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Rome: Musei Vaticani

Rome: Musei Vaticani

Being both the first day of spring and the beginning of Easter weekend, chances are you European backpackers are doing as the Romans do and flocking to the Eternal City for a weekend full of….standing.  While the weather for this weekend is anticipated to be less than perfect (hey, it’s still March), you can enjoy a good amount of time in La Citta Vaticana having a religious experience without looking like you just walked through the Tiber River.  And yet,…

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Madrid: Museo Nacional Reina Sofia

Madrid: Museo Nacional Reina Sofia

Most travelers will immediately think of the Prado when asked to come up with a Madrid museum.  Which is all well and good until you stop to consider the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia.  Then it can be a tough call (or a gluttonous day of museum-hopping).  But if you’re caught on a Saturday (between 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm) or Sunday (10:00 am to 2:30 pm), head over to the Sofia for free admission.  Not enough of a draw for…

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Brussels: Musee des Instruments de Musique

Brussels: Musee des Instruments de Musique

The reasons for visiting the Musee des Instruments de Musique (the Museum of Musical Instruments, colloquially known as the MIM in Brussels) are twofold: naturally, this is the place to go if you were a band geek, orchestra nerd, or otherwise musically inclined either during your childhood or today–or even, for that matter, if you just like music. The MIM fancies itself a museum of the new generation: professional, exciting and open to his public. With respect for the past,…

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Warsaw: Teatr Wielki’s Opera Narodowa

Warsaw: Teatr Wielki’s Opera Narodowa

Poland may not be the first place you think of for getting your operatic kicks. However, one of opera’s most famous artists–Rafal Olbinski, check out one of his works below (a poster for Pelleas et Melisande)–just happens a native Pole. Eastern Europe is a great place in general to check out opera for a handful of reasons: 1) the performances are usually innovative, 2) the houses attract a variety of big ticket musicians (many of whom, like Anna Netrebko and…

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