Looks like tourists are back to Paris

It’s good to be back, it’s good to speak French a bit. As I said to a friend, Wroclaw is my city of Love, Berlin is my city of heart and Paris is my city of Birth. 😍

I came back to Paris for a little bit, it was the end of my 5 month long mission for a client and had a few appointments to attend to. I think it’s the first time in my work life where I finished a job in the same happiness and high spirit I started with. Don’t worry I have already find a new client and will begin before the end of the month a new mission 😇.

For the first time, I feel sad to leave Wroclaw

I flew back to Paris directly with Ryanair from Wroclaw airport, this is the best way to go back; sure you might have a negative view over one of the most famous low cost European airline but I have always been on time and happier than expected with them. They don’t fly to any of the Paris closest airport but instead to Beauvais but then you have a bus that takes you to Paris in about 1h15min which is the same time in the end than coming back from CDG airport. Door to door it takes about 8h.

I was so surprised that no one is wearing a mask anymore, either in the airport or even in the plane. 😷 Although a pressurised plane with HEPA filters running might be the safest place without mask, the airport doesn’t seem that safe.

Flying with them is quite cheap, count 20/30 euros extra for carry-on luggage and an extra 6€ for an exit row. They have a satisfying choice of food on board, a coffee will be around 3€.
I always found there safety instruction’s drawings quite funny. I must say that I have always been curious to see the demonstration of how to put a life jacket on your child, if you look closely it does not seem this easy 😅

Ryanair emergency safety instructions on the back of the seat with little drawings and explainations
Ryanair safety instructions

I was then surprised that mask are not enforced anymore in Paris subway 🚇. Is the covid gone, images from China did not give me this impression…

Walking in Paris

It’s good to be back, it’s good to speak French a bit. As I said to a friend, Wroclaw is my city of Love, Berlin is my city of heart and Paris is my city of Birth. 😍
The first thing I noticed was the impact of global inflation on prices, my favourite Chinese restaurant increased its prices by 20%. 😥 Transportation cost remained the same on the Paris RATP network but for how long ?

Tourists are back too, I could see numerous American tourists, which usually are big spenders so restaurants must be happy. But Asian tourist are nowhere to be seen, a sign that the pandemic is still there. Only a few rich Chinese have escaped before the lockdowns to take refuge in Paris. I was happy to see a bunch of Ukrainians discovering the city.

Bir Hakeim bridge view on eiffel tower and beaugrenelle towers
Pont de Bir Hakeim is a beautiful spot
Vendome column in Paris with it's luxury shops and hotels
Vendôme
garden of the tuileries near le louvre , famous chairs available in big parks in paris
resting under the trees in Jardin des tuileries and it’s famous chairs

I must say I missed walking around here, the scenery is amazing and you easily walk 10 km without noticing. You can always stop by a bakery or a café terrace to rest and drink a coffee, buy a croissant or a pain au chocolat. For example the distance following the river from Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame is about 5km already.

The wedding season has started

I must say most of my friends did not marry in their early 20’s so I was quite jealous to never go to any wedding before. Well it seems that now everyone wants to get married ! I guess couples who survived the pandemic and lockdowns together are more keen than ever to tie the knot.

Whereas some friends decided to get married in their birth place, some decide on exotic locations, making it quite difficult to go, especially coming from Central Europe. Have you ever heard of Corsica ? It’s a big island South of France, belonging to France but let’s they have their own traditions.. The ugly truth is that continental French just go there for holidays and islanders are just hating them while still making a bunch of money from tourism.

Don’t expect to find an easy transportation up there, almost no trains, a few buses only twice a day and not on weekends (annoying when you travel). Prices are as crazy as french riviera and there are no cheap alternatives anywhere.

I will tell you more about it when I come back. 😛

Garden cafe of museum carnavalet in center Paris , with it's nice architecture
I wrote this article enjoying a Parisian beer in the garden of Carnavalet Museum

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

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.