10 Best Cities

http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest/2009/results.cfm?cat=hotels

So Travel and Leisure Magazine has posted their top cities in the world to visit.  Buenos Aires is number 4 hollerrrrr!  Can’t wait to go!  Good thing we didn’t decide to go to Honduras like I originally wanted.  Though….politically unstable countries are right up my alley.  If you don’t know me, you should know I’m really into Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and other similar war-torn countries.  I’m not INTO genocide, but I find the culture and politics around such horrific situations to be fascinating.   And haunting.  I should probably be working for the UNHCR with Angelina Jolie (gross).

All that said, I know I have a lot of traveling to do, and I’m for sure updating my travel list after this article, but based on my experiences thus far, I’m not sure about this T&L Top 10 Cities list… just sayin’… I’ve been to very few actually, so obviously I have some destinations to visit before I get to judge…but…I’m gonna go ahead and judge anyways.  Really though, my beef is with these Italian cities.

I minored in Art History in college and I appreciate art and culture as much (if not more) than your average person, but Rome and Florence to date were the most disappointing cities I’ve been to in my life.  I realize that Americans have this ridiculous attitude and expectation of the romance and brilliance of these cities (blame the movies, they ruin our lives and sense of reality), but really, I have never been so disappointed as my arrival in Rome.  I love old movies, so Roman Holiday set the stage for my trip (if you haven’t seen it, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are amaaazing!), but…such a let down.  I’m not that into antiquities, so that might be an issue.  But people forget that Rome is a real city, not just some preserved ruins.  It’s dirty and sweaty and busy and gross.  And dirty!

Hezka Praha

Hezka Praha

This is not to say I wouldn’t go back for a second opinion.  I’m not rude, I will give you a second chance!

My additions to the city list are as follows (based on my limited travels)…

1.  Prague, Czech Republic.

My favorite city I’ve been to in my life.  It’s the only place I’ve ever  been where the majority of the city (within reason) actually looks like the guidebooks that you see.  Seriously.  Usually it’s a few cool buildings and then some kind of gross slum.  It’s almost creepy how well-preserved this city is.  Call them wimps, but both the Nazis and the Communists came in and didn’t ruin the beauty of their homes.  Gotta give them that.  Czech people are so complex it’s beautiful (yet, in practice, slightly difficult to deal with).  Go before it turns too western (as it does by the day).  It’s such a haunting city full of history that defines a people like you would not believe.  Plus (as long as they’re not on the Euro…), beer is ridiculously cheap!!

2.  Croatia

The whole country gets mention because 1) I LOVE the Balkans (see above reference to Bosnia) and 2) it’s awesome everywhere, let’s be real.  Hanging in Split is like being a yacht club.  I have visions of being fancy and important some day so count me in.  Dubrovnik is so unlike anywhere that you see that you have to go.  The city is basically a fortress.  Cliffs+clear blue water+amazing Mediterranean architectural forts/hollowed-out buildings from the Balkans wars+some of the most welcoming people I’ve met = best place ever.  My travel buddy and I actually stayed in someone’s house that we found online (don’t tell my parents, I was in college, they would freak out) – the only people more hospitable I’ve met were in Poland.  (see next post).

3.  Krakow, Poland.

Really, true story:  My friends go to Poland.  As it turns out (weird…), it is hard to speak Polish despite our Czech language background from Prague…  My friends are lost.  Ask old lady for directions.  She can’t speak English well enough to direct them.  So she leaves where she’s going.  Pulls my friends onto the bus.  Takes their money and pays the driver.  Basically pushes them off at the stop they need to be at and then she gets off and goes back in the opposite direction.  Amazing people .  I was there a week or two after Pope John Paul II passed away.  I’m not Catholic, but it was a ridiculous experience.  A Polish pope.  People are into that.  I feel like Polish people are like Aggies (I’m from Texas, clearly) – overly spirited.  Like they have been the people that have had to deal with the most bullying and shit for their entire history.  But yet… they are awesome.  Put them on the damn list!!

Fear not, I will keep you posted on whether or not Buenos Aires makes my personal top 10.

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