Monthly Archives: March 2013

Rishon LeZion – a residential area with a surprising concentration of festivals

My time in Israel was limited, but everyone who knows my interest in urbanism wouldn’t be surprised that when I got an invitation from a new friend and active couchsurfer Yaniv to explore his town, Rishon LeZion, I couldn’t say no. The town is close to Tel Aviv and people can commute between them relatively easily. From the first sight it is an upper middle class suburb, which even reminded me of Luxembourg. But rents are lower than in Tel Aviv, and living there allows one to have more personal space. I was curious to hear that Rishon LeZion hosts several festivals, like an world food festival, international skate hockey championships, and big events on the Israeli Independence Day.

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Bonn: the faded glory and ​Gummibärchen​

The first time I learned about Bonn was when I was studying old maps as a child. This was one of my hobbies. In those maps Bonn was still the capital of West Germany, and when I started learning geography at school, it was still the seat of the united German government. I imagined that being a capital once it must have a similar feel to my hometown Kaunas, which was the Lithuanian capital in the 1930s. The difference is that Bonn was the capital until recently, and it still hosts various sub-ministerial agencies, along with 18 UN institutions.

Today, in addition to being an important administrative hub, Bonn is marketing itself as a cultural center, especially since Beethoven was born there. Continue reading

Sde Boker, Mitzpe Ramon and sleeping out in the desert

Everyone was telling me that seeing the desert in Israel is a must. So, having collected a few tips, I set of to explore the desert. Before that, the South-most point I had visited in Israel was Be’er Sheva. There are buses to some of the desert towns, but we decided to choose a more adventurous way to get there rather than to spend about six hours on a bus. Continue reading

Moments that warm the busy Milan

Milan was not on my travel wishlist, but this is one of the main gateways to Italy from Lithuania, since Ryanair and Wizzair fly there. Milan is known as the industrial and business capital of Italy. I have met many Italians who have worked there at some point in their lives – and usually did not quite enjoy it. Milan is known to be stressful and competitive, even merciless. Meanwhile, the Milanese are said to be complaining that they earn Italy’s GDP while everyone else is just chilling. My expat friend living in Italy also mentioned the extreme fashion-consciousness in Milan, where, in her experience, people really judge you if you are not fashionable enough. I couldn’t say I got to know Milan, busted or confirmed all these generalizations during the short time I spent there, but the real gateway to the city was my Couchsurfing host, who also commented on my friends’ memories and impressions from living here. Continue reading