The Old Masters

The air in this place is thick, saturated, as if the dust of time stands in the sky. The sun comes through in a haze of soft light; the buildings assume an ornate and translucent quality. And all day we walk around as if in a daze, the sky colored in such a vague enchanting way. The reality? Milan(o) has almost no pollution regulation. The miraculous, movie-quality effects that filter down and through the ancient city are, in truth, the thick particles of car exhaust, suburb factory smoke, and the visible bustle and hum of a city at large. It puts the quaint smog of Los Angeles to shame.

Piazza della Scala , Milano, Italy, Marco Polo, Da Vinci, Statue, LeonardoThe magical qualities of this fashionista cultural hub continue in all ways. The language lilts like doves skirting in low lying trees—Italians being arguably the loudest and most friendly of all Europeans. The food wafts from corner to corner and as our feet walk towards the inevitably gorgeous Piazza della Scala, we must pause in the pure beauty of this Northern Italian city. Continue reading

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Salzburg: The City We Would Have Never Seen

There are wonderful travel days filled with long walks, hot coffee, and epic photo ops—the kind that reaffirm your expensive plane ticket. Then there are those rocky travel days filled with—well, even longer walks, cold coffee, and the haunting underbelly of urban life.  Every day you might not know what is in store but in the end it’s all about your attitude, right? I am of the mind that with positivity your day has a much higher chance of being magical. This is even more true when you are traveling—the stakes are higher, the lows so much lower (did you see Taken? Yikes!) and the bare essentials suddenly feel like gifts from God. Our trip from Vienna to Milan took all of this into account, from the caffeinated beverages to the questionable gas station sandwiches, and it looked like it would be quite the bummer. Continue reading

The Stag Moat

The Royal Garden Flower Bed Prague Castle Pražský hradThe Prague Castle is the definition of a tourist attraction.  As well it should be.  It has churches and parks, it has a concert hall and fountains.  Peacocks strut the grounds and hawks stand tethered to low-lying branches.  The castle is a labyrinth of unique grandeur—the modern understanding of a royal palace.

But if you are like me, and I assume you are—because, well, I’m really cool—then you will want something to do that is less crowded.  Nobody likes a sea of contracting lenses  flashing in no-flash areas or large umbrellas intended  to herd tourist groups that, in reality, block your view.  Don’t get me wrong, the castle and its wonders should be viewed in full (especially the iconic St. Vitas church), but you can get away from this loud poshy area right inside the palace grounds.

Yes. You can dip in and out—you can tour and stroll—ike a visitor and citizen, all at once. Continue reading

Sanssoucci

The New Palace Postdam, Germany

They say it’s like the German Versailles. But smaller.

So, you’re in Berlin. You like it: the food, the people, the general way in which the streets bustle and hum. All the green. I get it, I know. But you get tired after some days; you become weary of the long avenues and historic sites, of long walks through the mile-wide parks, of endless drunken raves into the night. Time to mellow out. But where to go?

Continue reading