7 Cities Abroad That Make My Traveler's Heart Oh So Happy
Wanderlust. We have all experienced this. The compelling force of desire to travel the world and explore the different cultures around us. I have been fortunate enough to travel abroad in the past, and I hope that my future will present the same treasure of discovering new cuisine, history, and lifestyles. And now, as Spring Break is behind us and summer is waiting for us to journey away from campus, here are my top seven cities abroad that inspire me to get out of my comfort zone and travel to my heart’s content.
1. London, England
More than just the setting for Blockbuster hits and home of an attractive accent, London has a sleepy calm that settles into the streets and makes me want to settle into a small café, drink tea, and read a book. But with so much to offer, I can’t settle for some fiction when the real world is around me and London awaits. I loved visiting the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, along with quietness in St. Paul’s Cathedral and the 528 steps I climbed to get some of the best views of the city. Peering into the Elizabethan era in Shakespeare Globe, I never could have imagined how moved I would be by the history that had taken place there. Moving about in small black cabs and fast tube rides, my heart never raced faster. London, you never fail to amaze me, and I hope that someday we will meet again.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oh Amsterdam, how I love you so. Your charming streets decorated with Dutch-styled houses lining the canals that connect the city, with more bikes on the streets than cars, you captured my heart. From the Rijksmuseum library that literally took my breath away to the Anne Frank House that put my life into perspective, Amsterdam has that certain delightful airiness to its town that makes it my favorite city that I have ever traveled to (and hopefully will travel to again). With waffles galore and fries with too many sauces to count, your stomach will thank you for traveling to Amsterdam.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Two worlds collide in Istanbul, and what’s better than getting the best of both worlds? I have always learned about Istanbul from my history classes, being the center of trade, religion, and culture for centuries. I hope to one day travel to this city and explore its markets filled with spices and antiques unique to Istanbul. The Bosporus dividing two continents will give me such thrill as I travel farther than I have ever gone. Their Turkish coffee is a delicacy I have always wanted to try, and the union of so many cultures in one place will introduce so many flavors to my palette. As a gateway to Asia, the number of different beliefs, backgrounds, and people is so numerous that I believe no could feel alone in this city.
4. Venice, Italy
I have always wanted to travel to Italy, but it wasn’t until I watched my now-favorite movie that I felt the need to travel to Venice. As the main character arrives, she is greeted by canals and Italian architecture as the music of Andrea Bocelli plays in the background. I always get misty eyed as I watch that scene because of the great beauty the city holds. What attracts me to Venice is the sheer amount of history. I can’t imagine how busy the canals were as merchants filled their boats with goods to sell, and craftsmen handmade artisan works. The time of the Renaissance and rebirth...and now the present as the city that floats. As I dream of traveling through its streets of water as our gondola glides along, I have a dreamy feeling that compels me to a time so different from my own. Music of the opera and strings fill my ears as I imagine walking on the bridges as a setting sun hits the water. Here’s to my future travels to the city of Venice.
5. Paris, France
Yes, cheesy, I know, but doesn’t everyone have their vision of traveling to the City of Lights one day? I only spent two days there, and it was never enough, but no amount of time could be enough to discover all Paris has to offer. After I visited Notre Dame, I finally had a look around the city. I then did what every person should do when they travel to Paris. I took out my phone, plugged in my earbuds, and proceeded to listen to Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “La Vie en Rose.” The city is a romantic, rose-tinted dream like all the movies show you. The glow from the Eiffel Tower is like no other, and the halls in the Louvre museum could have kept me trapped for a lifetime. Every street corner presents the charm and that certain “je ne sais quoi” that pulls me in. Until I visit again, au revoir, Paris. Please keep the lights on for me.
6. Vienna Austria
As the capital of Austria, home to composers like Mozart, Vienna makes me cheer with excitement about the prospect of visiting sites dedicated to music, a true passion of mine. Going to the Vienna State Opera House and experiencing their fine art would be such a blessing, one that I should not take for granted. What a gift it would be to visit the home of Mozart and the place he composed from, whose sound granted me my first real introduction to classical music. I want to explore the Baroque-style palaces and churches and travel back to the time of royalty and prestige. Classic, timeless, elegant. Vienna, I can’t wait to explore you.
7. Barcelona, Spain
I once saw an aerial view of Barcelona and its perfectly symmetrical blocks. I would visit Barcelona for that view alone, but the architecture and art of the city call me there as well. Spanish churches, like the Sagrada Familia, full of history and amazing design features, call me to Barcelona. Soccer, or as they call it, fútbol, is huge in Spain, and I want to feel the excitement in the stadium as their team scores and the crowd goes wild. Waking up early and staying up late, and learning about the language and the customs around the Spanish culture has always been something I wanted to do coming from a Hispanic family. And one day in the future, I hope to arrive and hear “Bienvenidos a Barcelona.”
Whether you travel abroad or around the country, take advantage of the new things around you. There is a plethora of things to do in each city, new cultures to explore, and new people to meet. Let wanderlust take you someplace you never expected to go.