Dancer of the Month: Natascha Mair

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Photo: Miguel Antonio Gonzales

Natascha Mair (Currently the Principal Dancer of Vienna State Opera)  started ballet in a small school in Vienna when she was just 5 years old. At the age of 7 she started at the Vienna State Opera Ballet School, where she got her Diploma by the age of 17. She Immediately then joined the company and got promoted to half soloist two years after that, and another 2 years later she became soloist and another 2 years after that a principal dancer. 

Natascha and I first met last December 2018, I was lucky enough to catch her on the day she was promoted to Principal Dancer of Vienna State Opera Ballet, it was such a coincidence having bought the tickets 3 months before the show not knowing that she would be the one performing. 2 days after we were having coffee at the Opera house and going backstage into the Vienna State Opera and Ballet. I didn’t tell her this but I had a fever that evening, but I didn’t care, this was my first time meeting her and I would have done anything to be there. I just didn’t want to seem like a crazed fan that day so I kept my cool (** If you’re reading this Natascha, thank you haha) I took it as a sign to be closer to her, that day because she was so kind. 

It was such a surreal experience, she took me backstage to watch the Nutcracker frombackstage. In between us talking, and me taking videos, my I phone ran out of memory and I had to start deleting some old videos from my phone. But every moment of that day I cherished, I went home feeling like I was floating, and smiling ear to ear almost in tears. I almost forgot that it had been -3 degrees outside and I still had a bad fever, It was all worth the trip to beautiful Vienna. 

I was first of so happy to have met another person who was really open to spreading more into the ballet community, as well as, such a human and kind person. Natascha and I talked about her coming into the country, eventually she did and now I feel I have found a person I can call a friend and someone I can in the future collaborate a lot with. This is one of the reasons why I chose her to be one of our dancers of the month this October. While she is not just an good dancer, she is also a person with a good heart, and I value character over many things.

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So to begin my interview, here is a little treat for all of you, from a short intervew with our dancer of the month Natascha:
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  1. How do you feel being a principal dancer at such a young age?
    I really don’t think
    much about it. Our career is so short, I sometimes almost feel old already. I really want to get as far asI can and try my best everyday. Hard work is the most essential about this job!

  2. Did you struggle in any way growing up and dancing? Are there moments you wanted to stop? and how did you deal with those moments.
    Of course. It is a very though profession. There was many moments I wanted to quit. But I am happy I stayed strong. There are always up and downs. But the ups are make all downs worth it! I love being on stage, it makes me forget all the struggles and I just enjoy. When the show is over I always remember that this is the feeling why I love this job!
     
  3. Are there other things and hobbies you like or do? and what do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not dancing.

    Mainly hanging out with my best friends or family. I like to do additional work outs such as pilates. But other than that, I enjoy going shopping and most of all traveling.

  4. Do you still plan on studying or going to college? or other things not dance related?
    For now I fully focus on my career. But I was thinking about studying something physio related. But I will see how my plans change in the next years.

  5. Do you have a favourite ballet teacher and do you still keep in touch with them?
    I had great teachers in school. Now I have the privilege working with great artists such as Manuel Legris or other teachers across the world. When I need extra help I recently started working with a past principal and partner of Rudolf Nurejew. Her name is Brigitte Stadler and she is truly amazing. But I have many great teachers around me, which really is a blessing!

  6. Are there dancers you look up to, and why?
    Marianela. Not just because she is an incredible dancer and artist. Mainly because even though she reached the top, she is the one of the most humble, kind and nicest person I’ve met. Just like my best friend Nikisha, who inspires me every day.
     
  7. What advice can you give girls and boys in around the world, who want to pursue dancing as a serious passion?
    Don’t give up. Stay strong. Work hard and reach for the stars! But whatever happens, treat everyone around you, the way you want to be treated!

  8. What is your favourite Dance by Lina item and why
    My blue warm up trash pants. They keep me warm, look fabulous and most of all are so thin and comfy that I barely feel them. They are also perfect to take on travels, since the don’t weight anything but keep me warm for every morning class.

Thank you for reading everyone!
I do hope that you are enjoying my dancer of the month series every month, featuring some of my favorite dancers and people every  beginning of the month. Christmas is just around the corner and the Anniversary Month has been so busy, I hope you’re enjoying our updates as much as I am. 

Lina 

Bloch Store: Amsterdam

Before coming to Amsterdam, I contacted a few friends to ask about the ballet stores I could visit in Amsterdam and they mentioned only 2 and one being the Bloch store. I skipped the other one and decided to come here instead, as the girls mentioned that this store had more things that I would want, and I most definitely did not regret that decision to come to this store with my new and beautiful friend from Amsterdam Sterre! (If you’re reading this Sterre, thank you for the wonderful time around Amsterdam)

The store is located in one of the more expensive parts of Amsterdam, as my friend had mentioned, its the place most actors and actresses live at because the rent is so high. It is located near the streets where people pay one of the highest rent prices in Amsterdam. Anyway, this is irrelevant to my blog, which should be about the Bloch store.

What can I say about this store except that its perfect! I really think that Bloch stores around Europe make quite a good impression. The one I went to in Paris in the past was also quite beautiful as I expected it to be. But comparing the prices from the Paris store to the Amsterdam store, the Amsterdam store was definitely cheaper? Im not sure why, it could be the season I went to Paris last year? and they were having a good SALE there in Amsterdam where the leotards outside were selling from 12-20 euros. Quite a good deal considering the really nice designs and price point. The plain leotards were also quite cheap, and I was happy with my purchases!

Leaving the store, I left purchasing 2 leotards and 1 set of sheer stretch ribbons for a price of less than 50 euros. I think that was one of my best ballet purchases, I have probably spent more in the past just for one leotard. 50 euros won’t even be one Yumiko leotard, if you know what I mean. And as much as I love my Yumikos, I would rather have more quality leotards than none and having 2 more BLOCH leotards made me happy. I definitely had a good run for my money!

So if you’re ever in Amsterdam and in need of a good leotard or ballet purchase, I would recommend coming to the Amsterdam store there in Amsterdam. I am sure that you will not regretting going or making the travel.

And finally thank you again Sterre! Without you, our last day in Amsterdam would not have been a really great and amazing one. Thank you for taking time off and coming all the way to Amsterdam!

Meet Mika: Feature of the Month for Dance by Lina dance wear

SDBL-Mika-Mint-5MIKAELA LAURYN SANTOS, from the Philippines,  began her ballet training at the age of age 4 with the Effie Nañas School of Classical Ballet, during which she attended intensives in Korea, China, and USA. In 2014, she was awarded second place at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Ballet Competition. In 2016, she was among the top 15 finalists at the World Ballet Competition in Florida. She joined the Philippine Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in March 2016. At age 17, she joined the Fellowship (Atlanta Ballet 2) program at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education and later joined the Company as an apprentice in 2017. Mikaela took the summer intensive ballet program under scholarship at Jacob’s Pillow and was featured in performances such as Kitri’s Friend in Don Quixote, Princesses in Swan Lake, Two Sylphs in La Sylphide, Denoument, and Spanish, Chinese in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. She had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as Johan Kobborg, Gemma Bond, Liam Scarlett, Craig Davidson, Stanton Welch, Helgi Tomasson and Maxim Petrov, to name a few. Currently Mikaela is a Company Member with Atlanta Ballet. 

I got the chance to meet Mika a year ago on a photoshoot we did with her for the dance wear. With all of these achievements you’d think one would get arrogant or change in character but after our second interview I was happy to listen to her as herself, still the same in fact even more humble than before. I want to take this opportunity to feature dancers of all kinds each month on our website and on my blog. One thing I really love about my dance wear is how it has taken me to meet the most amazing people around the world. Here are some of the questions we got to ask a dancer of such young age to suddenly leave the country and venture into a new world of dance, outside the Philippines:

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Warming up 

 

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Mika taking class on her own, even on her vacation


  1. How did it feel leaving your home country to pursue your passion? 
 

– Leaving the Philippines was definitely one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I wasn’t planning to move away from home at 17. I was originally going to study college in the Philippines and still dance at the same time, but I was given a contract to join Atlanta Ballet. It made me think about how much I wanted to pursue dancing as a career, I wanted to explore and experience what’s it like to dance abroad. During that timeI just knew that I had to go. Looking back now, I am so great full for all the support and encouragement that I’ve gotten. I’ve grown so much not just as a dancer but also as an artist. The support of my parents, friends and teachers means so much to me. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without their love and guidance.

  1. Are there other things and hobbies you like or do? 
 

– When I have a free time, I take Pilates Classes. It helps with alignment, toning and strengthening muscles. Especially during the summer time, I like to cross train to keep my body moving and stay in shape before starting the season.

  1. Are there things that you regret not doing or wish you could do? 
 

-I don’t really regret anything. But it would be awesome if I had the chance to compete again. I would love to meet and learn from other dancers, teachers, choreographers and directors who have the same passion as I do.

  1. What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not dancing.   
 

– When I’m not dancing I love to cook. Ever since I moved away from home, I had to learn to cook for myself and experiment with recipes. I have such a big sweet tooth, so bake deserts most of the time. One of my specialties are Cookies and Banana Bread.

  1. Do you still plan on studying or going to college? 
 

 – Yes I am doing an Online College Program, in Business Management. It’s very important for me to have outside influences and understand things beyond the world of ballet. I want to experience and learn other things I am interested in. I want to eventually be able to use all the years I’ve had in professional dance in another field.

  1. Do you still keep in touch with your old ballet teacher? 
 

– I still keep in touch with my teacher, Effie Nañas. I look up to her so much. She was my very first ballet teacher and I am so honored to be mentored by her. I’ve spent most of my days in the studios training with her, she never gave up on me when I felt like giving up and continues to support me until now. Without her, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with ballet and dance.

  1. Are there dancers you look up to, and why? 
 

– I look up to so many dancers, but two of them is Alina Cojocaru and Marianela Nunes. Both dancers are very different, but I love how effortless and strong  they make every step look on stage and off. Both artist fuses amazing technique with soul crushing emotional performances that really takes my breath away.

  1. What advice can you give girls and boys in the Philippines or anyone who wants to pursue dance outside of the country? 
 

– Dance as a career requires an extraordinary level of commitment and passion, years of training, and a professional career that is brief. Being in a completely different environment is not easy, not everything you planned will always go the way you want it to be. One advice that I could give any aspiring dancers who wants to pursue dance outside of the country is to be patient and be open to changes. There will be a lot of challenges along the way but take it as a learning experience. Never doubt or look down on yourself because no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, as long as you keep a positive mindset you will eventually reach your goals.

      9.    What are your favourite dance by Lina items? 

– I really like the Cotton Warmers, because it helps me stay warm in between and before rehearsals. The skirts are also my favourite. I love the colours and how light the fabric feels when I’m dancing.

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Mika in our mint green tutu, current bestseller and featured tutu of the month

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mint green tutu is only available in limited stocks online


I was definitely glad that I got the chance to interview Mika even just for a bit and feature her on my personal blog, of which I love to connect to my Vlogs and my dancewear. I know it does seem like I try to do everything all by myself, and it might have really just been the overachiever in me. But I really am excited to showcase more dancers of different races, and backgrounds. People I meet along the way, people who continue to inspire and to just spread a good amount of energy in spreading good things about dance, but who can also handle the terrible criticisms with it.

I will end this by saying Thank you Mika for sharing your time, and to whoever is reading this, thank you for giving your time to complete this entry. Finally Thank you to Miguel who always takes beautiful photographs of my dancewear and of my students.

Let me know who you would all love for us to feature next!

Much love always,

Lina

First time in Inverness: What to expect and Place to Stay

Oh my, Hello Inverness!
I’ll be honest, the reason or the real reason why my friend Mari and I had an interest in Scotland all of a sudden was because of the TV show Outlander, which we loved so much a year or two ago. We were obessed with the Battle of Culloden and the stones as well as the love story and the history. Afterwards, we just kept on discussing Scotland and how amazing it is to visit it someday. So we made side trips in between the places I wanted to see for ballet and for some work on this trip.

First impression, COLD. (Haha) unfortunately for me I am just always cold, or I just easily feel cold almost all the time. Even in a country that is normally around 30 degrees celsius I could probably wear a jacket on a cool day because I just don’t deal well with cold weather. But the wind is definitely harsh there even towards the end of July, they call that Scottish weather, when the wind is strong and its raining sideways in possibly the most inconvenient way.

Some Personal Tips:

1. You will need a car:

Its not even an option not to have a car. Inverness is clearly a car society even if there are cabs and or tours around. If you’re young and you can still drive, I would recommend getting a car so you can save extra cash. I rented a car on booking.com and had some problems with the local company there but eventually we did get our car except it was manual, thankfully I knew how to drive a manual car. It was only 25 pounds per day and you just had to return it with a full tank of gas. It was well worth it because if you took the train or a cab and or a bus you would easily spend 20 pounds going to the airport or 50-70 pounds getting a tour around town or going sightseeing. We were just lucky that the place we stayed at, the couple was kind enough to always drive us for a lower fee, but if you’re not so lucky a cab ride can easily turn into 30 pounds and 100 pounds charged for tours.

Long Drives: We definitely took a long drive out of town to SKYE. There are plenty of routes for long drives and its a bit tricky if its your first time driving in Scotland because the cars do drive around 80-100kph and its really fast for a city girl like me who is used to driving only around Manila and no where else.

We also drove to a few small towns, I would suggest skipping the fairy pools because most of them are gone due to safety hazzards. Bring your hiking shoes so you don’t slip on stones. Brothers point was my favorite because of the sheep and the most breathtaking view of the sea by the road. Scotland is truly beautiful when you’ve lived in the city all your life. When there is nothing but the road and the green and the sky, the world seems so big and makes you feel so small. ** Tearing up here haha ** the dramatics aside, I really do recommend doing a drive out. We left our house at around 8am and got home about the same time in the evening at around 8pm.


2. Where to stay 

So the question is, will I stay inside the city or outside the city? Of course if you want convenience, you can stay in the town center of Inverness. I personally found plenty of hostels and hotels around Inverness that you could choose from. But we opted to stay outside the city near the highway, just because the place we found was really so beautiful and it came with breakfast. For 2 people and 5 nights it was also not that bad, and being 2 girls traveling by ourselves technically, we really wanted to choose places that were okay and safe for us also and more of a Bnb rather than a hotel, it was our first travel to Europe.

3. In Town suggestions 

According to the owners Hootanannys in old town Inverness is the place to be. On the weekends they would have live shows and the drinks were good. Otherwise, we didn’t go around much to the other food stores. I did enjoy the souveniers and of course the walk around the town bridges. Its a very quaint old town, it reminds me a bit of the baltics.

Where we stayed: Birchwood House B&B

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I will give a 10 star recommendation for this place we stayed. I never felt more at home and more well rested than staying at the beautiful bed and breakfast in inverness. It was owned by a lovely couple who made us breakfast every morning, and they had everything from a beautiful garden to a lovely library. Also had a common area to sit around in, they had a cat and dog which made me feel a bit homesick because I missed my pets. The bathroom and bedroom were so neat and clean, fresh towels and linens were provided for us every end of the day. Coming home to this place was even better than coming home to a hotel, because it really did feel like home.

To end your trip, don’t forget to pass by the Culloden Battlefield, the Harry Potter bridge and the stones nearby. There are a lot of things to do and see in Inverness. A whiskey tour or two perhaps for those who love to drink ** like myself hehe ** the trip was definitely one for the books and one to remember and I would love to go back. Travelling is always fun with good company, I wonder where my life will take me to next.

Much love,
Lina

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My time at the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Inside and Backstage 

I can’t begin to describe the feeling it was to be back at another beautiful theatre in the same year that I visited the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia and the Paris Opera Ballet in France. Once again I was somewhere I could call home, another place I could feel at home together with strangers and some new friends. Sharing the same air and breathing in art.


I knew from the first moment that I watched a ballet that I was going to give my whole life dedicated to it. I don’t think I’ve found that in anything else I did in life except with dance. So here I was in the beautiful theatre, trying to hold back the tears again as the curtains rose and the orchestra began to play a familiar tune thats been with me since childhood.


My entries might change quite a bit from the time I first started this blog, if something I realised I was inconsistent because I was doing these blogs for all the wrong reasons. Now I want to write because I really want to share the experience of all my trips into this blog, also a bit more of my personal feelings and to show you all my personality through them.
If you ever come to Vienna, there are only a few things i could recommend for you to do:


  1. Make sure you walk A LOT, If there is one way to get to know a city, is that you should walk around and get to know the paths the little shops, observe its people and what they eat.
  2. Watch a ballet and an opera, oh you won’t regret spending that extra 200 euros to watch the ballet. Wherever you get the chance, or you can do what other tourists do which is to line up early for a cheaper 40 euro ticket to get to the standing area upstairs, which is also very good.
  3. Watch orchestras and concerts. My mom and my sister are big fans of the orchestras and concerts. We quite enjoyed the Viennese orchestra and concerts.
  4. Eat all the different kinds of sausages. If you are a fan of sausage then you won’t regret coming to vienna, because thats all they love to eat everyday. Also try their cafes, my mom wasn’t so impressed because she said the coffee in Italy is better but I mean if you’re going then just try it. Also their cakes and famous Apfel strudel.



Sorry for going a little off topic, I was supposed to be talking about the Vienna state opera. Well what can I say? Its beautiful. The interiors were beautiful and so was the ballet.  I heard that at first the opera house wasn’t really this beautiful or clean, but there was a year they really invested to clean it up. Thats also the same case for what they did with the Paris Opera Ballet. Now on to the topic of the dancing.

One thing Vienna likes to do is to experiment, that is probably because of their director. They did a different take or the Nureyev version of the ballet the Nutcracker and I saw this for the first time. I never really knew it since I’ve always only seen the Russian version or the original versions of the ballet. I guess sometimes they have to make things different so people who aren’t so familiar with the ballet would also watch the ballet and eventually after getting their interest you would turn them into fans.

Ballet is a really hard art to get into right now. Dance yes is big and all these new dance things are popping up online here and there nowadays but nothing really of pure art or substance. Just like all things that get viral. Now everyone seems to be an expert in ballet, which makes it hard for me to be a ballet teacher too.


But I was happy in Vienna, my friend Natascha Mair who is now the Principal Dancer of Vienna state opera ballet was able to tell me a little more about their situation in the company and also take me inside and backstage the theatre, which you will probably see in the video that I also linked into this blog.


I was lucky to have caught her show where she was actually promoted into Principal Dancer, although I couldn’t really understand it at first since everything was being said in German. I had to listen around to hear someone speaking in English and eventually ask what had happened. According to a friend who dances with the Vienna State opera, this tradition was brought into by their Director Manuel Legris. Where they announce the promotions on stage.


I was very happy for her, and more so happy for myself for gaining another crazy experience. I don’t think that day and the day that I was brought backstage into the opera house will be something I will ever forget. These moments align just the same with the time I first stepped into the Mariinsky and into the Vaganova Ballet Academy just last year too. (Which I just all find so mind-blowing)


I’ve been travelling more lately for dance, and I really am looking forward to the experiences I’ll be having in the coming year. I hope you enjoyed this little entry of mine as somewhat of an appetiser to my ballet life. Its always a pleasure for me to share my thoughts and if you read my blog till the end, thank you!
Much love,
Lina

 

Amanpulo: Palawan, Philippines. My break into paradise? Was it worth it?

If you’re all lazy to read. Here is a video of our trip to Amanpulo.

Ever since my dad mentioned it, Ive been dreaming all my life to visit this island. When I was much younger and we were less endowed with the best things in life, we used to come to Palawan and visit the more affordable resorts as you may call it. My parents worked really hard, as the eldest child I saw my mom and my dads highs and lows. But the beach or more so Palawan was our safe place, it was somewhere we spent most our time going to take vacations to. In the Philippines my dad only wanted to come here and nowhere else to him was more beautiful. 

Enough of the things about us, We came here for my parents 29th Anniversary. I cannot count with my hands how many times Ive been here to Palawan since I was 10. But Amanpulo is the best of the best here and I only found our 3 days before our flight that we were coming to the island. In the middle of my work and everything I got really excited because this trip would hit the Holy Week break! 

Coming to the island only takes 40-50 mins if youre taking the bigger plane. They greet you with Sampaguitas and give you your own tour in your personal golf cart. Its really an island for the rich, well for 3000-5000usd a night it should be. But this blog wont be about how fancy or luxurious this place was. Im actually going to share to you my own tips on how to visit this island on your budget based on our experience. But of course if you have that money saved up, then by all means you should visit! Personally, if I were to pay for this place myself I would eat up more than half my savings and that wouldnt be a wise way to spend my money. 

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VISITING THE ISLAND: 

My mom found a lot of faults in their booking. I guess they assume that everyone can pay and afford their island. But if were speaking about practicality some rates and things are completely out of any practical persons budget.

We complained more than 4 or 5 times about the pricing and they kept on telling us that they would extend the credit, in the end we were left with Php -800 credit for them to return to us, but not after me viewing their terrible accounting statement of which I had to decipher. It was obvious that the person who made the accounting statement was not an accountant, and they just printed out what they thought was proper deducting and adding, but after doing the analysis and the math, It was clearly a very confusing situation already because different managers were promising different things to us each time and in the end I didn’t know which was the agreed upon statement anymore.

They probably didn’t think that they’d meet someone such as my mom, my mom is just the type of person who wants you to explain it clearly to her, and the manager and staff clearly didn’t know what was going on with their accounting system. If they did, they could have easily told her what the statement stated and included. Instead we got more than how many different managers telling us 3 or 4 different things.

  1. You actually have options that they dont explain.When we first booked the place, they never mentioned it to us. They just sent us a statement and made it seem easy to book. Not that I didnt like that, its just that if there was an option for a cheaper booking I would have saved my parents a lot more money.There is actually an option not to have the room food replenished everyday and that rate they said is cheaper. We didnt know at first because it was not even explained to us how to book in the first place.

    At the end of our trip we ended up asking for the un-replenished daily chocolates we were supposed to receive per day since we did pay for it but it was not mentioned to us, tea and drinks. If it was explained to us earlier we would have taken it. I mean of course we want our moneys worth if we paid extra for it.

  2.   Read all of their agreements and non disclosure agreements.
    There are a lot of charges an rules here and there about the island. Mind you its not cheap either.
  3. You can bring your own food.If it were up to me, i would have survived with 2 meals a day or even just one meal a day. My mom brought some canned tuna and bread from Manila and her own food and snacks. Being on the island, you dont really eat much. And if you paid that extra 70usd for lunch then I suggest you remove it because breakfast is part of your rate anyway.One meal costs about 50-80 usd and the massages range from 200-300usd. We didnt avail for anything on this island. Because a lot of things were freeassuming it was already included in that rate we paid for.

  4. Take the free snorkeling every 10am and 2pmIt will save you a lot of money since going on a private tour is about 200-400usd as well. It would be great if you were a lot but we were only 4 on this trip and it would have not been practical at all. The snorkeling tour goes to places where you can see turtles as well as really big fishes!

  5. The room is big enough for 4 peopleIts an extra 1000usd per person also including the flight to the island. If youre not such a particular group of people there is an even cheaper treetop casita that is about 1900usd per night  including the flight for 2 people and an additional 1000 per head if you add. Of course a double bed will be added. I feel like this is shareable and had i known I would have just asked for this option and slept on my parents couch in the beach casita.

  6. Pets are not allowed on this island.I really wanted to bring my dog, considering the priced we paid. My chihuahua is really small and I hoped we could have brought him with us too. But I can’t complain about this so much, since I guess its a private island and I shouldn’t really be expecting to be able to bring my little baby.

  7. My sister and I nearly got lost at sea, be careful of the currents.

    I don’t want to explain much about it, I already got comments on Facebook that blamed me as a sister for not doing much. I think I was able to do my part by staying with my sister. Just be careful when you’re out with young kids. They don’t really monitor you so well and I think when you’re with a kid you just need to stay by the shore.

  8. They will want to charge you for the bigger room so you could bring more peopleI also read this on their Facebook comments section. They really want you to get the Villa which is $21,000. When I called them at first, they really wanted me to get the Villa for our whole family instead of 2 separate rooms which would turn out cheaper. Just remember that you have a lot more options than you think, and even if they’ll hate you for asking, just ask them, you’re a paying customer.

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For a 5 star resort, maybe my expectations were just higher than this. Maybe it is really visited by people who bring their maids on vacation and we were too poor compared to these other people to understand the situation. But It made me see also how different the other side of life is like. There is beauty in simple places and more homey hospitality. Personally i did not feel it on this island. 

They have 400 employees on this island and we didnt see most of them on the island. Most of your money probably goes to the extra people  who need to maintain the island and its filtration system and the good food and chefs. Being aware that the island has more employees than actual guests. I was disappointed when I realised that we were so little compared to them. As the island is only home to about 47 cottages and half of these are privately owned and not for rent. 

Now after reading you might think, how much of a cheapskate can this girl get? Come on, bringing your own food and sleeping on the couch?! I guess doing this is not for everyone and we all have different ways we want to live. I just think that looking at it in an economical more practical standpoint. That money could have been used for so many more important things than just the food on our vacation or the chocolates and drinks in the fridge.  And of course I have to make this post neutral for those haters who might say, enjoy it, it was a free vacation after all! That is true, I will not of course deny the beautiful memories I made here with my family, good or bad.

I do believe it is somewhere you could go to experience for once in your life. I will definitely say that, I loved the beachfront and there is nothing like it or compared to it. I just hope that someday the management improves and their staff training. It is definitely what you’d call a luxury leisure resort and the staff are also just as in leisure as the guests.

Wishing you all happy days!
Hope this all helps you make decision in visiting the island.

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Christmas in Salzburg

Here’s a short vlog above (If you’re too lazy to read, but the blog has more input) and this blog about my experience in Salzburg on Christmas. Oh boy do I have a lot of things to talk about Salzburg. First off, this is and was my first time in Austria. I really had so much fun because of the friends that I got to meet again and the friends I was finally able to meet. After having such an honest to god very difficult year past me, I was happy to finally have this vacation with my friends and family.

So i decided to finally do this again (Which is blogging), not for any reason or to get much attention. I think when I first started the blog It had different intentions of reaching a specific audience, and now that I am much older and hopefully also wiser? (HAHA) I would like to think that my intentions to write are purely for sharing purposes of my thoughts and to help you get an idea of how one place is based on my personal experiences.

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CHRISTMAS IN SALZBURG: 

  1. Don’t forget to visit the Christmas markets and the Glühwein, also have some of the Christmas treats, sweets and the sausages (Try everything) 
    I must warn you however that the Glühwein upset my moms tummy because they used some cheap wine. Its nothing special but its definitely nice to have with your friends if you are feeling cold. But if it gives you any sign of discomfort or an upset tummy its best not to drink it.
  2. Do the Sound of Music tour even if its the cheesiest thing 
    Salzburg is definitely known for this tour, People from all over the world literally except the Austrians would do this tour. But I really wanted to do it, even if the weather was below zero and it was raining. I really enjoyed the time I had and learning about the real Von Trap family and how the escaped austria was really nice. Its pretty shocking to find out though that Austrians have never watched this movie, I take it from my 2 friends from Austria who have never even watched the sound of music. I guess its really just a tourist thing.
  3. Go to Mozart’s birthplace and the Mozart residence
    I believe that this was the best thing that I experienced in Austria. It was about learning so much about Mozart. They really do love Mozart so much and Strauss. (But still more of Mozart) I really enjoyed the history of Mozart and seeing how and where he was. I learned more about mozart on this trip, more than any book I read about him.

  4. Enjoy a stroll around the Mirabell gardens and palace
    Although I did not enjoy the history of this place, it being built for a wife of a priest or something of the sort. I did enjoy the concert that we watched here at the palace. Also most of the sound of music videos were shot here at the Mirabell gardens and it was nice to see those statues and the gardens, to walk all around the area reminds you of the ending of the video of the DO RE MI song. This is also known as a UNESCO heritage sight. Even in the winter it was quite a sight.
  5. Hear Mass at the Dom ( CHURCH)
    I wish I could tell you which Church it was, It definitely was a really big Church and I am Catholic. So on Christmas day we went to mass, my mom and I. It was a mass with a full orchestra playing all of these wonderful songs and I just never experienced anything like that. I guess when in Austria, you really get the full experience of the culture. I felt like I time slipped back into the past and fell into the time Austria was still at the peak of its music culture.

GETTING TO SALZBURG FROM VIENNA:

My best advice, just because its Christmas time, its best that you get the tickets early. We did experience a few other people coming into the trains randomly but they didn’t have any seats left for them. If you get into the train, you will see a sign on the top of each seat, the signs with the dots on them will mean that they are reserved and those without the note on the sign will mean that they are free to be seated on or used. The conductor or a conductor will check on that and you can actually also just show them that you paid for the trip even if you didn’t have that reserved seat and they will let you sit on that chair.

Lastly, take a walk around the old town! Whats terrible about Salzburg is that all the shops close so early around 5-6pm to be exact. Its really a town where tourists just visit but not stay at. We were really there for 5 days and so it was such a long time to be just in Salzburg. I would recommend around 2-3 days if you really just want to see most of everything and to do the tours around the area and you don’t have time to stay for long.

Hope you enjoyed this short blog!
Much Love,

Lina