Posts tagged travel blog

Letters from Germany: Magdeburg, the Royal Fairy Tale on the Banks of the Elbe…

My dear travellers, are you ready for a new adventure and getting to know some gems of Germany? In previous posts you have had the opportunity to feel the spirit of the charming city of art and design – Halle and the Hanseatic city on the Baltic coast – Greifswald.

Today I will introduce you to the capital of the German federal state of Saxony – Anhalt and also the oldest city in East Germany – Magdeburg. The city lies on the river Elbe and is one of the three largest regional centers in the country. With less than 250,000 inhabitants, Magdeburg is the second largest city in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, after Halle.

According to some historical records, Magdeburg was first mentioned in official documents at the beginning of the 9th century. In the middle of the 9th century, Otto I the Great, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, together with the scientist and politician Otto von Guericke, founded the Archdiocese of Magdeburg with his namesake of today’s “Ottostadt Magdeburg”.

Emperor Otto I was so fascinated by the beauty of this city that was the wedding gift to his wife Edith of England (Eadgyth of England). The locals faithfully preserve their history and the memory of this emperor, who was buried in the Magdeburg Cathedral, which is a great symbol of the city today.

The building of the state parliament of the German province of Saxony – Anhalt

In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic city gained exceptional importance due to its trade role and Magdeburg city law. In the late Middle Ages, it was one of the largest German cities and the center of the Reformation and resistance against recatholicization in the Schmalkaldic League.

After the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War (better known as the “The Sack of Magdeburg”), Magdeburg was expanded and became the strongest fortress in the Kingdom of Prussia.

At the end of the 19th century, Magdeburg became a large city with almost 100,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately, the city was seriously destroyed again in the Second World War. Magdeburg was part of the GDR from 1952 to 1990, and after 1990 it became the capital of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.

Magdeburger Dom (Magdeburg Cathedral) – Cathedral of St. Catherine and Maurice

Due to its unusual geographical location, Magdeburg has a separate port at the mouth of the Elbe and Havel canals and is the economic and industrial center in Saxony-Anhalt German state.

This city has a highly developed machine industry, special environmental technologies and recycling management, logistics and production of chemical products, iron and steel products, paper and textiles, and all these industries help maintain the economic stability of the city and the province in general.

Magdeburg is both a Protestant and a Catholic diocese. The true symbol of the city is the Cathedral of St. Catherine and Maurice. Magdeburg Cathedral is a Protestant cathedral in Germany and also the oldest Gothic cathedral in Germany. This cathedral was under the administration of the former emperor-archbishopric of Magdeburg.

Today, the Magdeburg Cathedral is one of the most important architectural monuments in central Germany and the first cathedral in Germany built in the Gothic style. The Magdeburg Church is the main church of the Evangelical Church in central Germany. An interesting fact is that its bell towers, which are about 100 m high, make this church one of the highest cathedrals in East Germany.

North side of the cloister in Gothic style

The cathedral’s main chapel has a trapezoidal shape, because its three wings were equated with the previous cathedral from the 10th century. The south wing still remained in the Romanesque style. The east wing also contains a large two-row hall, also known as the “Remter”. The cathedral is visited annually by more than 100,000 tourists. During 2019, the 810th anniversary of this late Romanesque-Gothic cathedral was celebrated.

An interesting fact is that during the Middle Ages, the city had a shape that was shaped by seven churches with two towers, the only formation of the city in Europe. This structure of the city was unfortunately lost due to the bombing in the Second World War and the demolition during the GDR period, and only four of the seven pairs of towers survived.

There are still seven church buildings in the area of medieval Magdeburg, but not all of them are used for religious purposes.

Today, the Magdeburg Cathedral is the episcopal church of the Evangelical Church on the territory of the province of Saxony-Anhalt. The artistic treasures of this cathedral include ancient pillars of porphyry, marble and granite, a large baptistery and the tomb of Emperor Otto I the Great.

Monastery of Our dear Lady in Magdeburg

The Monastery of Our Lady was built in the middle of the 11th century. The Municipal Art Museum of Fine Arts was opened in 1974 and is located in the premises of this important complex of the Romanesque monastery. Most of the exhibits are on display in the monastery itself, but some sculptures and figures can also be found in the nearby park.

The Johanniskirche (Church of St. John), located near the town hall, built in the 13th century, is now used as a dance and concert hall. The sculpture of the “Bereaved Magdeburg” in the church lobby was saved from the ruins in 1945. This sculpture is a historical reminder of the conquest and subsequent devastation of the city by the imperial army in the Thirty Years’ War.

Church of St. John in Magdeburg

The single-nave Gothic Magdalenenkapelle chapel was built at the beginning of the 14th century as a sign of reconciliation, and it was moved to the neighboring Magdalenenkloster only at the end of the 14th century. St. Petri-Kirche, also known as the University Church, was located outside the city when it was built in the early 12th century.

Church of St. Sebastian built in the 11th century. The architecture of this religious building shows the features of the Romanesque and Gothic style, and today’s shape was largely given to the cathedral between the 14th and 15th centuries. After hundreds of years of use for the purpose of a warehouse, St. Sebastian’s Cathedral has regained its role as a Catholic parish church. Vallonerkirche: The church in the Gothic hall was built in 1285 as the church of the Augustinian monastery.

There are numerous cultural institutions in Magdeburg, including the Magdeburg Theater and the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum. Otto von Guericke University and the Magdeburg-Stendhal University of Applied Sciences are located in Magdeburg.

Due to the severe destruction of the 17th century in the Thirty Years’ War and the middle of the 20th century in the Second World War, Magdeburg has fewer historical landmarks than other cities in Germany if we look at the traditional architectural sense. Many buildings that are carriers of the city’s history, architecture, art and culture have been destroyed.

Many excavations have taken place in the vicinity of Magdeburg in recent years and numerous discoveries have been made. Government is working on a detailed discovery of historical facts about the development of Magdeburg, where we could supplement and present some new facts that would be worth mentioning.

The most important sights of the city are located in the area of the old part of the city, separated from the university part of the city and the newer center of Askanischer Square and the river Elbe. Cultural monuments that exist in Magdeburg are registered in the city and regional register of monuments.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the special blog post from Germany. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Magdeburg Tourist Board – Magdeburg Marketing, Saxony – Anhalt Marketing and Deutsche Bahn for this incredible German adventure.

Once again, Deutsche Bahn recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of the capital of Saxony – Anhalt German state in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about this German gem of Saxony – Anhalt called Magdeburg? Have you maybe had a chance to visit this lovely city? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Tourist Board of the City of Magdeburg, the Tourist Organization of the German state of Saxony – Anhalt and the German national railway Deutsche Bahn.

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Letters from Germany: Greifswald, Hanseatic city on the Baltic coast…

My dear travellers, how are you today? I hope you are ready for a new adventure, because today I present you another jewel of Germany, which is located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. In the previous post, you had the opportunity to get to know Halle, a charming city in Germany that is well- known for its art and design. If by any chance you missed it or want to enjoy the beauty of this unusual city near Leipzig again, you can do so with one click on this link.

Greifswald is the capital of the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald, located in the northeast of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region. This university and Hanseatic city lies on the river Ryck which flows into the Baltic Sea spatially between the islands of Rügen and Usedom.

An interesting fact is that Greifswald received the city charter of the city of Lübeck in the middle of the 13th century. The University of Greifswald, was founded in the middle of the 15th century and is the second oldest university in the Baltic region.

The city has almost 60 thousand inhabitants, which makes it the fifth largest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Together with Stralsund, Greifswald forms one of the four regional centers in the province.

Greifswald is approximately equidistant from the two largest cities in Germany, Berlin and Hamburg. The nearest major cities are Stralsund and Rostock. The coastal part of Greifswald at the mouth of the river Ryck, called Greifswald-Vieck, originated from a small fishing village. Today there is a small beach, a marina and the main port that belongs to Greifswald.

How did Greifswald get its name? The original name of this settlement, which eventually developed into the independent city of Greifswald, is not known. The only written evidence that exists is a letter from Duke Vartislav III. which dates from the 13th century. is also the first documented mention of today’s name of the city.

In the feudal era during the reign of Vartislav III. in the 13th century, there is his explicit statement that Greifswald is called Gripeswald in Low Saxon German, which suggests that this area originally had a different ethnic population: Slavic, Danish and German as well.

There is no official evidence for the theory that the original name was Danish based on Gripscogh, the name of a forest located near the town of Esrom in Denmark.

Greifswald – contains the word “griffins” which represents the legendary heraldic animals of the Pomeranian dukes. “Wald” means forest. The griffin and the forest can also be found in the coat of arms of the city of Greifswald. Since 1990, the city has again become a Hanseatic city and is now described as a university and Hanseatic city.

The Hanseatic League (Hanseatic League of Cities) is an alliance of trade guilds, which established and maintained a trade monopoly in the Baltic Sea and most of northern Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries. German cities have achieved a dominant position in trade in the Baltic with incredible speed over the course of a century. Lübeck became a central hub in all maritime trade during that period.

Due to its size, Greifswald has a rich cultural and tourist offer for its visitors. The largest cultural institutions in the city are the Vorpommern Theater and the Pommersche Landesmuseum (Pomeranian State Museum), a museum housing paintings by the famous painter Caspar David Friedrich, a native of Greifswald.

More than 10 million euros have been set aside for this project and it was founded out of a great desire to document the life and work of this “romantic” and his artistic environment. This project was funded by the city of Greifswald, the region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as the federal government.

The town hall of Greifswald, which was built in 1915, has been completely restored and together with the adjacent theater building, represents the central complex of the old part of the town of Greifswald.

City architecture has styles from almost all eras, from medieval brick, Gothic to modern forms of architecture. The older buildings of the city are especially characterized by the style common in northern Germany and the Baltic Sea region, which can also be found in other Hanseatic cities such as Lübeck and Wismar.

Of course, the architecture of classicism and the beginning of the Wilhelmin era also left a significant mark in Greifswald. During the GDR era, large parts of the northern part of the old town were demolished and prefabricated apartments were built there. Since 1990, great efforts have been made to restore and restore the historical architecture of the city.

Old town

The central market square, unique in size and shape in northern Germany, is truly imposing. The 13th-century Gothic-Baroque town house of Greifswald is located in the market square. The two medieval Hanseatic town houses Markt 11 and 13 in the famous brick-Gothic style are especially significant in terms of the architectural history of the town.

At the corner of Muhlenstrasse is the white, classicist building of the Pomeranian State Museum’s painting gallery, designed by Johann Gottfried Kuistorp.

There are also various important historic town houses in the old town, for example near the main churches and along the east-west direction of Schuhhagen or Muhlenstraße and Lange Straße streets.

The northern part of the old town in the direction of the port was significantly destroyed due to the design of the old system, although it was spared during the war and replaced by prefabricated buildings, only a few old buildings, such as the city library in Knopfstrasse, were spared this destructive measure.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the special blog post from Greifswald. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Greifswald Tourist Board – Greifswald Marketing GmbH (GMG) and Deutsche Bahn for this incredible German adventure.

Once again, Deutsche Bahn recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern German state in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about this German gem of Baltic called Greifswald? Have you maybe had a chance to visit this lovely city? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. Also, I am kindly inviting you to enjoy in the rest photos of Greifswald in gallery below.

Best,
Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Greifswald Marketing GmbH and the Deutsche Bahn German National Railway.

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Letters from Germany: Halle, a charming City of Art and Design…

My dear travellers, how are you today? It is my great pleasure to have the opportunity to write you a new travelogue after a long time. The corona virus has changed our daily habits and some pleasures such as travel have been limited and kept to a minimum. This year’s tourist season is in great danger and many countries are trying to encourage domestic and international tourists to visit their country this season.

This year, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has made great efforts to motivate domestic and foreign tourists with their campaigns to visit Germany after the tourist “break” with the imposed quarantine.

Halle, a town in the southern part of the German state of Saxony – Anhalt.

Welcome to Halle, a charming city of art, history and design. This city is located in the very south of the German province of Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Saale, which is the third longest river in Germany.

Halle is an economic and educational center in central and eastern Germany with less than 250,000 inhabitants. The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, with its campuses in Halle and Wittenberg, is the largest university center in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and one of the oldest universities in Germany where the principle of startup ecosystems is nurtured. Halle University Hospital is the largest hospital in this province.

How did this charming city get its name? The name of this city is historically connected with the salt harvest. The name of the river Saale contains the Germanic root of the word for salt, and the salt harvest has been taking place in Halle since the Bronze Age.


The city itself has a modern city center, a large number of green areas and numerous unusual narrow streets in which architecture from several epochs has been preserved. There are many interesting and beautiful places you can visit along the Saale River that runs through the city. Halle is located near Leipzig and as a tourist you can enjoy the beauties of these two exceptional cities in Germany.

Halle is a relatively small town, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. On the contrary, you will feel like you are in a big open-air museum. Halle is one of the largest university centers in Germany and various university institutes and libraries can be found here.

Halle became a very rich and “famous” city as a result of a successful salt trade. The preserved ramparts of the medieval castle give Halle its historical stamp and exceptional beauty. Other sights of the city include the Unserer Lieben Frauen and the Roter Turm, a free-standing bell tower.

In addition to the renovated city center, the surrounding modern districts give this town an unusual charm. In some parts of the city one can still find villas and houses and houses that belong to the old architectural style and have unfortunately been demolished in many other cities in Germany.

Halle is not only the cultural capital of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, but also the birthplace of George Frederic Handel. The spirit of the famous baroque composer can still be felt in the city today, especially during the Handel festival, which is usually held in June every year.

If the road leads you to this city, be sure to visit the birth house of the composer Handel and the Church where Handel was baptized, which is located in the heart of the city. Experience the cultural diversity of the more than 1,200-year-old Halle city center with its narrow streets and historic buildings.

Did you know that Halle is also popular because of its history of sweets. Mozart balls were born in Salzburg, but in Halle there are the famous Halloren Kugeln.

Whoever does not feel the beauty of fluttering his wings, remains an ordinary creature of this world…

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the special blog post from Halle. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Halle Tourist Board – Stadtmarketing Halle and Deutsche Bahn for this incredible German adventure.

Once again, Deutsche Bahn recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of Saxony-Anhalt German state in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about this art and design centre in Saxony-Anhalt? Have you maybe had a chance to visit this lovely city called Halle? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Germany!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Halle Tourismus and the Deutsche Bahn German National Railway.

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Letter from India: The Magical Indian Panorama Journey with the Maharajas’ Express…

My dear travellers, how are you today? I believe that this heat and pandemic did not hinder you in performing your daily duties. Due to the current health situation, the only thing left for us to do is look at our old pictures and remember the beautiful moments from the trip and along the way hope that we will soon be able to travel normally again.

If you follow my blog for a long time, I believe that you will remember my stories about an unusual, distant land of contrast – India. Two years ago, more precisely in February 2018, I had the opportunity to visit this far distant country. My boyhood dream was to visit one of the wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal.

The plan of the National Tourism Organization of the Republic of India was to promote different regions in India with the use of railways. It was my first long train journey and all the time during the flight to Delhi I wondered what a trip really looks like where people spend most of their time on the train itself.

My thinking was interrupted by the captain of the plane, who welcomed us to the capital of one of the most populous countries in the world. The excitement and adrenaline after several hours of flights did its thing and I tried in every way to get around the crowd and find my hosts. A warm welcome and numerous gifts brought a smile to my face. During the drive to the hotel, the hosts tried to briefly explain the route and the way of traveling to me, but my eyes were fixed on the window because I was seduced by the lights of a world metropolis such as New Delhi.

Through conversation, I learned that I was one of the first bloggers from my group to come and that the remaining members of the crew would arrive by the early hours of the morning. Insomnia did its thing, so I decided to get acquainted with the details of the trip and started reading the details about the Maharajas’ Express, a dream train that many say is a five-star hotel on wheels.

The Maharajas’ Express is the only train that provides a journey that will be remembered for the rest of your life. The National Railways of the Republic of India, together with the management of the Maharaja Express, wanted to show people the beauty of travel that dates back to the famous Indian royal era. Maharaja Express trips are specially organized throughout the year and last on average between seven and ten days. The main goal of each trip is to acquaint tourists with the national treasure of India, the incredible Indian spirit and cultural heritage. All Maharajas’ Express trips are created to be in line with the wishes and needs of clients who value their money and expect a certain level of comfort and luxury during their trip.

This unusual luxury train in India, after many years of successful work, has received numerous awards for its exceptional hospitality. The specificity of this train is the presidential suite, which is symbolically called “Navratna“, which in Indian language means “nine precious gems”. The luxury train Maharajas’ Express received its own for the precious gems of various Maharajas (kings). According to tradition, the trains of the Indian Maharajah have 14 locomotives for guests, which are called: Moti (Pearl), Manik (Rubin), Heera (Diamond), Panna (Emerald), Neelam (Blue Sapphire), etc.

A traveler on this extremely luxurious train journey can get to know and come into direct contact with the cultural heritage of India. All information and travel instructions are sent to passengers by mail to the home address before the trip, and passengers also receive a special copy of documents and brochures before the train departs. Traveling by this luxury train will be an unforgettable experience that you will remember for a lifetime.

The price of the travel package also includes the services of professional butlers, spacious cabins with fully equipped bathrooms with basic packages for daily care, TV, electronic safe and wireless internet.

Maharaja Express has several dining cars (wagons) with different themed units, where an incredible variety of world cuisines are served in gold and silver cutlery in an elegantly decorated ambience. Themed restaurants are: Peacock Restaurant (Maiur Mahal) and Haveli Restaurant (Rang Mahal). One of the many cars is reserved for the Safari bar where passengers can enjoy a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with a number of snacks.

I have to admit that I spent a lot of time with pistachios, Indian nuts and unsalted peanuts while working on the computer during the trip. I think I spent more time in the Safari Bar than in my own room. All train services like food and drinks of all kinds are included in the price because the train service is “all inclusive” so you don’t have to carry money or the credit card with you every time.

Safari Bar wagon within the Maharaja Express

If you decide to travel by this magical train, you can choose between four programs: Indian Panorama, Indian Shine, Cultural Heritage of India and Jewels of India. Each of these programs is unique and differs in route and duration of the trip. I am a member of the crew that was on the Indian Panorama program. If you are interested in the routes and duration of all programs, you can read all about the program tours at this link.

For all those adventurers who have the desire to get to know India and visit this country for the first time, I wholeheartedly recommend the Indian Panorama tour. Why? This program includes all the jewels of Indian cultural heritage: Agra and Fatehpur Sikri (Taj Mahal), Jaipur (pink city of winds), Varanasi (the place where the river Ganges connects the earthly with the heavenly world), as well as many others. In addition to important cultural and historical cities, you will have the opportunity to go on safari and experience the beauties of the natural wild life of India.

For years I have dreamed of visiting the Taj Mahal and after so many years my dream has been fulfilled because of that I am most grateful to have a job that I truly love and that fulfills me with the selfless support of my readers who daily follow my unusual adventures around the world.

If you want to remind yourself what my great Indian adventure looked like you can read my stories at the following links:

  1. India: Land of Smile and Happiness
  2. India: When Dreams Come True!
  3. India: Last Call For Varanasi
  4. India: Red is the Color of Joy (special fashion outfit post)
Lunch time and arrival of Maharaja Express in Varanasi with a view of the river Ganges

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end post from special post about my Indian adventure with Maharajas’ Express. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Maharajas’ Express for this incredible adventure and Incredible India for their huge efforts to make my dream come true. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

This time, Qatar Airways recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of the world in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about India? Have you maybe had a chance to explore India with Maharajas’ Express? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Incredible India and Maharajas’ Express. I would like to say thank you to Qatar Airways for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me!

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My Side of the World: Sonja Lapatanov (Part 2)

My dear travellers, how are you today? Welcome to the new post from the special section “My Side of the World” which successfully managed to win your hearts in a very short time on the Mr.M blog. I hope that we will continue to travel the world together with our famous adventurers and discover some new and unexplored parts of the world.

This post is a continuation of the interview with my dear guest Sonja Lapatanov. If you want to read the first part of the interview and remind yourself of some unusual destinations or just to enjoy the beauties of the world throught the lens of one of our most famous ballet artists, choreographers and adventurers, visit the link.

Easter Island: Ahu Tongariki.

11. Did you go to the same destinations again and did you happen to be disappointed with something that had previously delighted you or that you were delighted with something that seemed ordinary to you for the first time? Should you turn around the second time when something thrills you at first sight or should the experience not be spoiled by a replay?

Sonja Lapatanov: Unfortunately, I am not able to “repeat the class”, although I would gladly do so. I’m looking for new destinations, because time is not waiting for no one. The situation on our planet is worrying. There are more and more forest fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, epidemics, general dissatisfaction, accidents, wars, riots… The years of dangerous living have arrived! That is why I will repeat the old destinations maybe in the next life.

Tibet: A prayer wheel around Lhasa city.

12. People usually think that so-called exotic travel takes a lot of money. How have you organized all these trips over the decades? Have you ever traveled to the end of the world with just 100$ in your pocket?

Sonja Lapatanov: I gave up every luxury and through travel, I invested in myself. It is a great treasure, which no one can steal from me. Today, travel is expensive, but young people are doing well, because they can organize everything themselves via the Internet.

Nepal: Pokalde peak ridge at an altitude of 5000 m.

– They just need to know what they want and where they want to travel. I’m an adventurer, but I’m not a backpacker and I wouldn’t spend the night in a hostel and I would hardly go to the end of the world with 100$ in my pocket. Today, that amount could not cover travel expenses, accommodation, or the costs of a two-day stay in a tourist place in our country!

Patagonia: Glaciers and icebergs in the Oneli Lagoon.

13. What is the most exotic type of transportation you used during your trip?

Sonja Lapatanov: I flew by helicopter in Laos, piston planes in Nepal, a balloon over the Tanzanian and Kenyan savannas and a para-glider from Brajić to Slovenska plaža in Montenegro!

Sudan: At the top of the holy rock Jebel Barkal.

I sailed the seas, lakes and mighty rivers throughout Asia and Africa, rode tuk-tuks and rickshaws, in India, South and Central America half-decomposed buses, along with chickens and goats, sat on the roof of the Andean railway, on the backs of various animals.

But the real adventurous adventure was canoeing and extreme riding on zip-line cables, through the treetops of giant trees in the jungles of Malaysia and Guatemala.

Tahiti: A Dolphin Kiss.

14. I know from my experience that travel is actually learning about the culture and history of a nation. Whose culture impressed you the most?

Sonja Lapatanov: Ancient civilizations left an invaluable cultural and historical heritage to the human race, so it would be unfair to mention only one, so I single out the fascinating Mayan and Khmer culture, the culture of Myanmar, Egypt, Libya, Algeria…

Namibia: Namib Naukluft National Park, Dead Vlei.

15. Did some of the trips disappointed you in the sense that you expected much more from that country, but then you collided with reality and realized that sometimes good advertising is responsible for the overestimation of a certain destination?

Sonja Lapatanov: There is no trip that has disappointed me. I choose them carefully. I do not follow the tourist fashion, but my adventurous spirit. My curiosity and adrenaline addiction knows no bounds, while the desire to adventure and discover the still not so commercialized parts of the blue planet is immeasurable. However, in a way, my expectations were not met by China. It is a modern country and that fact seems to have fallen hard on me.

Northern Thailand: In the company of female members of the Aka tribe.

– I thought I would enter the world that Pearl Bak wrote about, or the world of Mao Zedong, with columns of cyclists and uniformed people, who practice Kung Fu and Tai Chi in the early morning hours. The expected images of idyllic landscapes with bamboos and pandas, green rice fields, fairy-tale cone-shaped hills of Gilina painted on silk, are remnants of some ancient times, which have passed.

Kenya: On the shores of Lake Nakuru.

– The reality is different. Somewhere far from the metropolis, there are villages and rice fields, the Great Wall of China, and in Beijing, the Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, a hutong district in traditional Chinese construction with an inner courtyard and a Peking duck. I was late to visit China before the big changes.

Patagonia: Punta Tombo

16. Is there a country where the pictures you remember are more beautiful than the ones from the postcards?

Sonja Lapatanov: Indisputably; French Polynesia-Tahiti, Bora Bora, Morea, Huahin…

Sudan: Pylons in front of the temple of the goddess Mut, below the rock of Jebel Barkal.

17. Which distant country would you say is most similar to Serbia and why? Is there still our mentality somewhere or are we still unique?

Sonja Lapatanov: Serbs are unique, but when it comes to temperament and joy of life, there are similarities with Mexicans and Irish people.

Japan: In Tokyo with a rickshaw driver.

18. When did you feel the need to convert travel into travelogues? Has any country particularly encouraged you to do that?

Sonja Lapatanov: In the late nineties, I started writing reports for newspapers and magazines, and then a few years later, my friends encouraged me to turn my travelogues into books. They stay, and newspapers and magazines are thrown away, they told me. Since then, I have written seven books of travel prose, and an eighth is in preparation.

Papua New Guinea: With members of the Huli people.

19. Do you remember the feelings when you wrote the first book? The moment you typed the last word on a keyboard and realized you had written your first book. Can that excitement be compared to any destination?

Sonja Lapatanov: Admiration, when you hit a dot on the keyboard after the last word, is an indescribably beautiful feeling.

With sharks in the waters of the Pacific

20. If you had to choose only one determinant, what would you say to the question of who Sonja Lapatanov is. A ballerina, a passionate traveler or a writer?

Sonja Lapatanov: Three in one! Everything happened at the right time and now it exists and lives in me.

Sudan: Gates are a sign of prestige among residents of Sudanese villages and towns.

My dear travellers, I hope you like this post in column on the blog “My side of the world” and that you enjoyed it with my guest today. We will continue our trip around the world in a few days with some new guest

I would recommend you to take a look at the other pictures that dear Sonja set aside in the gallery especially for us to see what kind of beauties our earth hides.

Madagascar: Hanging out with a lemur.

If you have a suggestion whose side of the world of famous world travelers you would like to discover, you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story!

Best,
Mr.M

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Cyprus and Malta: Two priceless Gems of the Mediterranean Sea…

My dear travellers, welcome to my new post. Honestly, I hope you are doing well and that we all look forward to some better days that are characteristic of this period of the year after this lockdown. June is usually a month when people go to the sea or plan their summer vacation, but this year was an exception. Due to the new situation caused by the Coronavirus, people are prevented from planning summer vacations and maybe postponing their travels for the autumn season.

“Hello? Can you hear me? Can I change my travel dates for the Summer holidays, please?”

I was glad that many of you remembered my blog and a large number of readers have approached me via email and private messages on social media in the past few weeks asking for advice on where you could go on a “summer” vacation in the fall season.

What are the destinations that interested you the most? The people from Europe region were most suggested by the following destinations: Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco and Malta.

The Central street city of Valletta, the capital of Republic of Malta
Central street in the heart of Valletta – the capital of Malta

MALTA

The Republic of Malta is a very small and densely populated island country made up of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. This unusual island country is located south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, so geographically Malta belongs to North Africa, but from a political point of view, this country belongs to Europe and is a member of the European Union.

It was a great honor and pleasure for me to feel the charms of this island country in collaboration with the tourist organization of the Malta Tourism Authority. Before I start with the post I would like to inform you that MTA expressed satisfaction at the announcement of the reopening of the airport and the resumption of commercial flights to and from Malta as from July 1st 2020.

Republic Square is located in the city center of capital of Malta - Valletta.
Wonderful Republic Square in Valletta

The first group of destinations that are being reopened for travel comprises: Germany, Austria, Sicily, Cyprus, Switzerland, Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, and Czech Republic. More destinations will be announced in due course, once clearance from the health authorities is received. For more information about entry rules and reopening please visit the website of Malta Tourism Authority.

The capital of the Republic of Malta is Valletta. Due to its specific geographical location, Maltese culture is an unusual combination of many cultures that have been linked throughout history. These are mainly the nearby neighboring Mediterranean countries or the cultures of the countries that ruled Malta before gaining independence. The Maltese Islands are one big open-air museum, as 7,000 years of Maltese history, heavily influenced by the Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, Knights of Malta and the British, can still be seen today.

The Tritons Fountain is a fountain located on the periphery of the City Gate of Valletta, Republic of Malta, Europe
Tritons’ Fountain in Valletta, Malta

Malta is an exceptional tourist destination, no matter what you expect from your vacation, whether you are a fan of active vacation or pure hedonistic relaxation, the possibilities of this island are countless. For lovers of culture and art, there are numerous museums and galleries.

On the other hand, for all gourmets, Malta is a real little paradise because you have the opportunity to enjoy the unusual specialties of this Mediterranean island.

Malta also has a large number of natural beauties such as numerous caves, coves and natural monuments. Don’t forget when you’re done touring the sights and enjoying the many delicacies, don’t forget to do your shopping or take a walk along the promenade in Sliema and Bugibba in the evening.

Mdina is a fortified town in the northern part of the island, which throughout history in the period from ancient times to the Middle Ages served as the capital of the island. The city is still fortified inside the walls and has a population of just under 300 people, but next to the neighboring town of Rabat, which is named after the Arabic word for suburbs. According to the latest data, the two cities together have just over 10,000 inhabitants.

Mdina still remained the center of the Maltese nobility and religious institutions. Assets are still largely passed down from generation to generation. The city never managed to fully regain its significance that it had until 1530, which also led to the popular nickname “Quiet City” by natives and tourists. Mdina is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is currently one of the main tourist attractions in Malta.

Vilhena Palace also known as the Magisterial Palace and Palazzo Pretorio, is a French Baroque palace in Mdina, Republic of Malta.
Vilhena Palace is open to the public as Malta’s National Museum of Natural History.

Today, Mdina is one of the main tourist attractions of Malta, which annually hosts about a million tourists. You can experience the city as an interesting mix of Norman and Baroque architecture, including several palaces, most of which are privately owned. In the period from 2008 to 2016, a major restoration of the city walls was carried out.

Cathedral and Monastery of St. Peter in the heart of Mdina, Malta.

During my visit to Malta, I visited Valletta, Mdina, Rabat, Sliema, the small traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk (Marsa-Shlok) and the island of Gozo. This interesting island country has left an impression on me and I sincerely hope to visit Malta soon.

Posts about Malta that you had the opportunity to read on the blog:

  1. Letters from Malta: The Mediterranean Love at First Sight…
  2. Letters from Malta: Mdina, Silence speaks more than Words…
  3. Letters from Malta: My glamorous Escape to Valletta
  4. Letters from Malta: Gozo, your new happy place!
  5. Letters from Malta: Stylish and Fashionable Summer on the streets of Valletta (fashion outfit post)
  6. Letters from Malta: My second day on Malta Fashion Week (outfit)
  7. Last Letter from Malta: Dear Diary, it was amazing! (outfit)
Marsaxlokk is a small traditional fishing village in Republic of Malta.
Marsaxlokk is a small traditional fishing village known for its colorful boats “Luzzus”

CYPRUS

The Republic of Cyprus is an island country located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its geographical position, Cyprus represented a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, and many traces of ancient civilizations are still present, such as Roman and Byzantine.

One interesting fact that I learned from the representatives of the National Cyprus Tourism Office is that Cyprus is actually the warmest island in the Mediterranean. It is also called Aphrodite’s Island, because, according to one of the many legends, the Greek goddess Aphrodite was born here from sea foam. The most visited summer resort in Cyprus is Limassol, a city famous for its unrealistically beautiful beaches.

TRAVELING AFTER COVID-19: Cyprus is now ready to welcome travelers from several countries. Having successfully dealt with the Covid-19 epidemic, that you can explore this beautiful island once again. For further info regarding traveling please visit the official portal of Cyprus tourism.

Aphrodite's Rock, a landmark located near Paphos. Republic of Cyprus, Europe
Aphrodite’s Rock, a landmark located near Paphos.

Nicosia is the right place for fans of the combination of modern and traditional. The capital of Cyprus has adorned the old part of the city since the 12th century with an unusual promenade and cobblestone cafes. A place where history intertwines with the modern world.

The Liberty Monument in Nicosia

Larnaca is a few kilometers away from the largest international airport in Cyprus. The city is located on the southeast coast and is the oldest city on the island. In addition to Limassol, Larnaca is one of the most luxurious resorts whose port is visited by visitors from various parts of Europe and the world with new models of yachts.

The building of the administration of the Larnaca region, which is located in the center - Europe Square near the main Promenade. Larnaca, the Republic of Cyprus
The building of the administration of the Larnaca region, which is located in the center – Europe Square near the main Promenade.

Larnaca has modern equipped sandy beaches rated with high marks, which contributes to the development of tourism. The city is known for its landscaped promenade, which is located along the coast, along which there are rows of palm trees. One of the most famous sights near the promenade is the church of St. Lazarus.

Posts about Cyprus that I shared with you on the blog:

  1. Letters from Cyprus: Everyone needs a little Vitamin Sea
  2. Letters from Cyprus: Nicosia, City of History and Freedom
  3. Letters from Cyprus: Everything you need to know about Limassol and Paphos
  4. One Little Red Postcard from Cyprus (fashion outfit post)
Church of St. Lazarus in Larnaca

My dear travellers, we have reached the end of this special post where I briefly tried to compare the beauties of these two unusual island countries in Europe. This is just the beginning of this special series of posts where I will try to describe some of my other observations that I forgot to share with you while I was writing previous posts about those destinations and of course you will have the opportunity to remind yourself some of my previous posts and all together “renew” the material.

Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit some of these gems of the Mediterranean? What are your experiences? Did you like Malta or Cyprus more and I would like to hear your reasons. I would really like to hear some of your experiences and I would be happy to read your impressions in the comments.

Harbour in Larnaca

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story about Belgrade!

Best,
Mr.M

Morning in Limassol

This post is my gift to all my loyal readers who wants to learn something new about tourist destinations. The post is for informational purposes only and is not sponsored.

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Letters from Serbia: Subotica, charming Town of Northern Serbia…

My dear travellers, how are you today? In the past few months, due to a situation called Corona, the way of life has changed. Unfortunately, a lot of human lives have been extinguished, people’s consciousness has changed and we have started to take more care of ourselves and our health. Many companies closed down, and lot of people lost their jobs and unfortunately this is global thing. The economy has been seriously affected, especially tourism as a sensitive activity has suffered great damage.

This year will be dedicated to domestic and regional tourism because those are the only possibilities of this tourist season. I sincerely hope that everyone will be able to plan their vacation in the best possible way and get to know their country and region a little better.

Reichl Palace, a living masterpiece by architect Ferenc Reichl

I am sure that at least some of you had a feeling of desperation and helplessness during this period, so I tried in every way to find some kind of inspiration. I was helped by a one work assignment given to me by a fashion label and their only request was to take pictures in some interesting environment and to find some interesting city in Serbia.

After searching for some interesting destinations in Serbia on the Internet, pictures of the city of Subotica gave me inspiration for work and I decided to sit in the car and visit this gem in the very north of Serbia.

Do you want to start a new adventure? It is a question that goes through my head every day and I believe that each of us sometimes needs a change of environment, at least for a short time to escape from the daily routine. When I set off my road trip for Subotica, I felt great excitement because I didn’t know what was waiting for me there, and the pictures were promising.

Subotica is the northernmost city in Serbia and the second most populous in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. A city with its interesting geographical position in the heart of the Northern Bačka district. Throughout history, many names have been used to show the beauty of this unusual center of Hungarian Art Nouveau.

The Subotica Promenade

During the history, the city changed about 200 names. You must be wondering why? Subotica is a city where people of different ethnic origins lived from the Middle Ages until today, and it was also under the rule of several different conquering forces. It is interesting that all the inhabitants wrote about Subotica and gave the name of the city in accordance with the spelling and grammar rules of their language, but in most cases, they have not changed the way they are pronounced until today.

The Subotica City Hall and the monument to Tsar Jovan Nenad

Today’s name of the city of Subotica comes from the word that means the day of the week “Saturday” and first officially appears in the middle of the 17th century. However, the opinion of the inhabitants is that the town was named after Subota Vrlić, the treasurer of Emperor Jovan Nenad.

Of course, as always, there are more legends that have been passed down from generation to generation and more sources of information, but I think that these two assumptions about the origin of the name of the city of Subotica are true. Do you perhaps know what was the official first name of this city?

Some historical writings prove to us that the first officially documented name of the town was Zabatka, which dates from the 15th century. There are various theories of the history of the origin of this name. According to one of the theories, it is actually one of the variants of today’s name of the city in the Hungarian language, which reads Szabadka.

In accordance with this theory, this word derives from the adjective Szabad, which in Hungarian means “free” and the suffix “-ka”, which is interpreted as a diminutive – diminutive. Therefore, in the free translation of the original name of today’s Subotica, we can interpret it as a “small” or “free, lovely place”.

Park on the central Republic Square

Subotica is certainly one of the most intriguing cities in Serbia because it has the largest number of buildings built in the spirit of modern artistic architecture. The town house and synagogue, which were built at the beginning of the 20th century, stand out because of their timeless beauty.

They were built according to the plan of the same team of Hungarian architects, Mr. Marcell Komor and Dezso Jakab. Another marvel of the architecture of the Hungarian Art Nouveau in Subotica is the Reichl Palace, built by the architect Ferenc Reichl as his masterpiece of life. Once the palace was his home and office, today it is an object of exceptional cultural significance where the Gallery of Modern Art “Art Encounter” is located.

Church of St. Teresa of Avila

Church buildings such as the Cathedral of St. Theresa of Avila, the Franciscan monastery, the Orthodox Church and the Hungarian synagogue built in the Art Nouveau style typical of the early 20th century are some of the sacral buildings you can visit in Subotica.

The Cathedral of St. Teresa of Avila was built in the late 18th century in a typical Baroque style. Subotica was part of the Habsburg monarchy at that time. The cathedral was designed by a Hungarian architect named Franz Kaufmann. On the roof of the church, between the two bell towers, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary.

You must be wondering how the crack in the central part of the building was created? Construction experts believe that the two bell towers began to sink and that they were gradually pulling the church nave to their side, as a result of which a crack appeared in the very middle of this sacral building.

This mistake was made in the construction of the church itself, and a little crack caused a serious crack, which experts have been trying to repair for years. It is believed that due to the excessive pressure exerted by the bell towers, which are higher and heavier than the central part of the building, the subsidence of the terrain additionally affects and in that way a crack was formed on the church.

Monument to the victims of fascism

The monument to the fallen fighters and victims of fascism is a cultural asset in the very heart of Suborica, a mausoleum where the remains of the greats of the Subotica workers’ movement and revolutionaries who died in the fight for freedom of the North Bačka district. The monument consists of three parts: a pedestal, an access plateau and a tomb.

The Jakab and Komor Square Synagogue in Subotica

The synagogue in Subotica is the only remaining sacral building built in the style of Hungarian secession in the world. It was built by the Jewish community, which at that time had around 3,000 members. Its architecture emphasizes the dual, Hungarian-Jewish identity of its builders, who lived in the multiethnic, majority Catholic city of the Habsburg Empire.

National Theater in Subotica

The original building of the National Theater in Subotica was built in the middle of the 19th century as the first monumental building of cultural significance in Subotica. Unfortunately, it was demolished for the purpose of renovation by the city authorities about ten years ago, although at the end of the 20th century it was declared a historical monument of exceptional importance. Residents believe that by demolishing the original building of the National Theater, Subotica has lost its charm.

Monument of Holy Trinity

The monument of the Holy Trinity shows the harmony and unity of the citizens of Subotica at a time when the population was working together to clean up the swampy parts of the city. This is not only a cultural good but a symbol of faith, hope and unity all with the aim of improving multiculturalism and creating a better community.

Subotica is truly a real gem of the Northern Bačka district and I sincerely advise everyone to visit this city and see for themselves the true beauty of Northern Serbia. When you finish your visit to Subotica, not far from the city bustle, only seven kilometers from the center of Subotica, there is Palić, the most famous health resort and picnic area.

Why visit Palić? Palić is known for Palić Lake, which has been one of the most visited places in Serbia for many years. Have you perhaps heard some of the many legends about the origin of this lake?

According to a legend that was passed down from generation to generation, Lake Palić was created from the tears of the shepherd Paul, who lost his flock exactly where the lake is today. That is why many people today “claim” that the water in the lake is salty because of tears of this desperate shepherd.

Palić Lake

How did you like this interesting story one of the most famous city in North Serbia? Have you visited Subotica and Palić? Here spring is the most beautiful period of the year I have prepared this travel story for you with a lot of love and I hope you like it! I hope that you will maybe visit Serbia this summer and enjoy in the colours of the natural beauties of Vojvodina. Have you already made some plans what you are planning to visit after this lockdown?

Palić Lake

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story about Belgrade!

Best,
Mr.M

This post is my gift to all my dear travellers, who wanted to learn something new about Serbia. The post is for informational purposes only and is not sponsored.

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My Side of the World: Sonja Lapatanov

My dear adventurers, how are you today? After the first special blog post – an interview with Ms. Vesna Jugović de Vinca, I received a lot of emails and messages on social networks with suggestions whose “side of the world” you would like to see on my blog. I admit that I received a lot of interesting proposals, but one name stood out in particular – Sonja Lapatanov.

Sonja Lapatanov

She is one of the most famous ballet artist, choreographer and adventurer. Sonja Lapatanov, a world traveler who has traveled over 100 countries around the world. She has written several exceptional travel books (In Serbian language, these titles are just translated): In the lap of the Himalayas, Paradise Islands, Mama Africa, Mundo Maya, The Milky Way of the Ocean, The Green Continent. This tireless creative and adventurous soul took advantage of the days of quarantine and is just finishing her new book, which should soon be on our favourite shelves in bookstores all over Serbia and Balkan.

Algeria: Miraculous formations in the Sahara

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Sonja for her time and for being able to share with us the memories of her amazing journeys. This interview will be really special and will be divided into two parts. Let’s go on a trip around the world with our famous world traveler Sonja Lapatanov!

Algeria: Among carpets and pillows

1. You are raised in a medical family and I’m sure you’ve been surrounded by white coats since childhood. How did you resist that phenomenon and become a ballerina?

Sonja Lapatanov: Medicine and white coats were a family tradition and an integral part of my life. I was surrounded by doctors, books in the field of medicine, stethoscopes, pressure gauges, beakers, surgical instruments, various bottles and patients, because my grandfather had an office in the house, until the then government banned private practice. It was logical for me to continue the family tradition and for dermatovenerology to be my specialty.

Southern Ethiopia: In the village of Konso people

In the house where we lived, Russian emigrants gathered. Among them was Mr. Bogdanovski. I was a restless child, so he suggested to my parents that he take me to the ballet school “Lujo Davičo”, where my indomitable temperament would be curbed through physical engagement. That’s how it started!

Pakistan: Famous Pakistani trucks

2. You have an interesting combination of Russian-German origin. What led you more in life: Russian poetics or German pragmatism?

Sonja Lapatanov: It depended on the situation. But it was not always easy to choose the east, or the west, which constantly intersect in my being. In childhood and early youth, the Russian soul was more dominant, and as life inevitably progressed, the German Prussian heritage prevailed.

Libya, Sahara: the magical desert Mandara lakes

3. What was your first association with Belgrade in the late fifties and sixties of the 20th century? Can you make a parallel between Belgrade then and now?

Sonja Lapatanov: In the “Age of the Crown”, when nature may have warned humanity for the last time that it has had enough of oppression over our planet, my Belgrade from the years you mention has returned to me. Unfortunately, only briefly. As soon as the state of emergency was lifted, hygienic and sanitary measures gave way, and ugly habits took over the city again. Traces of negligence and arrogance are already visible in some parts of the city; discarded protective masks and gloves and various waste.

South Africa: Cape of Good Hope

At the moment, at least in my area, Belgrade is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, safe, dignified, educated, full of greenery and birds that sing and chirp again. The streets are clean for now, spared thousands of thrown cigarette butts rolling down the street, chewing gum stuck to the sidewalk, body secretions from the nose and throat, trampled dog feces… Belgrade was like that until the end of the eighties, and then everything went down the hill. Since then, I have not made any kind of parallels!

Guatemala: Tikal, archaeological site

4. You were educated in Moscow and New York. What made a bigger impression on you as a ballerina, and what as a girl who comes from Eastern Europe, towards whom there are still numerous prejudices?

Sonja Lapatanov: Common to both metropolises was and is, the supreme art of the game; classical ballet on one side and musical, jazz and modern ballet on the other. Both sides left strong impressions, because it could not have been otherwise. After gaining impressive knowledge and vast experience and an internship at the Bolshoi Theater, I achieved my goal; to professionally improve and be the best.

Galapagos, Isabella Island: A little gossip with a sea lioness

As for prejudices, they are not in the art. We speak a universal body language, which everyone understands, and as a worldly woman, who does not have two relatives of the same nationality, I belong to the East and the West, as well as the North and the South.

Guatemala: Life in Chichiikastenango

5. You are considered to have set new standards in the field of choreography and stage movement. Were you aware of that then or did it become clear to you much later?

Sonja Lapatanov: Everything was clear to me from the beginning! After professional training, in the Russia and the USA, I dedicated myself to pedagogical and choreographic work, as well as the stage movement, developing into a creator of a special and original style, recognisable in countless theater performances and other types of stage performances.

Zimbabwe: Knox dance in front of the Queen and the King

I expertly incorporated steps and dance into the fabric of the play, contributing to the fact that in contemporary theater, stage movement and choreography become an important element of the director’s concept and the plays themselves. Based on my work in 1996, the Sterija Award for Choreography and Stage Movement was established, which I am especially proud of. For my creative work, I have received excellent feedback from the audience and critics, and I have won numerous significant professional and social recognitions and awards.

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls

6. You are one of the first, if not the first, choreographer who went beyond the strict boundaries of theater and collaborated with the great music stars of the former Yugoslavia. Such a move is not always viewed favorably by your colleagues. How did that collaboration come about and how did you experience it?

Sonja Lapatanov: Older colleagues also collaborated with the music stars of Yugoslavia before me, and that was then called show business. At the time when it was called a spotlight stage, I got into that story, at the invitation of the manager, or the artists themselves. The mention of the star stage is mostly identified with the gallery of all kinds of naked singers on the front pages of the “yellow press magazines”, which unhappily defined the show business as something that implies vulgarity.

Ladakh: Little break on Pangong Lake

Many of them didn’t like those words, while the “show business” expression is much more acceptable. People from cultural circles are especially sensitive to the star stage, who perceive the term as something third-class, as evil and upside down. In essence, pop and show business have the same meaning and identical frameworks in which they operate. My collaboration with pop artists has always been at an enviable level, because how could it be otherwise with Zdravko Colic, Bebi Dol, Brena, Ana Bekuta, Dragana Mirkovic, Rambo Amadeus, Goran Bregovic, Alen Islamovic, Zorica Kondza, Biljana Ristic, Suzana Mancic , Bane Mojicevic, Stevan Andjelkovic, Marija Serifovic…

Ladakh: On the Changla pass

There were some people who were not kind to me because they could not enter to my team of players, those who accompanied the singers and some colleagues who later reluctantly accepted to do choreographies with newly arrived singers and future stars of the same “stage”. For my players, that cooperation was a solid source of income, they had a long service and health insurance. We were all satisfied with that cooperation.

Grenada island: Spice and fruit sellers

7. Due to the nature of their work, ballerinas “retire” extremely early by the usual standards. How did you experience that? Did traveling serve you as a new life challenge?

Sonja Lapatanov: I was not very shaken, because even then I was actively involved in pedagogical work, choreography and stage movement for theater performances in Belgrade and throughout Yugoslavia. I worked a lot, as many as 12 shows a year, sometimes two at the same time, say; one in Subotica and the other in Nis. Home in Belgrade, I just came to change my wardrobe! There was work, creativity was at its peak, as was inflation! From signing a contract, to paying a fee, hyperinflation would eat everything up! It was the highest inflation recorded in Serbia and one of the highest in the history of mankind.

Cambodia: Fields of Death

Product prices grew very fast, even in just a few hours the Yugoslavian Dinar (currency which was used in those times) became just a piece of paper. The exchange rate of the brand jumped every day. More and more money was printed and the new banknotes had more and more zeros. The shops were empty, and for a jar of cucumbers, 2,100 dinars had to be set aside, and for two liters of milk, or 200 grams of mustard, as much as 500 billion dinars! Terrible!

Southern Ethiopia: Members of the Mursi tribe

Thanatos and Eros, those compounds of opposites in life, life and death, happiness and sorrow, pain and enjoyment… destruction and creativity, which sustained me then and thank him! Traveling is my eternal life challenge. My ancestors migrated from one end of the world to the other, which is characteristic of the human race, including me.

Libya: Qasr Al-Haj

8. When did you feel that travel had become more than an adventure and had become your second occupation?

Sonja Lapatanov: From the moment when I started with writing books.

Libya, Sahara: The Finger of Allah

9. You have visited almost all countries of the world. What encouraged you to visit countries that go beyond the tourist framework and which most people never intend to visit?

Sonja Lapatanov: There is an answer in your question. I was encouraged by the fact that the countries I like to visit go beyond the tourist framework and that a small number of people intend to remind them!

Southern Ethiopia: Houses of the Dorze people

10. You say for yourself that you are an adrenaline addict and that your favorite destinations are in Asia and Africa. Which trip caused the greatest adrenaline?

Sonja Lapatanov: That’s right, I am a curious, adrenaline junkie and adventurer eager for knowledge. I constantly need to improve my being spiritually and intellectually. In that sense, I need changes. And it doesn’t hold my place! Many situations caused euphoria, some brought tears, some fear, some sighs and admiration… in Africa Sudan, Tanzania and Namibia, in Asia Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan…

Oman: In a desert oasis

My dear travellers, I hope you like my new post in column on the blog “My side of the world” and that you enjoyed it with my guest today. We will continue our trip around the world in a few days with our Sonja Lapatanov.

I would recommend you to take a look at the other pictures that dear Sonja set aside in the gallery especially for us to see what kind of beauties our earth hides.

French Polynesia, Tahiti: In the company of a tattoo artist

 If you have a suggestion when you would like to see and whose side of the world you would like to discover, you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story!

Best,
Mr.M

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My Side of the World: Vesna Jugovic de Vinca

My dear travellers, I hope you are well and ready for a new post. I have decided to create new content for you in the form of special interviews with people who have traveled around the world. Travel is the most beautiful gift of life that can give us the best form of non-formal education.

My guest today is Vesna Jugovic de Vinca, a cosmopolitan, and a woman who has been striving for the best possible display of all dimensions of beauty for over two decades. She is the woman who was able to connect us to the world in the most difficult moments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her time!

1. It is considered that you have set the standard in organizing beauty pageants in the Balkans and in Serbia and through the Miss Serbia project have opened the door to our country for some new opportunities. Were you aware of that in the 1990s or did it become clear to you much later?

Vesna de Vinca – I think that was my destiny. It was a system of decisions that I was “like” forced to make. I wanted to escape from the hard times of war reporting where, as a National Television journalist, I saw and filmed horrors and stepped almost into a world of hopelessness. I bought 1995 world miss licenses to elect Miss Yugoslavia – from Donald Trump who was then the owner of the Miss Universe organization and from Julia Morley, who owns the Miss World Organization. It was at the worst moment when Yugoslavia was notorious and banished from the events of world culture and sports.

Despite everything, I was able to “hook” us (Yugoslavia) into the world. It was probably our proverbial – stubbornness! Since 2006 when we split up, I have become a license holder for Miss Serbia and Miss Montenegro. Let’s not forget that the Miss World event is watched by over two billion people every year, including us as participants. It looks like the Olympics. I brought that new task in my life, the choice of official beauty, to an institution level. I have lasted for more than two decades despite difficult situations of sanctions, war, bombing, coups, political and economic turmoil.

2. For over two decades, you have been striving to portray beauty as something more than an aesthetic ideal, and that it is more a matter of psyche and spirit. Can beauty beat the time?

Vesna de Vinca – Beauty can beat time. Beauty is the heart of creation. It’s a special kind of energy. It is a special talent, which perishes like any talent if it is not respected and developed. Beauty is developed by mission. If it is understood as private wealth used for narrowly private successes, beauty is going to be crowned with the time.

If it is understood as a gift of God, as something that is not yours and that you did not deserve, but was given to you from above and “given” – it can last. So, if we put our beauty in the mission of affirmation of nobility and goodness, wisdom, helping one’s neighbor, affirmation of wonderful values – beauty lasts, because it is always colored again by the most beautiful energy beam of light inside, light that is corrected and exits through eyes and pores on the skin.

3. Due to the nature of your business, you have had the opportunity to visit almost all countries of the world. Have you had the opportunity to visit countries that go beyond tourism? (like Ethiopia, Brunei and similar destinations) Did the trips help you find yourself in a new life challenge?

Vesna de Vinca – Travel has become my religion. I have formed this particularly exciting picture of the world both as a journalist for many shows from all continents and as a producer of beauty and fashion events. So far I have visited 71 countries of the world, always as a traveler, never as a tourist. Honestly, I despise consumers in all areas, including tourism. The main motive for the trip should be discovery. The end of the journey must be the knowledge that we have improved. If that is not the case, then it is a matter of false splendor and exclusive summer resorts with photos that we post on social networks to make ourselves important.

Of course, I was also in countries, areas insufficiently discovered. I was so before this terrible war in Syria in Aleppo, riding the Euphrates, watching the Christian cells on the banks of this Bible river. I will never forget that. In the barren mountains of northeastern Syria, Qalamuna, in a village, the small town of Malula, where at that time there were about 5,000 inhabitants who spoke the only language in Christ – Aramaic, I went to research whether to make a film about it. The village was soon destroyed, and the inhabitants scattered all over the planet. Isis urged them. What a tragedy.

In Africa, I visited Tenge Njenge, the most creative village in the world, where sculptures resembling Henry Mura and Brancusi are sculptured and made by illiterate villagers, elderly people and children. I made a documentary about that, I think it’s very good. In Libya, when I was with Gaddafi and did an interview back in 1992, I went with the team to the center of the Sahara, to Gadamesh and talked to the Tuareg, desert samurai, filmed unforgettable scenes with which I begin two shows about a “colonel who has no one to write letter to”.

In Vietnam, I was on an island that in the “6 sense” system near Nya Trang. On that island, when you disembark, you return an hour or two earlier, to wake up earlier and, like the Robinsons, consume a day as much as possible. It is one of the most amazing tourist-exclusive centers where Cavalli and one of the sons of Prince Charles were at that time. Only bicycles are ridden, rivers are skipped, everything is designed to look natural and in fact the top quality is everything from showers to everything else. No phone. They make you forget the time and the burden of the outside world.

Here is another story from Cancun. It was the trip to the center of Mayan civilization and one of their guides is actually a tough Mayan nationalist and May language teacher. At first he thought I was American so he was grumpy, but when he realized where I was from and that I was a journalist he dedicated himself to me completely and took me through the Mayan civilization as their kind of ambassador. I also have a photo with him, it really was a kind of discovery.

4. In one interview you mentioned that your father is deserving and that he helped you discover the world. Which journeys do you remember with your father?

Vesna de Vinca – Although he went to another planet a long time ago, my father Minja Jugović still lives in me. Even today, I talk to him sometimes. It seems to me that I still haven’t realised yet how he made me a fearless, natural, resourceful and incredibly terribly curious person. Our most valuable journey together has always been the journey to the center of our family roots, to Bjelopavlice in Montenegro, where my family Jugovici from the Brajovic Brotherhood originate.

There on the river Zeta, my dad taught me about our ancestors and Njegos. I think I know over 30 generations of the family backwards, by heart as a song. We hunted frogs and eels with the children from the village of Kosić, played fircik (marijaš – card game) and preferences with the elderly, learned about the heroes and listened to anecdotes about the family that we still retell today.

My grandmother’s name was Gaja, and “gaja” means planet. Imagine what a wonderful name. Our property is like a dream, beautiful. Grandpa bought it twice. He went to America for the first time and worked in the mines, got married, had children and then lost his land. Then he packed up again and went to Marseilles to work on the salt pans. So he bought the same property again. Tough and persistent family – my dear Jugovici. Even today, the trip to Kosić, is always a new excitement for me.

5. Did you go to the same destinations again and did you happen to be disappointed with something that had previously delighted you or that you were delighted with something that seemed ordinary to you for the first time? Should you turn around the second time when something thrills you at first sight or should the experience not be spoiled by a replay?

Vesna de Vinca – I rarely go back to the “crime scene”!? New places need to be discovered. However, I always want to go to Jerusalem, Israel and Greece again, again and again. In Jerusalem, every atheist feels like a pilgrim. It is a source of special energy. Even looking in that direction from Belgrade, always fills me with a new light of knowledge about the sacrifice of Christ, who suffered all our sins on the cross – until then.

I would always go back to the Church of Christ’s Tomb, to Masada or to Bethlehem. Greece is definitely the most beautiful country in the world. You will never visit all the Greek islands and all the beauties of its ancient magic for life. I want to live in Greece. I also love Miami, actually Key Largo, where my friend Chris has a house on the ocean. The road to Key West, where Hemingway lived, is wonderful. That way across the ocean, I always love to pass by.

6. I know from my experience that travel is actually learning about the culture and history of a nation. Whose culture impressed you the most?

Vesna de Vinca – If I had to choose, I would choose the cultures of the Maya, the Greeks, Israel and India. India is a country that is entered at 1000 entrances but has no exits. Once you enter, you are obsessed with that diversity of everything. My trip to Sai Baba’s birthday, in Putaparta, is something not to be forgotten. Hey, I forgot the second most beautiful country in the world – Sri Lanka.

7. Did some trip disappoint you in the sense that you expected much more from that country, but you realised that sometimes good advertising is responsible for the overestimation of a certain destination?

Vesna de Vinca – At the first sight, I was disappointed by Nigeria. It is a land of car and shipwrecks. It is a country where there is no street light. It is a country where they tried to instill fears of crime in me. That’s how I saw it in the beginning.

But it turned out that country is a place where was no end to the curiosity. I will never forget the trip to the island where a married couple of priests live, who are elite intellectuals and very rich people, who decided to spend their lives in that environment where it is difficult to watch unhappy and poor people. You don’t know who to help first… Wonderful creatures!

8. Which distant country would you say is most similar to Serbia and why? Is there somewhere else in the distant world of our mentality or are we still unique?

Vesna de Vinca – The most similar country to Serbia is Portugal. I’m actually talking about the similarity of one people, the mentality. Then there are the Romanians, with whom we have never had a dispute in history, let alone a conflict. Maybe Irish and Welsh. Once in Hollywood, I had lunch with Catherine Zeta’s brother Jones – David. It was a completely Welsh team. It’s the same for me! And of course our wonderful Greeks.

9. Do you remember the feeling when you first organized the beauty pageant “Miss Serbia”? The moment when you proclaimed the first most beautiful girl in Serbia and realized that you became a pioneer in the promotion of Serbian beauties in the world.

Vesna de Vinca – I was excited because for the first time there were so many problems in Sveti Stefan and Cetinje in 1995, that I just waited impatiently for the end, to finish as soon as possible. I barely survived that pageant. That’s a long story. But I learned so much during that night that I would learn it all in the normal way for years. Here are the beauties in trouble. Everything in life is relative!

10. If you had to choose only one determinant word, what would you answer to the question of who is Vesna Jugovic de Vinca. A beauty promoter, a passionate traveler or a journalist?

Vesna de Vinca – Researcher of life! It’s an infinitely exciting “job”. It seems to me that even when I go to that world, I will feel great excitement and curiosity – what awaits me there? That would be a success.

I hope you like my new column on the blog “My side of the world” and that you enjoyed it with my guest today. If you have a suggestion when you would like to see and whose side of the world you would like to discover, you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story about Belgrade!

Best,
Mr.M

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European Capitals of Culture: Salzburg, Riga and Dresden…

My dear travellers, how are you today? I sincerely hope that you are doing great and you are safe and healthy according to this situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Have you ever thought that traveling is a form of non-formal education? Did you notice that you learned something new after every trip? Every visit to a museum or some other sights helps us to connect with other cultures. Today I have decided to write a new post in which I will try to compare three different European capitals of culture that are completely different and which I consider to be real gems in Europe. When you mention Austria, Latvia and Germany, what do you think do people think at first about these three countries having something in common?

Livonia, the original name of one of the areas of present-day Latvia, was influenced by the German Livonian Sword Brotherhood (Schwertbrüder) from the 13th century until the 16th century when the Livonia Institute was abolished by local aristocrats. After that period, Latvia had a tumultuous history and until its final independence in 1991 was influenced by many European emperors.

Getreidegasse Street makes the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town so special and recognizable by its large metal sign shop …

On the other hand, we have two neighbors, Germany and Austria, who share a common language. It is more difficult for foreigners to recognise different pronunciation and dialects, which may be why Austrians and Germans sound exactly the same and foreigners are often confused. Neither Germans nor Austrians like to talk about it. When it comes to the most common stereotypes, many people think that what is true of Germans is that the same applies automatically to Austrians. However, this is not exactly the case and you will often hear Austrians talk about what Germans are like in the same way we do with our neighbors in the region. You never have to say which one is better in sports or which one has a better sense of humor, it is better for you to skip this topic…

In any case, these are all general impressions, believe me you will only get the right picture if you have the opportunity to meet the Germans and Austrians, especially if you have the opportunity to work with them or otherwise spend more time in their countries. Today I will try to bring you closer to their cultures and ways of life – lifestyle.

A building in the heart of Salzburg where the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA

Salzburg or Solnograd as even older people in Europe call it the fourth largest city in Austria. It is a city that proudly boasts the most famous musical genius at every turn, a composer who has left behind a great artistic heritage – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mozart Café, Mozart Hotel, Mozart Bakery, Mozartkugel, Mozart Ice Cream… Everything you can imagine in Salzburg in its name can proudly carry the Mozart attribute, but you must have a special license for this legal work, because Mozart is a trademark today. How did this town on the Salzach River get its name?

In the immediate area of Salzburg are the famous salt mines, which were exploited until 1989, when the mines were completely closed. Today they are the biggest tourist attractions of the city. The German word “salz” means salt, which is why the name of the city literally means “castle or fortress of salt.”

When I received an invitation from the Salzburg Tourism Board to visit their city and to find out more about their history and way of life, there is little to say that I was thrilled. I had the opportunity to get to know the city in a completely different way. I was able to visit the family candy factory where Mozartkugel are made according to the original recipe, I met craftsmen who still today make unusual products and souvenirs that this city is known for.

Of course I visited various museums, outdoor monuments and the most famous lookout point in the city. Also interesting was a visit to the tomb of Marianne Anna “Nannerl” Mozart, the birth sister of the composer Mozart who assisted her brother and performed with him. She had an unusually turbulent and sad life and because of her life story I decided to single out and visit her grave in Salzburg.

Salzburg is a small town with an interesting history where you will always have plenty to see and explore. In my blog posts I shared with you in 2018 on the blog, I did my best to share with you some of my stories about this lovely city in Austria.

Posts which I wrote about Salzburg:

  1. Salzburg: The eternal classic in the heart of Austria
  2. I love Salzburg, because…
  3. Salzburg: Fashionable Fairy Tale Come True (fashion outfit post)

I will take this opportunity to quote myself as I still thank the same and stand behind this statement of mine:

“Salzburg is perhaps a small town, but believe me nothing is behind the bigger capitals in Europe. In the main street you will find all the most famous world fashion brands. Nice restaurant, wonderful view it will be enough to enjoy in the beauties of the city like Salzburg. You can buy one pack of original Mozart chocolates and you will be very happy, it’s much better than buying of expensive shoes but you will feel much better! I will write you in the next post about famous Austrian Folkwear, I’m sure you will love it! ”

RIGA, LATVIA

Riga is a city that I have always wanted to visit but never had enough funding for that trip and after I started working I did not have the free time to visit the capital of Latvia, which is considered to be the heart of the Baltic. When we say the Baltic, we immediately think of the cold, but I always think of three fairytale countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

My first visit to the Baltic was in 2018 when I visited their “brother” city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, as part of a project with the Helsinki City Tourism Board and the Finnish Tourism Board. Even then, I promised myself that I would visit other Baltic capitals, today I can say that I partially fulfilled that promise because I visited Riga, but I have not reached Vilnius yet.

I am sure that I will succeed if God gives health to what our people say and that Mr.M will soon embark on a journey to Lithuania and complete my Baltic adventure.

The invitation to visit the capital of Latvia came during my trip to Azerbaijan where one day I received an email from my PR agency do I want to visit Riga? The schedule was very tight since I was visiting Santa Claus at the North Pole, and at that moment I was in Azerbaijan, we did not know at all how to carry out the possibility that at that time Marko would clone and manage to visit the jewel of the Baltic – Riga.

I managed to somehow reschedule the travel dates and made myself almost 4 days of “space” and together with my photographer who was crazy about the sound of the engine of the plane and my mom who joined us decided to take a break and learn something new about this part of Europe.

airBaltic was wonderful so we all had the opportunity to feel the comfort of traveling in Business class with them on the Berlin – Riga route and this time I thank them for the kindly invitation and for being wonderful hosts and really doing our best to experience Riga as their second home. Mom and I were fascinated by the shops and the stunning number of outlets located in the heart of the city, while the photographer was fascinated by the architecture.

Riga is an ideal city for rest, leisure and adventure. You want to try their cuisine, believe me you will have a lot of restaurants in the Old Town, which makes the city centre warm & rich with many restaurants of Latvian and international cuisines so that all gourmets lovers can enjoy.

Riga is a European city of culture and has numerous museums and monuments. In addition, the city always strives to preserve its culture and organizes numerous cultural and artistic events every year.

The old part of Riga (Vecrīga) makes only the heart of the capital, located on the right bank of the Daugava River. In this part of the city there are many sights, of which the most famous is the Church of St. Peter, the saint who is also the patron saint of Riga. The Old Town is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Europe as it has the largest number of secessionist (jugendstyle) buildings in all of Europe.

Posts I wrote about Riga:

  1. Letters from Latvia: Explore Riga with airBaltic!
  2. Letters from Latvia: One Artistic Day in Riga

Riga is truly an exceptional city to remember, I’m sure this city left no one indifferent. Honestly, I would love to return there soon, especially for the sights I didn’t get to see. I hope to have some new stories for you about this interesting city soon.

DRESDEN, GERMANY

In Germany, in the heart of Saxony, somewhere on the bank of the river Elbe is Dresden. An unusual city with rich Baroque architecture that managed to rise from the ashes after World War II. Dresden was a city that was razed to the ground during World War II. After the end of the war, the city belonged to East Germany and was not heavily invested. This was the case until the 1980s when the city began to rebuild.

If you decide to visit Dresden, trust me you will not go wrong because you will be able to enjoy the beauty of royal treasures left in museums. Unfortunately, much of the jewelry from the Green Vault Museum was stolen in the middle of last year.

It was my last time in March 2018 and I was able to visit the Green Treasury Museum which houses royal priceless jewelry. Today, some of the treasures are in other museums in Dresden and I believe that this beauty would be felt by all of us at least once in our lives.

Of course, in addition to outdoor jewelry, you can see the largest crown in the world… I think this is also one of the most visited places in Germany and anyone visiting Germany will go to Dresden to see this attraction.

For many tourists, Dresden is marked out as a special shopping destination. Shopping is special in Dresden because right in the center there are interesting sights and cultural monuments in the middle of the shops of famous international brands.

The most famous Baroque style building in Germany is located in the heart of Dresden. The Zwinger Palace was built at the behest of Saxon Prince Augustus II of Jakob in the late 16th century and was intended to commemorate the ceremony and ceremony. I think you should visit the Zwinger Palace, even if you have a couple of hours to visit Dresden, trust me you will remember, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Crown.

Posts I shared with you about Dresden:

  1. Dresden: The City of Kings
  2. Fall on the Crown of Dresden

How did you like this second post about interesting destinations that I visited during 2018 and 2019? This is just the beginning of this special series of posts where I will do my best to briefly write down some of my basic observations that I missed sharing with you while writing posts, and of course you will have the opportunity to remind yourself of some of my previous posts and to “renew” knowledge all together.

Have you ever had the opportunity to visit some of these cultural capitals in Europe so far? I would love to hear some of your experiences and would be glad to read your impressions in the comments.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post is not sponsored.

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