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When I tell people who have never been to Vladivostok how special it is, I often find myself lacking words. Because the city is so magnificent, every single visitor (with very few exceptions) immediately falls in love with it; whether it is love at first sight or a complicated and passionate romance.

I often see that my emotional stories about the milky fog that covers the hills and turns the city into a wonderland puzzle people. And when I say that living at the edge of the ocean can indefinitely expand your somewhat limited awareness of “I” and can transcend you into the Universe, my audience usually brings me back down to Earth with a mundane question: " Why do you say ‘ocean’ and not ‘sea’?" Suddenly realizing that no words can describe this phenomenon, I show them photographs while humming my favorite local tunes. And when I start referring to hashtags like #vladivostok_beautiful and #vladivostok, my audience finally warms up to me: “Wow, I had no idea that Vladivostok is such a cool city!”

But wait, that’s not all! I wish I could tell you more. I wish I had a magic bottle with the scent of wet seaweed and pebbles from the shore trapped in it, or a shard of sunlight reflected from a glistering wave. This is why I believe that there is no such thing as a ‘former Vladivostoker’. It’s because of the stormy weather, the wind, the fog, and the ocean: they grow in you and then stay with you forever. This city runs in your vains till the end.

Looking into my ocean-colored eyes, listeners start to believe my crazy stories and nod their heads — yes, we should definitely go to this “end of the world” sometime — and I say, “absolutely!”, because the only way to truly know Vladivostok is to experience it.

Oh, by the way, — to add a bit of cold judgement into this flow of emotions — National Geographic included Vladivostok in its top 10 of oceanfront cities.