A European holiday
Treat yourself to a glorious holidays in Europe, you can go to one place, few or all the cities on the checklist. It’s a marvelous experience of cultures, surroundings and different traditions.
The most alluring city to visit for me is Prague. It’s simply charming pandering through its roads, squares and medieval architecture. This I suspect, should be a cultural tour, just to look at the way these building have been as it were sketched on canvas.
And who wouldn’t go to Europe without visiting Venice and its wonders, an urban architectural structure built on water. It is a visitor’s dream world, a fantasy, where the only means of transport is through Gondolas to get from one place to another.
It’s an enchanting city. A recently unusually termed as a sensual guide titled Venice is a Fish by Tiziano Scarpa, he wrote about this water site in a very different didactic way, dwelling in its local aura, and providing a sense of a wonder in the world.
From there it would be a shot upwards to Berlin, that historical city which once stood as a flashpoint between east and west. Reunited at just over two decades, as part of one Germany, the city continues to exuberate much nostalgia. I will always remember it through Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin.
United in hand, there is still a feel of difference about it despite the fact that the Berlin Wall was torn down as seen by the division in the eastern and western part of the city that has become integrated with twinges of the past.
After that, it has to be to Paris, that dazzling city, and a prime witness to the French revolutions that arguably changed not only our philosophical and political thinking but the world. Although the Eifel Tower and Arch de Triumph at the Champs-Elysees may stand as symbols of France, there is much history and culture testified to by its writers and artists, intellectuals, businessmen, politicians, and by its many nationalities and different quarters.
The city does not need any introduction for much has been written about it but one could be advised to remember the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown the mystery that starts at the Louvre Museum but moves through a chase in the different streets of Paris and the French countryside.
Next it has to be Barcelona in Spain with its Gaudi architecture exemplified in unique verandas and different shapes and sizes and forms of buildings and styles that are an extension of the surrealism of Salvador Dali and translating itself on the ground and on the streets of the city.
Of course in Spain lies the remains of once-Islamic architecture that today stand majestic for all to see as in Al Hambra palace and Cordoba and Granada where coexistence once developed there. Today, they stand as impressive monuments.
From Spain, it’s got to be Luxembourg, the tiny landlocked Duchy that is bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. It’s a country that is simply itched out of a picture book. This is at least how I remembered it from a long-time ago.
From then on, it’s the sky’s the limit, moving from Amsterdam, the city of many delights and potholing through Copenhagen and the Scandinavian countries. This is virginal terrain, cold, austere and developed right up in north Europe. There is a very sophisticated look about these countries that needs to be discovered.
I have vivid recollection of Stockholm through history books and different literati mediums, coming to Sweden of course through learning about the Vikings, and later via the post-industrial state and its ultimate welfare where the Scandinavians have got it made. More recently, the picture flipped to my mind when I read the Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo, of journalism mixed with industrial finance and family feuds.
After that, it’s got to be to Oslo, that quintessential European city where the Norwegians like to play a quite hand in international politics as they did in the secret Oslo accord of the early 1990s which set the ball-rolling for agreements between the Israelis and the Palestinians. While the actual negotiations took place in the outback, it is Oslo that is always remembered.
Crossing the North Sea is next, going all the way to York in Britain. Notice, here it is not London that is preferred but York, that glorious city in the north of England where it is a must-see place for anyone wanting to tour Europe. For it is here, you smell the charm and relaxation amidst the staid powers of traditions, greenery and extensive parks.