Although Hagia Sophia made me cry the first time I saw it in person from the outside, we didn’t actually go inside the structure for a couple days. Pretty unusually for us, we had actually booked a tour to see the interior. When living in Rome in the past my dear companion worked for Context Tours, a… Read More Theodora is my Idol (I suppose Justinian was ok too): Hagia Sophia!
In Istanbul I wasn’t sure what to expect in regards to my ongoing global hunt for street art. But I found some! Perhaps not at all surprisingly, it wasn’t in Sultanhamet, but across the Golden Horn in Galata and Beyoğlu. We took more totally reasonable public transit up to Taksim Square, walked down İstiklal Caddesi, I bought… Read More The Unexpected Street Art in Istanbul
Perhaps equal in architectural grandeur to the Blue Mosque the Süleymaniye Mosque might be a better draw because it’s almost entirely empty. It has similarly spectacular tiles, soaring domes/half-domes, glittering windows, and almost no people in it. Though it’s the largest mosque in the city and is supposedly as big of a sight to visit, it… Read More The Empty Süleymaniye Mosque
Two of the major “must-see” sights in Istanbul are the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. But if I’m honest, I don’t see the appeal. Both places were suffocatingly crowded and though my research had indicated that they were different, they seemed to have all the same stuff, just a ton more at the Grand… Read More The Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar: Crowded and All the Same?
The Maritime Museum, though part of the same complex of buildings as the mostly overrated Jerónimos Monastery, is not overrated. Underrated in fact. It’s great, but you should know it’s huge and they approach Portugal’s extensive maritime history from many, many different angles: Age of Exploration, Naval, Commercial, Leisure and on and on ad infinitum. So while… Read More Not Overrated in Lisbon? the Maritime Museum
The pocket travel guide I had bought to carry with me around Lisbon (mostly for the maps, because the guide itself was crap) was breathless over the loveliness of the Jerónimos Monastery in the Belém neighborhood. And it is pretty. It’s an example of late-Gothic Maneuline style architecture–particular to Portugal–and it was quite pretty on the outside. However.… Read More Mostly Overrated in Lisbon: the Jerónimos Monastery
Rome is a nutty city. The drivers are wild (though with their own certain logic), the store/museum/church/restaurant hours are variable and unreliable, the public transit is a lost cause. Romans, tourists, and ex-pats orbit each other in alternating tense or relaxed revolutions. Amidst all the crazy I always sought out calm and quiet. Usually that… Read More Calm and Quiet amid the Chaos: The Protestant Cemetary
Il Passetto is the Medieval pathway that connects the Vatican palace to the Castel Sant’Angelo. Most of the time, visitors don’t even notice it– but if you’ve approached the Vatican from Prati (which is the neighborhood with the Ottaviano metro stop) then you’ve gone through an archway that was supporting Il Passetto. Most of the… Read More The Most Fun You’ll have in Rome in August: Il Passetto
Remember one of my favorite places in Rome? That aqueduct park only a ten minute walk off the “A” metro that no tourists really go to, but is one of the loveliest places in the whole city to breathe in Roman life and get really intimate with ruins? And I’ve written about here and here? It’s lovely… Read More More of Spring in the Parco degli Acquedotti
Heat exhaustion aside, my feelings about the Amalfi Coast are mixed at best. Again, it’s ridiculously beautiful, but the unpleasantness, meaning the crowds, the english, the overwhelming number of tourists leave me cold. I would be ok if I never went back to the Amalfi Coast in favor of equally lovely, but much more hospitable… Read More Amalfi vs. Positano and why the Ferry is the Best