This year for the first time I had to apply for 20 days vacations… It made me realise even more that I am a full-time worker now. 🙂
Planning my vacations was not easy. I wanted to go home in Italy, but at the same time, I wanted some action somewhere else in the world… And I had to make it fit with some deadlines at the University. The final choice was the following: Italia at the end of June, and Россия—it just means Russia, but I could not resist writing it in Cyrillic :)—at the end of July.
A journey to Italy always gives me a mixture of contradictory feelings. On the one hand, it is pleasant to come back to my home-sweet-home after a long while: family, friends, sun, sea, tasty food, good wine. On the other hand, the short-sighted culture of many Italians makes me pissed off every time I clash with it.
My hometown is not that big, and I did not do that much there except sunbathing and swimming. But at least one day I was brave enough to hike the Gran Sasso mountain up to the top (2912m). This was the most exciting moment of my vacation in Italy, and I have to thank Antonio for being my guide.
If the first vacation was calm and relaxing, the next one was thrilling and exhausting. I visited St. Petersburg and Moscow, together with Diego and Federico, probably the best—or the worst depending on the point of view—travelling companions I could ask for. One year ago, Diego told me that Russia changed his life, and now I can say the same. It was probably the best trip I have ever had. Well done guys!
St. Petersburg is a lovely old-fashion city, similar to other Eastern European capital, but still with a Soviet touch. Full of art, it was a good place to practice photography. Moscow is metropolitan and dynamic, somehow too big for my taste, but magnificent. Exhilarating nightlife, even though we had only a couple of chances to experience it. It is hard to compare these two cities, they are considerably different, but I was fascinated by both.
I was surprised by this country and by its people. Russians, especially Russian women, were incredibly charming. One thing I noticed is that Russian women dress up on more occasions than many European women do. Even to go for a casual walk, a Russian woman could wear high heels and feminine dress. A hardcore feminist might have the wrong impression that women do this because they are objectified, but Russian women themselves explained it this way: “We only live once; I want to look and feel at my best”. I could not agree more. 😉 Another thing I realised is that all the stereotypes I had heard about criminality in Russia were mostly exaggerated. I never felt in danger during the trip, not even in the outskirts of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
What else can I say? I will probably be back in Russia one day, hopefully soon! I uploaded pictures from my trips. Check my Flickr photostream, and do not forget to leave comments!