Friday, April 7, 2017

Top Five and Why

To all you fellow travelers and adventurers,

Top five favorite cities in the world.  Go!  That's a tough one isnt it?  Narrowing the choice to just five.  Especially if you are an avid/well traveled individual.  This really forces one to consider several aspects of each destination, including but not limited to: the enegry of different cities, the apperance, the traditional foods in that particular culture, the inhabitants characteristics/stereotypical temperaments, etc.  Choosing a top five is tricky business, but loads of fun food for thought.

This question is also more or less tough depending on to how many places to where you have ventured.  If, for example, you have only been to 7 or 8 places in your life thus far, this will be an easier list to organize.  As opposed to if you have been to 15+ places, then choosing a top five will be a bit tougher.

I would love to hear what your top five cities are!

In the meantime, here are mine....
(and all the photos in this blog entry are my own, of course).

(This list of my own top fives has been chosen from a collective whole that includes: cities all over the US, the island of Barbados, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Scotland, Holland, Hungary, France, Switzerland and loads of cities throughout Germany).

(Note: these are not in any particular order.  They are equally loved in different ways and for varying reasons).

1.  Edinburgh, Scotland.  Why?  The atmosphere.  Like having stepped into a Celtic/Gothic, darkly glittering fairy tale.  All of the buildings are gray or sand stone.  The city appears as though covered in a thin dusting of chimney soot.  As though aged, from days gone by.  Feeling within the setting of a Tim Burton film or some gray, haunting Dickensian tale.  Upon setting foot in Edinburgh, I totally understand how J.K. Rowling spun the series out of inspiration from this city.  It fits.  I loved everything about Edinburgh.  Endlessly charming, romantic, picturesque, just totally awesome.  I cannot wait to go back.

2.  Florence, Italy.  The city that got the ball rolling.  The first European place I visited.  Where I studied abroad for seven weeks in college at the age of 22.  I was never the same afterwards.  A longing and romance sparking in my heart for Europe from then onward.  I imagine that set in motion my eventual move overseas (aka leading up to where I am now), this totally life changing period of my life.  Not only that, but Florence is gorgeous.  Rolling blue-purple mountains, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the sun casting paintstrokes of gold and dusty gray acorss the sky.  Heaping plates of pasta and colorful swirling towers of gelato.  They dont call the guys over there Italian Stallions for nothin ;-)  I was captured by Italy from the moment I stepped foot into this country.  Totally smitten.  The beginning of my (and still continuing) love affair with Europe.

3.  Paris, France.  To me, Paris is oft revered for the most fitting of reasons.  It isnt cliched in the least, instead earning all the romantic lamenting it receives.  Paris has it all.  Both modern and old.  Gorgeous, ornate, eye catching architecture.  Delicious food (eclairs, baguettes, all manner of cream pastries....).  Notre Dame.  The Eiffel Tower sparkling after dark.  Croque Monsieurs.  The city gardens, works of art to behold.  The city is chock full of history and ancient wonders.  Saint Chapelle, a life sized jewelry box.  Museums galore.  The list goes on.  Paris is mind blowing.  I have been here several times now and would never grow bored of this city.

4.  Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Despite its subtly seedy reputation (prostitutes and pot being the main two that come to mind for tourists), this is actually such a small subset of the city culture that one can easily avoid it entirely if they wish.  And it certainly doesnt make up the city vibe or atmosphere.  Instead, picture storybook charm to the max.  Something of a serene, peaceful, wildflowery feeling romance.  Winding army fatigue green colored canals.  Bicycles weaving past, their bells tinkling in the air.  Cafes lining the lazily snaking canals.  A up and coming food scene.  Townhouses like upright gingerbread cookie cutouts.  Fields of colorful tulips, and explosions of vivid shades as far as the eye can see.  This city is magical, totally romantic, charming, and majorly atmospheric.  I wish I had spent more time in the city.  I potentially would have even lived here if the opportunity presented!

5.  Zermatt, Switzerland.  The epitome of winter wonderland magic.  Zermatt is what one would picture as the perfect alpine village setting.  Quaint, the total picture of loveliness.  Dusted in snow, its like someplace out of a storybook.  The imposing Matterhorn dominating the background in glowing splendor.  The Swiss specialty of cheese fondue available in most restaurants.  A rustic pot set atop an open flame, the cheese bubbling inside.  Dipping cubes of bread into the pot and bringing them out, cheese dripping off their surfaces.  Mmmmmm.  Food fantasy right there.  Getting to Zermatt also included quite possibly the most scenic, breathtaking, awe inspiring train ride of my life.  Skiing the Swiss Alps is hands down the most mind blowing thing visually that I have ever experienced.

This was one of our ski trails.  Check out that view directly in front of us.  Crappy, eh? :-p !!!!!!!!!!!

Very close runners up: Prague, Lisbon, Rothenberg (Germany), Budapest and the Cinque Terre, Italy.

Prague.  Living here for a few months was like residing in the setting of a medieval fairy tale.

What I imagine Christmas would taste like, if it were edible.  Like these gingerbread stars.  Mmmmm.

Rothenberg, Germany.  Like someplace straight out of a Disney storybook.  Picture perfect charm.  Absolutely beautiful.

Lisbon, Portugal.  Electric.  Artsy.  DELICIOUS food.  Subtly sexy atmosphere.  Gorgeous city.

This dessert was a life changer.  No joke.  One of the best sweets I have ever sampled.

Budapest.  The creepy, slightly funkier, darker version of Paris.  Also some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life, and for the cheapest.

The Cinque Terre.  The physical embodiment of paradise.  Here, time slows.  The air smelling of salt and fish.  Pastel colors dominate alongside the impossible aquamarine blues of the Liguarian sea.  Untouched by time.  Romantic.  Laid back.  Naturally arresting scenery. 

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