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Back to Poland for a while

A lot of things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. While France was still focused on their presidential elections, the day I landed back in Wroclaw, was the day a convoy of French volunteers were looking for a place to spend the night on their way to Ukraine.

A lot of things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. While France was still focused on their presidential elections, the day I landed back in Wroclaw, was the day a convoy of French volunteers were looking for a place to spend the night on their way to Ukraine. It put me back immediately into the reality of what’s happening there and how Poland is the very first ally they have when it comes to finding refuge.

Returning to Poland

It was quite a challenge to find a flight back to Poland, it use to be an easily affordable trip between France and Poland, now the train is sometimes even more cheap. In the end I chose to go through Krakow and take a Flixbus back to Wroclaw. I flew with Transavia which I usually avoid at all cost, and I remembered why… Their planes are outdated, crews and pilot are fantastics which is the most important but the ground experience is way worse than even Ryanair… a SHAME. One thing to mention also is that the plane interior is very old, and nasty but it still is safe.

Inside transavia old 737, with old green lather seats and old platics
Inside Transavia 737


Hosting Ukrainians for the night

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine I had been following a few photographers from Kiev, one of them had recently moved to Lviv and was thinking to leave Ukraine and go to Berlin. I followed their trip on Instagram through the border of Ukraine and into Poland, I was in the bus to Wroclaw when I saw they were super tired and I naturally offered to host them for the night in Wroclaw on their way to Berlin. Me and my gf we were just very happy to offer help randomly to people we didn’t know, except through Instagram. I must admit that over the years I criticised this social network quite a lot but it its still a formidable way to discover new talents.
Anya and Alina were travelling the whole way from Lviv with their little Fiat 500, with their cat Richard. It took them 7 hours to cross the border to Poland and they were exhausted.
It was such an honour to offer them to rest for the night and even help them with little things such as buying food for the poor Richard. Anya is a young talented photographer, notably known for her pictures in the Kiev subway during the first few nights of the conflict, she decided to go to Paris for now, while Alina is a PR specialist looking for new opportunities in Berlin at the moment.
You can follow them on Instagram and support them on Patreon :
@anya.ozerchuk
http://www.patreon.com/anyaozerchuk
@a.vrublevska
http://www.patreon.com/avrublevska

two ukrainians girls from Kiev going to Berlin with their little fiat 500
Anya and Alina with their little car
Richard the ukrainian cat from Kiev
Richard the Ukrainian cat from Kiev

News from my friends in Shanghai lockdown

I was horrified to receive news from my friend Terry in Shanghai. China’s zero Covid policy made them lockdown the entire 25 millions citizens city. Terry was first quarantined at his home but was later unlucky to test positive. He was placed in one of those huge hangars among hundred other people, like an open- space with beds, a 30m ceiling and H24 bright lights.
At least he was fed there while other citizens in the city have a lot of problems to access food and even medics.
Every over day I see horrifying reports on how bad the authorities are handling the situation. The latest was them blocking streets witch ship containers and locking down entire building by installing cages around the doors. People with mental problems or just desperate throwing themselves out of the window.
The latest video was about an old man who was put in a body bag but woke up during transport to the morgue…

A quarantine hangar in Shanghai
A quarantine center in Shanghai

Easter in Poland, a very important event in a very catholic country

Easter in France is traditionally the moment of the year where you spend hundreds of euros on chocolates, on chocolate rabbits and other nice chocolates of all shapes and colours. You might also have a nice family lunch of the Sunday but that’s it.
Easter in Poland is not that much about chocolate but more about going to Church and with a very important Easter breakfast moment on the Sunday. Every family would have spent the last few days painting eggs, eggs that you would have to break against someone else egg in order to crack them open. We went all the way to Krakow to attend a family lunch on the Monday, of course there was soup which they love in Poland and smashed potatoes. It was very similar to France in the way that you eat way too much at that lunch.

Painting eggs for Easter



A week later we were lucky to be invited to attend Orthodox Easter, with Ukrainian refugees in Wroclaw. We share a bunch of traditional cakes and sang songs from there. I made them my favorite chocolate cake, which disappear very fast so I guess I am getting pretty good at it.

fondant au chocolat
My fondant with chocolate, a lot of it
Easter gathering with Ukrainians and Polish


Wroclaw has welcomed up to 80k people so far and Polish are doing all they can to integrate them and find them jobs. I am quite impressed by the level of education among Ukrainians, even on French radio, journalists were discussing the fact that they somehow managed to keep their universities open and that they are very good students. Decadent France is discovering that yes their neighbours are not the third world but are more educated than them, what a shock.
I was pleased to meet a few of them, they are all trying to blend in before coming back one day to Ukraine, looking for jobs, or for classes to attend, they all are taking Polish classes, I felt a bit ashamed that I did not take the time yet to learn Polish…
I was quite impressed that in Ukraine, all your important documents are digitalised in the cloud, what a great way to keep them available at all time.

Wroclaw, its streets and building, the beauty and the beast

This city is a urban jungle like not others, with abandoned buildings next to very modern ones, the perspective you have of one street can change depending on the angle you look at it. I have a pretty good example of this, I took a picture of the front and the read of a very nice vintage car I saw not far from where I live, see for yourself !

beautiful Honda

On this side, it looks like a totally destroyed street with random cars and bad looking buildings. On the other side, it’s … the perfect looking neighbourhood :

same but different

Going to France for the next few weeks

Going to France 🇫🇷, Part 1

On the road again, I am not complaining, I love it. Today I am at Wroclaw airport, waiting for my flight to Beauvais, then it will be a one hour bus to Paris. I am so glad Ryanair kept that airway open, it’s so more convenient that taking Air France or KLM through Amsterdam. Plus if I was taking KLM today I would be like an idiot because the flight on the way here has been cancelled the very last moment… KLM is so bad, their customer service is useless, I would recommend Ryanair even if it’s the king of low cost.

Wroclaw airport, in the terminal for departures
Wroclaw airport


I am always quite early when I travel by plane, I don’t like to rush to the airport or through security, I like to take it slow, anyway traveling by ✈️ is for people who like to travel fast while taking their time… I always buy something for my grand father when I travel back to Paris, it became kind of a little competition each time to find a thing to brinh back or food that he won’t hate or hide somewhere pretending it was good. 😇

This time I am also planning to go to the mountains, to see the last snow of April and enjoy the fresh air, I’ll be experiencing the night train, I read it was renovated, hopefully this time it will work (last time I was 8h late at arrival).

I can easily recognize all the blue passeports in the crowd waiting for boarding. Ukrainians are easy to spot, they look tired, worried and often travel with their pets. It has been a month since the conflict started and nearly 80 000 people arrived in the region of Wroclaw. Like I always said, the fastest way to go to France from Lviv is through train to Wroclaw and plane to France. I sincerely hope they will be able to start a new peaceful life, and maybe, one day, go back to Ukraine.

I am not sure how the conflict will evolve, so far it looks like Russia will concentrate it’s shelling and forces to the east of Ukraine like they started to do in 2014. The shelling of Marioupol is the saddest thing to read about this week, people there have no way to escape, are starving, have no access to water or basic needs. It seems that Russia decided to make it look like Warsaw after the uprising in 1944. F*ck Putin. There is no good issue in this conflict, in most scenario the best issue is the death of the Russian leader. It’s hard to tell the truth into what the people of Russia are really thinking of the conflict, they just don’t have access to information, and recently not access to any western media, like China would do…

Sunset with the view on Paris
Welcome to Paris

Polish people are the best activists in all European countries so far, they have been demonstrating peacefully, boycotting Leroy Merlin, Auchan and Decathlon. They are doing all what they can to welcome millions of people, I am just so ashamed to be French and having to listen to the pro Russians in French medias.

French are obnubilated by the presidential elections, even though it won’t make a difference given the last polls Macron will stay in place and nothing will change.

It’s good to remember how this week has been amazing in Wroclaw, the weather was a great spring weather with temperature up to 26 degrees, still 0 at night though…

Street of the center in Wroclaw with a nice weather feeling almost like summer
Felt almost like summer in Wroclaw


I heard the weather will be so shitty next week, so it was great to enjoy every days like we did. It was the restaurant week and we have been trying two different places witch both offered great soup, a nice main, and amazing desserts for as little as 59 PLN. Yes, sometimes we forget that Poland doesn’t have Euro !

A nice soup velouté as starter in novo 2, the restaurant in Novotel Wroclaw
Great food at Novo 2, the restaurant at Novotel in Wroclaw

In France 🇫🇷 Part 2

Tonight, I decided to take the night train to the south of the French Alps. After a few days working from Paris, I wanted some fresh air, and the best way to be able to go there, not losing a day of work, is to take this train 🚂.

Bed onboard the night train in second class in a compartment of 6 passengers
My bed for the night in a cabin of 6

They beautifully renovated outdated wagons that had, until last year, the same exact design and comfort as 40 years ago.

This train for me is full of souvenirs, i took it the last time to flee paris before the covid lockdowns of 2020.

Some probably hate it that it takes so long but it’s such a charming way to travel, plus with a good night of sleeping you are able to not lose a day to travel and feel ready for new adventures the morning after.

With it, you can always expect to meet nice people who have the same philosophy of slow traveling, because traveling on it also means sharing a compartment with 6 others, in tiny but sufficient beds, 3 on each side. Of course you can also opt for a first class cabin, that you can also privatize to yourself but unless you are traveling with your loved one it’s not as fun !

Between the slight movements of the train balancing from side to side, and the noise of the railway, I find it very easy to have a good night of sleep. The carrier provided a little warm blanket and a pillow which are both sufficient ! They also offer a sleeping mask, and a bunch or other things in a little amenity kit such as solid toothpaste or ear buds as well as a bottle of water.

6 bunk beds in a small space
Crowded but comfy

You have a cute little lamp and a electricity plug witch is a big luxury compared to the old cabin where you would have to stand in the tiny hallway to be able to charge your phone!

Those trains are full of funny stories. I just met this woman she didn’t woke up to exit in a citie called Die and will ahve to wait until next stop to go back 😅

Last night on the PA they made the announcement their would be a breakfast in car 7, i went the whole way there just to find two sleepy guys being like uhhh you Will need to wait we are sleeping still 😆😆 not what i was sold but it’s fine .

I will enjoy the 30 next minutes lying on my little bed writing those lines before arriving to my station 🚉 called « Gap » . This place is the last train stop before the valley I am going to, a 40 min car ride is still needed to reach my place !

This region is called Hautes Alpes, litterally the high alps, most summits range from 2500m to 4000m. According to the weather forecast It should be freezing and also snowing, i am quite excited to see the last snows of the year ! Usually in March and April you can still ski, but you are likely to be able to seat on the grass near the slopes at lunch time or be able to ski with a light jacket.

Somehow the valley I am heading to offers the best 5G network I have ever experienced, very practical to work on the go, you can basically be in the middle of nowhere and still ensure a great service to your clients 😄

It’s so close and so far at the same time. But let me show you down below 👇 why it’s worth it !

View on the mountains, with a lot of snow, on the morning with littles clouds and sun
The view

Thoughts on the way to Berlin

The weather was amazing, Spring has come and the good nice days are back. I know from experience that Berlin can be tough in winter, very dark and depressing. The kind of city where you NEED that ugly looking fake sun lamp.

Here I am again, on the road, writing while in my Flixbus which left Wroclaw at 6 am this Saturday morning on the way to Berlin. It’s kind of a funny situation, my friend decided at the last minute to go for a trip in Mexico, she took off last night and left her cat to her neighbour. Since I really love cats, and that she won’t be there for so long, I said « it’s fine I will go to your place and get your cat back to Poland while you are in Mexico » because, why not right ?
As I am writing these words she is still flying and will arrive there at about the same time I get into Berlin.
I took my computer since I am not sure if I will manage to come back before Monday.

Traveling with the refugees

Bus has never been my favourite transportation, this time I had no choice, unfortunately, given the situation with refugees, all trains from Wroclaw to Berlin are fully booked for the evacuations.
I don’t mind, I prefer them safe in Berlin and the rest of Europe than being shelled in Ukraine.

The situation in Wroclaw, Poland

The situation is a total nightmare. In the 15 minutes I spent at the Wroclaw Bus station at 6 am, at least 10 buses coming from the border arrived, full of kids and pregnant women, and elders. They are exhausted, you have to understand that when they finally get there, they spent DAYS queuing at the border to get registered, they had their homes destroyed and had to leave their husbands and sons at the border. War is cruel and conscription is the ultimate mandatory sacrifice Ukraine government had ask their citizens to do. I hope this war will end soon, that negotiations will prevail. I don’t see any good outcome before the Russian’s president is dead and that the World become a more peaceful place again.

I have been totally amazed by the Polish citizens the last couple of weeks, they have been given all their free time to welcoming and helping the best they can, the Ukrainians, before their government finally respond to the humanitarian situation.
In Wroclaw Station, it was no more than a week before they even created an app to help with organising shifts of volunteers, every day they are publishing a file with all the products they need, from cat food to underwear.
The first two weeks food was cooked and given by the citizens to the refugees arriving, before the city finally took over and organised it. Still, the need is there, more and more people are arriving every day, as we speak almost 80 000 Ukrainians arrived in the region of Wroclaw.

They are amazing, they basically translated to Ukrainian all the signs in a 1km radius, transformed the 1st floor of the station in a resting and welcoming area, organised desks for administration and deciding where people would go next.
It’s very impressive, when you get there, they are hundred of young babies and children, young pregnant women and elders. Only fathers of more than 3 children were allowed to come to Poland, and disabled. 

Welcome to Germany…

In my bus today, there are many refugees moving to Berlin and Germany. I trust the germans to welcome them more than the French. At first I was keen to offer my help for refugees to travel to France, but then I figured out the French government has never been good at treating refugees in a decent way, I am not sure they can be trusted, I think they are better at giving money to Poland. When I got to Wroclaw on the 25th of February, I had the chance to cross the way of a French convoy, on their way to Ukraine. It’s good to remember that, even if government can suck sometimes, the people of Europe are ready to be doing their best to help. I think this crisis as shown so far, scared governments and very courageous people. 

Our bus had just crossed the border, that the German polizei arrested us, asked everyone to come outside for an ID check. It even started to snow at this point, it really felt like this scene in Harry Potter where the Death eaters stop the train to search for Sirius. I could see the Ukrainians where worried that they wouldn’t be allowed in the country, because even if EU publicly welcomed them, there is not any law about it yet, and you know – the Germans, they love to make things as per law -…


 It turned out that they just wanted to register the 50 Ukrainian passeports, they didn’t even look at my ID, when they spotted from far it was a French one, they must have been thinking « oh no not a French (I get it a lot, are we really pain in the ass ) » , they briefly interrogated two passengers, one was for Georgia and another one from South Korea.

France presidential’s elections

The French opinion


I am quite disappointed by my government and my people at the moment. It seems that French are mostly pro Russians, and that all of the French candidates to the elections next month are praising smoother approach with Putin, what a shame ! It seems the French are more preoccupied by the price of Gas, the cost of life that the war. In my opinion, they lost their little confort and freedom during the pandemic and at the moment where they could finally have a nearly normal life again, war in Ukraine happened. It’s easier to close your eyes, and say that we can’t help because it would be risking the world peace and a possible nuclear conflict.

The very ugly


Macron will make great benefits of this situation, it has discredited all the other candidates, will assure him to be re-elected, it has put nuclear power plants back to the top choice for any country to be independent from Russia. Also Gas price make Americans happy in a way, they can finally make profits again from their tight oil production.
I was wondering why Macron would only « accept » to take 100k Ukrainian refugees in France, I think the truth behind this is super UGLY. Since most refugees are children, pregnant women and elders, they probably calculated that I was a COST and not an affordable labor coming. It reminds me of the article I wrote about how much our economies rely on cheap labor : The exploitation of cheap labor, a necessity ?

Berlin life after the pandemic

The crazy 2G, 2G+ and 3G system

I was surprised to see that Germans covid rules are still enforced and very very strict. They will ask you for you covid EU pass and proof of ID in most places (and will be not nice at all about it or very German ? ), and in some places which apply the + , you will also need a recent antigen test to be able to attend. Basically the scales is that 2G+ is the most strict level, and 3G the least. My German is quite bad but the G letters refers to the words vaccinated, recovered and tested, meaning that 2g+ will only accept people which are recovered or vaccinated plus a recent antigen test. U-Bahn and S-Bang are 3G. Also wearing a FFP2 mask 😷 is mandatory in transportations.

The best brunches, fair prices, and cool lifestyle still winning hearts over the rental situation…

I thought that the cost of life there would have increased a lot since last time I was there. Not that much, except rents (a tough subject in Berlin). It seemed still affordable compared to my last trip in London or when I am in Paris.

I arrived at 10.30 am on a Saturday and was seated in a great brunch place at 12 with a friend, in a place called YaMe NumNums , I saw it was a place to try with an Asian twist, since me and my friend both lived in China 10 years ago, I thought it would be a good idea. It was sunny and the waiter was charming and welcoming, and as normal it might sound today, it was alright to pay by card, which is still in 2022 pretty rare for Berlin ( I did not miss this…) .
They make this amazing pancaked with coconut, and coco homemade sorbet on top, it was so delicious and fruity. It was such a delight.

The weather was amazing, Spring has come and the good nice days are back. I know from experience that Berlin can be tough in winter, very dark and depressing. The kind of city where you NEED that ugly looking fake sun lamp.

a view of Berlin typical architecture from the 1930s , with blue sky

On Sunday I went to a French style brunch in the district of Charlottenburg with another friends I also made while working at a well known Berlin based bank. We went to Café au Lait , fun fact, all waitresses are wearing Tshirts with French words or famous city names. The coffee was delicious, the food seamed a little too much normal to me, which should not probably count as bad since I am from Paris ? 😁

The weather was great and it was already time to head to Monbijou Park and Museumsinsel to chill in the afternoon. I do recommend weekend in Berlin, it’s like a little holidays.

If the weather had been bad, I would have been probably to the Liquidrom, a Berlin based sauna and swimming pool place in the center, where you can enjoy great sauna and then a salty water swimming pool with chill music under the water.

One thing that didn’t change in Berlin is the housing market situation. Unless you buy or rent quite expensive places, there is a war on prices on smaller places for the last 10 years. Most apartments are owned by huge real estate companies whose only goal the last decade has been to make prices sky rocket, while salaries did not… Berlin state already has some of the lowest salaries in the country on average but the rents have reached almost the prices of Paris. With more and more tech companies or even Tesla joining the party, it has become the German silicon valley.