New York City, USA
Even though a part of me didn’t want to like New York because of how much the Americans glorify the city, especially since 9/11, I couldn’t help but love the place.
Nowhere is too out of the way in Manhattan with such a well connected underground we were only a couple of blocks away from a station. I loved everything about the city, from the awesome views visible from Rockefeller Center, Times Square and the Staten Island ferry, to the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street.
When I visited Ground Zero, it was only a few months away from completion, but it looked like it was going to be the king of all memorials and the US of A love a good memorial.
Central Park was less like a park than I had hoped. With a big road running through the middle of it and the majority of the grass areas fenced off with limited points of entry, it created a more controlled feel to the park, rather than the natural haven that it’s made out to be.
However, this didn’t dampen my opinion of New York, I loved the the typical Manhattan Chinese takeaway round the corner from our hotel, as well as the independent stores that littered the streets. I didn’t mind waiting for a train in the subway because it meant I could marvel at the intricate construction while trains weaved in and out on lines that seemed to appear from nowhere.
I have a keen interest in everything Roman, so visiting Rome was always going to be a must. Although there were bad points about the city, such as the poor driving and general rudeness of the inhabitants, I couldn’t help but love it. I think only in Rome I would be shoved onto a train on the underground by an impatient nun. I also saw a nun texting, which was a surreal thing to witness.
Nevertheless, I loved Rome. The architecture was astounding. To see so many ancient buildings still standing, such as the Pantheon, which is in impeccable condition, to the buildings of ancient Rome that still stand in their crumbled state in the old city. I took a tour bus that dropped me off at the Colosseum, and when it came into view I couldn’t believe how big it was and how it dominated the landscape. Pity I wasn’t allowed to walk centre stage though, at least I was able to do it in Assassin’s Creed…
I immediately liked Chicago the moment I arrived. There was a vibe I got from the city that I loved. The diversity of the city is what makes it into my top 5, pushing Washington DC out. Even though Washington was awesome with all the memorials, White House and incredible architecture, Chicago had everything a city could have. It’s like someone created the city and couldn’t quite decide what they wanted, so decided to have a bit of everything!
Chicago has shopping centres and awesome architecture, especially along the magnificent mile, which is a mile long stretch of shops. There is also a pier, which displays wonderful views of the city, and a river, which has water taxis running alongside the diverse high rises which make for good sightseeing. Lincoln Park Zoo can keep you busy for the most part of a day and Chicago even has a beach! So, whatever type of person you are- a shopper, sunbather, animal lover, architecture buff or food enthusiast then Chicago will deliver.
An old favourite and a cliche candidate for this top 5. However, I’ve been to Paris twice and don’t feel like it can be left out. The entire city appears to be designed like it is an artistic structure all of it’s own, with many roads leading in the same direction meeting at the Arche de Triomphe. I love that many of the buildings are of the same design, much like Turin with its slated rooftops. Paris is a must see, even if you aren’t a romantic. With structures like the Eiffel Tower, museums such as the Louvre and enough history to keep you occupied for a month, broken up with countless numbers of cafes and patisseries, Paris cannot be missed.
Many cities could have taken this last spot, but I felt I should be slightly faithful to my country and give the last spot to Bath. In my opinion it fits the criteria I look for in a great city. The city has a lot of history, such as the Jane Eyre museum, where I even bought a bookmark, which I thought was rather fitting. It has architecture that rivals Rome, but then again some of the architecture is actually Roman..such as the Roman Baths, which was quite costly to get into, but was well worth it. I wanted to strip and dive into the hot bath, until I saw the colour of the water and the greenish tinge put me off the idea. Bath is well known for it’s great shopping, and is littered with many restaurants and cafes, which like Paris breaks up the sightseeing. I only spent two days in Bath, and with it being my favourite English city I’d like to return someday.