Venice, Italy. Part I. February 2016

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“When I went to Venice, my dream became my life.” – Marcel Proust “Venice opens her arms to all whom others shun. She lifts up all whom others abase. She welcomes those whom others persecute. She cheers the mourner in his grief and defends the disposed and the destitute with charity and love. And so I bow to Venice with good reason. She is a living reproach to [papal] Rome.” – Pietro Aretino in his address to Doge Andrea Gritti, 1527 If you have never been to Venice, you haven’t seen the most beautiful city in the World. When people ask me about my favorite place, I always tell the truth …

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Istanbul, Turkey. July 2015

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Istanbul – the only city that lies on both continents – is a place of wonder, curiosity, immense cultural tensity, history, architecture, food and human density. It is a place to be visited by everyone at least once in their lifetime, and it won’t leave you adamant or unbiased. It is a megapolis that, to some extent, carries on the traditions of a legendary city of Constantinople, its heritage, arts and tales. I have already visited Istanbul in 2000 as a law student and I, frankly, hated it. Not the city, but the obnoxious, stalking Turkish men who followed me around. I was 20 years old, it was my first cultural experience outside Belarus, and even …

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