Tuesday, June 1

Cities!

Happy 1 June 2010, happy 2001st post, and I have a fun poll for you!

Following are 25 cities off the top of my head, some big tourist spots and others less so. I'm aware the list reflects my own biases and leaves out big chunks of the world and dozens of extraordinary cities, but I had to cut the list off somewhere.



YOU GET 10 VOTES! So of these 25 cities, please vote for up to 10 that you'd love to visit for a week only. You would be confined to the town and immediate environs, so you'd want to spend your time intensively getting to know the place a bit, and not drive off somewhere else that happens to be nearby.

Also, assume there would be be no jet lag, travel would be instantaneous, and visas or any bureaucratic nonsense would be nonexistent or taken care of for you. The idea is just to build up a picture of which parts of the world people think are interesting enough to visit.

The poll will not let you exceed 10 choices. Your choices are all equal; you are not ranking your chosen cities. And you may write in your OWN choice if you so desire, at the very bottom. And yes, I'm aware of the graphical glitch in the poll's header - I'm trying to fix it...





27 comments:

Metamatician said...

Ooh, interesting! It's early yet but Venice is leading all cities with 6 votes, followed by Prague, Istanbul, Cairo, and Casablanca with 5! It seems people are wanting the more exotic adventures, as the conventional Western European cities haven't kept up.

Maybe we could all organize an itinerary that started in Prague then swung around through Istanbul and Cairo, and ended up in Morocco! That would be neat. :)

Metamatician said...

Oops, forgot Venice. We could complete our grand circle and end up there to relax and celebrate.

Raelha said...

I've aleady been to Prague, so, though I was tempted to include it, didn't, or any of the other cities I'd alreayd been to, though I'd like to get to know Edinburgh better too.

Count me in on the tour, though if I could swing by SF first that'd be great.

Oh, and of course everyone chose Venice after you'd included such a dazzling pic :) Though we'd have to hope for a non-flooded day and take our wellies just in case.

Mandula said...

_not_ enough. The 10 choices. :)
I've been to Venice and Marseille for a short time, but I would like to re-visit them too! And so on...

Giusi said...

I included cities I've already been to and that I would like to visit again... Kyoto (and Tokyo and Japan in general) would be very interesting to see, for example. But also Buenos Aires or San Francisco!
Anyway, I'm happy Venice is leading the poll. I've been there many times, of course. But I find it always surprisingly beautiful and lively! Full of tourists, of course. But full of real Venetians too, which is not that obvious!

Giusi said...

P.S. Budapest and Istanbul are definitely two cities I want to see very soon! :-)

Metamatician said...

I considered leaving off cities I KNEW people who read this blog had been to (that I was aware of), since most people were not likely to choose them in favor of a new, unvisited city, and I thought that would skew the data.

For example, I think San Francisco would have scored higher if my whole family didn't live near it!

But then I realized that Giusi had probably been to any city I could think of, so I gave up that idea ;-)

I tried to avoid some of the more obvious ones - New York, London, Rome, Moscow, Tokyo - but should have maybe put some cities like Nairobi, Cuzco, Adis Ababa, and Bucharest on there instead of more well-known tourist destinations like Prague, Istanbul, and Barcelona. Also, maybe Boston and Seattle, but I already had two from the US and didn't want to overdo it. Plus Seattle is similar in many ways to San Francisco.

Anyway, it was fun! These aren't supposed to be scientific :) And I'm glad to hear that Venice is still somewhat authentic, G, that makes me want to go there even more!

In case anyone's curious, my choices were: Casablanca, Cairo, Prague, Cork, Marseilles, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Bath, Edinburgh, and Venice. I think... Although I'm sure I couldn't have left Budapest off. Hmm.

Some of the cities I'd already visited as well, so I didn't choose those.

We'll do another one sometime with some more obscure cities!

Metamatician said...

Oh yeah and I want to visit Svalbard and hang out with the polar bears and watch the Northern Lights =)

Giusi said...

What about Samarcanda? :-)

Giusi said...

And we miss an Indian city here... ;-)

Giusi said...

And Lhasa??? :-D Too many places...

Metamatician said...

Yep, too many I'm afraid. I'll take your suggestions though and we'll have a Part Two soon :)

Metamatician said...

How's the weather in Stockholm?

Have you visited any art museums or seen any theatre in the city? I was just reading the Wikipedia page for Stockholm and there are so many fun-looking things to do there, and the architecture is very impressive (and also very Nordic, go figure!).

Giusi said...

Fantastic weather, lately. T-shirt sunny (around 30°C) and a bit windy, but cool in the evenings (now it's 13°C on my balcony). Tons of light... at 1 in the night, you can still see a faint blue light and a stripe of orange sky on the horizon... I love that!
I recently visited a museum that just opened: http://siamoastoccolma.blogspot.com/2010/05/fotografiska. I fell in love with Leibovitz's personal work.

Well, here you have a horrible English version (via Google translate): http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=it&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsiamoastoccolma.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F05%2Ffotografiska.html&sl=auto&tl=en

Metamatician said...

Ah, thank you! So they have some pretty famous originals by Leibovitz. I love the John Lennon photo. The translation came out ok, by the way. It does a much better job with Italian than with Hungarian, believe me!

I'm happy about the weather, it must be really a wonderful place when it's not completely frozen. T-shirt weather, wow! I'm jealous. Well, ok... not really :) I'm in a t-shirt and shorts almost every day =P

But I do like a dramatic change in seasons, it marks the passage of time nicely and also provides variety. We get four full seasons here - not as dramatic as where you are perhaps, but much better than San Diego or Los Angeles - both places I've also lived - where it's almost always mild. That's boring. I much prefer it up here, it's more like Seattle, green and lush... except without so much rain. Almost perfect, I think!

Oh, for our city tour, we can't forget the following: xanadu, oz, hyperborea, middle earth, atlantis, shangri-la, el dorado, timbuktu, shambhala, lemuria, avalon, ruritania, pohjola, and of course, flatland. =)

Giusi said...

i'm in for the tour. by the way, you forgot camelot, valhalla, thule and cockaigne :-)

Metamatician said...

Darn! I seem to forget cities no matter what realm of reality we're talking about!

That's because I'm an old man, though.

Mandula said...

Atlantis, then. ;) Xanadu, Eldorado... :))))

Mandula said...

Giusi, if you ever come here to Budapest, I would guide you around with pleasure. :)

Giusi said...

Mandula, you're so nice, thank you!!! My boyfriend has already been there, but more than 20 years ago. I bet it's a totally different place now. We would love to visit it! In case, I'll let you know for sure! :-)
And, of course, I would be your guide if you ever come to Stockholm!

Mandula said...

Thanks! I would love to. :) And yes, I think, in that 20 years, some changes happened here. ;)

Metamatician said...

I've never been to Hungary or Italy :'(

But one trip I made that was really cool was to (at the time) Yugoslavia and the USSR. Now I would have to say Croatia, Serbia, Russia, and the Ukraine.

I went in 1988, a year before the Berlin wall came down and the iron curtain fell away, when Poland and Czechoslovakia and soon all the other Eastern Bloc countries started to topple their communist governments. And soon the Soviet Union has it's coup d'etat, Gorbachev was swept out of power by the military, which were then overthrown by the people and Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia. The other Republics like Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and so on all declared their independence and the USSR was no more.

But seeing it BEFORE this happened, at sixteen years old, was a glimpse of that world of Leninism & Stalinism that no one will ever see again. Which is a good thing! Still, I have to say that I had an incredible time and best some really great people there (mostly in Cherkassy in the Ukraine; we spent most of the time there, though we also went to Odessa and Kiev, and spent some time in Moscow too.

Although the winds of political change were in the air, it was still a time when no one could foresee the amazing things that would happen in just a year or so, and certainly would never dream it would all fall apart so quickly. I had students tell me in almost a whisper in a cafe in Belgrade that Yugoslavia was likely to have a civil war soon, though of course we didn't ask such questions to any adults! And no newspapers or magazines on either side of the curtain that I can recall mentioned much of anything politically explosive or our trip probably would not have been possible.

Metamatician said...

It was Gobachev's policies of Glasnost and Perestroika of course which began to reform the USSR, and that was written about at the time - but still it was a subject we never talked about while we were there. Instead we were shown lots of cultural and historical things. Much of the scheduled itinerary felt like propaganda, but at our adopted homes with our host friend at night or at non-official parties or "off" days when we'd gather at the park or the lake, we could talk about such things a little bit, though mostly we just had fun meeting other teenagers and tripping out that we were in Russia, OMG!

It all seems like a dream now, and I know those places I visited would be much different if I went there now. Hopefully for the better. But some things from the West that were noticeable by their absence, like billboards and other forms of private advertisement - the commercial bombardment that capitalism hits you with every day - that was a breath of fresh air.

It was a glimpse of an old world - the 'bad guys' in the Cold War, and it was fascinating. I'm happy to see communism, at least that form of totalitarian communism, gone, believe me. But the alternative of capitalism is really oppressive in its own way, and I would have never felt that so clearly unless I had spent that time outside of its reach.

Mandula, you were probably too young to really remember much about all that - I mean, you remember the time of course, but I know you're not interested in politics. And plus you were born in Hungary and so maybe it seemed different to do. I went from the USA to the USSR and back, and it was a real shock.

I would love to go back to Moscow, Kiev, Zagreb, and other places we visited, as well as places like Budapest and Prague, to see them now, 20 years or so after gaining their freedom and independence. It would be fascinating all over again, in a different way.

And not all good, either. Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." I've only ever lived in democracy, but there plenty of bad things about it. But I would still choose it over most if not all of the other forms of social control that exist. It's the best choice I guess in a list where all the choices are bad.

Metamatician said...

Well, anyway, if I visit Sweden, Hungary, Spain, or Virginia I know which people to ask to show me around! :-)

Who would have thought all those years ago that we would now have friends on Facebook or elsewhere from so many different countries and cultures, even from many that used to be "enemies" - enemies of our own countries that is; ordinary people around the world that I've met are all about the same - or more precisely, there are the same types of people wherever you go. Their exteriors and the veneer of culture may change, but human beings have the same basic needs and wants wherever you go, and if you spend enough time with anyone you will see this.

Still, the differences ARE very interesting. That's why I'm disappointed to see American culture spreading so quickly, especially in the so-called developing world. I wish there were a way countries to all find a way to be equal is terms of education, health, and economics, yet retain their distinctive culture more than they do. The Internet is helping to homogenize the world, and it's great for allowing all of us earthlings to communicate with one another and to break down old borders and boundaries, but it also erodes the differences between cultures and tends to make everywhere start to look and feel the same.

But that's a topic for another day. I'm happy you guys are talking to one another! It's a pleasant surprise, and I'm very happy to know all of you and hope I can meet everyone is person someday!

Metamatician said...

BTW, Istanbul and Venice are now tied for the lead with 8 votes each. I didn't know 8 people read my blog! :)

Metamatician said...

Venice got another vote. I think it won.

Rickmilw said...

Krakow Poland is a great city, probably a bit similar to Prague

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