa


Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Coventry Transport Museum

       We visited Coventry Transport Museum on our day trip to Coventry and I had thought of adding this as one of the details in the post about Coventry, but I couldn't pick just one or two pictures only and decided to give the museum its own post. There is something romantic and mysterious about the 30s not just about the cars from that time, but also fashion, hairdos, pearls....or it's just me?

      To be honest we were a little bit skeptical about a "museum" of transport.......c'mon!?!? But we were positively surprised by the car collection.

       Our favorite car was:

FB comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...