I’ve Been Somewhere Secret…

Part of being a blogger is having the freedom to legitimately over-share many aspects of your life, essentially brandishing a megaphone and yelling about what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and what you think about the issues of the day, with the enthusiasm of a small child.

Under that umbrella of over-sharing, telling you about my latest trips (whether you want to hear about them or not) makes up a large part of my travel blog, adding a sense of immediacy once I return to my laptop and a secure internet connection. Yet last week I went on a secret solo trip abroad, and I’m not sure when I will be allowed to talk about it fully.

Fluffy cat sitting on step

This cat wasn’t giving anything away.

For a few days after I got back in the UK, I debated how to cover the incredibly exciting and intense place that I’d just visited, where I’d been exposed to relics, landmarks, artworks and music that I couldn’t wait to ramble on about. Keeping those experiences under wraps has been pretty difficult, especially when I noticed the similarities between the city I explored and the others I’ve loved visiting in the last few years; certain aspects reminded me of Dresden, Paris, Rome and Florence, each in their own way. Ultimately, I felt like I’d been here before, and it wasn’t long before I knew the streets without having to glance at a map.

Tag of graffiti artist

The walls had a lot of personality.

So, instead of exposing the secret, I’ve decided to capitalise on the similarities, and not the quirks, and try to show you snapshots that leave the city’s identity anonymous. I hope to reveal the place that they belong to very soon, but in the mean time they should give you a sense of what I got up to, even if I can’t yet pinpoint my travels and tell you far too much about my favourite sights.

In many cases it’s meant that I’ve cropped out anything traceable and have taken out the individuality from what I saw, but it’s also allowed me to show the uniform aspects of Europe that many visitors find comforting – there will always be another cathedral to marvel at, or another cafe to sit down in for a pot of tea. There will also, inevitably, be a trace of love padlocks, as this ever-growing trend continues to spread across the continent and also around the world. I guess maybe we’re all creatures of habit and familiarity, no matter where we live?

Gothic cathedral from below

Unsurprisingly, there were some buildings in this place. Yes, really.

Trawling for vintage and retro clothing in Europe

Like most of the world, this city embraced vintage shopping.

Human skull in ossuary

You might say there were some skeletons in the closet. Or in the bone chapel.

Tea cup and pastries.

Just to confuse you, the menu featured Stroopwafels and Baklava. I had both.

Padlocks of love

Keeping up with the Joneses, there were love locks fixed to several of the bridges here.

Assembling this post has shown me that one city really can look as anonymous as the next when you cut out the recognisable sights and the tourist traps, however it’s also made me realise that some of my favourite photos from the trip were taken at obvious vantage points, standing on the same spot that countless others have done, and I’m still waiting to share those with you.

I suppose when you apply anonymity to travel then you do lose its character, but it also means that you focus on the macro elements rather than the big landscape shots. Maybe looking at the similarities and not revealing the secret could be a whole new way to get to know a destination?

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