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Meeting the Pope

If Rome doesn`t have it all, it has at least got most of it. For people looking for remnants of ancient civilizations, it has got monuments dating back centuries. For fashion fans, it has got designer shops specialised in shoes, handbags and all sorts of accessories. Rome has got a pleasant climate all year round, it has got art, performances, beautiful people. For some, all of the above are just nice add-ons. They have come to Rome with one primary objective: to see the Pope.

Posted by Bruno

Pasta and Coffee

Pizzahut and Starbucks do not figure among the many international companies with subsidiaries in Rome. Pizza, pasta and coffee and different in Italy from anywhere else. Better, according to the Italians. In their opinion, coffee has got no taste in most countries outside Italy and pasta gets systematically messed in the hands of non-Italians. Here`s an overview of how Italians think their cherished culinary masterpieces are supposed to be prepared and presented.

Posted by Bruno

Italian passion

From all nationalities I have come to know during the last few months, the Finnish and the Estonians seemed the least `flirtuous`. Italians have positioned themselves at the other extreme of the scale. In Italy, love is art waiting to be expressed. Whether in reference to love, to business or to anything else: compliments open doors. Italians, regardless of gender, like to be admired and they go out of their way to make a good impression on whoever they think is worth it.

Posted by Bruno

Airline Skyeurope helped me get from Cyprus to Vienna and from Bratislava to Rome in the last 48 hours. Italy is country number 15 on the list and since today is my first day, the usual introductory questions pop up: what`s going on in this country and what is on people`s minds?

Posted by Bruno

Summer heat

Many people I have met during the past few days insist that I have not come to Cyprus at the right time of year. Day temperatures may feel pleasant to Northern European visitors, but Cypriots have a hard time fighting the cold. Most houses are not isolated, which means temperatures at night reach close to zero. Both outdoors and indoors. Improvised heating units struggle to heat a few square meters of space, mostly in people`s living or sleeping rooms. Cypriots are better equipped for temperatures well over 30 degrees. I am happy to listen to their view on coping with tropical summer heat.

Posted by Bruno

All social events in Ireland relate in some way or another to a visit to the local pub. Cyprus has more of a food tradition. Celebrating and eating could easily be considered synonyms, since any possible official event would be wasted without everlasting family meals. Today`s question to people in Larnaca: which events are celebrated in Cyprus and how are they different from one another.

Posted by Bruno

Package holidays

Cyprus is a popular holiday destination that every summer welcomes more tourists than it has inhabitants. Sun, sea and night life draw herds of English, Germans and Scandinavians to the island but also tourists from Thailand, India and the Middle East. The holiday infrastructure in Cyprus is built on all-inclusive package holidays, leaving few opportunities for backpacking or discount travel. But how do Cypriots themselves pass their holidays and where?

Posted by Bruno

Networking

Cyprus is a very small country: not only in distances but also on a social scale. Almost everybody knows almost everybody. Social control helps Cyprus remain a very safe country, but some people would care for a little more privacy at times. Immigrants from mainland Europe usually need very little time to get fed up with the village-like social structures in Cyprus, which send news across the island quicker than a person can travel.

Posted by Bruno

For the last few days, I have tried hard to avoid talking too much about the `Cypriot problem`. Today is my first day in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. Proudly yet sadly, Nicosia calls itself the last remaining separated capital in Europe. The so-called Green Line, a buffer zone safeguarded by the United Nations, separates the Occupied Area in the North from its Greek Cypriot counterparts in the South. Today`s article aims to provide an insight into of Cyprus`s divided reality, seen from the Greek Cypriot side. The same story from the opposite perspective will follow tomorrow.

Posted by Bruno

After having a look at the Greek Cypriot side of the `Cyprus dispute`, the logical next step is to cross to the North side of the island to ask for some opinions there. So, off I go today, across the UN-patrolled Green Line that splits Nicosia and all of Cyprus in two. Welcome to the `Area under Turkish occupation since 1974` according to the Greek Cypriots ? or to the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus` (TRNC) as it is called on the other side of the dividing line.

Posted by Bruno