Back to Europe: Italy, Hungary and Slovenia

Where do I begin to tell the story of how great it can be to travel? Where do I start?
I was looking for a cheap ticket and ended up flying Toronto-Reykjavik-Amsterdam-Milan. Wow air turned out really Wow because it was late, no meals included, you have to pay for the hand luggage, you even have to pay for water. However mission was accomplished  because as I already mentioned it was cheap.
20171115_093634I was going to Ukraine to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday because there is no present like a surprise.
Travel is like a poison and there is no antidote from it. It took over my body and soul. 
 I lived in Milan for 2 weeks earlier this year so all I had to do was to visit the Duomo of course. This gigantic cathedral is the post card of the city and it is beautiful on the inside and out. You never get tired of it. You are not allowed to take pictures inside but just this once and just for you:
I would also suggest checking out the new 3 stories chocolate store in the same square. However not only chocolate candies and mushmellow  bouquets can be found there.
City creators decided that artificial palm trees will look cool in the same square. Well, Italians couldn’t have that happen and burned them down overnight. However, the trees came back to give you this Southern feeling. I bet you it is not going to be long until they will be burned again because it really doesn’t match the style of the church and brick roads.
Travel is my disease and there is no cure. 
While my sister and my cousin were glued to the jewelry store window in the famous shopping Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, my ear caught live music and I stepped aside to see the street musician playing guitar and singing Hallelujah.

This song really inspired me for the Happy Moment that only Travel can deliver: I am in Milan and I am listening to a song that matches this atmosphere better than fake palm trees!
Travel is my air.
After 1 amazing day in Milano and some really good pizza and macaroons, my dad and I took off driving from Italy to Ukraine for 2 days through Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine.
20171116_141229.jpgTravel makes me stronger.
Never have I ever been in such a long car ride before.
I have never seen clouds as low as I did in Slovenia. The Alps look so gorgeous there. Every mountain came up with different shape and the snow on the top was making my heart melt…It is the end of November and the snow isn’t going to melt anytime soon on the mountain top, if ever. Driving through Italy and Hungary we didn’t see any snow, Slovenia is a really high land country. Also Melania Trump is from here. The Slovenian language is somehow similar to Ukrainian and I could crack a few jokes of similar wording. Where Slovenia ends, Euro currency ends as well. In Hungary you will need Forints. Hungary however is in the European Union so there is no border between Slovenia and Hungary. It makes me feel good to hold 10 000 Forint bill like I just won lottery. It only equals 50.00 CAD though.
Travel is my drug and there is no rehab for it.
It is very important that you stop at the Balaton lake as it is biggest lake in Europe. It is also extremely peaceful and beautiful.
We drove through gorgeous Budapest at night and stayed for 1 night in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. No one really speaks English in Europe unless you are in the UK or in Ireland. The man that was checking us in was showing us how to use a faucet and said: “Open a bit and its winter! Want warm? Keep turning and it is summer now“. I found it brilliant. If you don’t know how to say hot or cold but know how to say summer and winter, you can pretty much work as a translator. Also what I noticed in Europe overall is that if the counter person doesn`t speak English they will show a wait sign with their palm and will come back with the person that speaks some English.
Travel makes me believe. 
If you are ready to travel 5 days in a row and sleep 6 nights in a different bed each night then:
Congratulations, travel is your drug too!

Past, Present and Future of Travel


Traveling is as old as human kind is. People always traveled to hunt and to discover new lands.

In 1841 the big boom happened with the first prepackaged tour when Thomas Cook decided to do an organized train trip for recovering alcoholics in England. I find it a little bit funny because right now many people travel to all-Inclusive and Oktoberfest to drink alcohol 24/7.

In 1974 a fraud boom happened when travelers often found themselves stranded in destinations or pay for travel and losing money because travel never happened.

Nowadays there are many kinds of travel such as leisure travel, travel to visit our friends and family, business travel, cruising, all-inclusive packages, entertainment and sports travel and the most expensive kind right now which is the space travel. For just as little as $ 1 million you can see our planet from above and yes everything is included.

At the moment the biggest one remains leisure travel.

Since nearly 1 in 2 Canadians could be an immigrant or the child of an immigrant by 2036, I figured most of you traveled at least once in your life in order to get here.

The Future Company (it is an actual name of the company based in the USA) has done research to see where the Travel industry is headed. Research was done in Mexico, the USA, Canada, UK and China. The research showed that traveling is going to be even bigger in the future because the Millennials who are now 18-36 years old tend to travel even more. The trend also shows that in the future there will be a focus on personalized services and Travel is one of leading industries in that choice. Folks want to have personalized itineraries developed just for them based on their interests and hobbies rather than getting bored on a pre-packaged tour.

Unless you were living in a bubble, you know that technology is huge right now and it only will get bigger in the future. We already use a vast variety of websites and apps that help us plan and purchase travel or even get a quick ride to the airport. We check in online or in the kiosk at the airport and get back to the country by scanning our passport without even talking to the officer. By the way, in the future there are only going to be flights from point A to point B without connections in between the destinations which will be great for those who like to book flights with tight connections and pray to the Lord that they are going to make it.

We put 3D virtual reality glasses on to see how it will feel to be in the middle of the Sahara desert or somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. This is not a Ray Bradbury book, this is a reality now and there are a lot more to come, such as teleportation of our bodies to the desired destination without spending 24 hours of our health and time in flights and airports. Also there are already hotels with holograms on the Front Desk instead of human agent checking you in. In a very far away future we also will be traveling with the speed of light to vacation in another planets and galaxies.

Tremendous growth of IT doesn’t mean that human touch will be lost because technology will bring great things to the future. However, it still will be a combination of both – human touch and high tech.


Travel Smart


It seems to me that with terrorism growing in the world, some people might think that the Travel and Tourism industry is dying. Let me prove you wrong.

Folks have always traveled and are traveling and will be travelling – including me. It is in our nature, in our blood, in our DNA!

We started to travel to find better land for farming and to be able to live next to a river. We traveled intentionally to discover new continents and we traveled not intentionally to come as slaves to those new continents. We continue to travel inside our own countries to look for better jobs. Now, we keep immigrating and refuging to countries with bigger economical potential. We travel for both business and pleasure.

Terrorism did hit our planet hard for these last couple of years and destroyed lives and hopes of many people across different continents. We all were watching news and shaking our heads when the Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul, Manchester, Nice, Las Vegas etc. attacks happened.

These events surely made some people change their outlook on traveling as some of these attacks happened in major international airports. A splash of Zika virus affected other traveler’s decisions for those who were planning to visit Latin America.

Is there someone working intentionally on decreasing the tourism popularization or is it just a consequence of other bigger issues in the world!?

It hurts to think that no one will soon have a chance to walk through the oldest capital city in the world – Damask, Syria as it is in ruins from the current war. It is painful to realize that Ukraine is losing its tourism on the Azov Sea as the war took over Eastern Ukraine. The civil war in Egypt didn’t destroy their tourism but it had a devastating impact on it. For countries like Tunis, Morocco and Turkey tourism is one of the main sources of income and it is sad to acknowledge that their developing economies are losing money because of attacks.

Tourism, however, always has fascinating ways of coming back and creating new kinds of tourism such as extreme tourism. A great example of this kind of tourism will be guided tours to Pripyat – Chernobyl, a nuclear reactor’s town in Ukraine. There will always be explorers that want to feel the mystery of a ghost town on their own goosebumped skin.

One thing I know for sure is that nothing will ever stop a true traveler from going places even if it includes viruses, active volcanoes, wars and terrorist attacks.

That being said, safety should always come first when it comes to travelling and that is why you should use a knowledgeable travel agent instead of booking travel on your own.

Travel smart and stay safe!


First Time in Mexico or Bahia Principe Sian Ka`an Review


I know this is the longest review you have ever seen in your life but I have what to say.

It was already enough that my husband and I only got chance to go on our honeymoon 1 year after our actual wedding so everything should have been just perfect. And it sure was.

We went to Mexico in the end of May, 2015 but there was not a single drop of rain as rain season is something that depends throughout May and until October.

From the Cancun Airport to get to Bahia Principe Sian Ka`an resort it takes 1 hour by the bus that is already waiting for you outside the terminal. Resort is not on the beach but that is known from when you are booking it. The ride on a tram to the beach and back is filling out your time (13-15 minutes one way.) They call it tram however it looks like a large golf cart. Nice breeze is blowing on your face and you roll to the beach with other guests listening local music that is often played by my favorite driver who has gold teeth and cool nickname – James Bond. In a meantime you look around and see some beautiful plants along with huge iguanas.

I am a beach person and this was my first time staying not in a waterfront resort. However this resort has other benefit to it such as amazing forestry that gives you nice shade and makes you feel like you are in a jungle. And trust me, shade is important when it is +35 Celsius outside. You always hear birds and other noises of Mother Nature.


My husband chose this hotel because of their outstanding golf course. He ended up not golfing because as it turned out the golf cart was mandatory and it would cost 100 USD for the cart and after all who needs to golf on their honeymoon?

There are three pools and few hot tubs and it is adults only resort. By the way, adults doesn’t mean seniors.

Who is there in the bushes gathering flowers? Oh, it is our housekeeper! And you will find these fresh flowers later on your towels that shaped like a swan on your bed.

We were living on the ground floor with no stairs to take. Villas are clean and cozy and air conditioning is working properly and is not being laud. You also have access to control your room temperature. Upper level units have a hot tub on the patio and of course to stay there you will need to pay more. Those rooms also have Butler who brings you cocktails and snacks right to the hot tub.

Room Service and Pillow Concierge are available to all units. Spa salon with couple treatments is available on the resort as well. SPA looked peaceful indeed.

Wifi is complimentary only at the lobby. We had free wifi in the room since our room was not too far from the lobby but you do need to go through signing in process a lot because every 24 hours access expires.

Two liters of drinkable water is in your mini fridge everyday refilled together with chips, pop and alcohol (both beer and hard liquor). It is not recommended to drink faucet water in Mexico.

As a guest of Sian Ka`an you have access to 3 other resorts of Don Pablo`s Collection however not all of them have access to your resort. At dusk we were traveling on the same tram-car to see shows and restaurants of other resorts in this amazing family. You also can go to Hacienda Dona Isabel which is a wonderful plaza with different specialty bars such as sports bar & arcade and Corona bar. Last bar is not included in all-Inclusive package though. There are many small cute stores stocked with souvenirs such as sombrero hats and magnets and shot glasses and Mayan horoscopes key chains and you name it. ATM with USD is also there for your convenience as they don’t really except credit cards.


All staff is amazing! Make sure you give tips to animation team because they work really hard to keep everyone entertained. You see the same people doing Aqua Gym and Beach Volleyball in the morning on the beach, Water Polo and Aqua Aerobics in the pool in the afternoon. Guess who is hosting night events like Casino Night, Elvis Priestley Night, Michael Jackson Night and movies trivia? Exactly, the same Fun Team members. I had a 30 minutes Spanish lesson by the pool just for me because no one else showed up and they still did it for me which made me feel special.

At some point in my life I was working at the Resort Activities department and I know very well how hard it is to smile and be funny if you don`t happened to have a very good day today in your personal life.

We met one Canadian guy who came down there with a suitcase of Canadian souvenirs for staff! He had t-shirts and magnets and all kind of stuff and this was his way of tipping.

Food was above my expectations. I have never seen in my life this amount of caviar and salmon for breakfast in any other buffet. And gourmet restaurants (2 on our resort and more on other resorts) were delicious as well. Just imagine lobster soup and lamb ribs in one dinner sitting. And don’t forget about the hot lava chocolate ice-cream desert or my favorite fried ice-cream.


You can make your dinner reservations only once you checked-in. Believe me it gets filled out pretty quick so take my advice and do your reservations for all week right away. Buffet is awesome with big food selection but you do want to check out Sushi restaurant and Italian restaurant. And if you arrive on Friday like we did you will experience Canadian Night. There are also Mexican Night and Italian Night at the buffet throughout the week.

There is a very good App for booking restaurants reservations and checking activities calendar. Go to your app store and download “Bahia Principe Hotels” while waiting for your flight.

The Italian restaurant called Dolce Vita has buffet on a side. How cool is that!? There is a swim up bar too where kids squeeze in between adults to get their Shirley Temple cocktails. Both Dolce Vita and swim up bar are located in Akumal Resort and that’s why it is important to get access to all of these resorts so you can take full advantage of Luxury Don Pablo Collection and never run out of things to do. There are snack and sushi bars by every pool so you don’t even have to go anywhere if you don’t want to.

I heard one person complaining about some rocks in the water. It is a five star resort but even they can’t control bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Just look at it as a feet massage. By the way, there are not that many rocks.

You don’t need to worry about beach towels at all however if you lose one it will cost you 40 USD. We always managed to find available lounge chairs with shadow umbrellas on the beach.

There are waiters on the beach or you can enjoy cocktails on swinging seats of the beach bar while watching the mesmerizing view of the Riviera Maya. There is a Miami Ink Tattoo shop on the beach as well for those who want nice airbrushed tattoos starting at 5 dollars. Arts and crafts are also available so you can paint your own souvenir. Mini library is also provided in the pool kiosk so grab a towel and a book or a magazine and you are all set. Sun screen lotion can be purchased in the shop at the lobby. This shop is also full of dresses and earrings. This one is for you, ladies.

The highlight of the week was snorkeling in Cenotes caves. That was an unforgettable experience. Underground water is obviously cold but it was totally worth it. We got there by taking so called Colectivo (small shuttle bus). My husband and I just walked 7 minutes to the highway from our resort and took the first bus that was going the desired direction. Bus driver accepts American dollars (3 dollars per person) just as he accepts pesos. And yes, it has air conditioning. In the bus you get chance to observe locals and interact with hospitality workers going to/from work. We got out at the entrance of Cenotes and we didn’t want to walk for few miles under the sun so we took the cab that was right there waiting for tourists like us. We shared our cab with nice couple from Brazil that was also standing there and wondering about their options on getting to the actual caves. I also had a great time that day meeting up with my old friend from Mexico who I met on my U.S. adventures.


Mayan pyramids are not too far and tour costs 100 USD per person. Other adventures are also available to purchase in the lobby. Ones of the mind blowing ones are swimming with dolphins and Xplor eco-park.

As of snorkeling, the best way is to bring your own mask. Our week was hot but windy. The red flag was raised on the beach every day and the free rental of masks was stopped due to waves but if you have your own mask no one stops you from using it.

You can exchange American and Canadian dollars to Pesos at the Front Desk. They don’t have change for Canadian dollars so make sure you bring exact amount you would like to exchange to pesos. There is also an ATM in the lobby which gives American dollars. We exchange some money back in Toronto because rates on resorts are little bit higher than in currency exchange places and also because on the resort they will not give you 50 USD in one dollar bills. You need one dollar bills up front for tipping as it starts as early as in the bus that takes you from Cancun airport to the resort. I gladly gave my tips to the driver for the very next reason: I have sense of humor and I appreciate people that have it too. He cracked jokes like ”Please don’t forget your kids, last year someone forgot a kid and those your kids are expensive, they want to go to McDonald’s all the time!” Guide will also announce: ”Please guys, you are tired after the flight and I have cold beer and water in my cooler for a few bucks each”. If you not ready for a bear, get some water. These people count on you, they have tiny salaries. They go to university to learn English just so they can work in Travel and Hospitality.

I gladly exchange one Mexican man in the airport bunch of loonies and toonies into Canadian bills because banks only accept bills and that’s why you will see people cutting into flight check-in lines and asking to exchange their tips for bills.

I came home with a wallet full of change and bag full of memories.

Overall amazing resort and unbelievable experience of a lifetime.

P.S. Sian Ka`an from Mayan language means Where The Sky Was Born.