What’s the best city you’ve ever been to? Not necessarily to live, but it could be, and not necessarily just to visit. But it could be. I’ve gotten to do some travelling this year and last year and each time was blown away by one of the cities I visited.
Runner Up: Kyoto, Japan.
I took a trip to Japan and actually hadn’t planned on leaving Tokyo. I’m so glad that people convinced me to at least see Kyoto – Tokyo was neat but too much, while Kyoto is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. It felt as if you could walk down any block and eventually hit a beautiful temple or garden. The people were relatively friendly, especially considering that I was a total outsider travelling alone and don’t speak Japanese. The mass transit system was efficient and complete but completely manageable. And the city center was lively without being overwhelming – if you’re looking for peace and tranquility or noise and nightlife, you can get it there.
The only reason it’s not my first choice is that I feel like I’ve seen everything I can there; until I know the language it’d be impossible for me to feel at home.
First Place: Dublin, Ireland
I thought I’d learned my lesson from Japan, so planned to spend just a day in Dublin and the rest touring the Irish countryside. I ended up doing the opposite – I got less than halfway across the country before I wanted to head back to Dublin. This city rocks. Almost everything worth seeing is in walking distance. You can just walk down a street in Temple Bar and hear live music coming out of every other pub door. And when people say the Guinness tastes better over there than in the US – I was skeptical at first, but it’s the God’s honest truth.
The people were astoundingly friendly. I was talking to a couple of Dubliners in a bar, and mentioned that Americans have the impression that the people in Ireland are all really friendly. They said, “No, that’s just an image the tourist board tries to get across.” Then they spent the next two hours talking to me, answering my questions about the city & the country, and buying me drinks. (I said over and over again that they shouldn’t be paying for my drinks, but they insisted, saying, “If an Irishman ever offers to buy you alcohol, you’re better off just not arguing.”)
It’s tough to call it a “beautiful” city, in particular when there was so much construction going on (I’m assuming from E.U. money). But I was there two days and it felt like home.
So what are your picks, and why?