My parents took me to Venice during the summer of 2012 to celebrate my 25th birthday. I was living in the U.K. at that time and in the thick of working on my dissertation — so it was a very welcome birthday trip. I was only there for a few days and unfortunately was so caught up in just walking around and sight seeing that I didn’t get a chance to get off the beaten path too much. But, this is what I took away…
Venice is truly as beautiful as advertised in every vintage poster or postcard you have ever seen. There is absolutely no other place like it. As many of you probably know, there are no roads in the historic part of Venice. If you need to get somewhere you can hop on a water taxi or a water bus (yes, they exist and they have routes).
The city of Venice is literally a city full of tourists. People from all over the world clamor to Venice for it’s unique beauty. Also, I feel like there might be some urgency to people wanting to see Venice as it’s a sinking city that won’t necessarily stand the test of time. As Venice is a city of tourists, it doesn’t really have locals. The Italians you see working there don’t actually live in the historic part of Venice. It’s just too expensive.
A friend and course mate of mine is Venezian and he was back in Venice when I visited. I met up with him and his girlfriend in the city one night and they explained that outside of the Venice I knew was a Venice with actual roads and cars. The “locals” don’t live in the main part of the city but they work there in the thriving tourism trade selling Murano glass and Venecian carnival masks or running shops and working in restaurants. Tourism is an old trade in Venice — it’s probably one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world and people have been coming to marvel at it for centuries. And it’s no wonder why…
While it is still the beginning of 2013, I wanted to take the chance to look back on all the amazing trips I have had over the last year. Some of them have not yet been featured on this blog but hopefully I will begin to catch up with the details of those journeys. In the meantime here is to a fantastic year and I’m looking forward to an even better one!
Edinburgh is one of the best cities I have ever visited. It is one of those places that just feels like home. My favorite thing to do in this ancient Scottish city is to get up early in the morning on a sunny day, pick up a cup of coffee and walk through the streets of Edinburgh until I end up on top of Calton Hill. It’s the best way to see the city wake up.
Quite opposite from Scotland, it’s ideal to wake up late in Spain along with the locals.The earliest you should be eating breakfast is at 11 a.m. and it should be churros con chocolate with a strong iced coffee. Once you make it through the sprawling urban city of Madrid it will be 3 p.m. before you know it and time for lunch with a nice glass of tinto de verano.
After a few days in the massive city of Madrid, it’s good to take a vacation from your vacation and head to Salamanca for a weekend. The historic city is alluring with it’s two massive cathedrals and the most beautiful main square in all of Spain. In addition you can see the oldest university in Spain — the University of Salamanca.
Venice looks every bit like the postcards and posters you have seen of it. It’s a city that exudes history, magnificence and a massive tourism industry. Get caught up in the sinking cities infamous piazza’s, glass shops and canals. There is no other city in the world like it.
Prague, Czech Republic
The fairy tale like city of Prague has it’s own unique culture that includes a history of communism, a preserved Jewish quarter untouched by WWII and a steady German/French influence that has shaped it’s architecture. Walk over the river Vltava on the beautiful Charles bridge towards Prague Castle. Then hike up your way up to Strahov Monastery where you can drink amazing Czech beer that has been brewed by the monks there for centuries.