It’s nearly time to leave Philadelphia and the U.S. behind for a while, the city I have been living in for over a year now, and the country I have been calling home for over six. Europe, my home continent. still keeps the bigger part of my heart and I cannot wait to see all the cities I have never visited before.
I will be starting in Barcelona, Spain. While Barcelona is not a World Heritage City (although it has UNESCO sites), I have a soft spot for Spain and somewhere between the greatest airfare deal the internet has ever seen and my desire to visit the one Spanish city that has been on my bucket list embarrassingly long, the stars aligned and ¡Hola!, here I come.
My second stop will be in Visby, a town on a Gotland island a few hours off the coast of Stockholm, where I will be exploring what the Swedish culture is all about.
I will be trading Sweden for Warsaw, Poland, exploring the capital of my home’s neighboring country. While I have been to a couple of places in Poland, it will be my first time in Warsaw.
Afterwards I will be flying right next door to the Czech Republic. After spending a few hours in Prague, I will be traveling to Český Krumlov. Although I lived in the Czech Republic for the first 20 years of my life, I have never had the pleasure to visit this town and I am beyond excited.
My next flight will take me to Istanbul in Turkey, where I will eagerly discover a culture very different to what I am used to.
From Istanbul, I will be traveling to Amsterdam, from where I will be taking a bus to Brugge in Belgium. I hope to also have time to tour and discover Amsterdam somewhere in between, before boarding my final overseas flight back to Philadelphia.
At the end of my travels, I am very excited to introduce my current hometown to you, and take you on a tour around one of America’s most historically rich and important cities.
As the name of my blog reveals, the connection I will try to find between the cities and towns I will be visiting is: immigration and cultural identity.
Being an immigrant myself, I am really interested in better understanding how people create communities and keep their cultures alive when they leave their home behind to seek better opportunities in foreign lands. Just like the Organization of World Heritage Cities protects and promotes our towns, immigrant communities protect their heritage, whether it’s their traditions, habits, language, accent or a way of living. One cannot exist without the other.
We live in times of global movements, when people can easily travel, work and live abroad. It is important to have a sense of our own heritage in the midst of it, remembering our roots, alongside with the heritage of the place we adopt as our home. These cultures often clash and it can be difficult to make sense of values we were raised with in a new environment.
But there is also a higher sense of belonging, the one above the patriotism for one’s country, which brings us all together instead of making differences among us. First and foremost, we all belong to this world.
We all should care not only for our own heritage, but also for our world’s heritage and the World Heritage Cities, some of which I cannot wait to introduce to you.