Coming from Italy, ‘cleanliness’ is the first impression. Most associate the city with music, the greats having come from here: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.. It is also the birthplace of Sigmund Freud. It was settled by the Celts, then fortified by the Romans, and has essentially been dynastic and opulent ever since. The home of the Hapsburgs, and the Hapsburg jewels. There are many great palaces, theatre halls, houses of parliament..all separated by fountains and parks and breath-taking views. Currently, it is the home of OPEC headquarters, the IAEA, and many United Nations branches. It is spy ground zero and the place they get their supplies, no doubt. I loved it; not as much as Berlin, but pretty close.
Every Europe trip should have some kind of departure from the big cities. Get a feel for more authentic local culture. I actually stayed in Treviso, a charming old town outside of Venice by 20 minutes or so. There was still an old castle wall with evidence of the moat that once existed around it too. I took a walk around the neighborhood, shopped at the big grocery store to scour through various products (found carbonation tabs you can add to any beverage;hadn’t seen those before!) and got smoked-out of a gelato shop one afternoon by all the cigarette-wielding locals packed onto the screened in verandah. There was also a day trip to a town called Asolo outside of Venice, … Read More
The few people I was traveling with had never been to Venice, so it’s a curiosity must when you’re so close. It is by no means a romantic destination, let me set the record straight. The first time I went, I stayed at a convent on the cheap. Because you’re on water, you can’t really get lost. Just roam around. Inside the square, it can seem claustrophobic and compact. It’s made up of many tiny narrow passageways and bridges over water leading to other sections. The whole labyrinth is just cramped store fronts, nooks into cubicle sized specialty shops, restaurants, and bars. The rising water issue keeps everything looking dilapidated. And oh hey, if you want to spend $180/hr to … Read More
Just lovely evening ambiance in the city square the view to the right of my hotel, right into the square: The Duomo Florence was much cleaner(a far cry from all the cigarette butts covering Rome), calmer because of less crowds, and has such beautiful layers of history. It was once the center of medieval Europe and is the birthplace of the Renaissance. Visiting the Uffizi gallery can be just as overwhelming as the Louvre in Paris, though much smaller. Just for a list of the great works there http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffizi_Gallery My second time here; definitely a favorite place.