There are different people with different talents and passions out there. I have this weird ability of falling in love with places. I am sure, that am not alone in this, but I wonder, if it is a quality of everyone. Do you think all of us share the same passion for a place or do we differ in this matter?
For me it is really a passionate affair. I get excited about a place and my blood fills with bubbles, I tend to idealize its qualities and ignore its downsides. I get attached and it hurts to leave it. They say that when you come first to a place you do it because of the place, when you come more times – you do it because of the people. I can agree because it happened to me. I was returning several times to a place because of friends or romances there. But it is not exclusively so. My formula is: you return to a place that has given you a strong emotion, a feeling of love, adventure, freedom or whatever what is precious to you.
My first city love was Kiev, the capital of my country. It was my first travel alone. I was 20 and never have left home on my own. I still remember my excitement and sense of adventure. Everything was vibrant, I felt fully alive, my eyes were shining and people looked curiously at me, because I was cooking over with happiness. This is still the feeling I get in this city, along with sweetness of coming back to my roots.
I have a little (or maybe not) list of places that are forever carved on my heart. I love Hamburg because it was my first adventure of living abroad. Before I had lived 6 months as au-pair, in a little town of Southern Germany, but that was a cozy feeling of country life. Hamburg was my first real city crush. The great port, once welcoming sailors in its arms, was now welcoming me. In its haven I could breathe in the air of freedom, great dreams and adventure. It happened 14 years ago, and until now and forever Hamburg is my first darling and its windy air reminds me of my first taste of freedom and my great dreams.
Sharm el Sheich in Egypt – because it was my Arabic fairytale deluxe. That tells of eating with locals on the shop floor, meeting strangers and setting with them for the ride in the desert at night, drinking Bedouin tea under the starry desert sky, dancing by the fire, watching sunsets over the sea, summer romances, and feeling very strong emotions of happiness, anger, betrayal and love.
Copenhagen – because it is so vibrant with creativity that just breathing its air makes me inspired. I was roaming its streets with a camera on a solo trip, and then I returned to walk through its main street during the carnival, as a part of samba school. Dancing half naked on the streets of the unknown capital – done! And then again I came there with my man, exclaiming on every corner how I love Copenhagen until he had to ask: “May I ask you something? Do you like Copenhagen?”:). For me it is the most beautiful city of all Scandinavia, royal and mighty, hipster and modern, with sweet Danes who were helping us to find the way without us asking them.
Malaga, in the South of Spain – because it is just magic. I spent there two summer weeks taking a course of Spanish, making friends, traveling around, going out and dancing until the dawn. My second stay there was much more quiet and lonesome, but anyway I feel like coming home when I am coming to Malaga. It feels like I know every corner, and every stone of its streets, and like my soul just recognizes the places from its past life. Malaga gave me the most intensive feeling of happiness and being alive, it was discovering my true colors as I was discovering the city. I feel like Andalusia was my home country if I had had a past life, and in it I was a gitana, a gypsy, dancing flamenco on its plazas and touching the stones of the cathedrals.
And then there is Rovinj, a little town in the North of Croatia, very Italian, old and friendly. I came there for the salsa festival, and I just cannot put in some short sentences what an amazing experience it was. It was like waking up into a colorful day after a black-and-white dream. Dancing on the beaches, on the squares and on the streets, meeting people from around the world, drinking local wine and eating great food. The locals were smiling and sweet, with that Slavic soul that makes me feel oh-so-at-home, minus Slavic gloomy face, plus some Italian twist and humor. A perfect combination, if you ask me. As I was sharing my feelings for Rovinj on my blog (in Russian) with the Bob Marley on repeat on my head: “is it love, is it love, is it love that I am feeling?”, one of my friends commented: “and why not fall in love? There can never be too much love”. Which made my stop and wonder. Why, am I afraid of falling in love?
Oh yes, I do. Because love hurts. Or, maybe, not love, but being apart. I get attached – and it hurts to leave. I feel like I am lost in a swirl of summer romance (with a town), and then I come back to my husband, who is safe and stable, but a bit boring (my Oslo where I live), and inside I am still longing for those warm arms of my Adriatic lover. You see, I have always had this metaphor or Oslo as my good old husband, who is providing me with stability and good life, while I am travelling away from it and getting in romances with some new city. Kind of cheating. But hey, this is just a metaphor, you cannot cheat on a city, you didn’t promise your faithfulness to it.
And now I come to realize that she was right, my friend. There can never be too much love. Love that will save the world. And it is not a huge love for your parents, children or partner, as I was used to interpret that saying. It is the love for anything, that has the ability of filling your heart and spilling over in your whole life, and other lives, making this world a better place. Love for pets, for nature, love for beauty, and for food, love for dancing and for music, love for pretty colorful houses and doors that you want to post on Instagram, love for creativity and walking the old streets, love for the sun, the wind and the snow. Whatever fills your heart with love. Love for places, in my case. So let there be more love, and let it fill your life! Follow it, keep it close, share it. The world needs your love.
Do you have a place that makes you feel in love? Do you have a special or not so special passion? Let me know it in the comments below!