26 November 2011

My 7 Favorite Cities in Europe

There are so many dazzling, awe-inspiring places to visit in Europe, it can be so hard to decide on just a few destinations. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could pick only 7 cities that I would consider my favorites. This by no means is a list of the best cities, nor does it include some of the fabulous destinations that I am still dying to visit (Edinburgh, Barcelona, Prague - to name a few). This is simply a list of the places that captivated me the most, the places that still have a strong hold on my heart.

1. Lucerne

Ascending the nearby Mt. Pilatus remains one of the best days of my life. It was such a beautiful and spiritual experience to be surrounded by the heavens. It was a calming and healing experience for the soul to experience the world from this perspective. The actual city of Lucerne is absolutely charming as well and I fell in love with the Swiss people and customs. I seriously wanted to leave everything behind and just move to Lucerne for a while. That's still an idea...

2. Florence

Having lived here for a brief time, I'm a little biased. But Florence is a breathtaking city with some of the most amazing art in the whole world. Whether you want to check out the museums or just hang out at the Piazza della Signoria, there's so much to do and see (and eat) in Florence - and all within walking distance. This is a city for anyone who loves art or food. You may find yourself never wanting to leave Florence.

3. Paris

Seriously, who doesn't love Paris? I really don't think this city needs further explanation, but for the sake of continuity, I'll write a little something. Paris is the most romantic, spellbinding city in the world. You come here once, and you're hooked for life - forevermore coming up with ways to find yourself back here. There's a magic in the air here that makes you believe that anything is possible...forget "that-one-really-popular-theme-park", this is the place where dreams come true.

4. Galway

I certainly don't have the right photos to prove it, (I wasn't much of a photographer back then) but Ireland remains as one of my very favorite countries I've been to. While I loved Ireland as a whole, Galway stood out in my mind at the time as it's a cute little town - right on the water. For years now, (since 2003, when I visited) I've been trying to figure out how to go back. I think my ideal dream would just be to marry an Irish lad and move out there. (Only half joking here...) I so identify with the quaint, traditional lifestyle in the countryside, but could see myself living in the heart of Dublin as well. Ah, dreams. Aren't they fabulous?

5. Nice

What's not to love about the French Riviera? It may not have as many museum as, say Florence, but this is the ultimate place to relax. I enjoyed being in Nice and walking along the water. Being on the pebble beach is still one of the most relaxing and refreshing experiences I can remember from my European Cavalcade tour.

6. Innsbruck

I loved the time I spent in Innsbruck. The architecture was so unlike anything I had seen in other countries - yes, I'm a dork, but stuff like that fascinates me! I loved the unique buildings, the iron signs hanging outside each shop and the beautiful mountains that surrounded Innsbruck. There was a crispness in the air (that someone from Southern California rarely experiences...) and a story book feeling to the city that I fell in love with.

7. London

Yes, another cliche city - but until I venture further out into England and Scotland, this remains on my list. I adore London. I may have not seen all that much of it in the two times I've been, but I love the proper-ness mixed with the hip, artsy/theatre scene. This is another one of those cities I would love to live in (if only I could afford it!) - you could probably live here years and not have discovered everything. London is so rich in history and, speaking English, it's so accessible - it's hard not to be fascinated with this city.

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