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A Nice Walk on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). This happens only once per year: it’s an unique event, and Istanbul lovers shouldn’t miss it. Of course I’m talking about the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon!

No, do not misunderstand me: I’m not proposing to run the 42+ km of a full marathon, neither to take the shorter 15 km run. What I’m talking about is to experience the fantastic opportunity of walking along the Bosphorus Bridge, which is normally jammed by cars and trucks, but one time per year is fully dedicated to runners, walkers and families.

Indeed, what for me is a very nice scene to be seen, is how much families and people truly love their bridge, which in this occasion is not simply an “infrastructure”, but becomes something more like a “legendary part of the city” (although it’s not so historical as monuments in Sultanahmet). During the marathon day, after runners’ start, people gather on the bridge to walk, discuss, protest, have breakfast (traditions matter!), play backgammon (tavla), sell simit with ayran and – of course – to take unique photos. In other words, the bridge – which normally connects the two sides of Istanbul, Europe and Asia – in this special day keeps its function of connecting “people” from different political parties, social extraction, cities of Turkey, football teams (yes, normally they fight like cats and dogs, but on the bridge they become friends) and so on. A sort of “occupy the bridge” day: isn’t it fantastic?

This here is one of the many photos I took last year during the 2014 Vodafone Istanbul Marathon (I created a specific tag): just click on the link to see the others; but if it happens you are in Istanbul the marathon day (this year it will be on the 15th of November) do not miss this great opportunity of experiencing something of unique.

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Thinking About My Beloved Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). It was a sad day, today. A kind of “day after” feeling is all over Istanbul, as well as pervades medias and social networks, which are populated of hastags such as #PrayForIstabul or #JeSuisIstanbul (why in French, by the way?). However, the city slowly tries to find its new equilibrium, but probably nothing will be the same anymore (or at least for a long time).

The word “violence” comes from from Latin “violentia”, which is the combination of the two words “vis” (strength) and “-ulentus”, adjective-forming suffix meaning “abounding in, full of”. And this is what is hurting me, and I guess million of people like me, from citizens to expats to just Istanbul lovers: the idea that Istanbul, and more specifically Sultanahmet, has been targeted for a violence or, in this case, has been the place chosen to demonstrate an excess of strength.

By who? This is not a blog about geopolitics: it does not matter “by who” – not here at least. As everybody, I’m following news to understand more and, of course, I hope that the all those behind this terrorist attack will pay for their responsibilities. However, what counts is that what happened yesterday – 12th of January, 2016 – is really shocking. And not because “I was there many times” or “it could have happened to me”. No, this honestly does not make sense, at all. But because, hurting Istanbul – and more specifically its heart, Sultanahmet – meant hurting a city that was founded in 660 B.C., which since its foundation has been teaching to the entire world what is “being an eternal bridge between continents, cultures and religions”; hurting Istanbul is hurting all of us – violently.

Napoleon once said: “If the world was only one country, Istanbul would be its capital!”. This is not the world I want: I hope from here now – from Istanbul today – we can start changing the world and make of it a better place for everybody.

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Life Along the Railway in Hanoi

Hanoi (Vietnam). Walking and photographing around Hanoi can be incredibly surprising: for example, I was not expecting to see the national railway surrounded by houses with people living and spending their days on the binaries… I found this scene incredibly attracting and exciting, I spent several minutes suspended between incredulity and the passion for that original situation. This is one of the most representative photograph I captured that afternoon.

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Young Monks at the Thien Mu Pagoda

Hue (Vietnam). The value of some photos is in remembering a special moment. I met these two young monks at the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue while I was walking and admiring this wonderful place. They were praying, but they made me understand that they were not disturbed by my presence. I staid in a corner, without taking photos but simply watching them and letting the peace generated by that moment pervading myself. When they finished, before closing the room where they were praying, they made me understand that I could take a photos of them – it was like a remuneration for my silent respect of their activity. At the end, I had the feeling that they were even happy to be photographed: as said, it was a special moment…

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Landscape of Chau Doc on the Mekong Delta

Chau Doc (Vietnam). Chau Doc is an intriguing destination on the Mekong delta, close to the Cambodian border. I definitely loved this place: I spent some hours photographing the life along the river’s banks, watching people farming fishes and moving with their boats. There’s something of magic here, it’s difficult to explain: a sort of “Vietnamese Venice” that made me thing that if Canaletto were from Vietnam, he would had painted Chau Doc.

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