Vahid Takro
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Travel to Italy


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    Vahid Takro
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      The first time I traveled to Italy was in 2016. Younger than now, recklessly pursuing my dreams. A boy traveling with large backpacks alone; However, I am with you in writing this travelogue now.

      It is very difficult to write an Italian travelogue; Italy is a country full of mysteries, just like Iran, it can be viewed from different angles, it can be written about history, nature, people, culture and art. Things that, if I were to write, might make this the longest travelogue; I have been thinking for a long time about how to write about my trip to Italy. I decided to travel there with you, as if you are by my side. I write about myself, about my moments, about the emotions that can only be expressed in travels.

      We will travel by train together, meet my friends, take buses, visit museums and history, learn about culture and art from the oldest streets, visit the hometown of the famous travel writer Marco Polo. And we will hear the Italian music I lived with.

      Be with me on this journey, and see Italy through my eyes.

      Leaving Switzerland for Italy

      I wrote about Switzerland before, so I just skip. I hurried through Switzerland to enter Italy.

      We coordinated with an Anglo-Italian friend named Michael, who lives in Geneva, and we decided to travel from Geneva to Milan together. He is going there to visit his family, and me visiting my friends and the city of Milan. I slept the night in Geneva and before that we coordinated with Michael via WhatsApp to pick me up in the morning; We decided to leave Geneva at around 11 am.

      Michael came in the morning, and one of the funniest parts of my trip came right at the beginning 😂

      Michael had come in a small car, and he put his suitcase in the trunk, which he had to leave it open because of its small size. A small car that doesn't even have a rear seat. We greeted Michael a little and at the same time I was thinking: "where should I put all my backpacks now in Michael's car?" I was also thinking, "Michael, God!!!, what can you do with this car? what did you buy this for!"

      Michael and his little car

      I asked Michael to wait for me to bring my backpack, he probably thought that this is a small 10 liter backpack for elementary school children, which we will put in a corner of this mice, but believe me it was such a small car that even Michael probably thought where should we put the little little bag that Vahid is going to bring?

      I left and after two minutes I came back with a 75 liter bag, Michael said with surprise and sweat, "Vahid, is this your backpack? Oh, this is what you want to bring? I'm sorry, I didn't think about it at all, the car doesn't fit! Shall I take you to the airport instead?" I said wait, we'll do something about it, I came back with two more 10-liter bags, and of course a camera bag. Michael thought he was dreaming. I asked Michael not to think about it at all, I'll put them on my feet! Michael, who is a hurried and disciplined boy, agreed with doubt. I can't believe it yet, maybe it was because of the rush to visit Italy as soon as possible.

      Me and Michael, first photo

      We got to the streets, Michael asked: "Vahid, if we go to carwash, it won't get too late?" I said just think I'm not here, do whatever you would do if you were alone. So we went to Carwash in Geneva before leaving.

      Eventually the car was cleaned, and we left Geneva on the E25, a road that enters France for few minutes after leaving the Swiss border, and a few minutes later, crossing Mont Blanc (White Mountain), exits France from the French border and enters Italy.

      Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement, but it's not a member of the European Union, which means that you do not see the EU flag next to the Swiss flags , so according to the rules, we had to pay a large amount to leave the country by car.

      Exiting Switzerland

      European route E25, Geneva to Milan

      74 KM to Mount Blanc 🏔 - 323 KM to Milan

      As I wrote, leaving Switzerland and entering Italy via the E25 road enters France about 85 km. This is not the case with the A4/E64 road, which enters Italy directly from the Swiss border, although the route gets farther. To travel in Europe, only the proximity and beauty of the roads should be considered, borders between EU member states don't mean much to travelers. Most of the time, when you leave a country for another country, you don't notice that you are leaving that country, unless there is a flag or something symbolic between the road and the border.

      I love the roads, it gives me a special feeling, a feeling that combines the sadness of leaving somewhere and the feeling of joy to get somewhere else and meet other friends. If you are an old reader of this blog, you must have noticed that the beginning of my travelogues are very long, and sometimes longer than the main content; This is because I know the roads are very similar to life, I learn from them, and I measure the world by believing in the road-view. Life is really like the road, between the beginning and the end, between birth and death. Just as you can enjoy the road, you can enjoy the path of life; This is the same for all human beings, what matters is how they cross that road, life is exactly like the road, the road between origin and destination. The following pictures were taken in France, the part of the E25 route that enters France and leaves after 85 km.

      This road, where the soil of 3 countries can be touched in one day, also has cars with license plates of 3 countries.

      A road full of green and white mountains

      The further we go, the closer we get to Mont Blanc

      French villages in the road

      Mont Blanc

      Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. Mont Blanc is located on the border of France and Italy and is located on the Mont Blanc massif. The highest peak of this mountain mass is 4807 meters high. Mont Blanc is a French phrase meaning "White Mountain". In Italian it is called Monte Bianco and has the same meaning.

      Although the highest point of the mountain is considered a border point in the official agreements between France and Italy, most French and Italian maps show the location of this peak within their country. One hundred square kilometers of Mont Blanc is covered by permanent glaciers. These very large glaciers led to it being called the White Mountain. Of course, in France this mountain is also called La Dame Blanche, which means "lady in white".

      Mont Blanc is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, In 2007, Europe's two highest toilets (at a height of 4,260 metres, 13,976 feet) were taken by helicopter to the top of Mont Blanc. They are also serviced by helicopter. They will serve 30,000 skiers and hikers annually, helping to alleviate the discharge of urine and faeces that spreads down the mountain face with the spring thaw, and turns it into 'Mont Marron'.

      Every few years, many events occur in the Mont Blanc Mountains, some get lost, some die, and also, as far as I know, The mountain was the scene of two fatal air crashes; Air India Flight 245 in 1950 and Air India Flight 101 in 1966. Both planes were approaching Geneva Airport and the pilots miscalculated their descent; 48 and 117 people, respectively, died. The latter passengers included nuclear scientist Homi J. Bhabha, known as the "father" of India's nuclear programme.

      Many novels have been written about Mont Blanc, many films have been recorded this mountain, this mountain has many stories that if you are interested in mountains, I suggest you read more about it on Wikipedia.

      Then, before leaving France, there is traffic and we start making some photos together. Michael, like other Europeans, thinks I shoot too much, but he seems to have less problem with it, he laughs more at it and tries to cooperate.

      This is a picture of my situation, the backpacks I had to hug like a child.

      I ask Michael not to look at the camera, as if we are moving, this is the result of the photo.

      Entering Italy

      Directional signs are written in both Italian and French

      After arriving in Italy, at Michael's suggestion, we stopped in front of the resort, shared a small snack that we both had, and rested a little. This was the first time we set foot on the ground after the carwash. We talked with Michael about ourselves, Michael told me about his relationships, and I talked about the ideas and thoughts I had.

      Our view in Aosta historical city; Because it is a border point, people are fluent in both Italian and French

      I love people, I like to spend my time with them, discuss about life and everything; Humans are closing their hearts to each other as time goes on, they do not tell their secrets to each other anymore, their loves, their interests, their feelings about the world and its issues; I am not like that with my friends, I always try to open their hearts for me, so that they can get to the farthest point of sharing their vision of life with me. So it is with Michael, Michael told me about his romantic failures, about the feelings he may have been waiting for a long time to see me and talk to me about them; Now you understand the reasons why I rejected Michael's offer in Geneva to take me to the airport and sit 5 hours in his small car with a big heavy backpack on my legs.

      Fort Bard

      Fort Bard, is a fortified complex built in the 19th century by the House of Savoy on a rocky prominence above Bard, a town and comune in the Aosta Valley region of northwestern Italy. Fort Bard has been completely restored after many years of neglect. In 2006 it reopened to tourists as the Museum of the Alps, it has additional art exhibitions and galleries. In the summer, the main courtyard is used to host musical and theatrical performances. We just passed it to get to Milan as soon as possible.

      Fort Bard

      In fact, Italy is a different country, you can smell it from the very beginning of arrival, you can touch history, you can see the details, you can feel the smell of farms, today's Italy is a country of fashion and agricultural products. And it 's very organic, but it's very interesting to see that all these elements are mixed together;

      For example, a little further from Fort Bard Castle, we see a farm where they themselves make essential oils and marinades for inclusion in various types of cosmetics products and general well-being.

      From medicinal plants grown directly by themselves, with no manipulation by third parties, they produce extremely pure essential oils of thyme, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, and extracts of edelweiss, wolfsbane, yarrow, plantain, St John's wort, mauve, and marigold, for use in cosmetics products. Yes... we are in Italy!

      Alpiflora S.n.c. di Favre Ivano e Davide

      Alpiflora Website

      There are a lot of these cars here in Italy, when I was a child I had a exact copy of this as toy, they designed it very well, I take a picture of this car every time I see one 😂

      Here we practice with Michael how not to look at the camera. This is the result

      I think what makes my travel style unique are the "humans"; I always remember the people I saw more about a trip than the tourist places I visited. I pass from people but I remember them all, I will always love them and I hope we meet soon. But honestly, it is very difficult for me to say goodbye to my friends, I hate farewells, but this is life, you have to live with everything that is designed. Anyway, I will have another greeting soon.

      Even if it is someone other than the friend I said goodbye to, I think all human beings are of the same roots, with the same feelings and heart. As a result, the next greeting will make me happy.

      Eventually Michael left, now it's only me and my backpacks, which I have to take to the subway to get to my friend's house.


      Map of the cities I will travel to

      The city center of Milan is crowded, so I asked Michael to take me in front of a metro station that would take me straight to Andrea's home station without changing lines. Andrea is one of my best Italian friends, you will meet him later.

      I entered the Milan metro, a very simple metro that has no special complexity, a clean metro that looks newly built. In historical countries like Italy, new things boast a different feel from that country, as if you are entering an old classic car and seeing a wonderful new mp3 player with GPS.

      Milan Metro

      Milan Metro Map

      Metro doors separators

      The wall with the door does not allow you to access the subway lines, first the train should reach the station and the doors will be open right in front of the train doors. Of course with the push of a button. An example of such a system can be found on some of the Paris Metro lines.

      One of the worst feelings of my travels is being on the subway train with my backpacks, I hate that; Apart from the fact that the backpacks are heavy and if the subways are crowded, there may be complications and I have to open all the straps of my backpacks. What I hate most about this is the look of some people, people who are tired of working. They are returning home and see me in tourist and holiday clothing.

      Italy is a very touristy country, a country where you see tourists every second, especially July and August, which is the American holiday season; On the one hand, it has been very effective for the country's economy, and it has created a lot of jobs, but on the other hand, many Italians find it "annoying", and this is a normal thing. People often get tired of seeing repetitive things. And I fully understand.

      Unfortunately my European SIM card doesn't work in Italy, but fortunately free Wi-Fi is available on many sidewalks and in different areas.

      I got off the subway at Zara station, where Andrea lives; I don't think the name of the station has a historical relation with the famous Zara company, but it announces my presence in the largest fashion center in the world.

      I finally arrived at Andrea's house just in the evening, a stylish apartment where he lives on the middle floors. From the balcony you can see the great and famous buildings of Milan. Especially the famous Bosco Verticale building, which means vertical forest!

      Andre is a banker, a very disciplined young man, polite and literate; Someone who wishes to visit Iran, but unfortunately will visit on a date that I may not be in Iran. The calmness and smile on Andrea's face cannot be forgotten; For me, these are the two characteristics of Andrea, a friend with whom I have been friends since 2016, and whenever I think of him, I only remember his calmness, smile and tenderness.

      We had a tea with Andrea, I asked him to let me make it, I had Persian tea with me, we drank tea, I had dinner, and Andrea had to go to an exhibition, he invited me but I preferred to stay and rest.

      Now we have Andrea's house tour pictures together, Andrea's is not here and I have to see where to find things, 😀

      But there are still things I have to ask Andrea

      But there are still things I have to ask Andrea 😂

      I decided to go to bed earlier, I love sleeping after getting tired; And that was the most different kind of fatigue, because for 5 hours with backpacks on my legs, I was in a car that was constantly vibrating, it was really shaking, and Michael was multiplying the vibration by going 180 KM/H, I can't believe I'm still alive, of course. These are sweet memories for me, I just write like this for humor, I loved my trip with Michael!

      My bed in Andrea's apartment

      I took a shower and lied down on the bed with my body which was still shaking under the vibration of Michael's car, I felt like I was in heaven.

      I decided to think like I did before going to bed, but I fell asleep incredibly until I put my head on the pillow.

      The sound of birds coming from the trees between buildings signaled the arrival of morning.

      I am going to meet Kimberley today, who traveled from London to see me, and Anastasia, a Russian young solo tourist.

      Andrea went to work in the morning, and I had decided to stay home to do things; Kim texted, and I invited her to Andrea's house with Anastasia.

      with Kimberley in the right, and Anastasia in the left

      As I wrote earlier, humans shape my travels, meeting my old friend, Kim from London, who has worked hard and come here to see me, is something that invites me so much to continue living, I think I can see the connection between humans; And this is what the world needs more than ever.

      Also, Anastasia, whom I met through Kim, is a young girl from Siberia, Russia who travels solo all over the world. Before meeting Anastasia, I knew that the Russians are good photographers, and I, who desperately needed a good photographer on trips, was to quickly become friends with Anna so that I could use her profession 😀

      Of course, it seemed that every time I took a picture, Anna wanted me to take a similar one from her 🤔

      Anyway, Kim, arrived in Milan two days before me, she has chosen places to show me when I arrive, we are getting ready to go to the streets for the Third Eye Peace Project.

      Duomo di Milano (Catedral de Milán)

      The Milan Cathedral, or Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of Saint Mary, is the cathedral church of Milan, Lombardy, Italy. Dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary (Santa Maria Nascente), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Archbishop Mario Delpini.

      The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete: construction began in 1386, and the final details were completed in 1965. It is the largest church in Italy—the larger St. Peter's Basilica is in the State of Vatican City, a sovereign state—and the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world.

      I had already chosen this church as a place to make some photos with Kim and Anastasia for the third eye project, so we went there.

      It is true that Anastasia is a good photographer from Russia, but that is not enough for three people to take pictures. But it is not also impossible; Because I have a selfie stand that becomes a tripod, it is controlled remotely.

      I give the third eye peace poster in Kim and Anna's hands, adjust the camera and run towards them. This camera has fallen to the ground a lot! especially in windy countries like Germany; So it's normal for me when the wind blows the camera down, but not for Kim and Anna.

      This is the moment when they tried to prevent the camera from falling to the ground, but... And Kim panicked. And to keep them calm, I keep saying, "No, this is not the first time."

      I think tonight, if events happen many times in our lives, it can take the panic out of us and we say to ourselves, "No, this is not the first time," and these are not really good thoughts, bad things should not be allowed to become normal.

      Sometimes I think to myself that if patriotism is the human mind by default, why shouldn't there be a trace of worldview in our minds?

      In fact, I think the love of homeland, which is more or less in the hearts of all human beings, is created because of boundaries, something that can sometimes be denied, but I also think that love of different places connects those places to each other.

      There are many wars in the world, But these events have been repeated for us, wars have been repeated, we have become accustomed to them, and this is the scariest thing.

      I travel with a poster that is written on: "Open your third eye to a new world, we can be peaceful" Sentences that give a clear meaning to the foundation of another eye that is not yet accustomed to anything. Also there is nothing to do with religions, politics, or things you have seen before. The third eye is the inner perception.

      The third eye tour has been held in 3 tours and 20 countries so far.

      Porta Ticinese (DEDIC ANNO MDCCCXV)

      I think in history, I think how much we humans have hurt each other, to get more, for wealth, for statehood, for power and politics. From the apartment neighbor to the neighboring countries, we humans have only bothered our fellow human beings throughout history.

      For example, take a look at the building behind me in photo,

      Porta Ticinese is a former city gate of Milan, Italy. The gate, facing south-west, was first created with the Spanish walls of the city, in the 16th century, but the original structure was later demolished and replaced in the early 19th century. Walls built to defend against the enemy.

      Porta Ticinese (DEDIC ANNO MDCCCXV)

      Look at the beauty of gate, simplicity and splendor of how artistically and creatively they are designed, the columns that takes me to the city of Parseh (Persepolis) in Pars and the palace of Darius in Susa, it shows how people loved beauty and art throughout the ages, and here is the question Why shouldn't man who created the world with all this love, even to build walls for defense, live together with love?

      The gate of Porta Ticinese is one of the landmark buildings of Milan and a popular tourist attraction.

      The name "Porta Ticinese" means "Gate to the Ticino", referred to the Ticino river, that traverses the Po Valley south-west of Milan. The name "Porta Cicca" came about during the Spanish rule of Milan in the 16th century, "Cicca" being a distortion of the Spanish word chica, i.e., "small". The name "Porta Marengo", which was used in the 19th century, refers to the village of Marengo located south-west of Milan, now called Spinetta Marengo, scene of the Battle of Marengo between the French army commanded by Napoleon and an Austrian army.

      History in Italy is very deep and extensive, I will only write about it briefly, read Wikipedia to read more about specific places.

      Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

      If you have traveled to Milan, you must have visited this place, or if you have not traveled, and you are a fashionista or architect fan, you have heard about Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

      The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy's oldest active shopping gallery and a major landmark of Milan, Italy. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by architect Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 Who died after falling from the roof of the same gallery. The market is built in the neoclassical style close to the Baroque. The roof of the bazaar is made of glass and cast iron and the floor is covered with small colored mosaics.

      This gallery is the oldest shopping center in the world, hosting the most famous brands in the world, which of course not everyone comes here to buy, but to watch this architectural masterpiece, many prominent models, actors and designers travel here to make new images.

      Turin Bull

      Also, when this gallery it was built, between 1865 and 1877, it was decided that the ground of the central octagonal space was decorated with four mosaics portraying the coats of arms of the three capitals of the kingdom of Italy: Rome, Florence, Turin and Milan’s: the she-wolf of Rome, the lily of Florence and the bull of Turin.

      The bull of Turin is represented with big genitals, and soon people thought it brought good luck. It's supposed to be a local legend/tradition, In fact, men began to spin around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull. In addition, women began to touch the testicles thinking that this gesture could improve fertility.

      Unfortunately, the continuous pilgrimage of Milanese citizens and tourists searching for some good luck damaged that part of the bull: a hole developed on the place of the bull’s genitals. However, the bull still attracts curious and superstitious people.

      Piazza della Scala

      Piazza della Scala is a pedestrian central square of Milan connected to the main square of Milan, Piazza del Duomo, by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage. The name of the square dates back to the church of Santa Maria della Scala, dating from 1381, which was once located here.

      Today, the square refers to the renowned Teatro alla Scala opera house, which occupies the north-western side of the square. When La Scala was built in 1778, it was facing a street rather than a square. It was only in the late 19th century that the authorities of Milan initiated a thorough renovation of the area, which involved the creation of the square.

      The center of the square is marked by the monument of Leonardo da Vinci by sculptor Pietro Magni (1872).

      My soul is intertwined with art; Art is a way to free human emotions from him, I can't imagine my life without art; I have many artist friends, and they are my best friends. In fact, I think all human beings have an art for releasing their emotions.

      You can imagine what Italy could be like for me, a country from which Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pavarotti, Toto, Bocelli, Morricone, Batisti, and many others came from; Wow, their names bring tears to my eyes. You can't believe that until I reached this part of writing, my tears flowed unconsciously.

      Take a look at this piece of art, a square in front of the Opera House in the middle of which stands the monument of Leonardo da Vinci by the sculptor Pietro Magni (1872).

      The quadrangular square features statues of Marco d'Oggiono, Italian Renaissance painter and a chief pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, many of whose works he copied; as well as Salaì, another chief pupil of da Vinci, and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio‎, another Italian painter who worked at the Da Vinci studio, as well as Cesare da Sesto. I can stare at this artwork for days, a work that thousands of people go through every day after leaving the Milan Galleria.

      If I am asked who a good friend is, I will answer the one who comes to visit you from far away. Like Kim who came here from London. But not because you are a special person, or because they come to see you from afar; Rather, it is because of knowing the value of friendships, and the time that can be spent with friends. Knowing the value of a friend, knowing the value of time, the value of what we live for. I love people who value friendship.

      Darsena del Naviglio

      Despite having rivers in the center and around most major European cities, Milan doesn't have many rivers, although there are still historic rivers in the south.

      Darsena del Naviglio is the name of an artificial water basin located in Milan near Porta Ticinese that was used to anchor and store boats moving in the Milan canals.

      If you look at the map of Milan, you will see the collision of two rivers from the south of Milan with here. Originally, the Darsena di Porta Ticinese served as a loading and unloading area for boats passing through the Milan Canals. Then its function changed, turning it from a transport yard to a tourist attraction. The last cargo ship arrived in Darsena on March 30, 1979, ending a centuries-old history of commercial transportation along the Milan Canal and the surrounding port area.

      In European history, rivers and cargo ships played a special role in urbanization.

      Basilica of San Lorenzo

      If we study religions as a human being who was born today, we will notice the invitation of all of them to love, peace and friendship. Atheists speak of love and peace, and so do religious people.

      And in my opinion, if we all finally agree on love and friendship, what still creates war and hatred in us?

      race? nationality? culture? patriotism? skin color? gender?

      To all that I think, no nation or race invites itself to war. Politicians were also born of us.

      We can build the world again, if we want to, if we unite, we have to think big, not think of our neighborhood, city and country, we have to think of all the planets, and as a result we see a small world. That we all agree on maintaining it, we all want the world to be a good place to live. Let's end the war within you first.

      Location: Basilica of San Lorenzo, Milan, Italy Along with Kim and Anastasia, and the Third Eye Peace Poster

      One day I dreamed of finding a new and unknown place and living there forever. But the whole world is occupied, and there is no place for you and me. But I never gave up, I walked on the plains, in forests, on the shores, I even lived in buildings to fight my sorrows.

      It took me a long time to ask myself why a new and unknown place? Life with humans is beautiful, but only if we learn to interact. I am good to all human beings, without any difference.

      we were walking in the city with Kim and Anna; I was in these thoughts, until suddenly a backyard caught my eyes, I asked them to wait for me, but they moved behind me and we took some pictures.

      This is a very ordinary house which seems to become a museum, the arts of Italians can be seen in all corners of the city, as if you were walking in a museum. I thought to myself, that life is so beautiful, people in a round building, and a middle yard, where all the neighbors drink tea in the afternoon. And maybe a lover can be found in the same neighborhood, and in the same yard a wedding party will one day take place.

      Santa Maria delle Grazie

      The more I stare at historical monuments, the more I realize the intellectual similarities of human beings. For example, I always like to live somewhere, or sit where I can see everywhere from any angles. It makes me feel safe. Just like the dome of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which was built 500 years ago.

      Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church contains the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent.

      During World War II, on the night of 15 August 1943, an allied aerial bombardment hit the church and the convent. Much of the refectory was destroyed, but some walls survived, including the one that holds The Last Supper, which had been sand-bagged in order to protect it. Some preservation works are done to maintain it for the future. It is believed that the current and future preservation works will keep the painting safe for many centuries to come.

      Milano bombing (1943)

      The Last Supper painting under the bombing of World War II

      Cenacolo Leonardo Milano (1931)

      Castello Sforzesco

      As you know, I love castles, especially if there is a meadow in it. Castles reminds me of Shakespeare's novels and plays, Kafka and the historical films I watched; It seems that a gladiatorial battle of the Roman Empire took place in before. They smell of history, the stones and their shape, embody the perspective of the past in me. It opens the door to history in my mind.

      Comparing to life, one might think that women want their men to be like a castle to them, strong walls in which beautiful palaces can be built, palaces that men try to complete over time and rebuild if necessary; But women need to be patient.

      Castello Sforzesco, which is very beautiful from above, depicts emotions in me. The palace was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Extensively rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city's museums and art collections. The original construction was ordered by Galeazzo II Visconti, a local nobleman, in 1358 – c. 1370.

      Castello Sforzesco with drones (Internet photo)

      Castello Sforzesco with drones (Internet photo)

      Pizzeria Spontini

      It was time to rest, I went to Pizzeria Spontini and watched the world through the glass, this is the heart of Milan; The street to the east goes to the the galleria, and from the west to the Cathedral of Milan. I think I should say goodbye to Kim now and see her in London or Venice;

      On the one hand, I was looking at the Italian Ferrari gallery, in my mind the image of car racing, and on the other hand, I was seeing photographers photographing a bride and groom. I saw tourists and lovers of fashion and beauty walking with beautiful clothes, at the same time I thought of the name of Spontini restaurant.

      It reminds me of opera composer Gaspare Spontini, which I think has nothing to do with this pizzeria.

      Spontini is one of Milan's most famous pizzerias. Restaurants that have been serving pizzas with their own recipes since 1953. The family of the Spontini pizzeria, where smoking is banned, claim that they have not changed their recipe for 30 years, and that anyone who eats a slice of their pizza becomes addicted.

      Goodbye Milano

      I said goodbye to Kim and Anastasia and they returned to their hotel, and I returned to the Cathedral of Milan to say goodbye to Milan; This is one of my morals, that I return to the center of the city to say goodbye, as if I want to watch it with all my heart.

      This Gothic church, which took about six centuries to complete, has a long history, which I suggest you to read about. I will just share a few pictures with you that I took, which I hope you'll like.

      I have to go home before sunset, I promised Andrea to spend the last day with him; Of course, I have a lot of work to do before leaving Milan.

      I was thinking about this, until suddenly three African boys who were looking to raise money for the hungry children of their country came, before I donated anything, they gave me a handmade bracelet, which I can say it was the most beautiful moment I could see myself in. It was where I found myself, because again what I always say came to my mind: "Those who have less are more generous."

      Last night in Milano

      I return home and watch the sunset, I wish they passed through my mind; I say to myself that I wish the moments could keep everyone, I wish we could appreciate being together. I remember the smiles of those who are no longer with us, I wish I had laughed more with them.

      I think that in this empty world, is there still a time left for war? Do we have time to cry? Do we even have time to think about these? I wish that the sunset knew how much this moment could affect human beings, maybe it is not the fault of the sunset, but this is the earth that revolves around itself every day? Maybe he wants to show us how he is dancing? Maybe he wants to say that no matter how many wars are inside us, shouldn't we just dance?

      I remembered a sentence from an unknown person: "I wish the curtain knew that it has a chance to dance until the window is open."

      Leaving Milan and beginning of a tragedy

      I had booked two tickets before I left Andrea's house. One was a bus from Milan to Venice, and the other was a train from Venice to Bologna. Tickets that were not very financially valuable, but worth a lot of time.

      In fact, I was going to travel by bus at night to be in Venice very early in the morning, and leave Venice for Bologna that night. But things didn't go as I expected, and my first tragedy in Italy happened.

      Bus departure from Milan was 01:15 in the morning.

      My backpacks, ready to travel

      Andrea had said that the Milan Metro would close at 00:30 AM, and I had decided to leave the house at 11:45 PM. After saying goodbye to Andrea, I got on the subway and headed for the bus station, where everything seemed to be going well.

      It was about 00:25, when I suddenly saw the train line cut off from one station and went to another, I said in my heart: "Vahid, you're done."

      I asked someone in fear: "Why did it happen like this ??" he explained. In fact, I had to get off at the station where the routes were to be separated to get on another train, and I would get off after three more stations.

      I invited myself to peace, and decided to get off at the first stop and back, I still had 5 minutes, it was enough to catch the last train to the other lane.

      It happened, but it was already 00:30, then I suddenly saw the subway empty like a miracle. And someone told in Italian to get off, I have to admit, at that moment I was pale. Something was happening that could make me feel very bad; On trips, when things don't go on my plan, I experience my worst mood.

      I got off, I quickly found a police, I asked him why it happened like this? He said metro is closed. I also had 4 backpacks, all the backpacks I had put in Michael's car in Geneva; The mobile map showed that I had 25 minutes to travel four kilometers to the bus station; But I was scared and asked the police how to get there sooner; He, to get rid of me, said: go out and turn right.

      I entered the street; I was sweating, I didn't have a mirror, but I think my color was not the color it always is. I thought to myself, "My friend, why can't you believe everything is over?"

      The trams didn't go the way I wanted. I asked some drunk young guys; They said we don't know a way, walk and you will arrive.

      I started moving towards the station. I really had 4 kilometers, and 30 kilograms of backpacks, and 30 minutes of time. I didn't want to give up, I ran across the street, I looked for a taxi, I was disappointed, I decided to do hitchhike, the cars were all drunk, or a stranger with big bags at this time of night, couldn't guarantee their safety.

      I got on the tram rail, I ran its length, I ran so fast that even that speed wasn't possible without backpacks, one from the back and one from the front, I can't imagine the scene, to see a person running with those big backpacks on tram railway, I wish someone had filmed me and sent it now. Of course, the streets were very dark and empty.

      If you believe it or not, in 15 minutes I was able to run half way, until I reached a street, a street full of trees, and empty of houses, I imagined how beautiful that street could be during the day. The feeling I had at that moment is indescribable, I was happy and scared, happy with how strong I was to get here, and scared that I only had 15 minutes to get on the bus.

      In the dark, in front of the last house I could see, there was a very luxurious Offroad car, and a beautiful woman, and a gentlemen about forty years old, who were doing some kisses you can see in films, I thought they must be either a model or artist.

      Although they were kissing, a kiss I didn't want to interrupt, I quickly approached them, they were really my last hope to get on the bus to Venice. I was lucky because at least before I arrived, their kiss was over and they were saying goodbye to each other, I quickly told them the story in 5 seconds, and they looked at each other and responded positively in half a second; Apparently they were looking for an excuse to spend more time together.

      Without taking off my backpacks, I got into the car, very embarrassed; This scene was strange to me too. We only had two minutes to drive one or two kilometers. We talked a bit, but only about the current situation. We approached the entrance of the bus station, when suddenly we saw the Venice bus leaving.

      The man and woman, whose names I do not remember, flashed lights many times on the bus, it had no effect on the driver. It was as if the driver was a robot.

      He said don't worry, we followed the bus to a red traffic light, the bus stopped, lovers asked me to get off; And run to the bus. I got off so fast and their car's door broked my selfie stick, but I didn't notice it at that moment. I got on the bus behind a red traffic light that could turn green in five seconds, I knocked on the bus door, we became face-to-face with the driver, but he didn't open the door, just like a pig that saw nothing and left.

      I turned to the lovers who were standing to watch my fate, I said that's it, it's my chance. They said yes, that happens sometimes, some drivers are like that. I asked them to take me back to Andrea's house, but after asking for the address, they said we can't, because is too far, but we can take you to the nearest hotel, which I didn't want.

      I was confused, I didn't know what to do, or what to ask of the lovers, I felt that they were my last hopes for tonight, because where we stood, where the station was, was surrounded by highways.

      But, anyway, I thanked them and said goodbye, now it was me, and a freeway that cars rarely passes by, and I knew there was no bus to Venice anymore, I decided to go to the airport, or the train station; But I remembered that I have big papers in my bag that I had printed the name of each city in large, in fact they were emergency papers, for such situations.

      I took out the Venice paper, stood on the side of the freeway, but it seemed I was not in the right place, the freeway did not go directly to Venice. And the number of passing cars was very small. After 10 minutes I was disappointed, I decided to go to the bus station to see what was going on there.

      Venice emergency sheet. many of my Italian friends said that if you wrote "Venice" in Italian, you'd have a better chance: Venezia

      It took me about 10 minutes to find the station where the Venice bus had left, in fact the whole station was very huge. The place where the other passengers were standing was very dirty, there were no ticket booths, no toilets and no facilities.

      Many were asleep, and this didn't seem to be the place I had previously imagined to be in. I had to be on the road to Venice now. Sleep peacefully and go to a hotel in Venice in the morning. Ordering an Italian coffee, reviewing my plans for Venice, put on my ironed suit, and coordinate with the photographer who was going to photograph me;

      But it was too late to go through these dreams, as if all the plans had changed. I got so angry, if you believe it or not, I sat on a platform and shed a few tears; Not for the ticket money, not for this event, not for anything else, just for changing schedules, leaving the schedule I had written for myself. It may is funny to you, but those who know me know that it upsets me most of all.

      In Italy and many European countries, bus travel is only possible through online and pre-booked reservations. I decided to book the next bus, which will leave at 7 in the morning. I started booking with my credit card, which belongs to another country, and I failed. In fact, the bank had to send me a verification code to my number, but unfortunately my number didn't work in Italy.

      This was while I had booked my tickets the same way a few hours ago. It was as if everything was working against me, here my brain wanted to explode. I quickly found a person from Northern Europe, I asked him to help, for giving him cash in return, but he didn't trust me, and I give him the right, anyway he should have entered his card number in my account.

      I felt like I was one of the homeless people sleeping at the bus stop, I tried to be like them, so I found a corner and sat down. Now the only difference between them and me was that I had big bags, cleaner clothes, and without cigarettes.

      I stared at the sky in bewilderment, texted Andrea, told him the story, told my French sister in France, other friends, and other Italian friends. Europe was night and everyone was sleeping, anyway, in fact no one could do anything.

      I had decided to stay there until I meet the Venice bus at 7 in the morning to tell him the story, and ask him to take me without an online reservation. But I had very little chance with this.

      I found a chair, lay on it, and also tried booking with my mobile phone again and again, miraculously I was able to book a ticket, one of my friends never believed that the bank no longer needed a confirmation code.

      Now I was sure that the 7am bus to Venice would be mine. I saw that the mosquitoes didn't leave a point to bite on my feet, the air was very cold and I was drowsy. I decided to sleep on the iron chairs of the station. I wrapped each of my bag straps around my body parts and tried to sleep. It was exhausting, although I am very sensitive about my sleep, I was able to get some sleep and rest for maybe an hour with my eyes closed, even though it was very cold and the mosquitoes were already partying with my blood.

      The iron seat I slept on (the picture was taken after I woke up)

      It was about six o'clock in the morning, when I woke up with the sound of three Iranians, two girls and a boy who wanted to go to the airport and fly to Iran. I was happy, as if I had been rescued by three angels, Moein, who we became friends later, asked me the story, and I told them the story, this three students with large suitcases were worried about the rules of cargo.

      I weighed their luggage with the travel scales I had, and the scales broke down 😀, but I was not upset, happens sometimes, helping my compatriot brother and sisters could make a good day for me. I said goodbye to these three and the bus arrived and I got on it.

      Lampugnano bus station

      Lampugnano bus station

      Lampugnano bus station


      Liberty Bridge (Ponte della Libertà)

      As I pass the main road in northern Italy (E70), I am thankful to nature in my heart and suddenly I see the sunrise behind the clouds that have beautified the sky with rain. I think to myself how lucky I was that the bus left Milan without me last night.

      It was worth it for me to visit this beautiful sunrise, to see the faces of so many new people during the day. I feel the softness of this seat, it is like a miracle, I understand the value of moments and materials more. I think these are the bittersweet events that make life. I learned not to be late, and to pay more attention to time.

      The city of Venice is big, and is located on the mainland of Italy, it has 120 islands, the largest of which, the historic center of Venice, is a city on water. The mainland of Venice is connected to the Venice Islands by a bridge called the "Liberty Bridge", which you can see at the end of the video.

      The bridge was Designed in 1932 by engineer Eugenio Miozzi, it was opened by Benito Mussolini in 1933 as Ponte Littorio ("Lictor's bridge") – a name used during the Fascist era for several other Italian bridges. At the end of World War II it was renamed Ponte della Libertà to honour the end of the Fascist dictatorship and of the Nazi occupation.

      Norwegian Jade Ship

      Coincidentally, on arrival in Venice, I saw the famous "Norwegian Jade" ship ! Traveling by this ship is one of the dreams of tourists. Seeing this ship up close was one of the attractions of my arrival in Venice. It's history can be found on the Wikipedia page of this ship.

      Norwegian Jade is a cruise ship for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), originally built as Pride of Hawaii for their NCL America division. She was christened in a ceremony at the San Pedro Pier in Los Angeles, California on 22 May 2006. The vessel is a Panamax form-factor ship that was built at Meyer Werft Shipyard, in Papenburg, Germany, and registers at just over 93,500 gross tons.

      The ship publish its itinerary each year, and places it on its personal website, which can be booked by new couples for their honeymoon 😍

      On the way from the bus station to the hotel, I take some pictures and think about the structure of Venice and its history. I think Venice is one of those islands that I would love to stay in for a long time. This island has some of my living standards.

      There are no cars in this city, it is very quiet, most of the houses are historic and many artists live in them. Art is obvious through the alleys of Venice.

      One of the sights of this city is San Marco Square, the burial place of Mark the Evangelist, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, known as San Marco. The city of Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its strange shape, as well as the number of historical places, artistic and architectural monuments, which has led to millions of people (around 20 million) traveling around the world each year to visit the city.

      If I stay in Venice a little longer I might go crazy. Everywhere I look, an artist is performing, I look into a corner, a musician is playing my favorite piece by Franz Schubert, Serenade with water glasses; Indeed, the souls of Raphael, Botticelli and Da Vinci can be found in the painters of this city.

      The sculptures and reliefs in the squares of the island, or rather this small town, speak to me, saying that I have set foot in Michelangelo's homeland. This feeling is very indescribable. All the architectural buildings of this city depict the love and artistic look of Italian artists, the sound of boats can be heard everywhere, and their small waves that hit the algae of historical walls of the houses can be heard.

      I can understand the feeling of a Venetian merchant and explorer, Marco Polo from leaving and returning from a trip, the sunset in Venice is very beautiful, Sunday evenings do not make sense here.

      One of the most famous, sensitive and humble Italian artists I am friend with says in response to my feelings about this city that Venice was built for me.

      They know me as a very calm human being, they say my whole being is full of peace; But I must admit, there is a chaos of secrets in my heart. Just like Venice and its houses, its secluded alleys on autumn evenings; As I walk, the sound of a violin comes from the window of a house, a piece of Paganini that seems to want emotions from the heart of the musician to enter all the cells of my body from my ears.

      I really can't express all what I have seen or felt, just like a perfume that you can't describe to someone who has not smell it before; there is no way to express, no way to escape. I remember a quote from the Venetian explorer Marco Polo, I did not write half of what I saw, for I knew I wouldn't be believed.

      Venice is like paradise for me, because it portraits a real city, it was built right in nature, with civilized, artistic and beautiful people.

      "Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice" says Marco Polo.

      Imagine a plant, Which comes down from a tree, as people hit it on the head, and sometimes children destroy it. A little further on, look at the bricks of the wall, from which such a plant has taken root and protruded.

      This is the reality of the whole world. Man is always like that plant, I believe hardships create beauty.

      Venice didn't get beautiful so simple, it is designed like a plant, houses that have their roots in the mainland and have emerged from the heart of the sea. Life in Venice needs to be taken care of, like love, like a vase that should not be overlooked.

      Venice is also a city of festivals and carnivals. The Venice Film Festival in late August, for example, is one of the most important events in the world of film and art every year. The Venice Carnival, which runs throughout the city in February, is one of the biggest and oldest carnivals in the world. This carnival is also known as the Carnival of Masks. The masks you could see in "Eyes Wide Shut" film, have also been made by the artists of this city. Apart from masks, Venetian crystals are also very popular and their construction is spectacular. These crystals are made in the traditional way on the islands around Venice (Murano and Burano).

      They told us that time passes very quickly, but they never said that time passes faster than what they say, and what we think.

      Sometimes I think like a retiree about how I should live now, I think I should take a boat in Venice, lift its seats, lie on the floor and listen to Chopin's pieces for as long as I live, as I put the music player on the wooden floor of the boat so that I can feel Chopin fingers on the piano as it slips.

      I want to think of nothing with all my being, I want to take with me one of Michelangelo's artworks, and a painting by Da Vinci; I would like to put the smell of coffee in a glass if I can, or have a perfume by Yves Saint Laurent with me. I like to carry envelopes of letters and papers in limited numbers, ink and pen to write a letter to anyone I liked ... this is what I really want.

      Honestly, after returning from a trip to Italy in 2016, I didn't feel good, I was disappointed with some of the people I met, very bitter events ..., and in general I didn't consider Italy as my favorite country. I was younger, and I didn't know history.

      But now I think I owe a lot to the Italians for what they have given to my mind, not only in 2016, but since my childhood. Lasting artworks that changed history and the beauties they created in my heart.

      The rain has started slowly and I am hurrying to the other side of the bridge, the trip to Venice is coming to an end and my emotions are about to burst. I find an old platform that seems to have been there for hundreds of years, I sit without worrying about my clothes getting dirty and I cry for minutes with pieces by Ennio Morricone. I're out of control, and that's the only thing I can do, not for grief, just for the emotions that erupted after seeing this city.

      I read in a book that he wrote, "Why is man never satisfied with having what he has?"

      This was a question I had asked myself a long time ago. Just when I didn't want to spend my whole life in college or in a office/workplace. Full of passion for not living a normal routine, I never wanted to sit in restaurants for hours, eat and talk with others about my dreams, I never wanted to drive around the streets, or buy clothes in malls all my life.

      What others said about me never changed my outlook on life. I just wanted to live my youngest years and answer my curiosities. I wanted to answer all my questions quickly, because I knew that the things I wanted might just be interesting to me right now, maybe in my thirties the things I want to experience now would not be new to me. Actually, I wanted everything I wrote above, but not at that time.

      But now, feeling that I have more or less answered the questions of my mind, I am looking for a nest to live in, a book to read, and a café to sit in; I have no lust for anything anymore.

      Now that I have been walking alone in Venice for a long time, I think to myself, where does the feeling of belonging to a place come from? Why do we consider others or ourselves to belong somewhere?

      These are the borders that have separated us throughout history, what about you? Would you like to see the world fragmented or integrated? Why should Michelangelo be an artist from Italy and Hafez a poet from the land of Persia?

      I walk in the rain and away from the city center, clearing the borders from my mind for a while and thinking of a free world, a world that is more beautiful in my eyes. I think with the pieces of Paganini, Morricone, @Mannarino, Federico Fellini; if I remove nationalism from my words, the world will be proud to have them, not just Italy. As this planet is proud of having sun and rain and makes us crazy with its beauties.

      Right in the corner of Venice, a beautiful, leafy house with a balcony garden takes me to itself like a magnet. The canal of this alley is different from other canals, it is untouched and wide, and the Baroque church in front of the house made a white landscape for it; This is the most beautiful house I have ever seen in Venice. I think if I am given a chance to choose in this world, I will immediately choose this house as a place to live.

      Deciding on small things is one of my weaknesses. So when I see gondolas, I think for hours, do I have to ride? Or not? In fact, the gondola is something that many tourists who travel to Venice travel around the canals for minutes with, but it is rare to see anyone riding alone.

      I think to myself, maybe I should come here with her for honeymoon when I get married? I want to ride with her for the first time, or I think maybe I should walk more than to be in the water? Or I think that if I don't ride, I will miss something, so that I never traveled on a gondola. Now when my friends are asking why? the answer is: "It was too romantic for me".

      The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. It is typically propelled by a gondolier, who uses a rowing oar, which is not fastened to the hull, in a sculling manner and also acts as the rudder. The uniqueness of the gondola includes it being asymmetrical along the length making the single-oar propulsion more efficient.

      Now that I have seen few autumns, fallen in love with winters, and understood the meaning of summer, I can seldom feel dependent on anything. The reality that goes through my mind every moment, the reality that emphasizes the shortness of life, wants me to live with love, wants me to forgive and pass.

      Here at the top of the old and beautiful "Ponte dell'Accademia" bridge I think about what beauties this bridge has seen, what autumns and winters, what birds have fallen in love on it, and what kind of humans have crossed over it...

      When one sees beauties, he subconsciously becomes ecstatic, opens his mouth, and recounts to another the desire to watch beauties; But this has been different for me so far. My solo travels have created many conflicts in my heart. The eyes that have seen so much, the ears that have heard so much, and a closed mouth. In fact, my heart is full of secrets that remain there. Or sometimes I speak to myself in my heart.

      As I write, I confess that there are no words made to express my feelings.

      “Those who never suffered are unable to sympathize...” - Niccolò Tommaseo

      Photo: Statue of Nicolò Tommaseo, Venice, Italy

      If we empty our minds of religions, and look at them and their people only as a historical event, we can start a new perspective on our world.

      As I have learned much from Cyrus the Great, I have learned many things from Jesus Christ. I have learned his humanitarian view of the world, the equality of all people, the nature of truth and love, peaceful mind; So I think about his thoughts every day.

      I have friends from all religions, among my best friends are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc .; I consider in my mind all of them followers of goodness and correct teachings; In fact, in my opinion, religion should not be chosen as a "command", but as a guide; If you can learn something good from someone, why not?

      Of course, I'm too small to comment on big things.

      You can see St Mark's Basilica behind me in Piazza San Marco, the most important church in the center of Venice and of course the most beautiful square, where many films have been made, in fact for Venice it is like the Eiffel Tower for Paris.


















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