Wednesday, August 13, 2008


In my top of the top locations for a vacation enters Sicily with a spectacular breakthrough. Here am I, back in Torino after 15 days on the beautiful island between Europe and Africa. Sicily is a spectacular place that needs to be seen and no photo or story can substitute the unique experience of seeing, touching and feeling the island, its nature, places and people. I consider myself lucky as I had the chance to see so many cities - Trapani, Agrigento, Palermo, Cefalu, Catania, Siracusa, Noto, Ragusa, Acireale, changed some spectacular beaches and most importantly got the know the people and try to understand (not sure I really did) their culture and life.

The story begins with me and 4 Italians moving around the island like decapitated chickens for 10 days and then I went to visit my flat mate Paolo in an area close to Catania. One of the first breath takers was a beach called La Scala dei Turchi(the Turkish staircase) which is a mountainous form made from snow-white rock that look down on a beautiful azure sea.

One of the most spectacular cities I have ever seen was Parlemo with its stylish Baroque architecture, lively streets and frantic open markets but also the striking poverty that you can see just one hand away from the central streets. Indeed it's a very diffent Italy - a world of contrasts, beauty, chaos, wealth and poverty.

The Palace of the Normans in Palermo is 1st class museum and it astonishes you with the beauty of the Byzantine chapel and the headquarters of the Sicilian parliament. I just stood there like an idiot and the WOWs kept coming out of my mouth for 3 hours.

Then I went to see the Greek-like Siracusa, the masterpiece of baroque art Noto and the charming Ragusa with its green gardens.

Never could I forget my trip to see Etna (it's a volcano, yes...) and although I didn't reach the top (where I am sure, some of you bastards would push me down...hehe) I still can’t get out of my head the images of the alien landscapes where the laves had passed. A special thanks to my roomy Paolo for taking me there.

But Sicily is not only places - Sicily is smells, tastes, views and noises that come all to you at once. Beautiful, striking, shocking, stylish and disgusting. All at the same time, no order, no warning. How can I explain that in Palermo you can take the amazing dessert canolo and you ghave to walk 15 minutes to find a place that doesn't stink so that you can eat it. BTW - the canolo is just great, a sweet orgasm of ricotta cheese and sugar.Or can I forget the granita that I took in Catania or Acireale. An icy creamy thing that is so thick that you think there's milk in it but there's none.

And of course the people - can I use many? Friendly, generous, direct, rude, aggressive, warm, loyal, discreet, loud, unmovable, joyous, sad, angry, open and very conservative at the same time. Can I really use words?
My very humble attempt to re-create the atmosphere of the island with my photos. If anyone ever has the chance to visit Sicily, GO THERE, don't miss this unique place between two worlds.

P.S. If anyone is interested in the famous Sicilian mafia, I have only thing to say: I didn't see it, I didn't hear it, I didn't understand anything :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cinque Terre

As this blog is mostly dedicated to my passion for travelling, I can't resist but to post the photos from my fabulous Sunday in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre (translated as Five Lands) are actually 5 colorfull fishermen's villages in the Eastern Italian region of Liguria. Though not particularly famous for being terribly luxurious, posh or modern, they represent the real bright spirit of Italy (which I love so much). The place is famous all over the world for it's beauty and nature and experinced a real visual feast. A picture says more then a thousand words so just enjoy :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Coffee Roots

This Sunday I came across an amazing exhibition in the centre of Torino, an open display of photographs dedicated to the origins of coffee, and moments in life related to drinking coffee. The fascinating thing is that the pictures are taken in the Middle East and Africa - Senegal, Syria, Lebanon, Kenya, Egypt and Turkey and present a culture with which we Europeans associate a bit uneasily.

The amazing thing is coffee here is preseted not only as a hot drink but a way of life, a phylosophy and a set of values. Living more than a year in Italy, I really started to appreciate it...No big words are needed I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fabrizio de Andrè

Upon my return from Genova, I decided that I want to tell the story of my favourite Italian artist an singer - Fabrizio de Andrè( 1940-1999). Born in Genova but famous everywhere in Italy in my opinion he is a musician and a poet of enormous magnitude. His music ranges from medieval melodies, typical canzoni Italiane, jazz and ethno music. I more than passionately recommend his albums: Non al denaro, non all'amore né al cielo (Neither to gold, nor to love, nor to heaven), Volume 3 , and the compilation discs In direzione ostinata e contraria (volume 1 and 2).

He has a deep, low, mannish voice with a certain sort of sadness and no sign of fake or exaggerated emotions. But equal to his music are his powerful lyrics that talk about humanity, paradoxes and spirituality. Honestly, it's worth learning Italian just to be able to understand de Andrè.

Here is a song that I truly love Via del Campo and the translation in English below


There's a girl in the narrow lane,
Her eyes, so big and green as leaves,
All the night long stands on the threshold,
Always off'ring you the same rose.

There's a beauty in the narrow lane,
Her lips, so pale as pale's a dewdrop,
Her eyes, so grey as grey's the pavement,.
Out of her steps, there come out flowers.

There's a whore in the narrow lane,
Her eyes, so big and green as leaves,
If you want her love, then you only
Have to gently take her by the hand.

You think you are going far away
She looks at you with a bright smile,
You won't believe that paradise
Is just upstairs at the first floor.

A fool goes to the narrow lane
To tell her, o, please, marry me!
To watch her going up the stairs
Till the balcony door is closed.

Laugh and love if love it does answer,
Cry aloud if it does not hear you,
Nothing grows out of precious diamonds,
Out of dung, the flowers do grow,

Nothing grows out of precious diamonds,
Out of dung, the flowers do grow.


This weekend I decided to do a small trip to Genova which is one of the major Italian ports and it is located to the South of Torino. To be 100% honest I didn't expect much - 2 hours in the historical centre, some photos and that's it. Well, it turned out that Genova is a fascinating city that matches the beauty of my beloved Torino (though it is much more Mediterranean and sea-like). I made more than 300 photos and I regret not having time to visit all the museums.

Genova is a perfect city to represent Italy - it's very old but still glamorous and you have the sun, the sea and you see everywhere open and solar people. As for sub-Alpine Torino which is more restrained and aristocratic, much closer to the French tradition, Genova is more Italian but bearing its own unique history and culture. From the old glorious days of the Republic of Genoa to the new modern city swimming into the New Economy. Genova isfamous for its stingy and tight-fisted people, the magnificent pesto sauce, the narrow and romantic streets and BIG SURPRISE..the word jeans actually comes from the name of the city actually pronounced genoese.

The famous pesto:

The outcome is a great weekend and some magnificent photos where I look like a 1st class mafioso (it just comes naturally...)
The famous narrow and claustrophobic steets of Genova:

A cute pic of an Italian backyard in the less touristc part of the city:

The Royal Palace:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Let there be cheese....

Boys and girls, I have been in Italy for 1 year and 2 months and I have never actually mentioned anything about cheese. In Italy there are more than 400 (the number is correct) types of cheese - issue is, concerning Italy's image and what people imagine cheese is squeezed between coffee, Mafia, wine and fashion and not so many people pay attention to it. And what a mistake it is...Italian cheeses are should I put it more softly..they are AWESOME!!!

Starting with the hard, granular Parmigiano that can make the taste of your pasta Divine when you scrape some on the meal...

and continuing with Gorgonzola which the Queen of blue cheeses with it's intensive scent and salty taste that can make any breakfast a religious experience.

And of course Mozzarella. Yes, mozzarella, the same one for which kingdoms fell, heroes died and wars started..ehehe...a bit exaggerated but a fresh ball of mozzarella can make your day be it in a tomato salad or a pizza.

The world would not be the same without Ricotta. A tasty milky cloud of freshness that leaves you staggered upon tasting. Get a warm loaf of ciabatta and some ricotta and lock the door of your room so that no one can disturb you...and see you next year :)

Some other messengers of divinity are the numerous types of the cheeses Toma and Pecorino.They give a new meaning to the word sandwich.

That is it for now, I am going to lunch...Amin

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back from Paris

Ola la, here is my glorious return from the French capital. There I was - Boris (the "s" is silent) in Paris(another silent "s") for a kick-ass 4 days vacation in the city of love, lights, luxury, fashion, style,great-looking women, snobs, bitchy people, garlic, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Cœur, Louvre, Moulin Rouge, Montmartre and....Paris Hilton(dear Lord, NO!!!)First of all - I'd like to thank all my friends who made my stay in Paris such a wonderful experience thank you Christophe, Vyara, Ergen, Florent, Anna, Bjòrn, Ylva, Alex and of course you Mr Sarkozy (real pleasure talking to you and Carla) :)

So, let's start... How can someone describe Paris. For starters: IT'S BIG!!! Huge avenues, parks, buildings, which shelter the small romantic streets of the Latin Quarter and Montmartre. Paris is a city full of everything - culture, business, romantics, fashion, history. much that it's scary. Someone once said "If you are tired of Paris, you are tired of life". I was tired all right, after 3 days of walking my feet hurt like hell but hey, I am still quite fond of living. Apart from playing the stupid tourist, running around taking pictures and then eventually reflecting upon what I saw, I spent a good deal of time meeting people and visiting places - some clubs, restaurants and night locales. So yes, I got a small glimpse of what Paris life is like and how Parisians live (or whatever they do)Of course I wouldn't be Boris if I don't bitch about it so there are some things that stuck me as unpleasant:
- Paris is not cheap, actually it's quite costy, prices are not low...I mean IT'S EXPENSIVE. Starting from transport, supermarkets, restaurants and the sky-rocketing housing rents. Not a really good place to be if you are poor.
- Apart from some nice elderly ladies that God sent to me to give me directions, I found most of Parisians a bit rude. They push each other in the metro, tend not to say "hello" (or bonjour in their case) and I spotted several people pissing in public places...and I thought that a specialty for Brussels (duh!). Anyway, that excludes my friends I met, just some random observation looking at the people on the streets.- It's quite claustrophobic and full of people - maybe I got too much used to quiet and stlylish Torino but crowds can be quite stressful. Honestly I don't have the impression it's an easy to live in city. And most night clubs don't have air-conditioning. HELLO, ANYONE, heard about the 21st century?
As usual pictures available HERE. There are few photos from me cause I believe if someone takes a picture of you, he is stealing your soul...right...I was mostly alone on my sightseeing.