An Oasis in the City

Have you ever been in a big busy city, either in the states or overseas,
dodging traffic, trying to maneuver through the crowds, a buzzing in
your head from the noise, and gasping for some fresh air, when
suddenly you come upon an oasis of calm and beauty in the form
of a garden or park – a refuge of quietness and nature, where people
could escape the commotion of a downtown area. When you find
this spot of serene calmness, you can hear yourself saying, “I can’t
believe this is here”.

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It was on one of my trips to Paris that I would be walking down Boulevard
Saint-Michel, in the area of the Sorbonne, just enjoying my walk in
the streets of Paris, when suddenly I heard a screech of brakes and
screaming, “help me, help me”, I turned around to see a man laying
under a delivery truck. It seemed he had crossed the street behind the
truck and the truck backed over him. People came running from all
over to help, sirens were blasting and it turned into total chaos. I
remember standing there shaking from all that was going on, and
knowing this poor man was hurt in this way made me want to escape
this awful accident. Knowing the man was being taken care of, I turned
and continue walking aimlessly, trying to calm down. Suddenly in
front of me was Luxembourg Gardens. I entered the park and within
seconds I knew this was my oasis. Sinking quietly in a chair beside
a fountain-fed pond, I could only hear silence with few people, no cars,
no noise, and no sirens. Instead it was fountains, statues, flowers,
and the beautiful sunshine. I sat there a very long time and eventually
a calmness came upon me, and I knew I had found, in this beautiful
park, My Oasis in Paris.
Although this was not a pleasant story, it happened to me and I truly can
say Luxembourg Garden’s beauty and serenity was just what I needed.

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Hyde Park is one of London’s Royal Parks. It is centrally located in the
busy city and once inside the park it is definitely an escape from the
sights and sounds of the city. It has beautiful gardens, statues, ducks
and swans in the pond, biking and walking trails, and a Princess Diana
Memorial Fountain. It’s a beautiful and serene park to walk through
and get away from all the noise of the city. I try to visit this park each
time I come to London, as there is always something different to see.
Hyde Park is definitely a beautiful and quiet Oasis in the City of London.

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Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich is just a short tram ride away from the
busy city of Munich. The Palace is certainly beautiful and definitely worth
a visit, but it’s the park and gardens surrounding it, that is so serene. It’s
a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Munich, maybe
sit on a bench, maybe read, people watch or just admire the flowers,
the statues, the fountains, and just enjoy this wonderful serene Oasis in
the City of Munich.

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The National Gardens in Athens, Greece. This public park is right in
the middle of Athens, behind the Parliament Building. The gardens
contains ancient ruins, Corinthian Columns,and Orange and Cyprus trees
scattered throughout the park. There is a bridge over the pond and
waterfalls which is very serene and peaceful. It was Henry Miller in 1939
that said; “It remains in my memory like no other park I have
known. It is the quintessence of a park, the thing
one feels sometimes in looking at a canvas or
dreaming of a place one would like to be in and
never finds”.

Athens is by far, a very busy and noisy city. Spending time in this park
will definitely calm the craziness of this wonderful city and you will know
immediately that the National Gardens, near Syntagma Square, is The
Oasis in the City of Athens.

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Boston is a beautiful city with so much to see and do. It’s a walkable city
that overflows with American history. The North End is the busy Italian
part of the city with great restaurants and wonderful bakeries. On my
last visit there, after a full day of walking the busy city, I came across the
Public Gardens right in the middle of Boston. The park is beautiful,
filled with statues throughout, and the plants and flowers were stunning.
The Swan Boats in the pond was filled with people pedaling in the quietness
of the serene setting. Sitting on a bench just watching and listening to
the quiet of this tranquil park, was to me, an Oasis in the City of Boston.

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Anyone who has been to New York City knows Central Park. It is a
sprawling urban park in the borough of Manhattan. It is a 843 acre
park that is the most visited urban park in the United States. With the
excitement and craziness of New York City, stepping into the park
becomes another world. It is like stepping out of the city into a serene
and calming place that is a planet of its own. It has Carriage Rides,
Boating, Ice Skating and Swimming, Rock climbing, Horseback Riding,
a Central Zoo, Restaurants, and the list goes on. It is filled with nature
beautiful flowers, plants, statues and Strawberry Fields. As large and
busy as this park is, it is absolutely the Oasis in Manhattan, City of
New York.

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Chicago has more than one oasis in my opinion. It was many years
ago when I was there and first came upon Oak Street Beach. I was
amazed that in this sophisticated, fast pace, beautiful city, suddenly
out of nowhere, is this waterfront and beach area with tall majestic
skyscrapers framing it. Oak Street Beach is located on the northeast
end of North Michigan Avenue. It has a large promenade area used
by walkers and bikers. It is just steps away from the sophisticated
Drake Hotel and Michigan Avenue. For me, it was immediately what
I felt, an Oasis in the City of Chicago.

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Grant Park in Chicago is definitely an escape from the busy streets of
this wonderful urban city. It is 319 acres in the loop area of Chicago,
located in the central business district. The park is famous for its most notable features, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain. It is often
referred to as Chicago’s front yard. Walking through the park you will
pass fountains, gardens, artwork, sculptures, and sporting and harbor
facilities. It is a definite Oasis in the City of Chicago.

I love the hustle bustle of big cities. The energy is contiguous and
gives me a sort of travel high that I completely welcome. But every
once in a while, you need to step away from the craziness and find
that special place that will give you the quietness that we all need while
traveling the world, an Oasis in The City.

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