Wanderlust in Romania – Sibiu.

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Continuing the partial tourist life with a quick stop in Romania, I am happy to show you one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Romania – Sibiu.

To start with, I would like to refer to a few aspects about Sibiu, before going to the historical reminiscences. In 2007, Sibiu was declared the European Capital of Culture. Its European spirit, its cultural location and good infrastructure played a crucial role in this nomination. As the European Capital of Culture in South-Eastern Europe, Sibiu was the location for artistic events, marathons, conferences, visual arts. This title brought even more visibility to the city and somehow contributed to its improvements in culture, economics and tourism.

As a former colony of the Saxons coming from the Rhine – from Moselle, more specifically – in the 12th century, Sibiu (known as Hermannstadt as well) manages to resist later on, as a fortress, against the Ottomans and was even the capital of Transylvania during the domination of the Habsburg principality. Speaking of its strategic meaning, also during the 1989 Revolution, Sibiu was representative for fighting to write its own history.

What brought me to Sibiu? It´s springtime, I´m on a short trip to Romania to celebrate the Orthodox Easter with my family and in between I´m also visiting some cities. Sibiu is located 80 km away from my hometown and I might affirm that it is a very clean and well maintained city in Romania, ready to embrace its tourists with peace and beauty. Its medieval charm pays off when you choose to spend a few hours or days in the heart of Transylvania and need something to take you out of the real environment.

It doesn´t matter whether you stop in front of the Gothic Cathedral or you choose to walk among the streets and admire the colorful houses, you will suddenly feel relaxed and more joyful. According to Forbes, in 2008 Sibiu was the 8th most idyllic place to live in Europe.

Some keywords that describe the city very well are: open squares, stone walls built for defense, towers and very old buildings and churches. Passing from the Lower Town to the Upper Town, there is a bunch of staircases. According to the history, in the city center (Upper Town) only the wealthier Saxons were living, whereas the Old Town was dominated by the peasants.

Speaking of the Upper Town, you can start with exploring The Big Square, which is officially the center of the city since the 15th century. Even nowadays the wide-open square serves as a place for concerts, festivals, events and touristic gatherings.

I´ve had the chance to cross over the Bridge of Lies, a very small and cozy bridge, from which you can admire the rest of the city or simply reflect on everything that surrounds you. According to the legend, when someone tells a lie on this bridge, it will hear and recognize it and consequently it will creack.

The second thing you can easily visit is the Gothic Lutheran Cathedral, located into Huet Square. This cathedral was built in the 14th century and has a steeple of over 200 feet high. During the Middle Ages, the steeples marked a sign of threatening for the visitors, informing them that they can be sentenced to death if they stepped out of the rules.

Take your time and get immersed into this ancient visual environment from Sibiu whenever you have time!

The flight.

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You´ve been on this journey for so long, trying to convince yourself it is the right way to do for a sustainable future. You chose the hard path, confident that it´s going to pay off and ready to give your best in exchange of something. Somehow it turned out to be more than a rocky mountain for your innocent soul. Welcome into the forest – see if you can find shelter when it rains.

It´s already late, you barely made it to the airport and now you´re sitting in front of the security check, ready to let them scan you and give you the final go. They check everything, they do their job, you´re just another passenger for them, but for you this flight is crucial. You had to leave. You had to. It was the time.

You are so tired you barely notice who passes by. However, you pick up your stuff carefully and continue your way to the gate, as if the world wouldn’t exist. You don´t care anymore. You don´t feel anymore. All you want to do is go home.

You know you will be back. But absent for a while.

Wanderung around Fuschlsee.

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One of the most common week-end activities for the Austrian culture is hiking, going out and climbing a mountain or just walking in the middle of the nature. With so many mountains and lakes around, I am not surprised… Well, even if you are an ‘Ausslander’ and you live in Austria for a defined period of time, you have to do it. On a sunny day, with good company, you can have a really nice time and recharge yourself with energy for what comes next.

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Actually, it explains a lot why people living in Austria are fit and healthy in general. As there are so many options to spend the time outdoors, even the body gets used. If you combine these activities with a glass of Gruner Veltliner or Weisser Spritzer, a beer or an Apfelsaft, then you are ready to be officially ‘Austrianized’. Don’t follow my example, I enjoyed a Western Ice Coffee. 🙂

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But before you receive this title officially, there is one option to somehow get used to the Austrian vibe – going for a long walk (Wanderung) around the lake Fuschl. The walk itself is 11 km long and circles the whole lake, while offering you every here and there a restaurant, a bench to sit on or a terrace to have a cold beer. Regardless on when you start walking, do consider 3 hours as a minimum time availability in order to complete the tour.

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I recommend this place for those Saturdays when you would like to lay in the sun, with a pair of glasses and would consciously want to reflect on what is going on with you or has been recently. There are people of all ages, wishing to share the same good vibes and just sitting around them will chill your soul and bring peace into your mind.

One particularity of this lake is the beautiful colors it takes and the fact that it is surrounded by a castle. From a certain point you can admire the peak Schober (see picture below) and if you are into sailing, you can rent a boat and float on the lake for half an hour. There are many hotels and pensions around, so if the place convinces you to stay overnight, then you do have some options to choose from.

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Bad Ischl.

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Since Austria is famous for its tourism (and indeed, there are many resorts worth having a look at), I am happy to write about another place I had the chance to visit – Bad Ischl. On a week-end when you have a lot of free time – and you feel like going for a long trip – this can be a very good choice. Why do I say ‘a lot of free time’? Well, because it´s not so close to Salzburg and if you want to return in the same day, you´d better start driving early in the morning…

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From Salzburg up there it takes one hour and a half by bus no. 150, but the journey itself is very beautiful – the road to it goes along Fuschl am See and Wolfgansee and passes within many Austrian villages. Altogether, nature, mountains and tradition – nothing Western – and simple enough to help you clear your mind. As mentioned in another post, the lakes Fuschl am See and Wolfgang See are really worth seeing and are just on the way to this touristic city. The bus drives every 30 minutes from Salzburg, so there is no panic in case you didn´t make it for the first trip.

Bad Ischl belongs to the Salzkammergutes Area, which counts in all the lakes surrounded by mountains, from East to West. Therefore, to have a complete overview on what this side of Austria has to offer, it makes sense to try all the lakes and not just one for conveniency reasons. Where there are lakes, there are boats and where there are lakes, there are cosy terraces to drink cappuccino on and where there are lakes and good weather, there are happy people and good vibes. Coming back, the Salzkammergut could be a comprehensive choice, as this famous touristic region offer a diverse yet connected picture of Fuschlsee, Wolfgangsee and Mondsee.

The city Bad Ischl itself is famous for the therms – as you step out at the last bus stop, the therms are just 50 meters away. I might say I did not try them yet, but I heard only good recommendations. One of the main benefits of the therms is their curatoric effect of course. On the other hand, historically, the city is famous for the engagement of the Kaiser Franz Joseph I with Elisabeth (Sisi).

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Apart from the therms and the museums, you can also have a ride with the cable car on top of the mountain. Katrin Seilbahn is not too far away from the city center and the view is simply amazing. Going on top is totally worth it, as it is one of the most beautiful panoramic views you could ever get in Austria – sometimes it also helps putting things into perspective, due to the complexity of the view.

Easy trip on a sunny Sunday.

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In a nutshell, Austria can be best defined by mountains and lakes. And schnitzel and many dialects. 🙂

Living in Salzburg comes with a couple of advantages. One of them is the very developed touristic offer. No surprise it is such an expensive city, but if your time allows you and you are flexible enough, there are three lakes to visit/reach by car/bus in a couple of hours:

  1. Fuschl am See

It takes less than 20 minutes to drive there, the lake is very nice and there is a very cosy coffee place I would warmly recommend – Coffee Schlick. During summer time you can also stay by the river and get tanned or just go by boat over the lake, as the waters are calm.

If you are a sporty person and like to do spend some time in the middle of the nature while burning some calories, then for sure at Fuschl am See you can give yourself such a treat.

You can walk along the lake and do a complete circle – the so-called Wanderung – there are peaks and lows indeed, but it is doable for everyone.

If you are curious to find out something new, then please be informed that the Redbull Headquarters are located there and if you want to immerse yourself in the brand´s world, you are free to walk around the office buildings – you can even get free WIFI.

  • Wolfgang See

I like this lake the most because of the artificial fountain and because of the perfect combination of lake and mountains. It is quite popular, there is a cable car driving on top of the mountain if you want to see a panoramic view and there are a couple of restaurants and shops that are worth visiting. The houses in the city center are nicely painted, according to the traditional culture of course and some of the messages remain in your head for some time… this is how you learn some more German.

The place itself has a good vibe, you can walk in the park behind the lake or go on a cruise – I did not have the chance to try the cruise yet, but I am confident that it will come soon…

  • Mondsee

Mondsee is not as sophisticated as the previous two lakes, in the sense that it doesn´t look too much like a resort to stay overnight and have some services included, but it´s nice for the view (again mountains and lakes), for its two-towers church and the promenade along the lake. As it is close to the other three lakes, it makes sense to walk the extra-mile. During summer time it is a nice place to consider for a hike as well, but I might tell you about it in a different post.

How often do you go away from your town?

Vienna for the week-end.

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As an expat in Austria, I gave myself the time and the opportunity to see what lies behind the road between my appartment and my workplace. Of course, there were week-ends when I had to choose a destination in order to help the time pass by, but there were also week-ends when I just wanted to run away from my new hometown and simply escape for a few hours, just to see something else.

I might say I am grateful for having landed somehow in Salzburg, although there were times when I could hardly made myself understand why it had to be this town in the middle of the mountains and not a more cosmopolitan one.

So, after almost two years living as an expat in Austria, I am happy to talk to you about one of my favourite destinations – Viena! I’ve been there recently and I can warmly recommend it for a week-end getaway!

Must see objectives:

  • Belvedere (The Museum and the Garden Behind) – famous picture: Gustav Klimt, Der Kuss.
  • Schoenbrunn Palace and the whole Garden behind
  • Praterstern – the amusement Park
  • Stephansplatz with the Dom

I was recently there, so in April and the weather was just perfect for sightseeing.

Hotels recommended, well-centered and with high quality services:

The Dream.

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Creating-the-Perfect-Landing-1068x601I was stuck in a country where I didn´t find my place – Romania. Therefore I moved to Italy. I loved it, I loved the sun, the food, the culture, but my heart wanted somewhere else. It just didn´t accept Italy. And Austria was always across the border and ready to give me another scholarship and a better chance. Coming to Austria felt like being home despite I was born in Romania. It was just there, all I had to do was just to go asap.

At that time there was one clear goal for me: get a job in Austria and move. Minimum requirements: learn the language a little bit, get an internship, take the risk, pack and embrace Austria. Living alone in your mid 20s shouldn´t have been impossible for someone who adores her independence and cannot trade her freedom for anything except from her salary.

And the time has come. It came after I closed all the chapters in my life: graduation, relationship and Italy.

In July there will be two years since I made this step and have no regrets for every single day I spent here. This was my dream and I made it happen. I lived in a village for one year, been commuting for two hours every day, spoke in English all day long and even took German classes after work. I joined an industry I had no idea about, was confused for months regarding what am I doing here and why am I spending my time here and even invested a lot of effort to figure out which should be the next step – if there was to be any.

Hah, not too bad for someone without any work experience but a lot of courage to give it a try. I just wanted it for me and didn´t care about any loses or consequences. Of course there were days when I hardly combined loneliness with hours of learning German. I didn´t accept anyone in my circle at that time, I was totally dedicated to my dream and there wouldn´t have been an option to share this chapter with someone else. It was too much mine. It was my project. My dream.

And the dream goes on, although for the moment the road is blocked with other people, other interests, too much noise and too less authenticity. Just like I waited in Italy, I will have to wait now here as well… When you know how hard you worked for your dreams which were yours and not someone else’s, the rest is just star dust…

Which dreams did you accomplish so far or at least started to work on?

The Traveller Mind

Sometimes living in Rome teaches you to evaluate things more into their depth or at least it encourages you to give it a try. Actually, Italy has this quality of making you feel everything twice more intensely that if you were in a different country. Maybe it happens so because almost every day it’s sunny and it brings you in contact with all your senses or maybe it’s because of the history and all the lives that happened on this territory or maybe it’s just the latino style that puts a bigger emphasis on moods and emotions.

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However, I invite you to close your eyes for a while and check if you have a traveller mind. How can you do it? It’s simple – check this list and question yourself.

  • The traveller mind meets almost the same type of people in every corner of the world and can’t understand the feeling of – I know you from somewhere but I don’t know how to prove it – so it has deja-vus and is aware of it (proved fact, many people told me they know me and vice versa ?!?)
  • If you have a traveller mind you just can’t focus on a specific place and can’t live as a normal inhabitant of a specific country for too long, because you always want to try something new. You want to put your feet on new territories, get to know new cultures and see new people and the idea of staying too long in a place totally scares you. Moreover, it makes you feel uncomfortable and it also makes you look like a freak in the eyes of your chill friends.
  • Usually traveller minds dream. They dream with their eyes wide open, they dream when they sleep, they dream when they walk on the streets, they dream even while making a coffee. Why? Because they have ideas, they are imaginative and their brain goes beyond the normal human limits. Actually, it’s more difficult to stop them from dreaming and making plans than to ask them to be productive or do some work that involves routine. This is what kills their spirits.
  • A traveller mind is happy only if it can create something different every day. Sometimes even speaking up an idea creates some sort of satisfaction for the simple pleasure of being thought of.
  • And, finally, the traveller mind collects the vibes from all the places. It’s no secret people who travel a lot are thought to be a lot more alive and are said to send a lot more emotions only by being around. Conversely, traveller minds have a lot more emotions and vibes within themselves than normal people.

This is just to point out some differences that shapes us like human beings. Sometimes being normal helps a lot having a quite, organized life and it keeps you away from trouble and unexpected situations. However, sometimes you are born with a traveller mind – which means you are born to think outside the box and see things differently almost all the time – or you just get to develop this characteristic feature through your experiences and choices. Regardless of anything, sometimes it’s good to know for yourself which category you belong to and where to make your next move.

And yes, the traveller mind knows how to create magic. Maybe that’s what makes its existence worthwhile.

Question your fear until you defeat it!

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This post is for real fighters. For people who know what they want from life. For people who are not afraid to follow their dreams and regardless of any losses, move forward. This post is about ambition, self-fulfillment and commitment. This is not intended to classify any of us in winners or losers. As long as you keep looking for alternatives to your issue, you’re still in the circle.

Have you ever embraced change? Have you ever asked yourself what it would be if starting from tomorrow you will wake up in a different city, have a different job, make new friends and speak a different language? Have you ever felt homesick? Have you ever wanted to be surrounded by strangers, just to listen to yourself and focus on the present? If yes, then you can continue reading my words. Otherwise, please stop here and return to your routines – you are wasting your time.

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Whoever made a change in their lives at least once knows that there comes a moment when change calls again and despite everything you simply cannot fight it. I mean, you can fight it but you’ll only end up consuming your resources. And in the end, you will make that change, because it’s normal. Because it’s part of your DNA and because it defines you as a human being and without that feature you would simply stop being yourself. It’s something that will open you new doors all the time but will also ask you to face your biggest fears – the fear of losing it all!

So what if you lose it all? Did you ever have anything? What defines you? … Do you trust your instinct, your intuition, your abilities, your knowledge, your RESILIENCE? If you ever made a change in your life you know what RESILIENCE feels like, if not, again, please exit from this blog.

How does uncertainty feel on your skin? Do you like it, does it bother you, does it excite you? How about satisfaction? Do you feel more satisfied after having tried your best and eventually managed to achieve your goals or you feel more comfortable sitting in the same warm corner and dreaming about what you could do if only you wanted to? I like warm corners, I do, but I can’t stand them for too long. They make me feel old. They make me feel powerless. They make me forget where my strengths come from.

How about the fear of failure? How do you cope with that? Did you ever approach it or you always tried to avoid it because, once again, the warm corner knows nothing about failure? Do you feel yourself when the fear of failure lies under your skin? Do you ever practice introspection? Did you ever fight your fear of failure? How often do you fight your fears? Are you aware of how afraid you might be sometimes? The more changes one makes the bigger is the fear of failure or is it less or almost inexistent? Does it make you feel more responsible, brings you more mindfulness or distances you from yourself?

 

 

The equation of courage and fear

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Steve Jobs once said…

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

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The younger we are, the less we know about courage. But the younger we are, the greater our courage. We could make miracles with our dosis of enthusiasm, energy and power to start over everytime life asks us to. Or anytime we think we need a new story to live in. Because we are young. And because we can. And because we want. And because we don’t fear about the future.

One truly knows what courage really is and how far can go in order to make his/her dreams come true only when faced with difficulties. With conflicts. With things that are not right and should be changed but can’t. With different life expectations. With bigger dreams. One discovers what couragge is when feeling the fear running through his/her veins and still confronts it. When crying from morning till dawn and still feeling alive.

Because courage is not only about pretending and finding the right words to speak on oneself, it is not about showing off personal achievements and calling for appreciation, it is about CHOICE, COMMITMENT and CONSEQUENCES that sometimes might be harmful for a short period of time. But everything comes with a cost.

But what do we know about couragge? Is there a courageous culture that could express the highest virtues or it is something that exists in each one of us, except that some prefer to hide it while others cannot live without expressing it?

It’s not easy making steps. Choosing. Accepting critics as a consequence of others’ fears and confortable lifestyles. But once you’ve had the courage to make some steps, create your own choices and ignore people’s voice, life will reward you with other scenarios. It’s not going to be easy. But in time, the effects will help you be more self-confident and will offer you a better analysis over your strenghts, despite difficult situations that will always occur. And you will be able to make further choices because you’ve already experimented others and have successfully survived.

Try. Even if you fail, you will learn. You will evolve. As long as you are young, you have the right to experiment, look for ideas, implement them, ask for advice and grow up.10668_594529743914928_2020192495_n

This post is addressed to those that are not sure yet about what to do and fear about the future.