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Saturday, 30 April 2016

1st of May - Labour Day!

Dearest working class heroes,

A very well known celebration, especially for the communist countries, is remembered tomorrow: 1st of May - the International Workers Day or Labour Day. International Workers' Day is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement, anarchists, socialists, and communists and occurs every year on May Day, 1 May, an ancient European spring holiday. The date was chosen for International Workers' Day by the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. This day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. (source)
Typical 1st May poster - Romania

Being a traditional European spring celebration, May Day is a national public holiday in many countries, but in only some of those countries is it celebrated specifically as "Labour Day" or "International Workers' Day". Some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September. In Poland, since the fall of communism, 1 May is officially celebrated as May Day, but is commonly called Labour Day. In Romania, 1 May, known as the International Labour Day (Ziua internațională a muncii), the International Workers' Day (Ziua internațională a oamenilor muncii), or simply 1/First of May (1/Întâi Mai), is an official public holiday. 
Typical 1st May poster - Poland
During the communist regime, like in all former Eastern Bloc countries, the day was marked by large state-organised parades in most towns and cities, to which many workers were de facto required to participate. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, 1 May continues to be an official public holiday, but without any state organised events or parades. Most people celebrate together with friends and family, organising picnics and barbecues. It is also the first day of the year when people, especially those from the southeastern part of the country including the capital Bucharest, go to spend the day in one of the Romanian Black Sea resorts.
Typical 1st May march - Romania - you can see many photos of N. Ceausescu
In Romania, Labour Day was celebrated for the first time in 1890, and during the communist times this celebration was marked - as in other communist countries - by manifestations and marches glorifying the Communist Party and the benefits that communism brings to the people. After the revolution in December 1989, for several years, the 1st of May was no longer celebrated by propagandist manifestation, but rather by social and cultural events in the open air. In the communist times it was a mandatory social gathering, very well rehearsed, with thousands and thousands of people singing patriotic songs and carrying huge pancards with logos and wishes and of course our brave leaders face. Nowdays everyone spits on those ideas and on those memories and youngsters and older people alike see 1st of May as time off from the busy life/job they have. You will see people flocking away from the cities, gathering for a barbecue and (for the lucky ones?) heading toward the Black Sea resorts. TIPS & TRICKS: If you are in Romania now, make sure you eat the traditional mititei (minced meat, well spiced and done on the grill - to be eaten with mustard)!
Typical 1st May poster - Poland
For the Polish people, the 1st of May is just the beginning of a series of national event - try not to get them confused, as I will explain them backwards ;) May 3rd is the Constitution Day - the very first European constitution and the 2nd one worldwide! 3rd of July is also a religious feast. This day is called the Day of St. Mary a Queen of Poland. This feast was established by a pope on a request of Polish bishops after regaining the freedom by Poland at the end of World War I. The religious holiday of the 3rd of June is a consequence of the political anniversary of the Constitution. 2nd of May is the Poland's Flag Day - The Flag Day was established by a decree on February 20, 2004 when the change in Polish coat of arm, shade of colors of the flags and Polish anthem were introduced. This day is also called a day of White Eagle. Polish Eagle constitutes a Polish coat or arm. The May 1st was established as the communistic Labor Day holiday (International Workers' Day). And there you have it! 3 days in a row, of celebration for the Polish people! 

How about you? Do you come from a country that celebrates Labour Day / International Workers Day? What are the differences that you could see develop in time? I would love to hear from you - tell me your story! :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug Working Woman
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

10 Tips About Finding Your Dream

Dearest honey buns,

There are many things in life that nobody will ever tell you or teach you about, you will learn them as you go, you will figure them out on your own or even sometimes someone may be even kind enough to suggest those things or tell you something about it. But it may not be at the right time, at the right moment, and the words will come passing through your ears: one ear being the point of entrance and the other one the exit point. It happens! A lot of good advices may get lost like that... for sure my awesome Mum and Granny gave me a bunch but I rather preferred to do things as Frank Sinatra put it... "my way" and hit my head on the ceiling and develop bumps. I guess everyone has a different learning path/curve. The important things though is to learn and develop yourself rather than multiple bumps ;) 
Today I wanted to share with you my feelings about "finding your dream". Everyone speaks of it with great interest and everyone has some kind of dream that they look up to and try to achieve. The problem with "finding you dream", I believe, that it is actually a constant search... a utopia and a point that we continue chasing throughout our life's, very few truly achieving it: due to high expectations or the fact that we can no longer see that we actually achieved the dream, which in fact may not be the dream we had in mind at first. So... here we go:
1. People will judge you, no matter what you do or think or say. There will always be someone out there who will diminish what you say, call you a liar, make fun of your dream and throw it in the dust. Don't worry about them and forget them! They are only there to hard you, so surround yourself with people that have a positive can do attitude. Remember: Apple was a business built by a teenager in a garage! If Steve Jobs could do it, surely you can ;) I also like to take the example of the Polish bloggers Patryk & Karolina, who quit their jobs and now they travel the world, follow their dream and write about it in their blog - way to go! :)
2. If your dream will be the same as the dream of many others it will be harder to achieve and you should expect a tough road ahead. Your dream may start small... like being top of the class in university and I bet there will be others reaching for that, so you will struggle and you will learn to prioritise the things in your life.
3. Your dream will change throughout your life and may develop into a Bucket List. That's completely ok and normal to have more than one goal and one dream in you life. Human beings are complex and they multiple fields that they love at the same time. It will be normal to have a dream about the family you want, the job that you wish for, the dream house that you wanna live in. Go for it! Sky is the limit... or not quite...
4. Some dreams may fail. Buckle up and accept that. The sooner you accept failure as a part of life, the sooner you will learn more and take a step forward. Learning through mistakes is normal and changing the settings of your dream may come as a benefit to you ;) take my example: I said that I would remain in Poland for 6 months, build some international experience, and then move on to UK (a country I still love!). Guess what? I met the man of my dreams, fell in love, got married and now I am living in Poland for over 5 years. I changed my dream and I was happy to do so for pursuing another dream - the one about love and family.
5. Dreams take time, patience and dedication. You know... Rome was not build in a day and miracles don't happen at every corner so you will have to understand that time is the key word here... you have to understand that you need to work for your dream and that dreams just don't fall out of the sky. Everyone who is someone and achieved something worked really hard for it!
6. Focus on what you love, what you are good at! If you love what you are doing than what you are doing won't feel like working. It will be fun and entertaining and you won't dread waking up in the morning. I think about that when I think about my dream job. I live to write and I love to take pictures so this blog is one of my dreams. The dream come true would be living out of my writing and this blog... but I know that's a long way to go and I realise I still have loads of things to learn and focus on, especially that point 5 above ;) my problem = patience :)
7. Dreams need plans. You need to have a plan A, B, C... what will happen in this or that case, what you want to achieve, when you think you will achieve it and how you will do it. Of course you can also just go with the flow... but that may lead you to dead ends and frustration and if you don't have patience you may even quit! Take baby steps and make sure you...
8. Keep a positive CAN DO! attitude about your dreams. They are YOUR dreams and they reflect your personality. Don't let the people put you down and kick your dream. Befriend your dream and wake up next to it, fall asleep next to it and work with it - if it is really your dream and your goal. The moment you let doubt in... is the moment you will lose ground.
9. Dreaming takes you out of your comfort zone, and that might hurt ;) be prepared. I say to myself, each time I cross an item from my Bucket List, that there is nothing else that can teach you more than having different experiences and travelling the world. For me travelling is what opens up your eyes and your mind to the world out there... waiting for YOU to discover it! Of course travelling implies getting out of your routine, comfort zone, and leaning more. The same is about having a dream. You have to work for it on order to achieve it, you will have to plan and communicate and network with others and maybe you are just not that social... at first it will be hard and weird and awkward but, as time goes by, trust me! It will get better ;) just have... patience and faith that you can do it!
10. "Dream is a wish our heart makes" and seldom do we listen to our hearts. More and more I have this impression that we turn ourself into machines, into robots, and all we want to have is a stable routine that gets us through our years... we wake up, we go to work, we come home, go to sleep - repeat! We stopped doing things for our heart and soul and when we even think about doing things for them we dismiss them as being too hard to do and not having enough time to do it... Make an experiment: write what you do during the 24 hours of the day, each hour if possible, as detailed as you can. Now take another page and think that you have actually only 20 hours in a day... what would you cut off? And don't cut the sleeping if it's less than 6 hours! Ready? Now do that exercise again with 18 hours. You will see what you can improve and where you are losing time.  Your dream is what your heart wishes for. Try to follow responsibly both the heart and the brain ;)
What about you? Have you found your dream? Are you chasing it? What are your tips on "getting through the day" yet not letting the kite fly away from you? Sharing is caring so let me know your thoughts and feelings on this topic :)

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves dreams
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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Kraków - Mo-Ja Cafe - Breakfast All Day!

My dearest hearts,

Krakow is a lovely place to have tummy filling breakfast and there are multiple options from which you can choose. The sad part is that in most of the places they serve it only until 11:30 - 12:30 the latest! I think that they do not take into consideration that some travellers are owl persons and rather prefer the later half of the day to explore. They wake up late, most of the times after 10 am even, and by the time they have a shower and dress up, there are not many places that still serve breakfast. I know that the best option when you travel and want to see things is to wake up early and head for the museum - that usually start around 9 so you should have breakfast by that time ;) but hey! Everyone's body reacts in a different way and people have different internal clocks ticking. But for those visiting Kraków and that enjoy a long sleep in the morning, then this place I tell you about today may be an oasis for you.
Of course, you will be able to find stuff to eat and dozen of coffee shops and bistros and places where you could buy salads and sandwiches, but for me it's hard to imagine breakfast without eggs: scrambled, poached, fried - you name it! A place where you can sit down and relax, plan the day and wait for a hot meal to get you starting for the day. That kind of place is the newly opened Mo-Ja Cafe on Starowislna 14, Kazimierz region (Jewish district), very close to the city center (less than 10 min brisk walk) and with a lot of tram stops in the area. Mo-Ja Cafe serves breakfast ALL DAY! Yes, you read that right and you can also read that on their menu and on their Facebook page ;) warm eggs daily! And at any hour of the day! Heaven!
Now I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian but I like to check their menu options either way and I did find several dishes that would be great for the people who don't like or simply cannot eat meat or dairy products. For myself I will always look at the meat options and especially if they have bacon related goodies - which Mo-Ja Cafe surely has ;) To start with what I really loved about Mo-Ja:
- the fact that there are menus both in Polish and in English (separately).
- the way the menu is created to fit one A4 page double side, managing to capture quite a lovely menu with options that would satisfy anyone. Don't you just hate it when the menus are so long that you just simply cannot figure out what you want?!
- the daily specials and the special offers written down both in Polish and in English on the blackboard, as you enter the restaurant.
- the tea options on the menu and the possibly to choose and mix the taste of fresh juices that you want. They have no lemonade but I choose a combination of fresh grapefruit juice with mint and lemon and it was deliciously refreshing!
- the cakes in the window looked simply amazing and fresh and dine with real fruits and not the ones out of the box. I have not yet tried those as I am tying to cut more and more of the sweets I eat, but it looking at them made my mouth water - especially the marshmallow tart with sour cherries... yum!
- the slow and not high volume music that makes you relax and just unwind smoothly.
- the smooth and quick waiters. They know English well and they are able to guide you in case you have a special order, like me wanting some lemonade ;) so that at the end you are a happy bumblebee.
- the seating options - there are 2 rooms and they are minimalistic decorated. There are seats for 2, 4 or more if you join in the tables; there are seats by the wall, center room and (my favourite) by the window, where you can enjoy having a look at the old buildings and the bystanders passing by. It has high chairs (first room) and low seating options with big and smooth pillows for your back (2nd room).
- The Scrambled Eggs with Bacon Breakfast! It's so yummy it tastes like the scrambles eggs my granny used to make and besides the bacon in it you will also find small pieces of onion tails giving it a fresh taste. For the extra egg(s) if you want a larger portion, you pay 1 zloty extra for each egg ;)
- the fact that the breakfast (scrambled eggs) is served directly in the small pan that they were made. Adorable! :)
- the option to pay by cash or by card (pay pass also works here). Don't forget to leave a tip as that is not included in the price!
The things I did not quite like:
- sadly enough I think Mo-Ja Cafe is not a family friendly place, nor a place friendly for people with disabilities. As you enter from the Starowislna street, you need to go up 3 stairs that are tough to handle for people in wheelchair and there is no other option. The menu does not have kids options and I did not see any special seats that they could use.
- the seating options in the first room may be tough to handle for pregnant women or people without a good balance as they are all tall stools, bar - like option. Better head to the second room where you have the normal height and you can also use the additional pillows.
- the amount of food may be too small for the people used to a huge breakfast with big portions of... everything! There is one, maybe 2 small eggs, scrambled with loads of bacon + 3 small slices of bread (baguette) + a small cube of butter (not homemade :( which is sad!) = the scrambled eggs with bacon breakfast. It was enough for me, but next time I think I might ask for the extra egg for 1 zloty as I am a huge fan of eggs and these were really well done ;)
- the WiFi network - I saw there was a network with Mo-Ja Cafe name but I could not see the password on the menu, blackboard... anywhere :( I guess it was not for the public.
For the scrambled eggs with bacon breakfast and the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with mint and lemon I had to pay 22 zloty ;) but bear in mind that is not service included, so if you enjoyed the place, liked the food and you were served nicely (like I did!) than it would be nice to leave at least a 10% tip and share the love by liking and reviewing their Facebook page. Sharing is caring! And they serve breakfast all day, so kudos to that! :) so if ever you are in Kraków and you are in a need for a warm delicious portion of scrambled eggs with bacon, make sure you go to Mo-Ja Cafe on Starowislna 14! And let me know what you think after ;) looking forward to hearing from y'all!

P.S. All pictures were taken with the camera from my Samsung S4, no filter added. Trust me, the place is more adorable and welcoming than what you can see here. Also, when I was taking the pictures it was not sunny and it had been raining, so wipe away the gloom and imagine Mo-Ja Cafe in sunny weather! I, for sure, will come back and try some more goodies ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves scrambled eggs with bacon breakfast from Mo-Ja Cafe ;)
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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Warsaw - Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar

Dearest honey buns,

When I think about Warsaw usually think of Second World War, Warsaw Uprising, the church that holds Chopin's heart and the way that this city managed to rebuild itself from the ashes, just like a Phoenix! I love that even though none of the buildings are more than 60 years old they still remind you of what was and what happened. The flow of history is ever present here. But that does not mean that at the same time Warsaw is on top of its game, ever changing and reconstructing and bringing the latest technologies - it is a city of contrasts, a city of speed and a city where people need to have their quality time; hence the scattered "hidden gems" as I like to call them :) The Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar is one such gem that I was lucky to bump into - in a very cold and windy morning in December. It was an oasis of joy and I wish to revisit it in the summertime! Mark your agendas as you can find this beautiful place in the Old Town on Piwna 20/26 ;)
Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar is reminiscent of the style of shabby chic (shabby chic means decor using old or antiqued furniture covered with several layers of delicately translucent paint with dominant pastel colors of pink, beige, yellow and blue). The Coffee & Wine Bar is exactly just that and maybe more ;) With only a bit over a dozen places to sit and enjoy your drink and snack, it's a delicate corner inside the Warsaw Old Town. It comes with its own free and stable WiFi & adorable background music that places your in a light and giddy mood.
 Kudos to the funy and friendly waiter and waitress that guided us through the menu and the option of teas and hot chocolate and homemade goodies! I have rarely seen such a nice couple of people, making eachother laugh and having a good time while working and making other people happy as well. I have to admit the hot tea was great and it warmed me inside out (it was December...) and my friend agreed that she had one of the best hot chocolates ever!
Both the interior and the exterior of the Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar is inviting: warm and welcoming!
The Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar is quite a popular place, when you check TripAdvisor and Facebook Pages. On TripAdvisor it has 66 reviews and a total of 4.5 stars out of 5. It is also listed as #1 of 65 Coffee & Tea in Warsaw and #104 of 1,836 Places to Eat in Warsaw.
The prices:
- coffee, brewed from 100% fresh roasted Arabica beans (multiple blends available) - options vary between 7 zloty for an espresso and 14 zloty for a mocha
- tea - large assortment so depending on the type it can be between 9 and 11 zloty a pot of tea
- hot chocolate - 12 zloty
- hot choco with whipped cream and marshmallow - 14 zloty 
- freshly squeezed juices - 12 zloty
- smoothies and frappe's - 14 zloty
- water - 5 zloty
- house wines - you can buy a glass for 10 zloty, a 250 ml carafe for 15 zloty or a half litre one for 25 zloty
- regional beer - different flavours - 9 zloty
- cheesecake - 13 zloty
- diverse other homemade tarts and cakes range from 12 to 15 zloty per piece, according to the ingredients 
Have you ever been to the Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine Bar in Warsaw? Dead center in the middle of the Old Town is the perfect stop for a lovely break. For sure you will love the energy vibes coming from the place and the amazingly well done sweets. Would live to hear from you if you are planning to go to Warsaw - there are a lot of other tips and tricks I could tell you about, places you should see and things you should try ;) feel free to contact me

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that always enjoys Warsaw :)
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Monday, 18 April 2016

Krakow - Matras Cafe - The Cheesecake

Dearest hearts,

One of Kraków's hidden gems, when it comes to adorable and cozy coffee shops is for sure the Matras Bookstore and Coffee Shop - located on Rynek Główny 23 (Main Market Square number 23). Some locals may know this but some will not (if they are not interested in the story of the city) that this particular bookstore is the oldest bookstore in Europe, dating from 1610. Of course along the time it has changed its owner and it's look - now it even holds at the end of the bookstore a 2 room coffee shop - but the bookstore has been here for over 400 years! So if you live in Kraków, near Kraków or you are planning your trip in the Malopolskie voivodship of Poland, I really recommend you to have a short break there. There are some nice English books as well (nothing fancy) but we love going there to the coffee shop - and if you are my reader for quite a long time, you may remember me mentioning about it before ;)
The prices:
- shakes, smoothies and frappe's - around 10 zloty
- Vienese coffee - 7,5 zloty
- Caffè latte - 9,5 zloty
- oriental latte - 10 zloty
- cappuccino - 8,5 zloty
You can also have some really yummy and fingerlicking cakes (homemade). We usually like to have the cheesecake, which  in this case is just heavenly! Of course it is never "just a piece of cheesecake" as always it comes with a great flavour, like the orange one. Only thinking about it makes my mouth water... the softness velvety soft cheese inside + the thin and soft crust + the delicious layer or marzipan on top, sprinkled with pieces of orange skin. One slice will boost you up and keep you filled for a long while due to the caloric bomb intake ;) The homemade goodies/sweets cost between 10-15 zloty but they are worth the try ;) 
You can pair the sweets intake with some coffee (like my better half always does) but if you are not a fan of coffee, like me, you can have it with some freshly squeezed orange/grapefruit/mix juice or with some delicious tea. I like having it, if the weather is chilly, with some good tea. I really recommend you a cup of tea - white tea with pear flavour. Smells amazing and tastes great as well, warming you up from the inside. It combines veey well with the orange flavoured cheesecake ;)

We love spending time there, at the Matras Bookstore and Coffee Shop, as it is a very nice and relaxing place in the middle of the city, perfect for small (or bigger) stops ;) it's (of course) a non - smoking place, no outdoor seating, but great music and atmosphere. There are hangers for coats and umbrellas and you can even take books from the bookstore and check them out before buying them. The process of buying a book should never be a mindless one ;) so if ever you are in the area, make sure you drop by and let me know what you think of it - would love to hear your opinion!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Books & Tea & Krakow City Center = Matras Cafe/Bookstore
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Friday, 15 April 2016

Being Interviewed By "Mamaliga de Varsovia"

My dearest hearts,
I wanted to share with you today one piece of news from March - I know I am a bit late, but better late than never! :) plus if you follow me on my Facebook page you already know the news by now. In March I was invited by the Romanian - Moldavian Magazine created/edited/printed in Warsaw, to give an interview about my blog. I knew about the magazine since last year, when they created the first printed edition, but I thought it through and said I would be horrible in writing texts/articles in my own language. I always found it easier to write in English and I think I sound more funny... hence I dropped the idea and life went on... until Olga bumped into me on Facebook and asked me if I would consider giving an interview for the "Mamaliga de Varsovia" 2nd edition. I dunno about you, but I always get an uplifting feeling when someone new discovers my blog and thinks highly of it. 
We do sometimes things for ourselves so we could remember moments and keep family and friends updated but it's so much fun when others join along! You have that warm, fuzzy feeling inside that you did something well. Olga was lovely and charming and I just couldn't say no! I ended giving up the interview and also submitting 2 articles in my own language. It's tough switching from the language you write and speak and think 24/7 (English) to your very own (Romanian) that you use when speaking to your parents... it's odd! And for sure it takes longer to write your articles. Not to mention I had a constant need to put in a word or phrase in English as I thought it would have been more fitting - that's what being an expat is all about... having an expat blog and writing in English only creates a pattern of writing into your brain as well, and it takes a while to get out of it ;)
The cover of the first edition of "Mamaliga de Varsovia"
The blog of the magazine "Mamaliga de Varsovia" was launched in November 2014, by a group of Romanian language speakers living in Warsaw. They have created the very first publication in Romanian language printed in Poland.  The team publishes texts/articles about life in Poland, recipes of traditional food, book reviews and not only! "Mamaliga de Varsovia" is very open to collaborations and if you wish to join them and submit your article you can do so on the email mdevarsovia@gmail.com - you can also find here instructions on how the texts should look like (all instructions are in Romanian language, of course!). They are also very careful about the copyrights so if you submit an article with pictures, better make sure they are your own ;) this was no issue for me, but keep an eye open! Now I can hardly wait for May, when Olga told me the printed edition number 2 is coming out! It will be the second Polish magazine printing an article about my blog and the first Romanian one :) needless to say I will buy a few to give it to my parents ;)) Ocasionally it's not a sin to be proud, is it not?! 

Yours truly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that got interviewed - again! :) 
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

10 Ways Travelling Makes Your Life Better

Dearest adventurers out there,

What greatest gift can we make ourselves than the gift of travelling? Travelling brings memories and experiences and those are the only things that we take with us, in the end. As you grow older you realise that the things you truly care about is not the money and how much you have on your bank account, even though having a stable and decent bank account is a good thing to have... you realise the things that matter the most are the experiences and the moments that you can take with you, wherever you will go. When you will go down, when you will die, you will not be able to take with you the brand new apartment you bought, nor that fancy car and not even that fat bank account. The only things that will remain with us in the afterlife are the memories, the experiences and the love we have found in the people we met and the places we have seen. I have met people who have travelled the world,  left their footprints on each continent... I have not yet done that, but I dearly wish one day I shall :) and I have met people that never travelled beyond their homeland. To me that is a sad thing, never to experience what the world has to offer,  it's beauties, it's magical sights. It is also true that some people are born to travel and they have an opening to the world's vibrations, and on the other hand there are people who feel comfortable as they are. That's why God made us so unique and different from one another :) 
I truly believe that travelling can improve your life, it can make your life better and in some cases, it may even transform your way of thinking/acting. I believe that travelling by yourself is a challenge but it's a challenge that one faces and becomes stronger and wiser after. If you "been there, done that", you know what I speak of; if you never tried it, it's never too late to open up your wings and fly :) but without any further ado, I give you 10 Ways Travelling Makes Your Life Better - according to the knowledge of The Twisted Red LadyBug:
  1. Travel opens your eyes - When you are no longer locked in your comfort zone you start understanding more about yourself but also about the world you live in. You start seeing beyond your comfortable place and start exploring different cultures; you will start asking yourself and others questions you have never thought until then and you will maybe try to understand how other people think and react according to their own culture and environment. You will understand that we are all human beings but at the same time we have differences that should be respected not stepped over and dragged into mud... Travel opens your eyes to a world you might have only known through documentaries or atlas books. 
  2. Travel teaches you more about who you are, than anyone/anything else can! - When you start travelling you start pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, and only outside the comfort zone can we truly learn something new. Travelling brings you opportunities (and sometimes even threats) at every step that you make, so you will learn how to make the right decisions and to learn more about yourself. You will see what is your travelling style: if you like backpacking, couchsurfing, being layed back in an all inclusive option or just going with the flow. You will also see how you can handle things in a setup trip vs. an impromptu one, travelling with a huge group or with friends vs. travelling on your own. There are so many options - so many learning opportunities to find yourself! :)
  3. Travel develops skills you forgot you had or you never thought you have! - Remember when you were little and you were watching Sailor Moon (and other anime) dubbed in Italian language? That's pretty much how I learned Italian, the kids brains are like sponges... so when I went to Rome I thought that I would handle it all in English... tough luck! They really like their own language so you should know at least a bit of it and be able to understand Latin languages. Bare in mind that Romanian is a Latin language so I was more than happy to find out that I can understand almost everything that they were saying + I could reply back with basic words. The smile on their faces brought a smile on mine and I was fascinated to see how we still hold skills in ourself that we know nothing of, until they are activated :) 
  4. Travel will teach you more about cuisine than any other cooking channel - and you will also figure out what you like and what you love to eat vs. what you will never try. I have been offered to eat crickets and ants and I think I will always draw a line at that! But I most enjoyed the food I had in Greece - the fresh Greek salad with loads of olives and feta cheese + the amazing hot and delicious meaty mousaka = Heaven, for me :) Second best will always be the amazingly huge English Breakfast that I had in London + the egg crest sandwiches from Pret a Manger... my mouth waters ;))) You will also learn how countries have some dishes in common, even though they will always say they are "typically xyz" (xyz - insert country). 
  5. Travel makes you more social - Let's face it, even with all the technology, information points/spots and all the maps in the world, you will probably get lost once or you will need to ask for some directions... and you will have to make human contact ;) so once more you will have to step out of your comfort zone, take a deep breath, and engage - make contact - with other human beings. As all human beings, some will not answer, some will just pass you by, some will tell you that they don't understand you nor speak the language... but don't discourage! You will find that person who will help you + sometimes give you even extra tips for free ;) restoring your faith in humankind ;)))
  6. Travel will give you amazing stories and memories - that you will be able to share and re-share over and over again, to your family/friends and when you are older to your children... grandchildren... who knows?! :) I will always remember the time when I went with friends to the Niagara Falls and we did not check that we had it setup for the Canadian side, not the USA one... so we ended up crossing the border without the visa... ending up with a bit of questioning from the frontier police. Or that time when me and my significant other went to the Koln Carnival and I almost had a heart attack climbing the Koln Cathedral Tower, or the time when we played 3D golf ;)))
  7. Travel makes you comfortable with yourself and being on your own - Travelling on your own means you will have to learn to enjoy your own company and feel comfortable with yourself. You will learn the amount of baggage you can hustle and the amount of time you need for waking up, getting ready and hitting the road. You will learn to quiet your mind and feel comfortable with whom you are. Sure, at the beginning the experience will be daunting! but you will grow out of it eventually and start enjoying it. TIPS & TRICKS: I still hate selfies and selfie sticks so I always ask people to take my photo... sometimes I wait for someone who looks like they know what they are doing and hold a pretty good camera, and I ask them to take my picture and I can take theirs ;) 
  8. Travel will help you relax and unwind; it can also act as an energy boost ;) For me, discovering new places and seeing new things is always exhilarating and makes me feel wonderful and pumped up for days. I think I would not enjoy an all inclusive 10 days at the beach as much as I would enjoy a weekend, let's say in Prague, where we would wonder around the old cobblestoned town and enjoy the views from the Castle. Add to that a trip to the Beer Museum and a live concert in the evening and you got me booked ;) I will be smiling and happy and energetic for one more and one more day and place to see. Or maybe you are the layed back type and you would enjoy the 10 days at the beach, sipping on drinks and enjoying the sunset. Maybe that will give YOU your energy boost :) We are all so different and there is room for everyone's needs ;) that is the beauty of travelling!
  9. Travel reminds you that (inevitably) we are getting older and you need to learn to cope with that - you will see, in time, that doing the same type of travels that you had as teenager are not fitting for the young adult and once you will have kids, the travel type and locations will again change. But don't take that as a negative thing! Always look at the bright side of life and see the beauty that you can extract from that. I can hardly wait, for example, to show my husband and our future small ones, the places I grew to love as a teenager. I can hardly wait to show them Greece and take them to the Mountain Olimp or the Meteora Churches or even enjoy a day at the soft sandy beaches of one of the lovely islands... Start searching for Heaven in your life ;) you will end up finding it!
  10. Travel is addictive (in a good/positive way): you WILL catch the Flight Travel Bug - I dunno about you, but the first time I got into a plane it was love at first sight. I knew since that very moment that I will always love flights and that sitting by the window would be a must (if possible!). My first flight was from Bucharest to New York, direct flight of over 8 hours and I loved it. I remember not even getting bored - I watched movies, I listened to music, I read a book, I talked with people and I most definetely enjoyed the view. Being there, up in the clouds, is such an uplifting experience! Sure, ocasionally there will be thunders and clouds and turbulences and your heart may race a bit... but hey! that will be one more nice story to tell at the end of the day ;) every cloud has its silver lining!
How about you? What do you think Travel does to you? How does it make YOUR life better? I would love to hear your stories and your thoughts upon this subject on this #traveltuesday post :) As I said before, sharing is caring, so let me know what you think/feel :)

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to travel 
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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Save Seahorses. Eat Guylian Chocolates!

My dearest hearts,

My dear, lovely, amazing and talented sister visted us for the Catholic Easter (Resurrection Day) we have just celebrated a while back, and of course she brought loads of goodies along. She lives and works in Brussels and of course the Guylian Chocolates had made the list of the "Must bring along". Now I am not a huge fan of chocolate and sweets, like my better half is, but I do enjoy good/great chocolate when I see it. Among the best chocolate I have ever ate was the one I bought in Zurich at Sprungli and the one I ate in Brussels from Guylian. I knew of this brand before going to Brussels due to the irregular shape of their pralines and the beautiful packaging. You can find Guylian both in Romania and Poland at huge supermarkets like Kaufland and Carrefour - and it's always a treat! I especially like the "Original Sea Shells" box, beautifully crafted with a blend of fine white, milk and dark Belgian Chocolate that just melts in your mouth and makes your taste buds feel like in Heaven! I should mention the inside is filled with original in house roasted hazelnut praline... only thinking of it makes my mouth water! But the cutest thing in the boxed sets is the ocasional seahorse shaped praline, that I always must have ;)))
Now I have ate the seahorses a couple of dozen times throughout the years yet I never knew there was a story behind it! I never knew that by eating the tiny, delicate and sweet seahorses I was in fact saving them! What I revelation I had when I opened the "Belgian Classics - Celebrate" selection when I saw a leaflet about the Guylian Chocolates. A part of it was dedicated to the Project Seahorse. Let's face it: Saving the seahorses means saving the sea; saving the wildlife! You never know the power you have and the benefits you bring to the society while eating chocolate! Now I was enjoying the enlightenment of finding out that everytime one buys the Guylian Chocolates you are supporting Project Seahorse, an international Marine Conservation Organization. They protect these magical creatures (and I consider them magical too, just like the unicorns are!) and other vital marine life around the world by sharing their seahorse observations on this site (www.iseahorse.org). That is a beautiful online "citizen science" tool that allows anyone, anywhere in the world to contribute to the seahorse science and conservation program. It is important to mention that Guylian has been providing vital support for this work, for this beautiful cause, since 1998! If you wish to know more, you can also check out the Project Seahorse site (www.projectseahorse.org). And don't forget, eating Guylian Chocolates helps save the magical seahorses! Save Seahorses, eat chocolate!

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Guylian Chocolates and the magical seahorses 
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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Summer Treat: The Kraków Water Tram

Dearest hearts,

It seems spring is truly here and when I feel that it is as if summer is just around the corner, I already start thinking of the things that will happen during summertime.  It's inevitable to think of warm sunny days after a long cold winter with winds that chill your bones. But as the temperature rises and we get rid of the layers and layers of clothing (no longer feeling like onions) we think of the things we can do when the weather is perfect: like a trip along the Vistula river in a water tram! I just love water trams and sailing in boats (of any size!), I have absolutely no lake/sea/ocean sickness and for me it's quite a soothing and relaxing experience.
Source of the picture
A thing which you must put on your "Must see / must try in Kraków" list is the water tram ride on the Vistula river. It is usually done in small, open boats that can fit more than 10 but not more than 20 people. The trams have regular timetables and stops and it's a nice way to enjoy the view along the river. Kraków Water Tram starts running in May, when the weather is stable and sunny and we already have hoards of tourists coming in to enjoy the view of the Wawel Castle. This year, it seems, the operator will change and the company Aqua Fun - that was the operator in 2009 when the project started - will handle this public transport. It seems the prices may go up a bit but there will be more stops and there will be a daily ride to the popular Tyniec monastery. 

Here I quote the Cracow.Today article that states:
This year CWT will run more often. The Tyniec route will be possible every day, not only on weekends as it used to be. There will also be more courses in Cracow, between Salvator and Galeria Kazimierz: eight in both directions. What is more, an additional stop near Wawel Castle “Boulevard Czerwieński” will be created. The prices will rise: courses to Tyniec will cost 30 zł (reduced 25 zł) and for city route you will have to pay 10 zł (reduced 8 zł).
I for sure can hardly wait for the month of May, when the Kraków Water Tram starts running again, so I can have another ride. Most probably that is how we will do our first trip together to the Tyniec Monastery. The monastery was founded in 1040 and I have heard only beautiful things about it - not to mention the lovely pictures taken in the summertime. We have it on our list for quite a while and of course there are multiple options to get there: from walking (quite a while), to taking a tram (probably we would have to change 2 or 3?) to the most convenient one, that is the water tram :)
Source of the picture
Have you ever been to Krakow and visited the Tyniec monastery? Have you ever tried the water tram option here in Kraków?  That is a must if the weather is nice :) it's so relaxing... but be careful if you have kids with you as the "trams" are open and if the kids get giddy they might fall overboard into the Vistula river - so keep them close ;) and if you have a pram with you... I would suggest to wait until the baby grows ;) it may be a but uncomfortable to get in/out. But do try it! It's a wonderful chance to see Kraków along the Vistula river at a leisurely pace. 

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Water Trams
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