This post is geared more toward UW’s readers who don’t live in Europe, since Toledo, Spain is well known among people living inside the EU. We didn’t even know Toledo existed until we went there. Glad we did.
An hour train ride southwest of Madrid is a city that’s just as authentic as it is old. It has the face of the Old World with a hint of an even older city found in the Middle East, given Toledo’s Arab traits that have existed throughout the centuries. The scenery is something to be admired as well once you’ve explored this fascinating place.
Looking out of place in Edinburgh, the National Monument of Scotland was meant to honor the fallen soldiers of the then-recent Napoleonic Wars. It was all good intentions when construction began on this ancient Greek Parthenon replica in 1822, but sadly, the project was never finished. Funds dried up and it was put on hold.
And it’s still on hold.
Despite the tragic nicknames it has accumulated over the last two centuries, it’s an interesting attraction that overlooks the Scottish capital.
Many miles away from urban life, off of I-25 and about two hours from the Colorado state line, sits a town called Las Vegas. There’s no flashy lights or casinos here. This is New Mexico’s Las Vegas.
And in this town, on one of the main streets, you’ll find this relic from the past. A leftover from a time when art met functionality. You don’t see many of these anymore. Take in this piece of Americana for yourself the next time you’re driving through.
Fun fact: this sign can be seen at about minute 17 on the season three finale of House of Cards, as Doug enters the hardware store.
Porto, or Oporto, is Portugal preserved. Simply put, it’s an awesome place. An old city with a Venice-like character to it, but without so many waterways, except for the Douro River.
It’s the Douro River that makes Porto so cool. They’ve made an industry out of river cruises. Down at the main river launch, which is easy enough to find, you can choose from a short, half-hour trip around the immediate area for €10-€20, or you can reserve a luxury cruise that lasts a lot longer, for a lot more money.
A 30-minute boat ride is easy enough to find since there are plenty of private charter boats that will take people cruising around the river while blasting Portuguese pop music on deck. Cheap, fun, unconventional. Enjoy it.
Today, Berlin is the thriving capital of a modern nation, but its recent history puts it at the front line of the Cold War, where East met West. Literally.
Relics of Europe’s communist era are scattered throughout the city, from remains of the Berlin Wall to Checkpoint Charlie, perhaps the world’s most famous crossing. These reminders are preserved to help us remember what the world was once like, and how close we came to ending it.
Anyway, on a lighter note, Berlin has great nightlife, friendly people, and great views of the city from its TV tower. If you’re lucky, you can find re-enactors at Checkpoint Charlie dressed up and walking around as Soviet and East German “officials”, selling you related merchandise, like a reproduction East German visa.