Saturday, January 21, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Metropolises Visited

This list really struggles to be a ten-list. I have only visited some 15 cities with over a million inhabitants. Of those, I only really loved and have interest to revisit around half. For these lists I will normally not include cities where I have lived (and I have never lived in a city this large) but I would only consider living in a few of these cities. Visit and live are completely different considerations:

10. Budapest 
Some I know have called this Europe’s second prettiest city. It is a place of incredible architecture and history. Elisabeth Kostova’s fascinating debut novel takes place here.

9. Santiago
Mediterranean climate, a stunning mountain view, nearby Pacific coast, and a wonderful culture. Sure there are earthquakes and history is not warm and fuzzy, but none of that is reason to stay away.

8. Vienna 
Art, history and culture are bursting at the seams in Vienna. It is not a typical European city, and the mountains are further away than you would think but it is still a great place to hang a while.

7. Istanbul
Exotic, huge, and totally different. Histories plural. Barter or you will offend. Eat everything but be prepared for the side effects!

6. Berlin 
Berlin is a city with beautiful areas.  However, the historic spots are not as pretty as other cities in Europe. The history is what you usually go to Berlin for though.  So after you see the history, seek out the beauty.

5. London 
The fascinating London of your imagination doesn’t exist anymore, if it ever did. Still, this is a city with lots to offer and be explored.

4. Barcelona 
Downtown Barcelona is a maze of narrow alleyways and secrets. You might want to diet for a while before you visit, because you are going to want to eat a lot.

3. Quito 
If there were a perfect climate that you had to live with all the time, Quito is where you would find it. Even for a large city, it has the traditional Spanish village feel downtown, and the surrounding countryside is wonderful.

2. Paris 
I didn’t want to be this predictable. Then I went there and really enjoyed it. Plus, they had that sequence in the first G. I. Joe movie. That’s what put me over the top.

1. Prague 
If you get outside of the central, touristy part of town you might be disappointed. However, Prague has perhaps the most amazing concentration of beautiful, old architecture on the planet.

See here for some slightly smaller cites.

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