Say What? Edition 4: Thoughts From Italy

A collection of random linguistically-related thoughts that popped into my head while in Italy four weeks ago.

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Language can provide anonymity in a crowd. One of my biggest linguistic pleasures when in Europe is hearing half a dozen languages spoken around me at any one time. I enjoy it partly because you feel a buzz, an energy around you, without having comprehension interfere with your own thoughts. But also, there’s a certain anonymity in being in a multilingual place. I could be anyone. Of any nationality. In any life situation. No one knows a thing about me until I speak. This makes me feel exciting and mysterious. Continue reading →

Vilnius, Lithuania and Europos Parkas (2005)

Europas Park (1) - Copy - CopyEuropas Park (1)Europas Park (2) - Copy

While You Are There: Why, observe the unusual art, of course. Bring a sketchpad or a notebook and plan to spend the day. The sculptures and installations will give you a lot to think about.

Why It’s On My List: When you need to leave Russia for a few days to get a new visa but don’t feel like hopping on a plane, where do you go? Why not the Baltics? That’s what I did for a week—Latvia and Lithuania—and more pleasant countries I could not have chosen. The capital cities are modern yet retain old world charm, the people are friendly and will speak Russian to you (even though they, understandably, despise the Russians) because they know it better than they know English, it’s easy to get around, and they are not jam-packed with people like Moscow is. I didn’t see much beyond Vilnius and Riga, but I imagine the smaller towns are also great places to visit.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.