Home Travel Travel – the European cities on my Lists of Fame. Part II

Travel – the European cities on my Lists of Fame. Part II

by Roberta

There comes a moment on a journey when something sweet, something irresistible and charming as wine raised to thirsty lips, wells up in the traveler’s being.

Patrick MacGill

Define ‘wealth’.

What starts out as an innocent question, expecting a simple and straightforward answer, could easily become one of the most misinterpreted questions in human society. People can be defined by the very definition they provide of this word. And we will all be stunned into seeing how such an obvious matter could be shifted from one individual to another.

To me, wealth is the hunger to know more. It’s what makes us more receptive to the lessons the world has to offer, humbling us in the process. An impossible amount of wealth lies in travelling; to define wealth is by extension to define travel.

I hope you enjoy Part II of this love story (you can find Part I here): a traveler, the cities she fell in love with and those she has yet to court.

 1. Venice

Although there is nothing eternal about this city – the acqua alta phenomenon seems to be winning the battle against the city – it exudes an air of everlasting beauty. I don’t know how better to explain the fact that the more something faces ‘certain death’ so to speak, the more beautiful it is. It is because this city’s days may be numbered, that it is so irresistible. Watery alleys, rich piazzas, romantic sunsets. This is Venice.

2. Prague

Whoever says fairy tales exist only in books has clearly never been to Prague. The very act of walking through its streets, of crossing St Charles’ bridge with it’s biblical figures adorning it, of gazing on its painted buildings is to thread in a place which must have inspired writers in a long forgotten romantic age. The fact that it is (as yet) not expensive is just another feather in its cap. Truly a gem worth discovering.

3. Istanbul

The city where opposites collide; where west meets east and old meets new, giving birth to something uniquely breathtaking. Istanbul had been on my to-visit list since my days at Emirates. I always preferred to go home on my days off but I always viewed people who took short breaks in nearby cities with a certain wistfulness. Istanbul had been one of them. What a beaut! Naturally divided by the Bosphorus Channel, Istanbul sprawls (the largest city in Europe at 21 million residents) across areas of lush greenery and densely stacked buildings. Riddled with mosques boasting ancient Persian architecture and high end restaurants and clubs, Istanbul is worth a visit. Steer clear of rush hours. Traffic (and the Turks’ general idea of what driving comprises of) could drive you insane.

And on my To-Court list..

1. Krakow & 2. Budapest

I don’t know if I’m right in believing that these 2 cities ooze the same folklorist charm as Prague does. Old churches and castles, a faint romantic air of a time which precedes us, in essence, different cultures to explore. I think they’re on my To-Visit list simply because I’m not quite sure what to expect; much of the same, or something different? and the allure of the mysterious is too strong to resist. 

3. Athens

I could, in all honestly, rave and rave and RAVE about this country and its islands forever. Ever since I can remember choosing my own books, I would read about the exploits of the ancient Greek gods (admittedly, not very child-friendly, R-Rated affairs), the lifestyle of the Athenians, the war strategies of the Spartans, the Battle of Marathon and the war  they waged on Troy. It is simply amazing how this civilisation could give so much to the world; mathematics, literature, drama, philosophy, science, art, politics. Greece was the cradle of humanity, and all that we have now, we owe to them. Given the situation the country is in today, I think we can humorously accept their little tongue-in-cheek remark about how it is now the rest of Europe’s turn to give them something back. But, apart from the little history lesson there, Greece is just beautiful. The landscape, the food, the timeless monuments, the islands. I want, no, need to see it with my own eyes and to have a small taste of what those countless books I read were all about.

I haven’t been everywhere yet. Hell, I haven’t been anywhere yet. But I intend to. One check-in at a time.

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