Shoreditch Street Art Tour with Alternative London

I’ve been drawn to the colorful streets of Shoreditch in London. I love visiting this neighborhood when I’m in town. It’s always changing, with new art popping up as well as interesting shops and restaurants entering the scene. It never gets old to me, and since I never tire of exploring artsy Shoreditch, it’s what made me narrow in on this particular neighborhood to stay in last time I was in London this past April.

I think it’s safe to say one doesn’t need to go on a tour to see the street art of Shoreditch. Once you arrive, all you have to do is walk around. You barely need to be an observant person. It’s everywhere. But this last trip, I decided to check out the Alternative London street art walking tour. The tour is “free,” meaning that it’s meant to be accessible by all. The guides are super passionate about leading others around and exploring street art in London together, though they expect to be tipped in a way that reflects how one values the tour, or what one can afford to give. It seemed like a great way to learn more about this art that I love, and provide an introduction to Shoreditch to my sister-in-law and her friend who were visiting London with me, lest they thought I had chosen to stay in some strange gritty section of town far from “London proper.”

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Discover Walks: Marais Walking Tour and Picasso Museum

One thing I love about Paris is that for as much time you can spend exploring and learning about the city, there is always more. There is so much history, so many details, and centuries worth of characters who have colored this city into the beauty it is today. That’s why even though I had lived in the Marais for almost three years, when Discover Walks offered me a tour of my neighborhood, I jumped. Certainly there had to be more to learn about that a guide could give a new perspective on.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Before we made our way to Seefeld, Austria for Christmas, the prior week was spent leisurely traveling through Germany. I fell in love with the German Christmas markets last year and wanted to see more this year. One place that seemed to come up frequently in my research for its ambiance at Christmastime was a small town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Rothenburg was a wealthy city in its medieval days and prospered until it was invaded during the Thirty Year’s War in the 1600’s. The invasion was quite unplanned. When Catholic forces needed a place to settle in for the winter, Protestant Rothenburg was the closest town and was overtaken swiftly. The city bribed its way to survival but never recovered and was preserved by its state of poverty. The town could not afford to upgrade over time to newer, more modern buildings so the medieval architecture had to make do. The city lived in these unfashionable conditions until the tides turned in the late 1800’s. Tourists were attracted by its reflections of the past. Inspired artists started selling paintings of the town, and its popularity spread.

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