Top Ten Mid-Sized European Cities

For a blog that is largely about travel, I have written surprisingly little about Europe.  And yet, with the exception of a few Baltic and Balkan states, and such tiny, hard-to-reach republics as Andorra and San Marino, I’ve been almost everywhere on the continent.  I have decided to share more stories from that corner of the globe.

In many ways, my favorite European cities are those places that are large enough to have decent nightlife and restaurants, a good network of hostels, and a few days’ worth of sightseeing…but not so big as to be overwhelming.  Fewer than one million residents, let’s say.  Not every city on the list below fits all of the aforementioned categories; Venice, for one, had just two hostels at the time of my visit, and the city went to bed early.  Nuremberg, for that matter, had just one hostel.  Of course, both cities had – have – restaurants and museums aplenty, and atmosphere to spare.

I look forward to continuing the series.  Meanwhile, here are my Top Ten Mid-Sized European Cities:

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Photo Locale of the Month – December 2016

Nuremberg, Germany recently celebrated its 950th birthday.  (Eat that, Dubai!)  My love affair with the Franconian capital and home of sausages, lebkuchen (holiday gingerbread cookies) and Nazi War Crime trials began when I was still a child.  My father spent three years of his life (“The best three years,” he sometimes claimed) in the U.S. Army, stationed on a base just a short train/bus ride from Nuremberg.

Although my dad’s Army time was during the height of the Cold War and his station was less than 60 miles from the border with Communist Czechoslovakia, his time in the Army went without incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis call to arms notwithstanding.  My dad raved, throughout my childhood, about how much he loved Germany, the German people, and medieval Nuremberg in particular.

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Top Ten Museums

Ten days ago I visited the Knoxville Museum of Art.  This free museum, built on a bluff above World’s Fair Park, houses five galleries over three floors.  As art museums go, the exhibits are only so-so, but it does include a nice collection of 20th-century art by Tennessee artists and/or about Tennessee itself.  Most of what remains is abstract contemporary in nature – in other words, the kind of art that you don’t immediately “get” on a first viewing.

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