WI-FI spots in Berlin

Who can live without wi-fi now? We all need it – especially when being a tourist in a foreign country. They say Berlin is equipped with 650 hotspots around the city. These were installed as part of the program which allows access to the Internet at the major touristic attractions around the city.

A full list of wi-fi hot spots which require no registration and allow an unlimited access can be found here. The list is divided by district and address. I will list the most popular places around the city, where you, as a tourist can easily access them.

Here is my list:

Berlin’s Public Transport Company BVG:
U-banh or Underground (wi-fi on most stations) ⠀
Long buses – unfortunately, there is no connection on double deckers ⠀

Shops:
H&M (clothing shop)⠀
Primark (clothing shop)⠀
DM (beauty & drugstore)⠀
Einstein (coffee)⠀
Rewe (groceries shop)⠀
Museums (in most of the museums I have been to, there was wi-fi. However, there was always problematic to connect)⠀
City Libraries⠀
Ritter Sport (chocolate shop & workshop)⠀

Shopping Malls:
Mall of Berlin ⠀
Saturn ⠀
Media Markt ⠀
Galeria Kaufhof ⠀
Arkaden ⠀

City Squares:
Potsdamer Platz ⠀
Parisier Platz (in front of Brandenburger Gate) ⠀

Airports:
Tegel⠀
Schonefeld

Hope you enjoyed this little tip from me. Enjoy Berlin and stay connected.

Tour of the Reichstag Building

If you are planning to visit the german capital, I strongly recommend including the parliament visit Berlin into your list. 

There are a couple of reasons for this: the first one – it is absolutely free, the second – it is unique and gives you access to the most beautiful views of Berlin. 

The German Reichstag with its glass cupola is the symbol of transparency of german democracy. In my opinion, the visit to Reichstag is the most important tour you can go on while in Berlin. 

Some facts about this visit: 

  • It is free of charge
  • Opening hours are from 8 in the morning until 9:45 in the evening. Entry to the building is every 15 minutes.
  • At the moment of booking, you have to know the names and nationalities of all the participants.
  • Booking must be made 1-2 weeks prior to the visit during winter time, and 3-4 weeks during the peak season. 
  • On the day of the visit, you must arrive 10-15 minutes before the beginning of the tour, as a very serious security check awaits you.

There are three options of the tour:  1.Just the tour of the Reichstag’s cupola 2. Visit of the plenary chamber and the tour in the Reichstag Dome 3. Lecture in the visitors’ gallery overlooking the plenary chamber and the tour in the Reichstag Dome

  • You have to have minimum things (entry with a suitcase is not possible)
  • Please have an ID or passport with you 
  • Be ready for a serious security check
  • For visits with children in trollers there is a separate entry in the building, where you will be directed by the tour workers
  • An audio guide is available in a big range of languages 
  • Website for tour registration is this one: https://www.bundestag.de/en/visittheBundestag/dome/registration-245686⠀⠀

Something important to know:

In case you did not manage to secure a booking on the website, please cross the road and go to the Visitors’ centre. They can give you a spot for the tour. In case there are no spots for visit during your days in Berlin, you can book a table in the restaurant on the roof of Reichstag. Not only will you have the best views of Berlin, but also access to the tour. 

I have visited the Dome three times now, and will gladly visit it many times more.  

Visiting Prague for a few hours

After we spent two and a half days in Germany, we bought tickets to… Prague. It was a long time on my wish list and being so close to the city of my dreams, we decided to go. Another reason – only 34€ for a return ticket and 3-hour journey. This is exactly what I was missing while living on the island. Freedom of movement, be it train, bus, car or plane and variety of destinations. Prague was on my wish list for over 5 years. Therefore I did not mind waking up at 4 in the morning, to catch up the bus at 4:45.

Sunrise caught us somewhere on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. Admiring the scenery, one phrase from Vanilla Sky got stuck in my head: “Open your eyes. Open your eyes, David!” Little did I know then, who I will meet that day in Prague.

We arrived early morning when the city was still asleep. Quick wander in the Old Town square, while it was tourists free, was a great idea for beautiful pictures. We realized we had no local money, and when ordering our breakfast, tried to figure out why the pancakes were that expensive – 35€. They were 3,5 €, in fact.

When we returned to the city center half an hour later, it was already crowded and full of tourists and local artists. It was then, that we met the hero of our day and the source of our love towards Prague – Dave.

John Lennon wall in Prague

Meet Dave. Czech Dave. He was our tour guide in Prague. He also is the most passionate tour guide I have ever met in my life. A true lover of his home city, Prague. A great speaker and a superb psychologist. For 2.5 hours of our tour, he kept the group, (about 25 of us) entertained, motivated and curious.

I would like to tell you more about Dave’s life. When he was 18, he moved to the US to improve his English and accidentally stayed there 14 years. He is a fan of running. He participated in countless marathons and runs. The last one was on 10th of Sept of this year, in Prague. It all started years ago, once he was chosen to run for a cause, spreading awareness of potable water around the world. He ran 16 countries, on all continents with that NGO, and it was how he started traveling the world. Since then, many years later, he runs his own cause called Water is Life.

Before we started our tour of Prague, Dave managed to remember each one’ of us country of origin. I was amazed to meet people from so many countries. As the group was getting bigger by the minute, I felt truly blessed to be there. I was a citizen of the world, in Prague, together with other citizens of the world. We were all united by our love towards travel. It was amazing! We had people from 3 states in Canada and 5 in the US, Brazil, Colombia, UK, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Israel, Malaysia, Australia, Ukraine, and Moldova, of course.

Astronomical clock in Prague

Let me tell you a little about Free Tours. It is a worldwide movement, where volunteers, students, guides or anyone passionate about travel can become a guide in any city of the world. The tour is free of charge, it covers the main city attractions and it is tip based. You tip the guide, at the end of the tour, and this amount is completely voluntary. Lately, many tour companies started providing free tours, however letting the tourists know that they also provide paid tours of different attractions. Usually, it is not the company that the tourist is choosing to go on the tour with. It is always the guide. During the free tour, you bond so much with the tour guide, you like the way he or she tells the story of the city, and later you realize that you want more. And you go for a paid tour. This free tour we had in Prague was the first one we agreed to go to. Before we hesitated, and I am not sure why. Now I am eager to try this service in every city I will visit.

After lunch, we met with a couple of friends, who became locals 8 months ago and went to a magical place.

To be continued…

Summer Water Activities in Cyprus

Despite the fact that Cyprus is quite rich in sights and attractions, the majority of time is spent on the beach and in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. There are many ways to spend the day on the beach (in case you missed the classification of Cypriot beaches, you can find it here). You can read or play beach tennis, volleyball on the sand or in the water. Alternatively, you can try or practice something new and summer holiday related.

Probably, the most popular water activity in Cyprus is snorkelling. Many fishes and numerous turtles make this activity interesting for children as well as adults. You can go intentionally to specific snorkelling spots around Cyprus (Blue Lagoon or Konnos Bay), or you can practice it on your local beach. In Limassol, for example, around the stone breakwaters along the coast, numerous fish species, turtles, and sea urchins make their habitat. Cyprus is famous for its clean, all-shades-of-blue waters. No matter where you choose to snorkel, you will enjoy yourself.

SUP or Stand up Paddle is another, very popular activity, which is especially booming this summer. For as low as 8 euro an hour, and up to 25 euro an hour for a private lesson, you receive a board, which varies in width (the narrower it is, the harder to maintain the balance) and a paddle. You jump on it, stand up and find your balance, or sit on it and paddle as far and as fast as you want. You will lose your balance and you will fall into the water. However, this is the fun of it. The ideal time for this activity is early morning or any other time when the sea is calm and waveless. This helps a lot, especially the beginners to enjoy the experience and to admire the sea creatures. Recently, such additional activities as yoga can be performed on the SUP. Individual and group classes can be taken at various water sports centers.

This won’t come as a cheap activity, however, if you like the adrenaline rush and wanted for a long time to fly over the waves with a great speed, this is the fun for you. A quarter of an hour will cost you from 25 to 50 euro. You can rent the jet ski at almost any water sports centers around the island.

Many think of this as a once in a lifetime activity, however, I consider that with a good company, renting a boat is always fun. Especially in Cyprus, during your holiday, this is a must. When renting a boat in Cyprus, there is no need to possess a boat driving license. It is enough to present your international car driving license, and you become the captain of the boat. The best place for boat rental in Cyprus is Lachi. It is in the North West of the island, Paphos region, Akamas peninsula. You can rent a boat for a day or for 4 hours, in the morning or in the afternoon. The size of the boat varies, as well as the additional services on the boat itself. The price varies from 200 euro and up, plus the petrol, which cost around 50 euro. What is the greatest about renting a boat in Cyprus, is that you can enjoy many water activities when on the boat. You can rent water skis, wake board, bubble and you will receive a bag full of masks and snorkels, enough for each person on the boat. The waters of the Blue Lagoon, the most exotic place in Cyprus are the best for snorkelling in the region. You will have a great time and memories which will last for long.

The last, but not the least is the swimming pool. Many tourists enjoy their swims only in the pools, while on holiday. Funny enough, most of them do not even once experience the sea, during their stay. Families with small children choose the pool over the sea. Many Cypriot houses are equipped with a pool. It is a great facility, which can be used when too lazy to drive to the beach, or a remedy during a hot summer day or night.

GoPro for travel

go pro picture colosseum

 

We are proud owners of Go Pro Hero 4 camera for as long as one year. It was the perfect gift for my husband’s 35th birthday, as he is quite an action guy.

So far the camera was used on the motorbike ride, on Pavlo’s helmet, under water when snorkelling, on the jet ski ride, in the swimming pool, on the SUP, on the ride on the bike and scooter during the recent holiday, and of course during all our travels. Day and night, picture or video Go Pro Hero 4 is the best camera I have ever used.

The angle of girth is very wide, which makes the camera great for both panoramic pictures and selfies. Especially great for solo travelling, as it will capture your beautiful face, half of the city and a dozen of tourists in the background.

I love the camera because I can fully rely on great quality of the pictures and videos, it can make multiple shots, out of which you can guaranteed find the one of your taste. The battery lasts for as long as three days without being recharged, it is light, small and compact and its settings are pretty much straight forward. Easy to use and transport – it is the camera I was waiting for all my life. Taking pictures on the iPhone is boring after using GoPro, as noting fits on the screen. With GoPro I know for sure I can fit the whole Colosseum and even Vatican in one shot.

Strongly recommend to choose it. Do not try to buy replica cameras, as you will lose in battery life and the quality of the picture. Also, the camera comes with all the basic clamping and covers to use on land and under water. Travel memories have never been greater with this little friend!

Cyprus Secret Beach

secret beach in cyprus

There have been two and a half years, since we moved to Cyprus. This island is, first of all, famous for its beautiful sea. By this time, I was sure we have made it to every single beach marked on the map and recommended by friends. Three summers, six months each. In 18 months of weekend exploring the island from East to West and North to South, we never had a chance to be alone on the beach. Never.

I was dreaming of finding a place like this, since the times when I had the most difficult job in the world. By the end of the day, I was so exhausted, all I wanted was to have my man by my side and be in a deserted place. Shame we never found one. Today, we finally did. We discovered the one and only. Beautiful. Empty. Secret. Our Beach.

I must admit, we have burnt our feet on the fire hot sand, before we made it to the beach. However, the time spent there, just the two of us, was unforgettable. Just imagine: no one running around, no screaming and shouting, no voices and laughs. Only the sound of the waves.

I felt like I was finally on a deserted island, and my inner introvert was super happy. What else can you dream of, when spending the day with the loved one? Beauty for your eyes and love for your heart. Perfect combination of pretty Mediterranean sea and the man you love.

Planning summer holiday in Cyprus

cyprus beach

Are you planning your summer holiday in Cyprus? If so, there are some essentials you need to consider, in order to make it a remarkable one.

Arrival
There are two entering points to the island. International Airport of Larnaka and Paphos International Airport. Larnaka airport is big and offers a big selection of goods in Duty Free shops. The prices are much higher then in other EU airports. In Paphos you only have one shop and five or six cafes. Both Airports are situated on the seafront, so have your cameras ready, especially for landing, as you get the feeling you are landing in the water.
There is also another airport in Ercan, Northen Cyprus. However, since that territory is not recognized, do not expect any international standarts.
Cyprus also has two major ports, one in Limassol and one in Paphos. The port of Limassol is only limited to few cruise ships,its main purpose is import and export of goods, whereas Paphos is very well visited, mainly because of a big variety of cruise lines.

Getting to/from the Airport
Taxis and public buses are the most popular means of transportation, after the tour operator buses. Journey by taxi can cost from 10 euro,(from Larnaka Airport to Larnaka town) to 60 euro (Larnaka or Paphos Airports to/from Limassol). Night fees will be higher by 5-10 euro.
Busses cost 9 euro/one way, from Larnaka Airport to Limassol town.
There are no shared transportation services like BlaBlaCar in Cyprus. Sometimes Travel Express can offer shared services, but rarely they go to the airport.

Accommodation
Tourists can choose to live in hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and rented apartments or villas.
Hotels range from 1 to 5 stars, however most of them are quite old. In general, accommodation in Cyprus, when planning outside tour operator deals can be quite pricey.

Food and Wine
For guests’ comfort, in hotels, there is a choice between All inclusive, Full Board, Half board and Breakfast only.
There are plenty possibilities to eat out. A dinner bill for 2 pax starts from 25 euro, excluding drinks.
Despite being an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, Cyprus is more of a meat island rather then seafood. Lamb, pork and chicken are among the most favorite meats, followed by beef and rabbit.
The Mediterranean waters are quite poor for sea-products and fish. Therefore, most of the products are imported. Tsipura fish is one of the most popular dishes, as well as octopus, calamari and prawns.
Cyprus is a wine country and each region offers its signature wine. The renown red sweet Commandaria is a desert wine and is often the best souvenir from Cyprus. Xynisteri is the most popular dry white wine. Other varieties of wines include Mavro, Cabernet, Shiraz.
Olives and olive oil are something else you can bring as a present from this island. Halloumi – a typical Cypriot cheese, is another delicacy you must try here.


Beach
There are three main regions with differences in maritime landscape.
Paphos has predominantly rocky beaches and it lays all the way from Akamas peninsula (which is a natural reservation) to its border with Limassol district – Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock). Holidays in Paphos will suite people who are seeking a relaxed and quiet stay. There are plenty places to explore the ancient ruins of Cyprus, as well as beautiful beaches.

Limassol is very varried and offers rocky (Pissouri and Kourion), sandy (Lady’s Mile and Dassoudi) and stony places (Alamanou and Governor’s) along its coastline.
Limassol can accommodate all kind of needs for beach lovers, club goers, nature and sightseeing fans. It is suitable to tourists of all ages.

Larnaka-Agia Napa is the proud region with the most picturesque landscapes and azure waters. Nissi Beach and Fig Tree Bay, the winner of 2016 Tripadvisor’ Travelers’ Choice Award are located there.


What are you looking for, when booking a holiday? What is the most important for you? The hotel with an infinity pool? The most beautiful beach with clean waters? Ability to move freely at your new destination?
Share your thoughts, it is always interesting.

Frankfurt on Electric bike

Frankfurt on bike

I ride the bicycle with a frequency of once a year, best case scenario. Naturally, every time feels like the first time and I have to learn riding again. This is why each offer to go on the bike freaks me out. It fades away within 20-30 minutes. Still, I prefer to ride far from the city and any means of transportation. Pedestrians also. Any moving object in general.

When this Frankfurt trip was fully planned by Pavlo, I had no choice but agree with his ideas. So, when I learned about a new experience of driving an electric bike, I was not too happy. Deep inside, I was hoping it would rain or my husband would change his mind. Not a single chance. When day X came, I was calming myself that Frankfurt is full of bikes and bike lanes, so the drivers must be loyal to such beginners like myself, in case I get stuck in the middle of the road.

When we arrived to the bike rental place, the host was super friendly. He provided us with a big red bike bag, which can be easily attached to the bike and 2 bottle of juice. He gave us a tip to ride into the forest, to get a feeling of the bikes. There is a wooden tower with observation platform called Goetheturm, on the south bank of river Main. It is 175 meters high, the entrance is free of charge and on its top you can see the Frankfurt skyline.

I started pedaling with shaking hands and legs, when suddenly… my bike started driving by itself! Wow! What a feeling! Never before I enjoyed riding as much as I did then. With minimum effort, your bikes drives you with a great speed. Now and then you have to pedal for it to ride. You can choose between 3 modes: power, sport and eco. The stronger the power, the less effort is needed from peoples’ side. The battery lasts for 100 km.

It is an amazing feeling to try something new. And I am so thankful to my husband for challenging me in different ways. On our electric bikes we were able to pedal most of the outskirts of Frankfurt, enjoy a very long park ride, see such places which are not on the touristic paths, give our tired feet some rest and breath fresh, post rain air.

On the weekend, on a sunny day, the river bank is full of bicycle lovers. We could not have missed it. We felt like locals. We even enjoyed the sunshine on the green grass along the Main river, with a view on Frankfurt skyline.

Do I recommend this transport in Frankfurt? Definitely! Will I be able to ride a normal bike again? I would, but I would always choose the electric one.

Cost: 29 euro/day. We had the bikes from 10 in the morning, until 12 midnight

Renting place: FrankfurtBikeTour.com

There are many tours on bikes around Frankfurt, and most of the bike renting companies do offer group and private excursions. We prefer planning ourselves, thus we did not join anyone.

 

Main Tower Frankfurt – a view over the city

When watching Frankfurt Skyline or walking around the city, you will definitely see this skyscraper. In the shape of a tube with a white and red spire.

We have not planned this visit. We were on our way to Bethmann Park (Chinese Garden) when I saw people on top of the building. To both of us, this attraction sounded like a great plan.

The ticket to the top of the Tower is 7.5€ for adults or 5€ for students (be ready to present your justificative document, regardless of your country of origin). There is a full check up of your belongings right after the ticket purchase, very similar to the one at the airport.

A super speedy elevator takes you in a matter of seconds to the 56th floor. Two more floors need to be walked on foot, then you have arrived. The city is underneath you. You feel like a bird flying very high, observing the city below you. We were really lucky with the weather. It was a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures around 30 degrees. We could see the whole Frankfurt and far beyond it.

You can visit Main Tower Frankfurt on a Sunday, inclusive. Be ready to meet many people on the top, thus queuing for a great spot with an amazing view.

The Chinese Garden was closed for maintenance, however on the street right next to it there was the annual BergerstraßeFest. It is the festival happening on one street, and it is very popular with the locals and tourists. International food and drinks, typical German beverages and delicatessen, clothes, toys, books – anything you can think of associated with a fest, was there. Two stages with live music were creating a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

First impression – Condor Airlines

My acquaintance with Condor started with a visit to their website. Easy navigation and user friendly interface made me easily book our tickets. I liked the option of choosing between Economy and Economy Light, as there was a significant difference of 15 euro for each ticket. You receive your confirmation email, again, super fast. However, you have to wait in order to check in. Only 24 hours prior the departure, the check in becomes available. For those wondering what is the difference between Economy and Economy Light – I do not know. Many considered that the difference is in your included meal on board. I will hurry to break your illusions – Condor does not feed you for free, unless you have pre-ordered and pre-paid your meal before the 24 hours limit prior the flight.

You can tell from the start, Condor is a great Airline. Not only priority boarding passengers come first, also families with children are embarked on the first bus, and regardless of its fulfillment, the bus takes them to the airplane. We took the 3rd bus, it was also the last one, as we are never in a hurry to board the aircraft. You know it is not a low cost airline by the attitude of the staff in the airport. No one is chasing you with measurements and heaviness of your hand luggage, which is great. On another note, most of the passengers are German, which means no one will violate the regulations of the airline.

The aircraft is new, it was blowing fresh air into the cabin all the time when we were on the ground. I loved the security demonstration projected on the screen. Something catchy and funny.

Smooth take off, smooth flight, great in-flight entertainment. The services are offered with a german humor: you can eat a currywurst for dinner, and the crew is encouraging to order it. First, a member of staff was offering to preorder food, then headphones were offered and then we started watching “The Big Bang Theory”, “K.C. Undercover”, some other shows and cartoons I was not aware of. There was an option to listen to them in English and German.

Some information from the captain regarding our flight. At the altitude of 11 km we were flying over Izmir, Thesaloniki, Sofia, Belgrade, Balaton lake, Ingolstatt and finally Frankfurt. Perhaps, I am not longer used to long flights, but the 3.5 hour journey was a bit tiring for me. Maybe, it was due to the fact, that outside was continuous daylight. During this flight, we were chasing the sun. Multiple sunsets in different cities were left behind and breathtaking scenes outside the window were changing rapidly.

Landing in Frankfurt International was another unique experience. Despite the fact that I knew it was a busy airport, I never realised it was that busy. Airplanes landing and taking off each minute, as we were waiting for permission to cross the lanes. Upon our arrival to the hub, 2 buses were awaiting for the passengers to take them to the Terminal.

Overall, I enjoyed this flying experience with Condor very much. I cannot wait to fly them next time to another, yet unknown destination.