“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.” – Eudora Welty
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been a little bit restless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying being home, but for the last two years I have constantly had a trip to look forward to. I’ve lived in France and the Netherlands. I’ve visited Brussels, Geneva and London, as well as many Dutch cities. I had never experienced wanderlust before January of this year, when I yearned to return to Amsterdam. And we all know how that turned out! So I’ve decided that I need to book a weekend city-break somewhere, and I’m hoping you guys can help me choose where to go! My wanderlust list is extensive, but I’ve narrowed it down to three European cities – I’d love to hear your thoughts, advice and experiences on them.
I have wanted to visit Copenhagen ever since I first watched a movie about Hans Christian Andersen as a child. At age 10, my teacher gave me Denmark as my European country to research and present a project on. I didn’t want Denmark. Denmark wasn’t cool. I wanted France or Spain! However, the country slowly grew on me as I discovered it is the home of LEGO and especially when I was introduced to my first royal family that did not live in England! Ever since then, Copenhagen has been synonymous with royalty and fairytales, so not surprisingly top of my list is a visit to Kronborg Castle, and Langelinje Pier to see the Little Mermaid. I’m fascinated by Danish culture, or my limited knowledge of it. Danes are known as the happiest people in the world; they like to cycle and Copenhagen is one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. With beautiful buildings along the canals like the picture of Nyhavn above, the scenery takes my breath away. I’m also very fond of the word hygge, the Danish equivalent of the Dutch word gezellig! A trip to Copenhagen is a definite must-happen in 2015.
Another old, culturally rich city I’ve been humming and hawing over for a while is Krakow. I have many Polish friends, and it is from spending time with them that I have learned to lust after this city from afar. From all accounts, it seems like a place that transports you back in time. The main square is supposed to be the most beautiful of any large European city. I want to wander aimlessly around Wawel Royal Castle, and view the city peacefully from the top of the hill. I would love to experience Auschwitz as I’ve heard it is a life-affirming experience. Also, to add to my WWII fascination, Schindler’s Factory sounds like an exciting and educational way to discover the history of Krakow. As a vegetarian, I’m not too sure how I’d fare with all the meat laden dishes that my friends eat (unsure if these are traditional dishes or not!), but I wouldn’t say no to a taste of Polish vodka!
I must confess that out of all three cities, Berlin is one I know the very least about. Germany has never been a country I have felt the overwhelming urge to visit. When I was younger, I crossed the border from Luxembourg to Germany to have lunch at a vineyard. That should give you an idea of how much I know of the country. However, before I visited the Netherlands I knew virtually nothing about Dutch history or culture either, and now I’m obsessed with learning more! Other than the Reichstag and the Brandenberg Gate, my knowledge of Berlin is limited to what others tell me. By large it has all been incredibly positive. I’ve been told that Berlin is not only unbeatable for history and art while also one of the coolest, most diverse and eclectic cities in Europe, and that’s good enough for me!
So guys I need your help. Let me know if you have ever been to Copenhagen, Krakow or Berlin, and if you were planning a mini vacation, which city would you choose?
This Day Last Year – 12th November 2013 – The Countdown Is On
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