I cannot say that I have travelled the world and lived in exotic countries, yet I have been and lived in a number of awesome places. Each place where I have been won over my heart differently. One place had taught me how to find happiness in solitude, another place had taught me that a healthy vacation is a lot of fun, and with a third place (the place where I was born) I fell in love all over again after being away for nearly 10 years. I am the kind of person who tries to see the best in everything and everyone, so let me tell you about a few of my favorite places where I have seen “the best”, and maybe you will put them on your “places to visit” list.
Rogaška Slatina (Slovenia)
Rogaška Slatina is a town in Eastern Slovenia and is famous for its source of mineral water. Hence, it is also famous for a health tourism. For future reference, you have to fly in to Ljubljana (capital of Slovenia) and then take a few-hours car ride to Rogaška Slatina. I was lucky to enjoy it for a week. To be honest, after the little time I have had there, I started to feel like I was reborn. The mineral water does a very good job in cleansing your body and washing out all the toxins. Your skin becomes smoother and more hydrated. In addition, I suggest to visit this place in winter because the breathtaking view of a snowy mountains literally nurtures your tired soul.
There is a deer farm (in the village nearby) that you should not miss. Deers are very friendly and just walk around waiting for tourists to give them some food. The farm is surrounded by a vineyard and you can buy an excellent tasting wine of your choice (to drink after the cleansing part is finished). It was also extremely cool to ask questions about wine and vineyards from the owner himself instead of Googling them.The simplicity and purity of Rogaška Slatina felt like something from the myths and exactly because of it I will go back there again.
Hamburg was a place where I started everything from 0: new flat, new job, new social life, new city to discover. The fact that I was alone pushed me to develop a new relationship with the city itself. I have realized that it might work out with Hamburg and me, after I found out how many great parks there are in the city. After I discovered Jenischpark 10 minutes away from my flat, it became my peaceful place. This big 18th century park became my place for jogging, my place for reading and my place for unwinding (thankfully the weather allowed it).
There were not so peaceful moments too: I experienced culture shock after my visit to St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn area. The vibe that I saw there, I haven’t seen anywhere else (perhaps I haven’t travelled enough yet). Those areas are always alive and pulsing. There were pleasent discoveries: the port of Hamburg is the largest port in Germany, hence there is always access to fresh seafood anywhere you go. On Sunday mornings, you can get fresh fish right off the boat in Hamburg’s famous fish market. For a person who’s a pescatarian like myself, it was an amazing discovery. Another discovery was that not all Germans like sausages. Everyone has different preferences and Hamburg offers a big variety of aspects to love.
When I say that a Russian city called Kazan is a lovely place to visit, I am being fair, because it is not only my opinion. All foreigners that I know who visited Kazan were pleasantly surprised. They were straightforward about their expectations: “ We really thought only a few cities in Russia were worth visiting and Kazan was not one of them”. Well, surprise, surprise Kazan is the third capital of Russia. In the recent years we have hosted quite a few major sporting events and, for all the football fans out there, Kazan will be one of the Russian cities to host the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Kazan is a cozy city where you can see an interweaving of cultures and interweaving of the big megalopolis city lifestyle with the small quiet town life. The best time to visit Kazan (in my opinion) is late spring. During this time, you become a witness to the city’s transformation. The greenery is fresh, the air has some winter hints and people look as happy as if they were reborn. You can get a chance to enjoy long walks in parks, sightseeing and occasional breaks at endless modern coffee shops and restaurants.