Expect the Unexpected – Before the Trip

Within my really long winter break, my family decided to plan a trip to Africa. On the 3rd of January, we will be leaving Israel to fly to Johannesburg. It’s around a 9 hour flight, which is not that big of a deal, since I’m used to flying. From there, we will spend the next three nights on a train.

Rovos Rail is a luxurious railway company that has multiple routes throughout South Africa and other countries. The trips last from 2 days, up to 15 days through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. The train itself is set in the 1930s and takes you back to when there was no technology whatsoever. No internet, no television, nothing. It is a really good opportunity to disconnect from the world and appreciate what nature has to offer.

I won’t mention too much about the train or what the trip includes, because I’ll be posting a little more about that in future posts.

I did not expect to be spending three nights disconnected. I am a person who spends hours on social media, or just connected to the internet. These days, a lot of people rely on internet to keep updated on everything. I’m really excited for this trip because, first of all I’ve never been to Africa before. So that will be something to cross off my bucket list. Second of all, I rarely get the chance to properly disconnect. I know for a fact I will do whatever it takes to connect to internet and keep my snapchat streaks going (can’t lose those). But regardless, it is a nice opportunity to enjoy the trip to the fullest.

The reason for the name of this post is because I want to start a small series of posts for this trip. I’ll be posting about Victoria Falls, game drives, cheetah encounters and more. A lot of these are things that I have never thought I would end up doing. That is why I decided to call this series “Expect the Unexpected.” So, keep a lookout for my upcoming posts about Africa!

 

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More adventures…

Let me start off by saying that I love going on adventures. If you haven’t noticed that by now and my previous posts, then I suggest you take a look at them because I find them quite fun to read (even though I wrote them). This particular post features two trips that we took. One to Barcelona and another to Milan.

The trip to Barcelona was only Mati and I. A few days before the weekend, we sat down and bought tickets and booked the hotel where Mati did his internship. Ohla Barcelona is a beautiful hotel. Easy to get to, amazing interior and the exterior of it just represents exactly what Barcelona is. I didn’t really like Barcelona before I went there that particular weekend. I’m not sure if it was because I have an amazing travel buddy, or maybe because I just saw the city differently than before.

That weekend we didn’t really do much. We did go to a football match. My first football match, in fact. It was Barca against Sevilla, which I’m guessing was a pretty good first match to go to. It was an interesting experience for sure. I’ve been to a lot of hockey games before (because I just really like hockey), but it’s still different. Here’s why. In my opinion, football games are less dramatic. Maybe it’s because I never really took a huge interest in football, so I was lacking enthusiasm. Whenever I go to hockey games, I’ll most likely end up losing my voice the following day. Long story short, football isn’t my thing, but I can see myself gaining a little more enthusiasm for it in the future. The rest of the days we just spent either in bed or on the rooftop of the hotel.

The flight back to Geneva was definitely the low of the trip. I’m okay with flying, but I was never a huge fan of it. I’m fine if there’s no turbulence or no clouds. But on this flight, there was a storm. Not just hard wind and rain, but more like lightning and thunder. Plus I sat by the window, which definitely did not help. Mati was an angel though. He tried to calm me down by giving me his music (even though I had my own), hugging me and obviously telling me that we’re not gonna die. He eventually swapped seats with me because I was starting to panic. But in the end, we landed in Geneva safely and got back to Bluche without crashing the car (almost).

Next Weekend!!!!

Alright, this was definitely a fun-filled weekend. In September, as a band, we decided to take a trip to Milan. So we did. We got an Airbnb (first time for a lot of us), Mati and I got tickets to the ATP Next Gen Finals and a Bryan Adams concerts, and in November we set out on the road. There was 7 of us, so we took 2 cars. In our car, it was Mati, two Leandros, and I. That was definitely an interesting road trip.

img_2670The first night, Mati and I went to the ATP Next Gen Finals. I think it was my first time at a proper tennis game. The atmosphere was really nice and the place, in general, was really cool. Of course, Mati had the time of his life since he’s a tennis fanatic. The moment you walked into the venue, it felt like you were in the future. Or at least I felt like that. There were a lot of different stands and just a lot of different things to look at. I felt a little lost because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to look.

The next day a few of us went to walk around Milan. I’ve never been in Milan before, and my dream was to go shopping there. Which we did and which I don’t regret…except the amount of money I spent. Walking around Milan really reminded me of Prague, so I felt a little homesick.

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The architecture, the streets, the people. Something about the city is really similar to Prague. We then split away from the rest of the group, went to get lunch and then went back to the apartment to take a nap (as always). That night we were off to see Bryan Adams in concert. I’ve listened to him before, but not actively. Well not until I met Mati because he listens to a lot of Bryan Adams. On the way to the venue, I managed to fall asleep in the taxi. I don’t know why but I’ve literally been falling asleep everywhere. We got to the venue and waited in line for 45 minutes to get inside. Eventually, the concert started. I have to admit that he sounds amazing live. Not only that, but he is a really good performer. That night we actually ended up in, what we thought, was the shadiest part of the city. A little bar in a dark street that served amazing, but strong, cocktails. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was definitely worth going. Except for the fact that it was really cold when we went.

On the last day, the group split up again. But this time by the groups of the cars. We ended up walking for hours around the city just to find one restaurant which was full. I’m not complaining about walking for so long because I did get to enjoy the city a little more before I left, but still, it was really cold. Now comes the most exciting (note the sarcasm) part of the trip. The ride back.

img_2727Now, the ride back was definitely something unexpected. We decided to take the auto-train back to Switzerland. Not sure exactly how these trains are called, but they’re the ones that carry the cars. We missed the first one that we wanted to take and then waited an hour for the next one without driving out of the line. The reason we didn’t take the Simplon Pass is that there was a lot of snow and we didn’t have winter tires. Eventually, we get on the train and get to Bluche. At this point, Mati was driving just in case it started snowing. When we were two minutes away from campus, literally two minutes, it was snowing so heavily that the road had a good 10cm of snow, if not more. Let me remind you again that we didn’t have winter tires. So, we park the car, the guys get out and start figuring out how to put the snow chains on. They got the chains on after a few tries but one of them pops off the wheel and gets stuck in the car. We couldn’t do anything about that and we obviously couldn’t drive the car. Luckily a friend came to pick us up and all of our stuff and we did make it back to campus.

Moral of the story – ALWAYS get winter tires before it starts snowing…

 

Disneyland – The Happiest Place on Earth

“Mine was the twilight and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs.” Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Disneyland? Is it Mickey Mouse? Fairytales? Princesses?

For me, I think about happiness. Not only that, but Disney was a huge part of my childhood. I would spend endless nights watching Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella. My family and I would take annual trips to Disneyland. So as anyone, I associate Disney with a lot of positive things. However, in this post, I associate it with love. Mostly, falling in love. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but hear me out.

After the midterm break, Mati and I decided that we really want to go to Disney. But my class schedule and our band performances weren’t letting us go on the weekends that we wanted to. Just a few days before one of my exams, our teacher changes the day, which opened up a whole weekend for us. It was the weekend of Halloween and I was so excited to finally go to Disneyland Paris. We sat down in my room for lunch and booked everything because we were so excited. I kept telling him that the last time I was in Disneyland Paris was when I was six years old. So for me, it was like going for the first time.

Our flight was at 7am, Thursday morning from Geneva. The problem about living in Bluche is that the closest airport is in Geneva and it’s two hours away. We decided to spend Wednesday night in a hotel near the airport just so we won’t have to wake up at 2am and drive for two hours. So we spend a night in Geneva just being absolutely lazy. We didn’t go out for dinner, but instead but ordered room service and watched videos. It was a quite a relaxed night.

The next morning it was our 2 month anniversary together. We woke up at around 4:30am and made our way to the airport. The two of us were definitely not happy to wake up so early. We made our way to the airport, checked-in, got on the plane and before we knew it, we were landing in Paris. We stayed at Disney’s Newport Bay Club. It’s a gorgeous hotel just outside of the parks. It has ship/sailor theme and it’s really cute. When we were standing at reception, they told us our room wasn’t ready. That was understandable since it was only 8 in the morning. So we took our Disney passes, left our suitcases and bags, and went to the parks. We were absolutely exhausted to a point where we were falling asleep on the way to the parks. The first ride we went on was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Mati basically forced me to try it. He raised my expectations

so high for the ride. When we got on it, the music for the ride didn’t work. Imagine Space Mountain but without the space sounds and music. It was really awkward. So after that ride, we went to a few others. Eventually, we got so tired that we gave up on rides and went for lunch. For us, it was technically breakfast. After that, we went back to the hotel and spent two hours on the couches in the hallways just sleeping. When our room was ready, we literally passed out in the beds in an instant.

The evening was definitely the best part. We walked around, bought funny hats and had dinner with the characters. I was more excited than a 6-year-old to see Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch. It was definitely a perfect way to spend an anniversary in Disneyland.

The next day we spent the whole day at the parks. Around 10 hours. We didn’t get bored at all and time flew by so fast. We watched the projection show on the castle in the evening and it was incredible. It felt so magical. It took me back to all of those days I would binge-watch Disney movies. There were snippets from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and many more. The fireworks were absolutely beautiful. I know Disney spends millions on fireworks and I think they do an amazing job with the timings and everything.

The third day, we decided to actually go into the city of Paris. Because I don’t really remember being in Paris, I convinced Mati to go (despite the fact that he’s not a huge fan of the city). I think Paris is beautiful. Even though we didn’t go to the most famous landmark, The Eiffel Tower, we went for a stroll down the Champs Elysee. As always, I had to do my fair share of shopping, otherwise, a trip isn’t complete. We came back in the afternoon and we were quite tired so we took another nap. We then just spent the whole evening in the hotel room.

I don’t think I could ask for a better evening. Mati made me laugh so many times to a point where I cried. This was the day I knew he was absolutely perfect for me. Have you ever just looked into someone’s eyes and knew? We danced to no music, we laughed till we cried, it was all just perfect. We decided to go to Planet Hollywood for dinner and I think that was the worst idea ever. All I’m going to say is that we took one bite of the food and then asked for the bill. I won’t criticize the place.

Our last day. We checked out of the hotel, went on a few more rides in the parks and made our way back to Bluche, Switzerland (I almost crashed the car…oops). But that’s not where our adventure ends because a week later, we were off on our next one.

Venice – The City of Canals

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” Truman Capote

Ever since I was little, I’ve watched romantic-comedies where the couple would ride a gondola and the gondolier would sing Italian opera. I’m a sucker for romance and romantic gestures and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to ride a gondola with someone you love.

After dating my boyfriend, Mati, for 3 weeks, he decided to plan a spontaneous trip to Venice, Italy. At first, it took me by surprise and I was a bit hesitant about going since the relationship was really fresh. But, in the end, I agreed to go with him. I think what calmed me down a little before agreeing to the trip, was the fact that one of our friends was coming with us. She stayed in an Airbnb and we stayed in a hotel. But at least I knew she was in the same city just in case things got really awkward (which they didn’t)

Day 1
IMG_1823Our first day was full of traveling and actually getting to Venice. We decided to drive since it was close to Bluche, Switzerland. When I say close, I mean it is 6 hours away, but still, an acceptable distance to drive.

Venice is known for its incredible canals and beautiful architecture. So because of the canals, you need to leave your car just outside of the city and take a water taxi. The water taxis were definitely an interesting experience. It was different than I expected it to be. It also took us a while to find out how to get to the ferries from the parking lots.

The first thing I noticed when we got out of the water taxi was the Rialto Bridge. I don’t think I’ve seen a bridge more beautiful (except our Charles Bridge, right here in Prague). When we finally got settled in, we decided to meet up with our friend and go for dinner to a small Italian restaurant (of course) just across the hotel. We were quite tired, so we didn’t really do much that evening.

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Day 2
Mati and I woke up quite late that morning and our friend was already out and about. When we looked out the window, it was pouring rain and of course, we did not have an umbrella with us, so we had to go buy one. We slowly made our way towards Piazza San Marco which is the main square of Venice. It was absolutely beautiful. Even though the day was a little dull and gray, it didn’t stop us from exploring the city. One of the cool, and maybe a little touristy, places we found was the Magnum Icecream shop where you could make your own icecream. I’m not a huge fan of ice cream because it’s just too cold for me (don’t judge). But I couldn’t pass the opportunity to make my own. It was delicious.

My favorite part of the day was visiting the Jewish quarter of Venice. It was Shabbat when we went so everything was closed. We did have an opportunity recite the Kiddush (the English translation is sanctification). Which is basically reciting a blessing while drinking kosher wine (which is delicious by the way) or eating challah bread. There are different types of kiddush, for Shabbat, there are two, one to declare Shabbat on Friday evening, and another to do it on Saturday after all services (it’s also known as oneg). It was an interesting experience to embrace my religion in a different country.

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In the evening we decided to go for a gondola ride. Finally, my movie dreams came true. Except for the fact that the gondolier didn’t sing Italian opera. But our friend, who is a singer, started singing some as a joke. Which set the mood quite right. It was already dark so we couldn’t see a lot of the architecture, but it was still beautiful. Especially going under the Rialto Bridge when it was all lit up.

Day 3
Mati and I decided to have breakfast together. So, of course, he decided that we will go to Cafe Florian. For a place that was born in Venice in 1720, it has an incredible reputation. It was a gorgeous cafe in the plaza, but it was quite expensive. The atmosphere was amazing and there was a band that played really nice music. I think it was one of the best breakfast dates that Mati and I have had. The food was incredible, the desserts were out of this world and the view was perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better morning with a better person.

After having a nice, last stroll around the city, we went back to the hotel and got a water taxi back to the parking lots. We got into the car and started our drive back to Switzerland. Keep in mind that is was still summer (mid-September). It started snowing up in the mountains. There was no better way to end an amazing trip.

Moral of the story. Always say yes to trips with your boyfriend because they will end up being the best trips of your life.

Introducing…My Confusing Story

Welcome to my story.

Behind every blog, is a writer. Or in my case, just a girl who wants to share her life story with you.

Here’s a snippet of who I am. My name is Daniella (if you haven’t read the ‘about’ page). I was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic but my family is Russian, Israeli, Romanian, Polish and probably every other Slovak-ish country you could think of. Myself? Well, I’m Czech/Israeli/Romanian. That is honestly a very short version of where I’m from.

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In my spare time, I keep myself busy with music and writing. I grew up in a very musical family where I was taught how to play piano and guitar. Honestly, my passion is singing. I write a lot of my own songs but I never perform them because I just don’t know when and where.

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May 2017 I graduated from high school and I started studying at Les Roches. It’s a university that basically specializes in a hospitality degree (no, hospitality is not only for hotels). I chose a global course which allows me to travel all over the world. My first semester, which I just finished, was based in a tiny village in Switzerland called Bluche. In February, I start my second semester in Shanghai, China and then my third semester is in Marbella, Spain. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog in the first place.

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While studying at Les Roches, I met the love of my life. During our semester together, we traveled to so many cities, just for the weekends. My adventures have never been better and I have found my perfect travel buddy. But more about him later 😉

Currently, I’m on a two and a half month Christmas break. I know it is a long time, but the academic calendars in China are a little different than in Europe. I have a lot of trips planned which will definitely help me with content ideas for the blog. I’m going to be traveling to places I’ve never been before, like South Africa and Argentina (which I’m really really excited about). Traveling has always been a passion of mine, and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I have.

So stayed tuned for more posts 🙂

xoxo