Venice Carnival 2014: Our First Carnival Outfits

By Irina

My masquerade mask at the Venice Carnival 2014. Italy.

Victor’s masquerade outfit. Venice Carnival 2014.

We both love Italy and come back here at every opportunity, but it was our first visit to the Venice Carnival. The experience was unique and fascinating simultaneously—you did not only put on a Venetian mask, you tried another life for a while. The carnival costume is like your new persona. You don’t recognize yourself!

Sometimes I have ingenious ideas. Once, when we intended to spend a couple of spring days in Rome, I thought: Why not in Venice and why not in masquerade costumes? A small amount of adventurous spirit inherited from someone from my family forced me to Google “Venice Carnival 2014.” Well, the carnival would take place in the second part of February, and this is the best time for us for the next five years. It’s time to fly!

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Ellis Island: Gateway to a New Life


I love theater and restaurants, but more than that, I love history. New York’s history may not be as deeply rooted as that of Europe, but the building of a country in the New World has a historical significance of its own. Ellis Island, which is partly in New York and partly in New Jersey, played an important role in nation building. It was the busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954. Millions of immigrants from many different countries, mostly European, passed through the doors of the Immigration House. Imagine how many destinies were resolved here, how many people started a new life, sometimes successful, sometimes not, but most times better than what they left behind.

During the War of Independence, Samuel Ellis, a merchant from New York and owner of Ellis Island, opened a tavern on the island and provided products for local fishermen. The first immigration law, The Naturalization Act of 1790, said that any white man who has lived for two years in the United States becomes a citizen. In 1808, Ellis Island was sold to the state of New York, but retained its name. In the same year, the island was sold to the Federal Government for $ 10,000.

The first immigrant passed through the center on Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old Irish girl who received official congratulations and $ 1,000 ($10 gold coin).

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The Slavic Horror in the Center of Europe or What to Do in Prague?

By Irina

Swans near the famous Charles Bridge. Prague. Czech Republic.

The most famous bridge in the Czech Republic, the most beautiful bridge in Europe… I wonder, is it true? Two hours ago our plane landed in Prague, and in fifteen minutes we will see the famous Charles Bridge with our own eyes.

If you are wondering what to do in Prague, I may be able to save you a lot of money. I cannot understand how it happened that during our last trip to Italy we stopped in Rome for three days, but have arrived in Prague to stay for five? We are crazy!

“Golden Prague,” the city of a hundred gothic towers… If we take St. Vitus Cathedral as one tower, the Our Lady Before Týn as two, and add the rest of the towers of Prague, we will get eight in total. But there are jewelry shops at every step of the way. There is no chance to see all of Rome in two weeks, but in the case of Prague–one day is enough. In general, I would like to dispel the myth about the adorable capital of the Czech Republic and cheap holidays in Prague. If you are coming from some distance, you should think twice, whether it is the right place for your vacation.

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