Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How I got to Abu Dhabi a few days before Formula 1 Grand Prix



There are only few days to start of Formula Etihad airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will held at Yas Marina Circuit. It's too late to go there, unless you have prepared at least a month earlier. The main reason for this is the period required for visa, and the lack of airplane tickets and tickets for formula 1 Grant Prix at reasonable prices.



Bosphorus from the air
Bosphorus from the air


The fastest way to go there is a flight with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, which will take you directly to the Abu Dhabi International Airport.  
Etihad Airbus A330 at Istanbul Ataturk airport
Etihad Airbus A330 at Istanbul Ataturk airport
I traveled with transfer at Istanbul Ataturk airport and flight took about 4 hours and 40 minutes. The time during the flight passed very quickly, because the aircraft (Airbus A330) has very good inflight entertainment system (E-BOX) and the food was very good. Needless to say that on board service is at a very high level. 
Etihad Airbus A330 - economy class
Etihad Airbus A330 - economy class
Etihad Airbus A330 - economy class
Etihad Airbus A330 - economy class
Etihad Airbus A330 - business class
Etihad Airbus A330 - business class
For each passenger on economy class, there are  blankets, pillows and headphones prepared. Unlike most other airlines, which offer earphones, Etihad provides headphones, which contributes to the full enjoyment of the rich music collection. The sound is HI-FI and the level of the background noise is minimized (well, not like Bose QuietComfort, but it's something). Besides the standard for this type of aircraft entertainment systems - flight maps, movies, games and music, the Etihad E-BOX also offers a very interesting according to me opportunity - 2 cameras transmitting real-time picture of the flight. 
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System On A330 Istanbul - Abu Dhabi
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System On A330 Istanbul - Abu Dhabi
One showing from the front part of the aircraft and second showing in landscape mode. I assure you, the thrill of seeing how plane takes off and lands on the monitor is great and makes you feel like you are in the cockpit.  
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System On A330 Istanbul - Abu Dhabi
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System On A330 Istanbul - Abu Dhabi
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System - Communication possibilities
Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System - Communication possibilities 
In addition to the remote, you can navigate through the touch screen, also. There are also internet and phone connections, but you have to pay extra to use it. Call to ground will cost you 6 USD per minute.

Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System remote controlEtihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System remote control






 


Etihad E-BOX In-flight Entertainment System remote control

Menu lunch card, previously distributed by flight attendants included: Arabic chickpeas salad infused with olive oil for appetizer and Arabic coffee mousse with cardamom Anglaise sauce. Main course included - Turkish beef, fish sayadia or tagliatelle pasta. I was a little disappointed as the fish was over and I had to choose only between the two other dishes. I chose Turkish beef, which was very tasty, at all.
Etihad Menu lunch card
Etihad Menu lunch card
So seamlessly, while enjoying the entertainment system and the tasty lunch, we landed at the Abu Dhabi airport. I had been warned that there will be long queues because of the rush hour I landed, but luckily all the checks have passed very quickly. Note that in addition to standard security and customs checks, like in the U.S., there is a retinal scan, which takes a little more time. 

AbuDhabi International airport
AbuDhabi International airport
AbuDhabi International airport
AbuDhabi International airport
AbuDhabi International airport
AbuDhabi International airport
The distance from airport to Yas Marina island takes about 20 minutes by car ( map ), so short after landing I had a chance to see the Formula one Grand Prix preparations and Yas Marina Circuit. Check here for hotels around the aiport and here for lodging around Yas Marina Circuit.
Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Marina Circuit





 

If you want to know more interesting things about Abu Dhabi and Dubai, do not forget to follow my next posts.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

iOS 7.0.3 has just been released











Less than two months after the new iOS 7 release, there is another update - 7.0.3.
Look at the pictures to learn more...




iOS 7.0.3
iOS 7.0.3 update



iOS 7.0.3 update
iOS 7.0.3 update

iOS 7.0.3 update
iOS 7.0.3 update

iOS 7.0.3 update
iOS 7.0.3 update

iOS 7.0.3 update
iOS 7.0.3 update

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween, pumpkins and one day round trip to Wachau valley , Lower Austria

As you know, pumpkins, corn husks and scarecrows are elements of the autumn season and homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.

Except one of the world top ski destinations, there are a lot of interesting things to see in Austria. Halloween is coming and the tradition of carving pumpkins reminds me for Wachau valley, in Lower Austria (Niederösterreich). When I first got there, it was October and there were various size and colors of pumpkins everywhere - on the local markets and used as decoration for homes. Bye the way in one of the castles I visit, I tried first time in my life – Austrian pumpkin soup (Kürbiscremesuppe).
Vienna-Wachau round trip 1
Vienna-Wachau round trip 1


Besides pumpkins at this time of the year, after the vintage, usually the first new wine is produced. Visiting this area of Austria, you can taste the new wine almost everywhere. There are a plenty of Wachau wine tasting winery tours.

So, if you are in Vienna and have a day off, I could propose you the one day round trip I went:
map - one day round trip to Wachau valley
map - one day round trip to Wachau valley 
I passed through Melk, Spitz, Krems, and many other places along the Danube between Krems and Vienna.
Vienna-Wachau round trip 2
Vienna-Wachau round trip 2
Vienna-Wachau round trip 3
Vienna-Wachau round trip 3 
Vienna-Wachau round trip 4
Vienna-Wachau round trip 4
Vienna-Wachau round trip
Vienna-Wachau round trip 5
Vienna-Wachau round trip
Vienna-Wachau round trip 6
Vienna-Wachau round trip 7
Vienna-Wachau round trip 7
Vienna-Wachau round trip 8
Vienna-Wachau round trip 8
Vienna-Wachau round trip 9
Vienna-Wachau round trip 9
Vienna-Wachau round trip 10
Vienna-Wachau round trip 10
Vienna-Wachau round trip 11
Vienna-Wachau round trip 11

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween, pumpkin and milk dessert recipe

Halloween is coming.  One very important symbol of the celebration is pumpkin.  It reminded me of one very tasty recipe I've collected during my travels - Pumpkin and milk dessert. I've tried such a tasty dessert so far only in Bulgaria, so I consider it as part of the Bulgarian cuisine. I'm curious to know if there is such a sweet dish somewhere else in the world, so please leave your comments.
I personally tried it at home and I can say it is very fast and easy to prepare. Halloween celebration is a perfect occasion to try it. 
Here is how I make it:


pumpkin
pumpkin 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pumpkin , 1 kg. (2 to 3 pounds)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice 

Preparation - approx. 1 hour

  1. Halve the pumpkin, remove seeds, pulp, and stringy portion. Cut into small pieces and peel; 
  2. Put pumpkin pieces and rice in a baking dish and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons sugar ;
  3. Cover with water and bake at 180 degrees C (360 degrees F) for 30 minutes;
  4. Beat eggs with the remaining sugar, then add milk;
  5. Pour the milk/eggs mixture to the pumpkin and put it back in the oven for another 45-50 minutes.
Pumpkin and milk dessert 1
Pumpkin and milk dessert 1
Pumpkin and milk dessert 2
Pumpkin and milk dessert 2
Pumpkin and milk dessert 3
Pumpkin and milk dessert 3
Pumpkin and milk dessert 4
Pumpkin and milk dessert 4
Pumpkin and milk dessert 4
Pumpkin and milk dessert 4

That's it . Enjoy !


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Must sea in Sevastopol - The Black Sea Fleet




If you are in Sevastopol (Севастополь), Ukraine for some reason and even if you do not have a lot of time, it is a good idea to take a guided boat tour in Sevastopol Bays, where the Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet are located. The tour takes less than an hour and costs about 10 €. It starts from Hrafska Prystan , right next to Nakhimova square.

You will explore the city, famous for its numerous bays, from the side of the sea. You will see many of the military ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian one.




Hrafska Prystan - Sevastopol
Hrafska Prystan - Sevastopol

Sevastopol bays boat tour.

The Black Sea Fleet (Черноморский Флот) is a large operational-strategic sub-unit of the Russian (and formerly Soviet) Navy and it is considered to have been founded by Prince Potemkin in 1783. Its ships are based in various harbors of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and it operates in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Its principal base is the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine.
So, the boat trip starts from Hrafska Prystan and is in Pivdenna bay and Sevastopolska bay.

The first boat trip I encountered was with Russian speaking guide, but I'm sure that if you have more time to search, you will find tours in other languages. For this reason, the videos are in Russian language and if you know it, you will hear a lot of interesting things.




I saw most of the historical sights of Sevastopol, which can be seen from the sea. I saw good amount of military ships , which are docked there – destroyers, frigates, corvettes, the flagship of the Black Sea fleet - Guided Missile Cruiser “Moskva” . Very interesting for me was the hospital ship, I saw. It is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital.
Guided Missile Cruiser “Moskva”
Guided Missile Cruiser “Moskva”






I saw the bases of both the Ukrainian and the Russian Black Sea Fleet and several of the harbor side monuments. The most famous one is The Monument to the Scuttled Ships during the Siege of Sevastopol in 1854 (Памятник затопленным кораблям). The monument is the emblem of the city. Installed on an artificial island it is just 10 meters from the beach at Primorskiy Boulevard.
The Monument to the Scuttled Ships
The Monument to the Scuttled Ships




So , in conclusion – I strongly recommend doing such a tour. If you'd like to learn more about Sevastopol check my post - How I get to Sevastopol (Севастополь), Ukraine (Україна) .

Sunday, October 13, 2013

European move week 2013

Move Week 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria part of the European Week of movement and sport conducted in Europe, which aims to encourage large-scale participation in physical activities and sports, and to help 100 million Europeans to become more physically active by 2020.
I visit South park in Sofia on Saturday and I was amazed how many children were playing there. The number of sport federations presented was also an amazing fact. There were a lot of demonstrations in which children had the main role (excepting the dangerous ones like the demonstration of fire extinguishing ).



Demonstration of fire extinguishing by people practicing fire applied sport and firemen. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

2013/14 ski season

2013/2014 ski season has just started. 

Yes, it was summer till yesterday, and now the new ski season is coming. It will bring us new emotions as many of us will start planning their winter and ski vacations. That's why I decided to share with you my experience with some typical winter vacations destinations. I’ll start publishing posts about popular and non-popular ski-destinations, I know. I’ll write about another one, that I've visit even in the summer, but I know that they are quite good for vacations in the winter also. Typical example for such a place is Malyovitsa in Rila Mountain, and you can read here  about this place, which I visit in August. 
I’ll provide pictures, videos, links and maps for mountain and ski lovers in “My travels”, “Places” and “Gadgets” sections. In this post I'll try to inspire you with some information about the forthcoming ski season. 
Perfect conditions for skiing
Perfect conditions for skiing

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How I got to Sevastopol (Севастополь), Ukraine (Україна)

Airport

It was quite difficult to choose how to get to Sevastopol (Севастополь) – Ukraine, although the summer season has been already started and except regular flights there are charters also. 

Map of Sevastopol.

It turned out that the Ukrainian carrier Aerosvit not perform regular flights because there are some financial problems. I forgot to mention that the nearest airport is in the city of Simferopol (Сiмферополь), which is the administrative center of the Crimean region where Sevastopol is located . 

Sevastopol - view from the Sevastopol bay
Sevastopol - view from the Sevastopol bay

Map of Simferopol 
So, I chose to go there by flight via Istanbul, where I spent more than 6 hours at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, waiting for the flight to Simferopol.
Despite the stay - it was the most comfortable flight that I found.
+Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul is at 7 am and lasts about 1.5 hours and it is mostly over the Black Sea. I landed in Simferopol safely, but what struck me on arrival was the appearance of two soldiers armed with machine guns, walking a police-dog. It turns out that this is a standard procedure for local border authorities, but I cannot hide that it acts little stressful. Be patient, because it may take some time until you get out of the airport , despite its modest size. Reasons for this are numerous border and customs controls, especially for travelers coming from countries that require a visa. I personally had no problems since I’m in the first category. I had to wait another hour for my colleagues from other countries who traveled on the same flight, because they were from countries that require Ukrainian visa and border control was very slow for them.
So, finally everybody were there and the hosts picked us up.
It took more than 2 hours to get to Sevastopol. Stepping out of the airport, we crossed almost the entire city to reach the road to Sevastopol. The traffic was heavy and the road was rough, but all drove fast, which seems a little recklessly.
We reached Sevastopol from the north and at the entrance we had a traffic jam so until we get to the hotel went more than 30 minutes Reasons for this are probably not very wide streets and the fact that the tourist season had already begun.
Black sea coast
Black sea coast

Lodging

We stayed at "Aquamarine” hotel , which is located right next to the beach. 
Except the excellent location, its health & SPA center and Water Park, I want to express my satisfaction with the nice conference hall in which actually I spent the majority of my days. The hall has good acoustics, central big screen and several smaller ones. There is a place and equipment for interpreters, also. I recommend this place for business meetings, seminars and conferences. It's nice when during coffee breaks you can enjoy the great view, which opens to the Black Sea.
Aquamarine hotel
Aquamarine hotel
Fish in Aquamarine's garden lake
Fish in Aquamarine's garden lake

Coffee break  and nice view towards Aquamarine's garden and Black sea
Coffee break  and nice view towards Aquamarine's garden and Black sea
Sevastopol summer Zurbagan water park
Sevastopol summer Zurbagan water park
Aquamarine hotel - outdoor pool
Aquamarine hotel - outdoor pool

Food

You can choose between four cozy restaurants, where prices are acceptable for a 5 star hotel.
Terrace of Temari restaurant
Terrace of Temari restaurant

         Lavanda restaurant – black sea cuisine and atmosphere (click to see the menu) ;
  •          Fusion restaurant Temari – Asian cuisine and huge sea view terrace. Great food and unforgettable sunset over the Black Sea (click to see the menu);
  •          Madera restaurant – grill club (click to see the menu);
  •          Abordage concept restaurant - artfully designed in the form of a foreship. Good choice of oysters, caviar, fish, and seafood.
The price for your stay includes use of the spa facilities and the private beach. On the beach there is a nice bar where for about 2 € you will get a local beer, which compared to the lobby bar is at least twice cheaper.
New builds right next to Aquamarine hotel
New builds right next to Aquamarine hotel
One of the beaches right next to Aquamarine hotel
One of the beaches right next to Aquamarine hotel 
New builds, Aquamarine hotel and beach parking area
New builds, Aquamarine hotel and beach parking area


Something very important -  there is a Change in the lobby, so you could buy local  hryvnia” at good exchange rate.
If you went there to rest and not to work like me, make sure to bring beach shoes as the beach is rocky. The water temperature in June was 22° C/71.6° F, which is just great.

If you want to understand what to do in Sevastopol – don’t miss my next posts:




Beautiful sunset over the Black sea
Beautiful sunset over the Black sea