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Showing posts from August, 2017

Saint Petersburg, Russia. Where to go and what to see if your time is limited

Hi everybody! How've you been? Has 2017 been good to you so far? My 2017 has been very busy, although I have been working on getting back to the balanced lifestyle. The more busy I am, the more I realize how important it is to give myself enough rest, physical activity, and pleasant emotions. And the best thing that unites all three of the aforementioned aspects is of course travelling.

A few days ago I took a short break and went to Saint Petersburg with my daughter and my nephew. Saint Petersburg is more than just a city. It's a historic legend, UNESCO World Heritage sight, and definitely one of the must-see places in the world. My break was short, but it was so good that I decided to share our itinerary with you just in case some of my readers find themselves in the situation when they have just 3 days to spend in Saint Petersburg and they can't decide where to go and what to see. Especially if you are travelling with teenagers (my co-travellers are 12 and 18 years old,…

Is it possible to learn a language without absorbing its culture?

When we approach learning a language, thoughts of grammatical correctness and learning lists of words by rote are often uppermost in our minds. However, there are many elements of language learning that creep up on us unawares. Some of these are inextricably linked with the culture from which that language developed. This is something that those in professional translation embrace as part of learning a new language, but is it possible to learn a language without absorbing its culture as well?

Take the Portuguese word saudades, for example. It doesn’t have a direct translation in English. Google Translate provides ‘miss you’ as the translation, but this is a long way from the mark. Saudades is a deep-rooted sense of longing or yearning for someone or something – a melancholy that touches the heart and the soul. It’s not a word to be used lightly!

The very existence of such a word offers a hint into the Portuguese character and culture. It expresses something that we have no direct equi…