A Little Bit of Europe - London, Paris, Venice, Rome
I have not met anyone who is not keen on going for a holiday in Europe. It doesn't matter if it's the usual touristy cities, the exotic Eastern region, or the icy Scandinavian towns. Many would plan for a Europe holiday at least once in their life, and several times for those lucky ones.
From backpacking students and honeymooners to families and retirees, there will always be a place to excite and please everyone in Europe. History, art, architecture, culture, nature, entertainment and shopping, you name it, they have it all. And it isn't just about having that broad and diverse offering, the depth of experience in each interest is phenomenal and unforgettable.
Although I've traveled to several European cities for various reasons on several trips before, there were only 2 trips that were purely leisure and holiday-like. One was to Barcelona in 2013, which you might have read in my earlier posts. The other was more than 6 years ago to the standard postcard destinations of London, Paris, Venice, Rome and the Vatican City.
It was a short trip of only 13 days, which wasn't long considering the number of places covered. Fortunately, travelling within Europe was easy and efficient. Rail travel was a breeze and by travelling on overnight trains, one could save precious time. As most train stations are located in the heart of the cities, getting around was extremely easy upon arrival. Better still if you have booked a hotel near the station. All you'll have to do is to walk to your hotel from the train station and start the day immediately.
Of course, the key would be to travel light and carry little. Without which, you would not be able to walk the streets in search of your hotel from the train station. An all-in backpack or a hardy trolley case with durable wheels should do the job. However, the roads and pavements in many cities are not as well-paved as Singapore's. That could be your trolley case's last trip.
For photo-enthusiasts, you may wish to think twice before packing all your gear. Less is more; because less is exciting and more is redundant. Lately, I find it a tad more challenging and fun with less lenses to play with, and quite often, some lenses were just left in the hotel room everyday. Having said that, it is still a daunting task to decide which system and gear to bring on every trip till now.
However, I would like to share my experience in Rome, where bringing a big, heavy camera might not be a bad thing after all. Shortly after walking out of the hotel, I was approached and surrounded by a group comprising a middle-aged lady and several kids. Their modus operandi was clear - distract and attack (pick) from all directions. They were extremely quick and had reached out to my camera bag and trousers' back pocket. Without hesitation, my camera had turned into a 2 kg cast magnesium alloy weapon swinging in their hands and faces. They simply had to dodge and disperse with my unexpected retaliation and skull-breaking weapon tossing in the air.
Imagine Bruce Lee with a DSLR instead of Nunchaku. Plus a bit of action movie kungfu yelling did help to scare them off.
Alright, it wasn't all bad and dangerous in Europe. Yes, pick-pocketing and snatch thieves are common in many European cities. But I guess we just need to be mentally and physically prepared. And probably be carrying a big and heavy camera-weapon that breaks skulls and smashes itchy hands.
I believe many would have been to London, Paris, Venice, Rome and the Vatican City, probably not just once for some. And some might have even been a victim of such common petty crime with their memorable stories to tell.
There is no need for further introduction, tips or tricks from my short and humble experience. And for cities so well covered on books, TV, and the internet, almost everyone can be an expert quite easily.
For once, I shall keep the long story short and let the pictures do the talking, and hopefully, relive those fond memories for you and me.
Hope you'll enjoy my little bit of Europe...