Friday, December 7, 2012

European vacation

In college I did two of my foreign language requirements in the form of a study abroad program in Bamberg, Germany. At the age of 19 my German became quite fluent, and I also pushed the boundaries of my European legal drinking status. In the process I fell in love with the history and sense of community of cities in Europe - the small, cobblestone streets; the vibrant downtowns; the walkability; the public transit. I took a public bus for the first time in my entire life in Bamburg (they don't have them in Hundred, WV). There's something about European cities that is so intimate and familiar. I didn't realize at that time I was discovering my love of place and community.

When my husband and I visited Stockholm in 2009, more than ten years after my first trip to Europe, I was advocating for communities and knew exactly what I was looking for in a place. Like the cities I'd been to in Germany, Stockholm was also rich in history, walkable cobblestone streets, and green space. We stayed a metro stop away from Gamla stan, Old Town, and the entire town was accessible by public transit. It had everything one could want in a community - at least in July when the weather was warm and the days long.

I'm talking my husband into a trip to Europe in the spring if we have not yet adopted a child. He's done several trips to Europe and has seen more than I, so I'm trying to think of a place where neither of us has been. Right now we're leaning toward Spain which I have heard is just amazing. I have a need to plan a trip especially during a stressful work stretch. Seeing placemaking in action is inspiring for us both.

So what do you think...Spain? Other suggestions? We're entirely open. Perhaps London even?


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