Journeys, dreams, and fantasies…
by Paulo Gaborni
When I was in a pre-school age, my grandma read me encyclopedias, and those books, too early for a kid to read, usually looked at the pictures-especially on the articles featuring the cities around the world. What I remember most is London, Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam and Berlin. These four cities, with its worth-remembering features like monuments, buildings, and its way of life are my favorite places to go-especially before I die.
First on my list is the capital of Great Britain, and personally to say that the city’s image is somewhat a fusion of old and new. Of Big Ben and the Millennium wheel, of the Tower of London and the tower commonly known as the “Gherkin.”
And speaking of its buildings, you are able to see the bearskin capped British guards in the regal Buckingham palace, as well as the white-wigged Barristers in Westminster, wherein the Big Ben also located. The widely recognized Double Deck bus, creates an unforgettable experience in sightseeing London’s major roads like Picadilly circus and the road towards the Tower of london, once a prison where Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s wives, imprisoned and executed by beheading.
Experiencing the life of a Londoner would be more into being a Gentleman at the same time learing the tricks of the trade, especially for a writer-cum-traveler like mingling with the Skinheads and Punks, eating Fish n’Chips, drinking stout beer usually offered to a Londoner, and listening to Oi (a genre of Punk music) and Ska (if there is) in a nearby bar specialized in that music.
2.) Saint Petersburg
Like London, Saint Petersburg also shows its finest architecture as its founder, Tsar Peter the great envisioned, as well as planned a city different from Asiatic-like Moscow. This city on the Neva reminds of the movies I watched years ago, like Rasputin, Anastasia, and an old Soviet movie entitled “300 days that shook the world.”
With its majestic-like buildings showcasing its once-regal appearance, Saint Petersburg may likely for a traveler imagine him/her self like a noble, especially as it enters the portal of the winter palace where the last royal family, the Romanovs, once lived.
And like London, it would also spend me more time sketching and even reminiscing my “past life” (if someone here believes in reincarnation) though the drawings I have made like those of today.
I remember a friend who used to go there, and he described Amsterdam as liberal-Marijuana is legal, safe sex, anything is tolerated, all except in excess that makes the capital city of the Netherlands popular.
But, Amsterdam is also famous for its buildings, both old and new, as well as its urban planning that includes Canals (since Amsterdam was and is, famous for being a trade centre). Yet, most people think of the entire city for its De Wallen, also known as Walletjes or Rosse Buurt, a designated area for legalized prostitution and the largest and most well known red-light district in Amsterdam. This neighborhood has also become a famous tourist attraction. It consists of a network of roads and alleys containing several hundred small, one-room apartments rented by sex workers who offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights.
So if I go there, for sure I’ll try visit the red light district before the buildings, cheese, and tulips…but not for sex of course!
Last but not the least, is the capital city of Germany and the once capitals of the German Reich and of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, Berlin.
This city, like London, Saint Petersburg, and others around Europe, carries a fusion of old and new styles, especially in its buildings being built upon. From the Brandenburg gate, Reichstag, the buildings in Karl Marx Allee and the Fernsehturm (the TV tower famous with its revolving restaurant), Berlin is a place of inspiration-not because of the famous people living there like Ernst Thaelmann or Adolf Hitler, but a city wherein my drawings derived from; especially the Fernsehturm, the Reichstag and even the Berlin wall, that I would like to get a small piece of it for a souvenir!
But for now, I need contend in the places around the Philippines, even the shantytowns and the countryside would offer me solace, friends, and idea since I have no passport in order for me to go sightseeing…or to stay while yearning for mangoes or orchids.