In the last article, we went through a pretty typical Chattanooga sight-seeing itinerary, but I wanted to take some time to highlight another dimension of the city that actually feels much more defining of the time that I spent here. I’m talking about all the great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that we visited while we were here. I can’t claim that they are necessarily the best or worst of Chattanooga—I didn’t stick around long enough to be making those sorts of assertions—but I CAN tell that each and every place I’m about to show you is really freaking cool.
With a population of just 179,139 (as of 2017), Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in the state of Tennessee, behind Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. It's just over a 2 hour drive southeast from Nashville, and is a relatively short commute to other major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Huntsville. The biggest sectors of Chattanooga’s economy are automotive manufacturing, shipping, and logistics, which are all quite industrial. However, this came as sort of a surprise to me given how quickly the “hipster” demographic is taking control of Chattanooga. This place is a serious contender to become Appalachia’s Brooklyn in 10 years, but it’s true identity is never really going to change.
Boston has a lot of cool history. Even if you don't feel like you know very much about Boston, you still probably already knew that. This was the city where the Revolutionary War started! The Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, the Salem Witch Trials—the early history of the Boston area is rich with some of the most riveting stories that American history has to offer. And moving into the modern era, Boston still managed to be the site of some of America's most interesting historical sagas, from the Boston Strangler, to the Great Molasses Flood. However, to me, one story stands out above the rest, and it didn't happen all that long ago.
The story I'm talking about is the heist of the Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum, which happened in 1990.
Today, we're going focus in on a couple of my favorite pieces of Boston. The first is the famous Boston Public Library, and the second is the unusual measuring system that is painted onto the Mass Ave bridge. These have both been the source of some intrigue for me, and are academia-adjacent, so I’m combining them into the same article.
Today, Boston's North End is known as the Italian neighborhood. When people tell you that they're headed to the North End, it's a good bet that they're going to dinner, because this neighborhood is absolutely packed with incredible Italian restaurants and bakeries. However, the North End is famous for more than just its food. The history here is legendary.
In this article I’ll run through some old and some new from Boston’s North End, and then show you lots of beautiful pictures.
Are you a "glass half full" or a "glass half empty" kind of person?
I think that your opinion on Sicily will pretty much answer that question for you. I like to think of myself as somebody who is able to look on the bright side of things, and to me, Sicily was beautiful. However, it was definitely also quite gritty. Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into all that garbage and graffiti and browse though some of my favorite examples of Sicilian street art.
Seriously, nothing can prepare you for how creepy this place is... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I'll start from the beginning. The Capuchin Catacombs are always placed highly on people's lists of things to do and see in Palermo, and it's easy to see why. It's just SO outrageous! Before we dive into this article, I've got some serious explaining to do, because you are sure to have questions. I know that for me, the biggest question I had in all of this was just "why." Why does this place exist?
Buckle in, kids!
In the last article, we covered a lot of ground. I was a little out of breath by the time I finished writing it! But Palermo deserves to have some serious time spent, just taking it in, exploring. So now that you've been brought fully up to speed on the many historic layers of this city, I want to take a deep dive with you and just get out on the streets of Palermo.
Are you ready for a big dose of Sicily’s capital city?
Prior to actually coming here, I had heard mostly negative reviews of Palermo. After traveling through the rest of Italy, people love to dish about how dirty Palermo is. And Bourdain's episode on Sicily painted Palermo with similarly discouraging colors. People also brought up the Mafia a lot when discussing Palermo, alluding to connections between the systemic corruption of government and the poor up-keep of the streets. A few weeks out, I was sort of expecting Palermo to be a dump, but then I had an Italian friend rave about how much she loves this city, describing it as 'decaying and decadent.' This put my expectations on par with Havana, Cuba, and that made me really excited!
I should start by telling you that Gangi (pronounced "gan-chee") isn't *technically* a ghost town. It's actually trying REALLY hard not to be. In an effort to revitalize this town, the mayor of Gangi decided to start selling the vacant houses to outside investors for €1.00 a piece.
That's right: €1.00.
This insane bargain comes with 1 string attached: that you will spend no less than 35,000 EUR (43,212-ish USD) to fix up the house within 5 years. Yes, this is 100% true, and if you want to, you really could buy one of these houses right now. Mull it over as you read this article. And if you think you might actually want to do it, hit the button below! It will redirect you to where you need to be to start the process.