3 European Cities That Are Worth The Travel

3 European Cities That Are Worth The Travel

Even if you don't know the language - don't let that stop you from touring some of the most enjoyable cities.

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As someone who is very fortunate to travel to other countries quite frequently, I have come to the conclusion that Europe is one of the most enjoyable continents to visit! There are so many cultures that live in Europe, they are all unique in their own way and are very interesting to learn about. These are three of the cities I enjoyed the most in a ranked order.

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Compared to all the cities I have visited in Canada, Asia, and Europe - Amsterdam was by far my favorite. The city life in Amsterdam is very alive and enjoyable, and it is a clean city as well which is a grand perk for a neat freak like myself. If you are interested in learning about the Holocaust, the Anne Frank house has been turned into a museum and is a must for tourists.

2. Burgas, Bulgaria

Burgas is a lesser-known city, but I promise it would be worth the trip. Burgas is a beautiful city that has the excitement of the city life while having access to the beach as well. Compared to American beaches, the ones in Burgas are outstanding and much more clean than anything you can find in Florida. The weather is not too bad either, and if you enjoy shopping, Bulgaria sells things for a great price.

3. London, England

Visiting London is definitely a great experience, especially if you are traveling from America. Although we both speak the same language, the slang differs greatly in the United Kingdom, and there are many other differences that are interesting to learn about as well. My favorite part about London was the sight-seeing. The architecture was immaculate and the residents are very kind to tourists/visitors.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Day 3 In Italy: Florence

When you're so used to your hometown, other people's hometown are far more beautiful

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Our final morning in Venice, we boarded a ferry and rode to the other side of Venice where we got on a tour bus and drove for about four hours to Florence.


Your browser does not support the video tag. On the ferry from one side of Venice to the otherBrooke Burney


Upon entering Florence, one of the first things we saw were the Ponte Vecchio. Our hotel was also just adjacent to it so we got to walk across this bridge quite a few times.


Brooke Burney


Soon after we got to Florence, we put our luggage in the hotel and we were off to explore Florence. We went to a small town square and ate and met up at the church that was in that area. After this, we saw Pitti Palace, where there is a secret passageway lining the town where the chief could walk. The street that Pitti Palace is located used to be lined with butcher and leather shops, making the town smell unpleasant. The chief did not like this so he changed these butcher shops into jewelry shops where he was able to purchase whatever jewelry he pleased while it also did not smell up the streets.


Pitti PalaceBrooke Burney


After this, we walked to the Signoria Square where there were statues of some Greek gods and a replica of the statue of David.


Poseidon was under construction :(Brooke Burney


During this part of our tour it began raining, so we spent one or two hours trying to stay dry. Our tour guide had us huddle under a balcony but once that got crowded, we moved to a huge tourist shop where we stayed until it calmed down.


Brooke Burney


After this, we had time to shop and eat but once that leisure time was up, we were guided through the Signoria Square and were given the history of the buildings that stand there and we passed the church in which the Statue of David was originally supposed to reside.


The Statue of David was going to go in that nook on top of the dome, under the golden crossBrooke Burney


At this time it was about 7 PM and we were headed to a cooking school where our entire group prepared dinner for everyone. Some of us were making the appetizer, others making the main course, and rest were making desert. I made pasta, and we made it from scratch which was not as difficult as anticipated and turned out delicious.


Made from scratch pastaBrooke Burney


After dinner we went back to our hotel, however before entering, our tour guide asked if the group wanted gelato. Of course, everyone piped in, except for the four of us girls that went together. Our tour guide told us he would take us to a club if we wanted to and our supervisor was okay with it. So we went to our room, got ready and then we were off to the club that is right around the corner from our hotel. If you want to read about that experience here's the link!

Once we got back, we went to sleep around 3 AM, and we were ready for more exploration tomorrow; bright and early.

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