European travel and lifestyle
During my third year at university, I went on the standard year abroad that was required for all language students. Setting off to teach in a small city in Valencia, I did what any student would’ve done: I arrived at my destination, set down my bags…and started crying.
If you follow Zagreb’s old medieval wall along steep streets, you’ll come across Gornji Grad (Upper Town for everyone else). Spread across almost four miles, the district holds most of the oldest parts of Zagreb, as well as most of its main sights. St Mark’s Square, The Croatian Parliament and the city’s Cathedral (to name a few) are all located in Gornji grad, as is popular pedestrian street Tkalčićeva. From the first tie shop to beautiful panoramas, Gornji Grad’s fully pedestrianised streets make it ideal to wander around, exploring the remnants of the city’s medieval nucleus and discovering its newer (and sometimes quirkier) additions.
You’d think moving abroad would be easier the third time round.
Well, I say that. If I’m completely honest, none of my previous moves held the significance this one does. For the first time ever, the decision, as well as the responsibility, preparation and outcome, are entirely my own.
“You have to go before it disappears. Who knows how much longer it will be there…”
The local’s remark was pessimistic and ever so foreboding, but that is what Belgrade’s residents have come to expect when talking about Savamala. Lorries, dust and layers of street art hide an area that is desperate to get noticed under the incoming shadow of a €3bn riverside development that could end its culture.
Only 300 metres away from Republic Square, Skadarlija in Belgrade is a world apart from the city’s busy centre.
We first came across it when our tour guide turned around a corner and started offering our group homemade rakija (a type of fruit brandy) to accompany her story about the painters and philosophers who previously inhabited the so called Bohemian quarter.
Whilst listening to her and choking on a drink that was 50% alcohol, I also noticed how much the cobbled streets and colourful flower pots contrasted with the concrete buildings and retail pedestrian areas I’d quickly associated with the rest of Belgrade.
About a year ago, my travel buddy/boy-person Lee and myself were just landing in Paris. He had the same green hoodie, I had messy bangs and the whole trip would become one of our best-shared memories.
As a child, my father always avoided capital cities: too much traffic, noise and hardly enough space for the 3-berth foldable caravan we always took on holiday. I watched on sadly as we missed every major city in Europe: Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin…and Paris. That last one probably hurt the most.
Today I announced I was going interailing at work and, like clockwork , got the same responses I always do:
“But you just got back from a holiday!” and “How many do you even go on?!”. Or, my personal favourite: “You’re hardly ever in the office!”.
Excuse me, Miss Mug-stealer (yes, I know it’s you), I have just as much time off as you do. You see, my job isn’t a travel-centred one. If anything, according to mid-level management, our work-related world could probably fit in one building. If you’re lucky enough to work in an environment that lets you combine work trips with annual leave, please go ahead and do it (you’re living the dream). But for those trapped within the confinements of 25 day leave, here’s how to combine the two without completely giving up the comfort of office air conditioning.
I had a plan and I had a schedule. What I didn’t account for was how long photography can take or my fascination with the Roman grid system.
Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.