Salzburg’ Christmas Markets

When I was living in Helsinki, the joke was that the best tourist attraction of Finland is Stockholm. In the same way, Salzburg is the best kept secret of Bavaria, the southern German land. Carefully tucked in the Austrian Alps, just some 150 km away from Munich, Salzburg is a true fairy-tale city. Due to its supreme location, the city has never been conquered and, serving a central point of many trade routes, became fabulously rich. Carefully kept by its 150,000 inhabitants in its original state, Salzburg is not a subject to time: it looks today exactly as it did five centuries ago, with all the window shops of its most famous street Getreidegasse (and even McDonalds’) made in the same, adorable Medieval style.

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Mozart’s motherland, Salzburg is a fantastic idea any time of the year. Which makes its magic double as Christmas approaches. Christmas markets are a tradition of German-speaking countries, with the first ones sprawling in Vienna in as early as 13th century. The idea of the market was then close to what we experience today: open-air strolls with seasonal crafts, foods and other delights, flavored by hot mulled wine. While every country today rushes to adopt this tradition, Germans (or German-speakers) still do it better. When I was living in Munich, Salzburg was my heritage, I would drive there when I wanted to be somewhere peaceful, gorgeous and pristine. It was there that I first celebrated the beginning on winter season, – for me, the most magical time of the world.

Without much further talking, I invite you to plunge into this winter fairytale with me.

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Surviving the Flying

My life is a serious case of wanderlust. I fly for work two weeks out of three, and then when I have a holiday, a few days off, or even a weekend, I fly again: to discover the world. In my head, I try to punctuate all this flying with rest and some basic recovery. In practice, tough, I think about every of these trips separately and every one of them seems productive (for work) or fantastic (for discovery missions). So I sometimes find myself in situations when I have back-to-back flights to Singapore for 4 days, then back to Paris for 5 hours, then directly to Seattle for 3 days and then back to Paris again, still thinking whether I should change my ticket and stop by New York to spend a weekend with my best friend. (True story.)

How do I deal with all this flying and manage to live a relatively normal life and to look relatively ok (I would like to think)? Some of you asked me this and so I am sharing some hard-won wisdom. I literally never write about beauty and health tips, so leave me a sign in comments, even such simple as +, for me to know that you are interested in the topic.

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Berlin: Ultimate Insider’s View

I wanted to explore Berlin as long as I know Anastasia. Which is, let me think…, for almost ten years. To breathe its liberal air, wander its rough historic streets and go to all the posh restaurants, bars and clubs she was describing when calling me to Helsinki. More than ten years and around the same number of countries ago for both of us. Back in the days Skype did not exist and to call abroad you had to dial a 10+ digit number, and then the number you were calling to. Remember?! Let me rewind. I wanted to explore Berlin with Anastasia. Because no one knows this city like she does.

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Roland Garros 2016: friends, traditions and some Eastern European shopping tips

For two weeks a year, everyone in Paris remembers that they are very into tennis. Crowds flock to Stade Roland Garros to celebrate spring (theoretically, since the tradition of Roland Garros goes back to 1891, long before the climate became weird), get a grasp of latest trends and social gossip, drink champagne and catch up with friends. And to watch tennis, of course. Elena and I are no exception to the rule. Roland Garros became our personal tradition since – we were trying to remember it last weekend – 2011, when we were first invited for one of the Paris sport – and social – key events. “Do you two even like tennis?” – Stephan, then Elena’s boyfriend, was challenging our intentions.

We did like tennis: at 2011, Elena, a student of Panthéon-Assas and myself, a proud resident of a 22 m2 apartment under the roofs of the 9th arrondissement of Paris and an exchange at Dauphine, liked every social event we could get to in Paris. Let alone Roland Garros.

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Rolland Garros 2016: the trophies

A lot of things have changed since then. Elena has defended the best in class thesis on political science and was then lured by the challenges of commercial sector. I have graduated from my Masters as well, went to Istanbul, then back to Finland and then returned to France for INSEAD. Elena and Stephan got married, moved to a new place and now have a daughter. I graduated from INSEAD, left for Munich and now have finally come back home, to Paris. When I think about 2011, everything has changed and only Fedya, Lena’s dog, remains a constant in our lives (and now a favorite toy of Jeanne). However, we still reunite every year to watch Nadal, make a ton of epic pictures and, naturally, to exchange news and reflections on life (and Paris public) over champagne.

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