Only 16 days left until Christmas! The holiday season might be a little bit weird for a lot of people around the world this year due to the pandemic, but hopefully better days are ahead of us. I decided for this very special period to do my own sort of Advent calendar, with a series of six short articles published every four days… and a surprise for Christmas Day! Here’s the third one: a throwback to 2020 in twelve pictures.
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What else than the symbolic of a sunrise to begin the year? One morning in January, more precisely on the 20th, I got up earlier than usually to take a picture of the sun rising over the harbour of Saint-Nazaire. This day was actually the “Blue Monday”, which is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Well, I can definitely guarantee that there were many others much more depressing days than this one in 2020…
February was the month of my last travel before the pandemic. I went to Naples and its surroundings for a week, and it was fantastic. It was hard to pick only one picture: I hesitated for a long time between a photo of the gorgeous island of Procida, the ruins of Pompeii, or the landscapes of the Amalfi coast, but I eventually chose this photo of the Quartieri Spagnoli of Naples, the former Spanish Districts. Yes, the streets there were noisy, sometimes dirty, and I got almost knocked over by a scooter or a Vespa many times; but they were at the same time so colourful and extraordinarily alive. Beautiful landscapes and stunning architecture can be found in many places; but the vibe of the Quartieri Spagnoli is unique.
The beginning of the first 2-month lockdown in France, and a view I would get really used to after a few weeks: the view from my bedroom at my parents’ house in Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast. At least as you can see, they have a garden, and as the sun was often shining we enjoyed it a lot.
Still in lockdown, and still in our garden! The weather was again really nice during the entire month, which lead to a gorgeous spring: flowers were blooming everywhere, and I spent a lot of time admiring bees gathering pollen from them. And it was so quiet… No traffic, no planes, no noise at all sometimes: there was some sort of peace during this period that we might never enjoy again with such a high intensity during our entire lives.
After two entire months stuck at home with strong movement restrictions (not further than 1km and no longer than one hour per day), the first thing I did when the lockdown eased was hiking. I walked on many different trails around my hometown, including my all-time favourite, the coastal path. This alignment of fishing cabins close to a lovely little beach has always been the part I loved the most, and it was a pleasure to finally be able to go there again.
My first post-lockdown travel, with a few days in Switzerland for a wedding. It was also the occasion to catch up with my best friend and spend an evening together in Lausanne, a city I always liked a lot and where we always used to go to for partying when I lived in Neuchâtel. This is the only picture in this list that wasn’t taken during the past 12 months, but back in 2012; unfortunately, I didn’t take a single picture during this short trip (or at least not a single picture that I would want to share here!).
In July, we had the privilege to observe the comet Neowise shining in our night sky. This picture reminds me of a warm summer night trying to photograph it and enjoying the beauty of this astronomical phenomenon.
Another short trip but this time to Paris to catch up with many friends I hadn’t seen since before the lockdown. I also spent some time wandering on my own around the city, so quiet at this time of the year: many Parisians were on holidays, and the usual hordes of tourists weren’t here. I think that it was the first time for a while that I really enjoyed visiting Paris.
Second holidays of the year for me. Once again I decided to go to Italy, this time for a road trip in the north of the country. It was also very difficult to select just one picture, especially considering the many gorgeous places I visited (Venice, the Cinque Terre, Pisa, the Dolomites…), but I eventually picked this photo of Verona, because I met a lot of people there, because I had an amazing time with them, and because all of that reminded me why I love travelling so much.
To be honest, nothing really special happened to me in October. I spent a couple of hours one afternoon in the lovely village of Le Croisic close to Saint-Nazaire where I took this picture, and that’s pretty much everything I can say about it.
The long-awaited (not really) comeback of the lockdown! With the same movement restrictions as during spring, but this time I stayed in my own little apartment closer to the sea which means that during the one hour I was allowed to go outside I could go to the harbour. Don’t tell anyone, but the day I took this picture, the weather was so beautiful that I actually stayed outside for almost two hours…
Anecdote: the red fishing boat to the right on this picture was victim of a hole in the hull a few days ago, but luckily the two sailors that were on board were rescued.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… I walked around the centre of Saint-Nazaire during the last few days, and with the shops open and the Christmas lights illuminating the city, it didn’t feel like we were under lockdown anymore. A shiny break through a dark period, or a promise for better days? Future will tell us…
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