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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

My 10 favourite cities


and four not so favourite!

St Petersburg, Russia

I've only been to St. Petersburg once and barely scratched the surface of getting to see the city. It's just such a beautiful city, on the water with the canals, and as it was a planned city with a lot of money poured into it, the historic buildings are stunning. And the majority have been restored, I visited in summer so an added bonus was to experience the "white nights" the sun sets at about 3am so it's bright daylight at midnight! 




London, U.K.

London is such a favourite, and I visit so frequently I now have a favourite bookshop, pub, shops, area to stay in central London. It is expensive but I love the atmosphere of the city, how diverse it is, and how there's always something happening. I still manage to discover new places each time I visit, last time it was the Camden Lock markets, not new to many people but I'd never been before!




Berlin, Germany

I made my first trip to Berlin last year (or as I refer to them, my reconnaissance trip!) Get a quick taste of the location and then decide whether to return to further explore the place at a later date. Berlin is one place I that I really need to go back to (it's a long list!) there's so much more for me to see and experience. Another truly beautiful city, and even experiencing it in the rain, couldn't take away from how attractive the city was.




Singapore, Singapore

This city (and country) has been on my favourites list since I first visited as a 12 year old. I never fell out of love with Singapore, there's always something new to see each time I visit.


A brilliant thing to see, the nightly lightshow at Gardens by the Bay.

Washington D.C., U.S.A

Being someone who is a history geek, this is the perfect city for me. Loved the museums of the Smithsonian, like most people I think the Air and Space museum and the museum of American history were my favourites. The other historic sites (even for someone who isn't American) were interesting the Lincoln memorial, and I really like the Vietnam War Memorial, really poignant, a gash of black granite with the names of those who died in the war.

Kurashiki, Japan

This is my all time favourite city in Japan, the old merchant quarter is just beautiful. It's preserved to look like it did in the Edo period, complete with all the electrical wiring placed underground. I originally went to Kurashiki as it was the location of the Ohara Art Museum, which houses some of Monet's paintings. The museum was established in 1930 as a museum of impressionist art, Japanese artists travelled to Europe to study impressionism and there are some interesting examples in the museum of Japanese artists using the technique of impressionism, painting Japanese scenes. (A girl wearing a kimono comes to mind) The merchant quarter called the Bikan historical area is about a 10 minute walk from the station, you walk through what is a standard Japanese town with convenience stores, etc to the historic area with a canal, willow trees bordering the canal, restored storehouses as this was a commercial area. There are historic homes, cafes, restaurants as well as the art museum. It's just a really lovely area, highly, highly recommend it for anyone travelling independently in Japan. Few tour groups (apart from the Japanese day trippers) include Kurashiki and that's another major selling point to going there, it's not that crowded with tourists!

Sydney, Australia

It has the most beautiful location of any Australian city, it's worth visiting for the harbour alone. 

The Manly ferry coming into Circular Quay, a great way to cross Sydney Harbour.

Quebec City, Canada

Just loved Quebec City when I visited Canada years ago. Old Quebec is just like wandering around an European city and yet you're in North America. Quebec City is smaller than Montreal so it's easy to walk around and enjoy it and how 'French' it feels compared to the anglophone parts of Canada. A must visit place on any trip to Canada in my opinion.

Stockholm, Sweden

Another city I visited in summer and it really displayed the city in the best light. Stockholm is surrounded by water, and that alone makes for an attractive setting. Looking at my list of favourite cities, just about all are either on the sea or have water feature prominently in their location.




Shanghai, China

This is a new entry on my list of favourite cities as I just visited Shanghai in April. I loved the 'international' feel of the city, mainly through its architecture, it was in China but had past that wasn't just Chinese. Would love to go back and explore the newer parts of Shanghai, the China of the 21st century.




These are the cities I really love, I got the idea for this post by reading some other travel blogs and the cities that seem to feature prominently, I have a more 'meh don't like it that much' attitude to. So controversially here are my 'don't- like-that-much,-but-are-popular-with-others' list.


Prague- beautiful city but now ruined by squadrons of tour groups all following their leader. Just too crowded and touristy to really enjoy, and I hate the segways that wiz around the old town!

Venice- same reason as Prague, ruined by too many tourists, the local population has diminished and that's what made the city more like a city rather than a theme park. Still worth visiting to form your own opinion, as it is unique.

Rome- disliked Rome from my first visit as a child, and again it was the crowds of tourist that spoiled it for me. It didn't feel like Italy to me as people around me spoke English, real Italy to me was where only Italian was spoken! I'm all for the authentic as possible experience, I may be a tourist but I don't like to be surrounded by them!

Paris- pretty enough city but I never fell in love with it. No particular reason, the tourists are more spread out so it didn't feel quite so theme parky but it's not a city that captured my interest.


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