Armchair Traveler: A View on Cities

Hanging out with some public art in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.

The last great city we visited was Seattle in 2010, so I’m getting excited about our upcoming visit to Vancouver, BC. In searching for some photos to gain my bearings on the city’s sights, I stumbled upon the website A View on Cities.

I hope you’re prepared to add to your bucket list. Mine is already so overwhelming that the discovery of this site actually caused a slight amount of panic. I mean, I’d heard a million times that Prague is a “must-see” destination. But once I clicked through these photos at A View on Cities, I now know that it is. And so there it goes, onto the bucket list. One more place I now long to visit. The photo library takes viewers on a virtual tour, more or less, of the world’s great cities. I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to look at many of them. Just like watching the Cooking Channel makes me want to eat, eat, eat, this web site also makes me hungry, in a different way.

Want to see what the top attractions are in Rome? Or whether Munich is a city where you’d like to wander the streets? Need a map of attractions so you can plan your route and find the best location for lodging?

It’s all there, beckoning you to while away a few hours clicking through and dreaming up future vacations you may or may not take. Take a look, and happy virtual travels!



Best Cities Around the World

I ask myself the same question every time I take a trip. Could I see myself living here?

It’s not that I don’t like Chicago. Chicago is a great city—it’s got great architecture, a nice lakefront, a quality food scene, and character-laden neighborhoods for every ethnicity and subculture you can list.

It’s just that I’ve always lived in the Midwest. Going away to college meant a whopping two-hour drive south. Not exactly the out-of-state adventure I insisted upon as a senior in high school. I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else. How come I haven’t?

So everywhere I go, I think, will I move here some day? Maybe it’s a question that everyone asks and I just don’t know it. It seems like a pretty natural thing to consider.

Recently Mercer released their 2012 Quality of Living Rankings. They take a look at cities around the world and evaluate them for things like political and economic stability, rising living standards, and urban infrastructure (which, considering that I lose power if I sneeze too hard, is not to be underrated).

I think of this list as an inspiration for future travels, since every destination is a possible future home.

Most surprising to me was the number of German cities on the list. You’d think Germans would be a little giddier, considering they hold seven of the top thirty spots.

I was reassured to find Vancouver at number five, since my “Demise of the United States Escape Plan” (come on, you know you’ve thought about it) now places Canada over Mexico.

I reluctantly accept that Chicago made the list, at spot 42, but vehemently disagree with it beating out Seattle, which came in at 44. I mean, I’m sorry, can you really put Lake Michigan head-to-head with the Pacific coastline? Or mountains against a former swamp that smelled like onions? But that’s an argument for another time.

What do you think? Where are your best cities?