It seems to me that June lasted at least twice as long as it should have. I feel like so many things have happened in this past month that it’s impossible to fit everything in 30 days only. When I recall first days of July I really think it was ages ago. But it’s been a good month, I can’t complain!
I was away almost every weekend and it wasn’t as tiring as it sounds!
Already on 2nd of June I left after work to Wroclaw where I met with friends and fellow bloggers Piotr and Ewa. It’s always so good to catch up and I’m glad we use every opportunity we have to talk travels (and a little bit of blogging) over a beer.
The next day at noon I had a flight to Lviv, Ukraine but before I went to the airport I could finally go to the famous neon yard. It was empty and so beautiful! I’ve learnt to love neon signs thanks to my friends who opened Neon Museum in Warsaw (must visit place if you’re in the Polish capital!) and I always try to find some everywhere I travel. Besides Warsaw I haven’t seen so many beautiful neon signs in one place!
Lviv is always a good idea so when I saw those really cheap flights from Wroclaw I couldn’t resist! Besides with the flying time less than one hour it’s now the best way to get from Poland to the most beautiful city in Ukraine! Even if you go from Warsaw it’s faster to go via Wroclaw than directly overland, even if it might seem logistically it makes no sense.
As you know I usually travel solo but it was the first time I was in Lviv on my own (and that was probably my 5th visit in the city!). It was as beautiful as ever! I could wander around, discover some hidden gems (like House of Scientists or toys yard which is really creepy) and fall in love with Lviv all over again.
I also did what I was always planning to go yet never had enough of the strong will – I woke up at 5am to go and take morning pictures. After this experience I think I will be doing that more often! The light was incredible, the streets were empty and I had the whole place almost to myself! Just note to remember – I should wear a proper clothes, not my pajama, as there are more people around than you (and I) think!
By the way, I spent in Lviv less than 24 hours – that’s how crazy trip this was!
Only 2 days later I was again on the way, this time to Slovakia for work. I’ve spent 3 days in Zilina and it wasn’t really exciting but at least I could eat fried cheese and drink Kofola from the tap.
Since I was so close (1 hour away) from Cieszyn – known as my happy place – I couldn’t resist and I stopped by on the way. I’ve visited my friends at 3 Bros’ Hostel and I’ve decided to play a tourist a little bit – went up to the Piast Tower, took the picture with 20PLN banknote (as St. Nicolas Rotunda is on the back of the bill) and visited the Jewish Cemetery. I really don’t know what it is about this town but it always feels so great to be there!
From Cieszyn I went to Olomouc. I’ve had some mixed feelings about the city – I’ve been there few times before and either it felt like an abandoned place or it had a good vibe. The only thing I could be sure of was that it’s gonna be stunning as Olomouc is one of the most beautiful cities in Czech Republic.
Well, fortunately this time it was all good! Olomouc enchanted me one more time. I loved all the lively cafes and restaurants around and the quirks I could find in the city (especially new sculpture by David Cerny).
Part of the reason why I enjoyed Olomouc so much was the hotel I stayed at – Miss Sophie’s. It was seriously the most beautiful and tasteful hotel I’ve been to! I loved it so much I’ve checked out 5 minutes before noon and took the later train back home, only so I could stay in my room as long as I could!
Then we’ve had a long weekend in Poland, a perfect opportunity to travel more for less days off from work. And that was my plan, I had flights to Belarus booked so I could use their 5 days visa free rule.
But when buying those tickets I totally forgot that I also have tickets for my favorite band – System of a Down – concert in Cracow! I’ve already seen them live in Prague and Yerevan so it would have been crazy to miss the chance to go to their show in my home country, especially that each concert might be the last one in the region.
So after spending few days at my parents’ I went to Cracow for a fun weekend with friends (it was so good to see people who have been in my life for 17 or so years!!!). Unfortunately the concert wasn’t as good as the one in Yerevan (if you’re SOAD fan you have to see it – there is the whole show on YouTube!) but I still didn’t regret my decision for even a second! Belarus can wait!
Thanks to this trip I’m also slowly changing my attitude towards Cracow. You see, I was crazy about the city, picturing myself living there when I grow up etc. But life had a different plan for me and I ended up by accident in Warsaw yet still visiting Cracow frequently.
At some point I just hated how the city turned into tourism playground, losing its whole authentic charm and I couldn’t force myself to visit it anymore, even if lots of really good friends and family live there. I’ve had a long pause with Cracow but I’m really happy that we’re back on track and I will do my best to be there more often, if not for the city than definitely for my friends there.
On the way back from Cracow I had some 30 minutes between trains and I went to see the famous, UFO-shaped bus station. Funny that I was born and have lived for 10 years in the nearby city but I don’t really remember this building. For every fan of quirky architecture it is a must, such a weird structure!
I must admit that I was slightly afraid that 3 days might be a little bit too much there but as it turned out we didn’t have enough time for everything! I even dare to say Liberec might be my discovery of the year.
The city is really beautiful with the architecture from the end of 19th/beginning of 20th century (all those villas!!), mountains around, great cafes and lots of little quirks (like a huge face clearly inspired by Angkor Wat). I loved it!
On the way back we’ve had few hours to kill in Prague so we went for a beer to Letna / Holesovice (one of my favorite places in Prague!) where we stumbled across the live outdoor concert of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. It made me fall for Prague over and over again!
Days on the road: 13
Places visited: Wrocław (Poland), Lviv (Ukraine), Zilina (Slovakia), Cieszyn (Poland), Olomouc (Czech Republic), Cracow, Kielce (Poland), Liberec, Prague (Czech Republic)
June was all about people for me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I spent some quality time with friends, both those in Warsaw and those far away that I haven’t seen even for years (yet I still consider them some of the most important people in my life). I’ve stayed longer than I planned at my parents’ and enjoyed it a lot. And then there was the concert in Cracow I’ve mentioned before.
The struggles with work-life balance I had in May are gone, even if I probably have even more blogging work than last month (but then my full time job was calmed so that could be the reason). But all this relaxing time with people or during travels somehow fulfills my life that I think all is good!
On a random note – I started saving coins, I even bought a special jar for that. At the end of every day when I have a 5PLN (some 1,20€ / 1,30$) coin in my wallet I put it to the jar. I’ve just started but already have some 50PLN there. I even notice that when I can spend the 5PLN coin I leave it so I can put it to the jar. We will see how it goes in future but so far so good!
Books read in June
OK, here I failed, big time! I haven’t finished a single book and I feel pretty ashamed of that! The “good” thing is I also didn’t buy any new books… But seriously, I really need to catch up in July!
I still kind of hate Instagram but at least I did some major clean up in my feed so I’m also kind of loving looking at it right now. My most popular pictures was the one from Olomouc, the view from my room at Miss Sophie’s Hotel, with the giant head from Liberec on a close second place!
You might think this is Asia but this incredible sculpture can be found in Liberec, Czech Republic! I spent last 3 days in this city and I'm totally in love! Liberec might be my best discovery of the year actually! Located in the north-west of Czech Republic and surrounded by mountains the city is full of beautiful architecture, incredible old villas and little quirks like this one! What's the best place you've visited this year so far?
Again I posted only two articles on the blog and the publishing frequency is something I definitely need and want to improve in future! You could read about Great Montenegro Tour I did in May (and loved it!), I also shared with you all about my packing techniques and tricks on how I travel with carry-on only.
Most of my blogging work this month was actually behind the scenes. I was pretty busy planning itineraries in the Balkans and Central Europe but I’m not complaining as it’s one of my favorite things to do and I’m always happy to help. As you might know I offer travel consulting so if you’re thinking of visiting the Balkans, Central or Eastern Europe and need some guidance feel free to get in touch!
Plans for July
I was supposed to go to Serbia in the first week of July for few days but I’ve decided to postpone it for later this year, mostly due to work as it’s a busy and important (after all it’s railways that pay my bills and I’m not planning to change that).
So right now I only know I’m going for the weekend to Vienna with my mum – it was her idea but I don’t mind, it’s been years since I’ve visited Austria! I might also go for the weekend to Lithuania but it’s still not 100% sure.
The first weekend in July (which is now) I’m spending in Warsaw – I don’t think I’ve done that this year and I’m actually pretty excited! I’m even planning to play a tourist in here!
Hope you all had a good June too!
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