“Where are you from?” I think this is the first question I have been asked during my travels; and by occasional posts of other travelers and bloggers I understand that I am not the only one.
With many places and cities visited around the world, I decided to concentrate on the positive aspect of this question and think of all my favorite places and cities where I feel at home, my favorite places where for one reason or another (or even many) I feel myself.
I stayed in Rome for a few months many years ago exploring the city and its coastline in Ostia close-by, and a few more trips afterwards. This is the city I absolutely love and adore: its historic ancient streets, beautiful architecture, romantic bridges over Tevere, artistic fountains in my favorite charming piazzas, its fashion on Via Condotti, local osterias and cute unique locals. Rome is as equally about some of my favorite points of interests, such as Fori Imperiali, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, as it is about many wonderful and positive experiences and memories. Rome is a true eternal city! At least for me.
Although, I did not spend as much time in St.Augustine, as I did in Rome, I really felt I had a connection with this city. Besides having a European origin, particular international culture, beautiful nature and interesting locals, I noticed that St.Augustine manages to balance it all. This is the place where the old complements the new, the past complements the present, well, and St.Augustine’s beautiful nature complements it all.
For me Miami is an international city with Latin flair, particular cultural diversity, beautiful coastline, sunny weather and charming Art Deco district. With many areas visited around Miami over a few visits (from Sunny Isles, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne and beautiful drive to Key West), this is the city with many interesting places, villas, dining, artistic galleries and beautiful smiles.
San Francisco, California
California’s Coastline has been a magnificent highlight of my travels this summer. Since San Francisco was my main point of destination of this trip, I spent a few days exploring Bay area. San Francisco turned out to be a cosmopolitan city with amazing hills, bay area views, particular architecture, many colorful buildings and flowers, and so many amazing points of interest. From crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, exploring the bay area, admiring art galleries and architecture, to falling in love with Angel Island, San Francisco has definitely been one magically beautiful destination for me.
Although I always thought of Philadelphia as the city of major importance in American history, Liberty Bell and Constitution, I was surprised how artistic and loving Philadelphia is. LOVE is in the name of the city (from the Greek word philos (φίλος) “loving”), and also in LOVE Park, which serves as the grand entrance to Benjamin Franklin Parkway and stretches from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is considered to be Philadelphia’s most monumental mile of Art, architecture, science and education.
I spent a week in Montreal during holiday season and was mesmerized by this Canadian city, that manages to unite New World and European charm with cosmopolitan flair. Montreal has very rich and diverse culture, unique gastronomy, popular events and festivals, amazing panoramic views from Belvedere, shopping centers, charmingly decorated streets and a very festive holiday atmosphere.
What I like about Boston area is its impressive concentration of world-known Universities and colleges, small interesting towns, like Cambridge, Freedom Trail, its important part in American history and finding something that connects the world and makes travel what it is, the experience that helps me understand how interconnected the world is. During my recent trip to Boston I was so glad and proud to see Tadeusz Kosciuczko in Boston Common. He is a National Hero of Two Worlds (Belarus, Poland and the United States), close friend of Thomas Jefferson, human rights, education and freedom activist.
I might not have liked New York at first sight, since this was such a distinctively and culturally different city from all of my previous travels in Europe. Now, New York is a cosmopolitan city of many beautiful memories for me. From experiencing most of the tourist locations (admiring magnificent views of Manhattan from Empire State building, boating around and greeting Statue of Liberty, skating in Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, etc.) to leisurely strolling through East Village and Central Park, admiring artistic heritage of the MET and MOMA) and exploring Columbia University and New York Public Library. New York is definitely one true wonder!
From my first travels to Milan, to my last year study abroad experience, this is the city that charmed me with its magnificent Milan Cathedral, beautiful architecture, world-famous Montenapoleone fashion district, Navigli to a more recent discovery of its artistic and cultural heritage. During my recent travels in Milan, I admired its fashion street style, grace and confidence behind many fashion forward choices of Italian women, and gradually started to notice my evolution of style through travel and different cities. Most importantly, I was mesmerized with its artistic heritage: I visited Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, known for a large collection of paintings and drawings, such as The Codex Atlanticus by Leonardo da Vinci, the School of Athens by Raphael, the Madonna del Padiglione by Sandro Botticelli, etc. Seeing parts of The Codex Atlanticus, first in Santa Maria delle Grazie, and another part here, in Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, has been an unforgettable experience: to witness great genius of da Vinci and multiplicity of his talents.
What I love about Tuscany is its multitude of beautiful, historic, artisan and charming towns, like Montalcino, Montepulciano, San Gimignano and bigger culturally important cities, like Florence, Lucca, Siena and Pisa. Its quintessential charm, distinct character, picturesque scenery, graceful cypress trees, beautiful flower fields and delicious cuisine.
Central Connecticut is the place I have been calling home for quite some time now. This is the place where I attended and graduated from University, have family and met many interesting and friendly people from all walks of life. Connecticut seems quiet and mostly rural, but I enjoy the charm and beauty of its nature, especially after discovering some of my favorite places, like Talcott Park and Hammonasset State Park.
St. Petersburg is the cultural and revolutionary cradle of the country. With such a rich historic, artistic and literary heritage: the most amazing Hermitage museum, elegant royal palaces, splendid architecture, charming canals, multitude of beautiful bridges, northern midsummer eves and interesting locals, St.Petersburg is definitely the city that makes it so easy to say “one of my favorites”.
My Minsk is the city of beautiful and favorite places, such as Nemiga and Old Town Hall. This is the area with the most amazing views of historical Troitzkoe Predmestie, especially in the evening, when the whole area is lit with colorful lights and their beautiful reflections in the sky and in the Svisloch. Although this area of Minsk feels new and untouched by history, it dates back to early 11th century. After the calamities it rose just like phoenix, and is shaping up to a modern European city with a little bit of Soviet flair.
From my first wonderful visit, to a few trips afterwards, Moscow is the city of many beautiful memories. This is the city with interesting and historical sights, such as Saint’s Basil Cathedral, Aleksandrovskiy sad, and Arbat; wide streets, distinct architecture, contemporary galleries and locals. Beautiful in any weather, I am to experience it in clear sunny skies and beautiful flowers.
As someone who is in love with Italy, its language, literature and culture, I am equally in love with Florence, the center of Renaissance. With its magnificent palaces, museums, churches (Florence Cathedral, the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio), bridges, its fashion, charming old streets and wonderful panoramic views. This is definitely the city where Art is in its magnificent form.
What are your favorite places and cities around the world? Where do you feel at home?
Peace. LOVE. Bliss.
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