Top Ten Large European Cities

Europe has been on my mind lately.  I haven’t visited the continent since 2012, so it could be that I simply miss the place.  Or it could be that recent late night TV airings of Skyfall and Midnight in Paris have left me nostalgic for my wandering days.

I immediately started thinking of some favorite places in Europe.  A few, like the Bernese Oberland of alpine Switzerland, are pleasantly rural.  Most, however, are either specific sights in specific cities…or the cities themselves.

Europe is blessed with dozens of cities and towns worth visiting.  I have decided to share my favorites with you in a series of top ten lists.  I am dividing my rankings into three separate lists.  First, large cities – cities with over 1,000,000 residents.  Next, mid-sized cities – let’s say 50,000 – 1,000,000.  Finally, small cities and towns – any community with fewer than 50,000 people.

Here are my Top Ten Large European Cities:

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Onward and Upward: Four Years of Blogging

November has, thus far, been rife with disappointment.  On a personal level, I have slowly been making peace with my mother’s passing, less than two months ago, while weathering a relationship break-up that felt like a sucker punch.  Regarding the former, it took several weeks to even register the fact that my mom was gone.  As for the latter, I’ve been trying to assess what I must have done wrong, but am slowly coming to the conclusion that I will never know for sure.  All I can say is that I haven’t been sleeping well.

On the world stage – and for the second occurrence in my lifetime – the better candidate for the United States Presidency won the popular vote but lost the election.  And the other day, I logged onto social media to learn that one of my favorite mood poets, Leonard Cohen, had passed away at age 82.

At times like these, I tend towards the melancholy.  I spent much of yesterday doing some archiving and came across a few blog posts from 2013.  I realized that it was Election Day, 2012, when I moved to Mexico City and established gringopotpourri.com.  My blog has changed a lot over the years.  For one thing, the writing is better now than it was then.  Darker, perhaps, but also better.  The regionality of the content has also shifted from being mostly Mexico-focused to being largely Tennessee-focused.

To “celebrate” my blog’s four-year anniversary, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts for you, along with comments on how those posts either came to be or how they hold up today.  And as always: Thanks for reading!

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Paris, je te aime

Eiffel Tower 27

The nation of France – and Paris in particular – has had a tough week.  On Wednesday, radical Islamist terrorists gunned down twelve employees of the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo, allegedly in retaliation for that magazine’s publication of satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.  One suspect turned himself in and two others – brothers who were once under surveillance until the French government decided it simply had too many “persons of interest” to continue monitoring the ones it was already keeping tabs on – were ultimately hunted down and killed.

The manhunt was well underway by international authorities, and makeshift memorials of flowers and candles were already being left near the magazine offices, when it happened again on Thursday: a policewoman, just 26, was gunned down by one of the suspects in the suburb of Montrouge.

And again on Friday.  The killings returned to Paris-proper when two terrorists gunned down four people inside a kosher grocery store in a predominantly-Jewish section of Paris.  One terrorist was killed in a standoff but the second, a female, is still at large and is believed to have since fled to Syria.

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