New Year's Eve in Dublin

I was postponing a trip to Ireland for a long time, and then a perfect opportunity came not just to visit Ireland but to spend New Year's Eve in Dublin! Pretty exciting, isn't it?

As usual, I started with a research on the most instagrammable spots. What can be better than combining New year celebrations with snapping a few nice shots?

Temple Bar is the area you can't miss in Dublin.  It gets very busy in the afternoon so if you are after taking photos it's better to go in the morning, and of course to return later in the day to visit one of the pubs. We didn't get a chance to check it out but were recommended a hidden spot called Vintage Cocktail Club or VCC.

Going for a traditional music and dance performance is a lot of fun - we loved the experience at the Merry Ploughboy Pub, it's not in the centre but seemed to be popular as all the tables were full. 

Trinity College Library is another must-visit place. The highlight is the Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest book. The library gets very busy and the best is to book tickets online.

Trinity College Dublin

I loved seeing Dublin embracing festive spirit with all its Christmas decorations. Pictured below is the Powerscort shopping centre.

Powerscort Townhouse Centre Dublin

We couldn't miss popping into Guinness Storehouse too. I won't lie, I wanted to go mostly because of the view from the top but the whole experience was actually really nice. The storehouse covers 7 floors where you can learn about Guinness history and production process, give a go at pouring a perfect pint, dine, buy souvenirs and a lot more.

Guinness Storehouse
Dublin view from Guinness Storehouse

Stephen's Green is another beautiful shopping centre worth popping into.

Stephen's Green Centre Dublin

Check out Drury Street for independent shops and cafes.

For a day out of Dublin take a 30-minute fast train service DART from Dublin city centre to a fishing village of Howth. If the weather is nice, take a cliff walk which offers great views of the Bailey Lighthouse. Wear comfortable shoes, hiking shoes would be best as it was quite muddy when we visited.

Howth Ireland

Last but not least, the main reason for our visit - Dublin New Year's festival. It lasted for 2 days - Kodeline concert followed by a countdown and a special performance on the evening of the 31-st December and then the continuation of the performance on the 1st January.

New Year Festival Dublin

Special thanks to Failte Ireland and Visit Dublin for our wonderful stay.

Exploring hidden Barcelona with SEAT Arona


I have a never-ending love for Barcelona. It's amazing architecture, street art, vivid colours and delicious food make my heart beat a little faster. When SEAT got in touch to invite me to explore the city driving their new urban SUV, I couldn't say no. 

Barcelona view
New Seat Arona urban

You may remember that I have already been to Barcelona earlier this year for the official press launch of SEAT Arona, the new SEAT crossover. This time we came back for a test drive and to attend Primavera Club, a music festival where new artists get discovered to further perform at Primavera Sound in summer next year. 

Taking advantage of the sun rising a little later this time of year we couldn't miss an opportunity to photograph the sunrise. Pictures below were taken from Park Mirador del Poble Sec.

View over Barcelona
Barcelona sunrise
Barcelona morning

Another amazing place I only discovered during this visit is Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. The hospital was completed in 1930 to become the most important civil building of the Catalan Art Nouveau movement. In 1997, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana, the Hospital was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO for its unique construction and artistic beauty. 

Tibidabo. One more place to add to your list. There's an amusement park and a beautiful church on top of the mountain that were, sadly, still closed when we got there early in the morning. It's not that I need a reason to go back! Just this view was well worth it.

View from Tibidabo

Flax & Kale is a hipster cafe with beautiful interiors and healthy food suitable for almost any dietary requirements. 

Ugot is the cutest little cafe with a curated vintage interior and delicious food. I'll be back for that burrata with grilled peaches!

Street art. Barcelona has a lot of graffiti pretty much everywhere but my favourite spot was La Escocesa - street art around the area served as a perfect backdrop to photograph  the car.

Seat Arona

Barcelona has always something new to discover, and with Casa Vicens, the first house Gaudi ever designed, opening to the public this month, I am ready to hop on a plane again soon.  

What to do in summer in Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites

When you hear about the Dolomites you immediately think about mountain skiing in winter. I got lucky to visit a wonderful region called Alta Badia in summer and I am going to tell you why you have to go too. 

The first thing I noticed - how clean and pretty everything is. All the houses are freshly painted, there are flower pots everywhere and the roads are freshly paved too. Alta Badia hosts some of the most interesting cycling events in the Dolomites throughout summer.

Sass de Stria Alta Badia

Stunning views

You may say that mountains covered with snow look beautiful and I would agree but when else would you see so much greenery and all the mountain flowers in bloom?

The pictures above were taken from Sass de Stria over San Cassiano.

Chair and gondola lifts are working throughout the summer so you can enjoy wonderful views over the Dolomites or go hiking.

Colfosco Alta Badia
Alta Badia

The food

Local food was another pleasant surprise. Most of the restaurants offer some regional specialities and European dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Pictured below is a restaurant at Col Pradat Lodge.

The people

Alta Badia has its own language called Ladin but you will be surprised to find out that most of the locals speak Italian, German and English as well. People are very friendly and are always happy to talk about their traditions and regional food specialities. Below is a restaurant owner in a traditional leather outfit and a local cheese and meat plate.

The most picturesque churches

Each town or village has its own church and some of them are really high up in the mountains. We went on a little church hunt and were amazed by the gorgeous views. Pictured below is Santa Barbara in La Valle.

La Val Alta Badia
La Valle South Tyrol

During the trip I was a guest of Alta Badia and I have stayed in hotel Col Alto in Corvara that I can highly recommend. All opinions are my own.

Visiting Brussels ahead of Banad Festival

Two weeks ago I was invited by Visit Brussels to explore a few interesting buildings taking part in Banad Festival that focuses on the Art Nouveau and Art Deco heritage of Brussels.

You'll be surprised (as well as I was!) to discover how many Art Noveau and Art Deco buildings can be found in Brussels - some of them are hotels and public venues, while others are private properties and can be visited only during the festival.

This year the festival runs from the 11th to the 26th March so if you are in Brussels there are still a few days left to get involved.

Of course, no visit to Brussels is complete without an obligatory shot of the Grand Place.

One of my favourite places I first discovered this time was Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a glazed shopping arcade that preceded other famous 19th-century shopping arcades like the one in Milan. The gallery consists of two major sections each 100 meters long called KIng's Gallery nad Queen's Gallery, and a smaller side gallery called Gallery of the Princes.

The pictures below are from Flagey House. This townhouse is one of the pair of semi-detached houses designed by the architect Ernest Blérot in 1904. The interior includes an ramazing stairwell, topped with a stained-glass skylight. The hall floor is decorated in mosaic. 


Below is a photo of a former Radio House of Belgium, established in 1930 under the name of National Institute of Broadcasting (INR). The building is compared to a steamer with its bridges and long corridors. The interior has retained its original Art Deco style furnishings. After renovation in 2002, it has regained its original function with the creation of a musical space with recording studios, concert halls and cinema.

Gustave Strauven excelled in the design and building of narrow houses on irregularly shaped plots of land in Art Nouveau style. In 1902, he built the below house (facade with green details and red stairwell) for himself on a banana-shaped plot barely 375cm wide! 

I've also added two pictures below from my previous visit with Radisson Red last year just before Christmas.

This wonderful rooftop view is from Parking 58 that I found after some research.

I also wanted to share the places where we were taken for lunch as their interior is impressive too! First one is Osteria delle Stelle.

Pictured below is La Quincallerie restaurant.