While Wellington is certainly cool, traveling to a couple other cool capital cities in Europe has opened my eyes to some things that could make it even better!
Make like Ljubljana and go green.
In Slovenia's capital, there are three great initiatives that not only won them a 'European green capital' award but make life super easy for their residents too:
The water in Slovenia is great for drinking. In fact, drinking fountains in the city are easy to find, they're clean, and they fill up water bottles, meaning fewer plastic bottles going to landfill.
The city center is completely pedestrianised, so walking and bike riding is encouraged as a safe, fun and easy way to get around.
For those who have trouble getting around, there is a small but hardy fleet of customised electric vehicles which can manage wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and more to ensure those who have trouble walking can still freely move around the city center, and they're free!
Make like Vienna and get moving.
Vienna is a hive of activity during the week. To ensure everyone can get where they want to go they offer a mix of:
- overground trams,
- underground trains,
- above ground trains,
- and borrow bikes,
- (there are the occasional horse-drawn carriages too, but that's more of a tourist thing).
No matter where you are if you need to get somewhere else, there is a mode of transport for you that doesn't involve the use of a car, unless you fancy Uber* or Lyft.
Even better, if you choose public transport there is a handy free app that will recommend your ride and will even tell you how much it will cost to buy a ticket. Then, buy it online and scan, or buy a ticket from one of the many machines at the bus, train, tram, and underground stations. You can even pay with debit or credit card and buy daily, weekly or monthly passes.
Otherwise, hop on a bike and make use of the clear and consistent bicycle lanes, separate from both the road and the pedestrian footpath throughout the middle of town. Bliss!
Make like Budapest and encourage more street food and street art.
Budapest is home to an eclectic group of people and they know how to put on a feast. Kosher food trucks, vegan food trucks, paleo food trucks, trucks specialising in local foods like goulash, langos and funnel cake, trucks doing a new take on an old favourite...you get the idea!
We stumbled across not one, not even two or three but four different spots occupied by food truck markets that had set up long-term spots. We loved trying the different cuisines and the food truck meet-up vibe. Think the Ekim burger truck, on a mass scale.
Once you've stuffed yourself with food, there is nothing like walking around a city and enjoying the street art on offer. Sometimes you need to look up, or down, to really appreciate it, but it's an always changing landscape, and that's the best bit. Encouraging more street art will only mean more beautiful stuff to look at.
Make like....well, where next?
So, three capitals down and a few more to go before I truly conquer Europe. What else do you think Wellington could benefit from that you've seen on your travels?
*If you sign up to Uber using this link I will get bonus credit.