I recently returned from a trip through the Mediterranean, inspired and motivated. There were some very interesting observations I made.
On the downside, there is a distinct lack of real estate, so the cities are very overcrowded. The unemployment rate is high, so pickpockets abound (keep close watch on your valuables). And there is graffiti everywhere. Everywhere. Traffic is insane, and yet walking the narrow, cobbled streets is a sensory experience.
|Port of Toulon - France|
There are walled cities along the coast, designed to keep invaders out, straight out of a history book or a medieval romance novel. While sections of these walls have been knocked down or eroded, they are still very much in evidence. Every town square has a fountain, and there is statuary everywhere. And don't get me started on the abundance of churches/cathedrals/basilicas. Turn a corner, see a bell tower. Architecture is stunning. We walked through one village that remains inside its walls (although the doors to the walls have long since been removed). No cars on those streets. If I were any good at writing history, I could easily imagine a young French woman carrying a basket of something through the narrow passages, not unlike Cyd Charisse in Brigadoon (okay, wrong country).