12:12 GMT10 August 2020
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    The trip to the World Cup has dramatically changed Iranians' opinion about Russia, that's what Hoda Rostami, an Iranian travel blogger who shares photos of different countries she visits with her 265,000 Instagram followers, said to Sputnik about her visit to the country.

    Hoda Rostami: The first time I ever met a Russian was in Sweden, where my family and I moved from Iran when I was little. Now I have seen Russia up close and even learned to say "hello," "thank you" and "come on" in Russian. I made the decision to travel very quickly and came to Russia on my travel route: Canada-Sweden-Finland-St. Petersburg and then Kazan. I only went for the sake of football. I'm 32 years old, but I feel like I'm 25 and I still have a lot to learn. I wrote my blog in Persian and I want it to be read by Iranians.

    Iranian blogger Hoda Rostami
    Iranian blogger Hoda Rostami

    Sputnik: What's your impression of Russia before and after the trip?

    Hoda Rostami: In my opinion, those three weeks that I spent in Russia were not enough. Especially now when it is the World Cup. Before the trip, my impressions of Russia were the same as those of all my compatriots who have read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol and Chekhov.

    Now I've seen St. Petersburg, Kazan, Saransk and Moscow. They are all different, with different people. But now I want to see more — Siberia, Sochi and the Russian villages. I thought that Russians are stern people, but it's not the case! When I got lost on the street and began to look around, two people came up to me. They did not know English and I do not know Russian. These people asked me to give them my phone to help me and helped me out. Russians always understand who needs help. In my opinion, during the World Cup, Russians changed their opinion about Iranians.

    Iranian blogger Hoda Rostami
    Iranian blogger Hoda Rostami

    Sputnik: Is it possible to describe Russia in one sentence?

    Hoda Rostami: It is very difficult. I still can’t describe everything, because I have not seen the whole of Russia. If we talk about big cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, I can say that Moscow is a beautiful lady in a red dress and heels and St. Petersburg is like a mysterious book that I want to open again and again.


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    blogger, travel, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Iran, Moscow, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Finland
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