Finland

Finland
 
Finland
Finland
 
finland
Finland
 

Finland was not on my favorite countries to visit list for the simple reason that I generally avoid countries where temperatures are low for most of the year. By saying this I am actually referring to all the North European countries. But then of course, I wouldn’t miss a chance to visit Finland if the opportunity presented itself. And it did!

Last week I spent 5 days in Finland. I was invited by Ping Helsinki, the leading digital marketing event in the Nordics. The first two days were spent in Helsinki, exploring the capital city and attending master classes around the topic of online marketing and content creation. The day after the event, we took the train and went to Tampere. Tampere is a little town in southern Finland. It is also known as the Finnish sauna capital, the favorite activity of the Finns! I thought it was a great idea that the Ping Helsinki festival was combined with the post tour, because that gave us the opportunity to get an idea of how the countryside of Finland looks like.

Finland
Finland
 
Finland
Finland
 
Finland
Finland
 

I invited my friend and travel buddy Pauline to join me on this trip. Pauline flew in from Athens and I flew in from Vienna. We met at the Helsinki airport and went to the hotel together. And guess what! The weather forecast was for blues skies, warm temperature, and lots of sun for the entire week. Finland successfully convinced me that I was completely wrong! Yes, the weather can be warm in Finland too! I was such a fool to believe that it wouldn’t.

A welcome party was scheduled to occur a couple of hours after we touched down in Finland. It was to take place at Löyly, a restaurant located in a unique section on the seaside of Helsinki. They couldn’t have chosen a better place to welcome us to Helsinki. I loved this place! We did sauna, some of the bold and beautiful people jumped into the freezing cold water of Baltic sea. After that, we had a great first dinner in Helsinki.

Finland
Finland
 

For the post tour, we got to pick amongst four destinations: Tampere, Turku, Bomba in Koli National Park, and Ruka-Kuusamo. After a lot of discussion, we decided on Tampere because we thought experiencing sauna in Finland was something that we had to try at least once in our lifetime.

A few general thoughts regarding Finland: I found it to be a very peaceful country with very kind people. Also Helsinki was very easy to explore. Grab a city map from your hotel and go explore the city on foot. All the photos of this blog post were shot at our beautiful hotel in Tampere, which happened to be the highlight of the whole trip for me! I just love small boutique hotels that pay attention to detail, and that have beautiful interior designs.

Many thanks to Steve and Chanel from How Far From Home, Urlaubsguru, Ping Helsinki, Visit Tampere, and Lillan boutique hotel for making this trip happen! The people in Finland did an excellent job organizing all this and we were very happy to be part of it! Thanks again for having us!

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Rome

Rome

Rome

Rome
Rome
 

Rome

Rome

Rome
Rome
 

Rome

Rome
Rome
 

Rome

Rome
Rome
 

Rome

Rome
Rome
 

Rome

Rome

Rome

Rome hotel recommendation: Relais Rione Ponte

Dress: Longchamp

Jewelry: Pandora Shine

I’ve been to Rome a million times. So many times that I’ve lost count! It has been a favourite destination of mine for many years – a city that has always felt like my second home. Visiting Rome feels familiar – I suppose not only because of my numerous visits, but also speaking fluent Italian helps, too.

Despite all of these trips to the Eternal City, I have never been in Rome to see actual snow on the ground. On Monday morning, after two hours of exhausting flight delays, I landed in an Italian capital blanketed by snow, everywhere. Locals told us that this is very rare. The snow only lasted one day and afterward, the sun finally came out to melt it away. Nevertheless, the wintry chill remained lingering in the air.

This time I was invited to Rome by Relais Rione Ponte, a boutique hotel which partnered with Emmeotto Gallery to present the exhibition “Contemporary Experience”, a project designed to expose guests of the boutique hotel to stunning pieces of contemporary art.

The elegant location and refined rooms of Relais Rione Ponte on the second floor of a seventeenth century building were the ideal spot to showcase works of art by Italian and international artists in a sophisticated atmosphere. Click here for more.

Apart from the Siberian cold, that we obviously disliked, everything else was delightful.

During our three days stay, here are the restaurants and cafes we visited and loved: Ditirambo, Trattoria Lilli, Pizzeria Emma, Brassai Roma and Angelina’s cafe. If you find yourself in Rome, I strongly suggest you pop in for a visit; indeed, just the thought of spaghetti alla carbonara makes my mouth water.

And then, it was time to depart the Eternal City, to fly across the Atlantic ocean to the City that Never Sleeps — New York — followed by another trip to Berlin for the ITB and Hamburg with Pandora, the famed jewelry brand. Hopping from one international flight to the next, soaring over oceans and across continents, and checking in and out of hotels was all quite thrilling to say the least.You can say that March was quite adventurous— and my latest Instagram posts should be proof of that!

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NYC

NYC
NYC
 

That I would find myself in NYC at the beginning of March…not even in my craziest dreams! But then again, reality often surprises us pleasantly when you expect it least and often surpasses our craziest dreams.

This was my second time in NYC. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I booked tickets to discover The Big Apple. We spent one week doing sightseeing. We literally saw everything in Manhattan by walking down all the streets and avenues. In order to feed our curiosity, we even went to Brooklyn and Astoria because we never knew if we would ever have the chance again to come back.

Back then, I was the typical tourist doing all the touristy stuff and Instagram didn’t exist.

NYC

This time, I visited NYC with Samsung Austria for their new QLED TV launch event. It was a completely different experience. Samsung Austria always plan the coolest things. How do I know that? You may remember that last year I also travelled with Samsung Austria to London and Paris. Therefore I was more than happy to join the team once more and jumped on a plane to JFK airport that very Saturday morning.

I decided to fly to NYC three days before the Press event began. The first three photos were taken at Hannah’s apartment, the place where I stayed the first two nights. I never thought that I would ever have the chance to stay in an apartment in Manhattan. I don’t know why exactly but I felt like that this could only happen in the movies and not in real life.

I spent the weekend with Hannah and her family, and also met Reed and his friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome in NYC. I also enjoyed a little me time and went for a walk on my own on the Brooklyn Bridge and then back to the hotel on foot.

NYC
NYC
 

On the first day of the press trip, Samsung took us on a boat tour on the Hudson river. Right after that, we visited the Samsung 837 Flagship Store in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan where we spent about one hour trying out virtual reality. We took part in interactive art installations, and saw a larger-than-life, three-story screen. It was actually a space where they show you how to do more than you thought possible using the Samsung devices. It’s a really impressive space that I would recommend you visit if you find yourself in Manhattan.

On the second day of the press trip we headed to the American Stock Exchange Building for The First Look Event. Through a keynote and various presentations, we found out that Samsung QLED TV was made for more than simply watching. Samsung aim to provide various TV experiences, tailored to diverse lifestyles so that every moment spent at home is a new adventure. For more details, please check this link here.

NYC

Maybe it’s not fair to compare and say this, but if I want to be completely honest with you I liked my second visit to NYC a little bit more than my first. Remember, it’s never the place itself, it’s always the people you meet and spend time with that make the trip so special.

From a photography point of view, NYC was overwhelming and trying to create quality content to feed the TVG photography blog, the IG account and the IG stories was quite challenging. As a result, there are not so many photos here. But you can find more, as always on Instagram.

NYC

Here is a list of the restaurants and cafes that I visited and fell in love with this time:

Cecconi’s Dumbo New York / Crosby Street Hotel / Sadelle’s / Morgenstern’s ice cream parlor/ Freemans Restaurant / Cha Cha Matcha / Supermoon Bakehouse / Keens steakhouseThe Butcher’s Daughter / The Standard Grill / The bar room at the Temple Court

Now that I found my favorite spots in the city (and got a little bit addicted to them)…can we please go back? My mind is seriously playing with the idea of attending a Photoshop course in Manhattan

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Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
 

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
 

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski
 

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski

Jewelry: Swarovski

Outfit: Dolce&Gabbana

Locations: The Guesthouse Hotel, Hotel Sacher, Vienna State Opera 

Photos of me in the Opera House: Franco Federici

I wanted to go the Vienna Opera Ball this year but I didn’t dare to think that it could actually happen. In fact, when I received the invitation from Swarovski, I couldn’t believe my own eyes.

I had to check my mobile twice to convince myself that my wish did come true.

Not only was I happy to attend the Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski, but I was also happy for my Instagram friends and readers because I knew that they would love to see photos and visual stories of the Ball through my lenses and my social media channels. I got this impression back in 2016 when I attended the Vienna Opera Ball for the very first time.

From the photography point of view, this blog post could be divided into two parts.

In the first part, we have the photos that were shot at The Guesthouse Hotel, where I had my makeup and hair done by a professional team of hair dressers and makeup artists. As you can tell from the photos, I love product photography. When I have beautiful products in front of me, I feel the need to photograph them and I can spend hours doing so, playing with the light and with different compositions. In this case, my beautiful products were my jewelry pieces from Swarovski and the cutest little bag from Dolce & Gabbana, that I chose to wear this special night.

In the second part, we have two shots from the gala dinner which took place at the Sacher hotel. And the blog post ends with photos that are shot in the Opera House, one day before the ball, during the official final rehearsal. How lucky was I to be given advance access to the Opera House to take my photos before they let people in!

It was quite challenging to cover photographically all those amazing happenings that occured one after the other: the rehearsal on Wednesday, the preparation before the ball, the gala dinner, the Opera Ball on Thursday 8th of February. But believe me, if I have the chance again, I would do the same thing all over. It made me feel alive, honored, and blessed to have been given this opportunity to attend the Vienna Opera Ball with Swarovski, and to have been chosen by the Dolce & Gabbana family in Milano to wear this dreamy evening gown. Grazie tante! 

Each detail was so perfectly organized by the people involved. Eveything from the correspondence I had with the person who was behind the entire organization, to the fitting at the Dolce & Gabbana boutique in the first district, to taking photos with the girls on the red carpet, to the moment I was dancing Quadrille together with Michaela from Elastyle

The craziest thing about that night was when I discovered the disco room in the basement of the opera!!! I’ve been to the Vienna Opera House many times before, and I never thought that a room in the basement could ever be transformed into such a fun disco dance hall. There is always something new to discover in Vienna

Nothing but A BIG THANK YOU to the SWAROVSKI famliy for having me as one of their guests!

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Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel
Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel
 

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel
Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel
 

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel

All photos taken by me

Although I am not a huge ski fan, I wouldn’t turn down an invitation to visit the 5 star Hôtel Le Strato in Courchevel 1850. Because deep inside, I knew that this would be a dreamlike winter getaway, and that I would need a break from the busy city life. After all, Courchevel is not only for ski lovers…

With that in mind, I hopped on a train that December morning, from Paris en route to Gare de Chambéry. From my very first day at Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel, I could recall the warm welcome by the reception. It started with a welcome snack, which was very much needed after a 3 hour train ride. I was also given a tour of the hotel that helped me orientate myself with the premises and felt excited for what was about to happen in the next days.

On the first day, we visited the village and took photos in front of a huge Christmas tree, then we returned to the hotel to enjoy the heated indoor pool, followed by dinner. The next day, we ventured out to the mountains.

Although the whole experience was utterly dreamy, here are a few of my favorite moments and things that I would like to share with you:

If only life could always be like this…unfortunately after 3 nights of staying at Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel 1850, I had to say goodbye and get back to my busy city life again.

I hope you enjoyed these photos and inspired you to visit this charming property at the foot of the slopes in Courchevel 1850.

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The Viennese Girl visited Courchevel 1850 in partnership with Atout France and IF Communication. 

Malta Gozo Comino

Malta Gozo Comino
Malta Gozo Comino
 

Malta Gozo Comino

Malta Gozo Comino
Malta Gozo Comino
 

Malta Gozo Comino

Malta Gozo Comino

Malta Gozo Comino
Malta Gozo Comino
 

Malta Gozo Comino

Malta Gozo Comino

Hotel in Valletta: La Falconeria

Hotel in Saint Julian’s: InterContinental Malta

Before this year’s travel adventures start again, I would like to share a few photos and infos from my trip to Malta, Gozo, and Comino. This took place last November.

I have always wanted to visit Malta as far back as I could remember. So when the opportunity came, not only was I happy to finally tick this destination off from my bucket list, but I was happy to exchange the cold temperatures in Vienna for the 20 degrees in Malta. In other words, you can say this switch immediately uplifted my mood!

Upon arrival at Malta, a cab brought me to a beautiful boutique hotel called La Falconeria, I had a double room with a traditional Maltese balcony and views to the rooftops of Valletta.

It was midnight when I arrived, so I had no other choice other than to go to bed immediately. But before doing that, I took a quick glance out of the window in an effort to soak in where I was. I saw long narrow streets, elegant tall buildings, and picture perfect wooden balconies everywhere.

During the first two days, Mr. Vince Debono and I explored Malta Gozo CominoMr. Vince Debono was not only an amazingly knowledgeable travel guide, but he was also a talented photographer.

I would need hours of writing in order to do justice to all the amazing places that Mr. Vince showed me. And I am pretty sure I would still leave out some valuable info. So it’s best that you check  visitmalta.com and visitgozo.com before you start organizing your trip to Malta Gozo Comino. 

But what I can do is to point out a few of my favourite activities:

  • The boat ride from Valletta to the Three cities in a typical Maltese gondola shaped boat, called “dghajsa”. That was so much fun!
  • Walking around Mdina, also known as “The Silent City”.
  • The views of Malta’s Grand Harbour from the Upper Barraka Gardens.
  • Valletta’s old narrow streets
  • Lunch at the rooftop terrace of Ta’ Rikkardu, in the historic old Citadel in Victoria.

Regarding the accommodation, I spent the first two nights in a boutique hotel in the heart of Valletta. After that, I changed location and moved to St. Julian’s, where I spent three nights in one of the highline suites at InterContinental Malta.  For me, as a traveller to Malta, it was interesting to see those two different faces of Malta. Valletta was a huge open air museum recognized by UNESCO for its historical and cultural value, while St. Julian’s was in a more modern part of the island and offered nightlife and entertainment.

The trip to Malta ended the best way it could, with a dinner at the Paranga restaurant with a very good company. I savored great local fish and had a glass of wine!

A special thanks to Ryanair and Malta Tourism Authority for organizing this individual press trip for me, and for giving me the opportunity to travel to Malta Gozo Comino.  If you are also planning to visit Malta, definitely check out the flights from Ryanair here and the Malta Airport lounge!

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Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October
Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October

Hotel: Lavris hotel 

While I was strolling the streets of Paris at the end of September, an invitation to join a group of journalists for a press trip in Crete organized by the Greek Tourism board in Vienna landed in my inbox. Needless to say, I jumped in joy! I can’t hide my love for Paris, and at the same time, I can’t hide my love for the Greek islands as well…

What I am going to say right now may sound strange but this was an invitation I was expecting! Why? Because for the past 2 years, I had the chance to visit Crete in October and somehow this trip became a habit that I wanted to repeat every October.

Not bad at all, if you think that in many parts of Europe it starts getting quite chilly and you hop on a plane with Aegean airlines, that brings you to a place where the sky is blue, sun shine bright, and you can still wear sandals and summer dresses and go to the beach! Who wouldn’t accept this invitation, right?

Apart from the fact that in Crete, summer lasts longer, this island has so many things to offer to visitors year around.

Below, you will find a list with things to do, where to eat, and places to visit in Crete. Those are the things we did during the press trip and hopefully they are a great source of information or source of rough itinerary for you when you start planning your next travel to Crete.

I would like to point this out, that Crete is a place to visit year round and not only in summer because of its mild climate and because there are plenty of activities that you can do, apart from going to the beach. Check out the flights of Aegean Airlines that flies you to Crete here!

During the press trip, we did many great things but I think that the best part was kept for the end: horse riding by the beach (thank you Maria Lavdaki for organising this extra activity for me)! Our press trip ended in the most beautiful way and I was the happiest!

Thanks to the Greek Tourism Board, Aegean Airlines, and Region of Crete for making this happen! Very grateful to be invited to join!

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Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris
Starck Paris
 

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris
Starck Paris
 

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Starck Paris

Photography by Stefan Kokovic

I will tell you a funny story that happened very recently. The other day, I went to the cinema. Next to me there was a lady I didn’t know at all..she looked at me and smiled. I looked at her and I smiled back. After a while, she looked at me again and she smiled. I smiled back. And then, she looked at me and smiled again for the third time but this time she also said: You are wearing a fantastic perfume! Of course I had to tell her which perfume it was and naturally she noted the name of it down on her mobile phone. I am glad she liked my perfume and I loved her honesty and spontaneity. I loved the fact that she asked me directly and that through me, she might have found something new that she will hopefully enjoy.

I caught myself reflecting on those two questions during the film: What is a perfume for you? And why do you wear it?

Have you ever asked yourself those questions?

The other day I received a collection of three Starck Paris fragrances at home: Peau de Soie, Peau de Pierre, and Peau d’Ailleurs. Each Starck Paris fragrance came with a little note with story that had me thinking of its creations and the messages they want to transmit. Peau de Soie is a paradox where femininity blossoms from a masculine bud. Peau de Pierre is a masculine fragrance which unveils its feminine side.  And Peau d’Ailleurs is an exploration into ourselves.

For the French designer Philippe Starck “to wear a perfume is to create one’s own territory”.

I personally tend to wear a perfume, not only when I go out, but also at home. The reason why I am doing this is because just a few drops of it have the power to make me feel good. And that’s the point of wearing a perfume after all, no? The inspiration behind the photos of this blog post was exactly that positive feeling that a perfume makes me feel. I wanted to transform this positive feeling into images and through the images to be a little part of Philippe Starck’s visionary world. 

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Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris

Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris

Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
 
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
 

Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris

Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
 
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris
 

All photos taken by me

Every time I visit Paris, I try to treat myself to an experience that makes every trip to the city a little bit more special and memorable. An experience that I will anticipate before the departure and hold in my memory forever after the return.

Breakfast at Le Bristol Paris was this time’s special experience that I’d been looking for.

The last Paris fashion week came along with quite a few difficulties to handle… so, stepping into Le Bristol Paris on a Friday morning and having breakfast at the 3-Michelin star restaurant Epicure was exactly what my friend Polina and I truly needed.

We sat on a round table, right next to the window that overlook Le Bristol’s pretty garden, and forgot all the rest. We both opted for their signature breakfast that was served in a delicate china along with silver cutlery by Christofle, plus there was a small bouquet of red roses on the table that I couldn’t stop taking pictures of. While we were enjoying our breakfast and thinking how wonderful life can be, the maître d’ and his assistants were attentive enough to make sure we had the best time possible and that nothing was missing from our table from the beginning till the end of our meal.

Our breakfast at Le Bristol Paris lasted a little longer than it actually should have and we are completely aware of this. But we loved the food, calm atmosphere, and immaculate service so much that it was hard for us to leave.

Tip: if you go to Le Bristol Paris, look for the lucky kitty who happens to reside in the property for free! 

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