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This Year: European Capitals – Because They’re worth it

Let’s face it, Europe is one heck of a long way.  It’s expensive to get there, it’s expensive when you’re there and hey there’s so much of our own country that you haven’t even seen yet.  So why do so many of us do it?  What’s the point? You’ve seen all these places in the movies anyway.  Is it all it’s cracked up to be?  Well let me try and persuade you that yes it is all that it’s cracked up to be and that there’s nothing unpatriotic about enjoying a few European cities.  So put your doubts aside for a minute and consider what’s on offer back in the old countries where so many of us came from.  

Paris

I’ll start with the obvious one, Paris France, that big old romantic cliché that has seduced so many Americans.  Stroll about the streets of Paris, and if the weather’s decent it’s a great city for strolling, and you’ll soon feel that every cent that you spent getting there was worth it.  It’s partly that you’re surrounded by buildings older than anything we’ve got over here and it’s partly that those famous sights are famous for a reason: I defy you to stand beneath the Eiffel Tower and not be impressed by this incredible structure.  Paris of course is stuffed with famous art and that may or may not be your thing but it’s so much more than just a giant museum, it’s a completely different way of life and it’s a memory you’ll always carry with you.  

Now if you go to Rome you’re going to get something completely different.  I reckon you can always tell a lot about a place by the kind of river that runs through it: the Seine is broad and majestic, the buildings on either side a series of grand palaces; the Tiber, that runs through Rome, flows in a deep trench, it boils and spits and forces its way between rocks. It’s as though the temperaments of the two nations are reflected in their rivers. Paris is laid out like a chess board, it’s neat and orderly, Rome is all over the place and you never know what you’re going to find around the corner.  Right in the middle of everything you’ve got these huge ruins: the Colosseum and the Forum.  Absolutely amazing.  

London

Fly to London and you’ve got something different again.  The river Thames is busy like the city.  It’s not drop dead gorgeous like Paris, it’s not dramatic and a little bit hysterical like Rome, it’s a mish-mash of old and new, it’s about as multi-cultural as you’ll get but at the same time just so British and a lot more fun than you might think.  Have I convinced you? Probably not.  Every European city is different and every single one will give you something special.  If you’ve got the cash you can stay in some wonderful old hotels or if you want to save a bit of money try a short term let or if you really want to save money and meet the locals you could take a chance on air b&b.  Whatever trip you plan, whichever European cities you decide to visit, I promise you that you’ll collect a whole load of great memories.

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