So I'm really a big fan of repeats, i.e. I don't care to go the save places more than once. But obviously there are exceptions. So I'm making a list of places I wouldn't mind going to again. This list is, unusually, a definitive one. It's in order and set. Hopefully I'll never go to anywhere I've ever been already for a vacation unless it's on this list.
10. New York City
Why: Really? it's New York City. It isn't a go-once place. There's a lot still to see. Concert in Central Park. Poetry Slams. Eat at Le Bernadin. New Year's at Times Square. Catch a Broadway show (not a musical). Go check out the Met. Play some street basketball (and probably get owned). The list goes on and on.
First Thing to do: Get down to the Brooklyn bridge and have pizza at Grimaldi's.
Why: Bit of a cheat because it's not a city. Technically still the same country but who says you can't have a vacation without needing a passport (if you live in Arkansas, Florida counts as a vacation). I think I could live in Tobago if I could get a job there. Obvious reasons are the beaches. It's all I need to keep going back.
First Thing to do : Get off the plane, walk to Store Bay. Buy a Guinness and hit the water.
Why: I think I like East Berlin more than West Berlin. They're still building and everything is newer. I still need to see all the museums on Museum Island (only been to the Altes Museum so far). The Berlin Philharmonic are world-famous, so they need to be seen on home court. And it's Berlin, so probably the best Turkish food in a European city outside of Turkey itself. The Indian and Thai food is pretty good too. And, cliched as it might be, walking around at looking at cars in Germany is great.
First Thing to do: Get a Doner Falafel (from King of Falafel or Dada). Get to the Reichstag, chill on the lawn and eat that falafel doner.
Why: You can go with the cliches about coffeeshops and red light district, but that's not really the reason I need to get back to Amsterdam. (Maybe the coffeeshops a bit). The museums are what it's all about, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum need repeats. Heineken Music hall always has great jazz and occasionally big shows. And, of course, I need to see Ajax play at the Amsterdam ArenA.
First thing to do: Get to the Rijksmuseum and wander slowly around for about 4 hours. Either that or get to The Bulldog coffeeshop for brownies. It's a tie.
6. San Fransisco
Why: It's been a long nine years since San Fran. It'd be nice to check it out again although I doubt anything much has changed. Of course, now I can go to all those bars that I wasn't old enough to get into last time. The Museum of Modern Art wouldn't be a bad place to visit either (though sometimes modern art goes over my head). Maybe I'll even see Clint Eastwood.
First thing to do : I have no clue. Golden Gate Bridge maybe?
Why: The metro lines aren't very good, which is sad considering it's the second oldest in the world (only 3 lines they don't connect up the whole city). But everything else about this city is amazing. The Danube, Chain Bridge, Heroes Square and Buda Castle are all amazing. I had the best meal of my life in a restaurant outside St.Stephens Basilica and it was randomly picked and I don't think it was a renowned one. A lot of the appeal of Budapest comes from the people too. They're nicer than anywhere else in Europe. The exchange rate of Florint to Euro makes it good for the pocket.
First Thing to Do: Get back to St. Stephens Basilica, find that restaurant and make sure that meal was as good as I think it was (Penne pasta in tomato sauce with buffalo milk mozzarella).
Why: It's Belgium. The architecture is amazing and Grand Place is possibly the most awe-inspiring square in Europe. Antwerp gives Brussels a run, but I prefer the French section to the Dutch section. Any city where you can walk around all day and sample (free) chocolate and beer is a winner. Really, the chocolate alone is enough to go to Brussels (Valrhona and Leonidas). The restaurant lined streets and cafes call for a re-visit too.
First thing to do: Get to Valrhona. Buy a box. Then go to Grand place, sit on the Maison du Roi steps and eat previously purchased chocolates.
Why: London calling. Because it is. My favorite English speaking city (unless you're in Southall). There's so much diversity here it's hard to think of it as one city. But there's so much to see. If somehow you get tickets, there's enough football to keep you busy watching for ages. Cricket at Lord's should be classic. Concerts in Hyde Park. London Syphony and the Royal Philharmonic should be good to listen to also. It is London, so there'd be more poetry readings than slams, but those work too. And the best Indian food I've ever had is in London too.
First Thing to do: Get to Southall, have the onion bhajia. Follow with Karahi Paneer Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan. (& Try to look less clueless when people speak in Hindi)
Why: On the basis of Wenceslas Square alone Prague needs a re-visit. The national Museum is brilliant. And the square has enough bars and fast food places to kill and entire day. King Charles Bridge is popular, though I have no idea why, it's fun to hang around and play tourist. The walking tour is great too because Prague, like all cities, is filled with interesting history. The Allegro in Four Seasons Hotel is supposed to be an exceptional restaurant also. It's an atmosphere though. Something about Prague gets in your mind.
First thing to do: Get off at Wenceslas Square. Buy a fried mozzarella sandwich and a half-pint of Pilsner Urquell. Follow up by getting pizza at Half&Half and follow with mocha almond cheesecake.
Why: Paris, do you even need a reason? There is nowhere else as amazing as Paris. There is no city as diverse and beautiful, not even London. The food, the art, the history. It's all perfect. Every arrondisment is like a different world yet all still held together with familiarity. Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, Sacre Coeur, Sunday market, rugby at Stade de France. There's so much to do. Food on a boat on the Seine. Walks on the riverbank with Pinot Noir and Gruyere. Couscous and hummus in the African Market. Tartlets on Champs Elysees. The entire Montmarte area. The Louvre. The list goes on and on. Paris is neverending.
First thing to do: Get to Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore. And stay for hours reading upstairs.