Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Euro Sampler

With the Big Sleep of the recession finally over, people are stirring again, dusting off passports, dreaming up new wish lists and booking cruise ships and airlines for new adventures. The stay-cation was so 2008; we are back into the world now, and summer vacations are taking on a whole new dimension.

One of the first destinations to rediscover is Europe—at least a few parts of it—for the savvy traveler who has already “done” Paris and Madrid and Athens and Munich. We recently dropped in on three of our favorite places not long ago—London, Rome and Mallorca—to see what was going on and how they felt the second or third time around. Here’s our travel update.

London

London holds a special place in my heart given I lived there for two years as a child and then, later, as a college student for a summer. But the London I remember—quaint, very British, very manageable—bears no resemblance to the one that gets all the glossy press now. I remember Sundays in Hyde Park and antique shopping on Portobello Road, buying sweets at the confectioner’s. There were ghost stories and Beatles, Carnaby Street and Mary Quant. Biba was the coolest department store on the planet.

Today, London may be the most sophisticated and international city across the pond, with a skyline I did not recognize. There is the famous 2014London Eye as well as the Shard, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf—all skyscrapers dwarf-ing sweet little Big Ben. Oh, the sights are still worth seeing (the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London never get old), and fish and chips is still a street favorite, but, for the most part, the city is wildly expensive now. It’s also less British, inhabited by people from all over the world. Mayfair, meanwhile, feels like Worth Avenue or Rodeo Drive, with the usual suspects—Prada, Louis Vuitton, Apple—except when you seek out the London stalwarts, the names that began here, the true blue-chip British icons.

For more, pick up the December issue of Boca Raton magazine.

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