European Cities that don't interest you

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nedsaid
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by nedsaid » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:42 am

I think attitude has a lot to do with whether you enjoy specific cities or not. Every place has its good points and its bad points. For example, Prague was initially very disappointing. The first train station there I saw looked rundown and parts of the city looked seedy and full of graffiti. The beautiful parts of Prague are amazing and I would like to go back some day.

Been to Europe five times now and I haven't been to any cities that I thought were truly awful. It was so exciting just to get oversees that everything seemed like an adventure to me. But yes, a lot of the popular spots are crowded and some places seem too touristy. If you get off the beaten path a bit, you will find some amazing and unexpected experiences. I would say travel with an open mind and if you go somewhere disappointing, just make the best of it.

It is kind of like my take on family vacations. Fun but not ideal. It seemed that as a kid, I disliked my siblings constant whining. As an adult, I dislike my parents' whining. :wink: Much of my travel has been on my own.
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LookingForward
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by LookingForward » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:57 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:19 am
That's not actually true. The population increase is in sub Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Those people don't travel.

What you are experiencing is rising affluence and falling transport costs, especially air travel. Rich first workers. And the Chinese, just beginning.
I agree, plus rising information availability.

Bryce Canyon isn't overpopulated, is it? It's more likely that the internet has allowed people to find out how amazing it is, then rising affluence and low transportation costs have allowed more people the opportunity to experience it. It's nothing to do with population increase, let alone "overpopulation".

We recently made a return trip to Hallstatt, Austria, a beautiful little town on the edge of a lake. It's been steadily growing in popularity, and is now very busy with Chinese and Korean tourists, as well as the usual groups of other nationalities. The crowds make it a little more difficult for me to enjoy it, but I don't begrudge people from trying to enjoy the same things I've appreciated in the past.

Back to the original question, we've found that we have no real interest in returning to Amsterdam. It was just too busy for us. While we like Munich and Bavaria a lot, we've little desire to visit the German cities that rebuilt in the modern fashion, like Berlin. Maybe we're wrong, but it's far down the list for us.

Rome and Paris are amazing, but so big-city that we're not anxious to return.

On the plus side, Lucerne is pretty but not our favorite place in Switzerland. That honor goes to Mürren, where we stayed for four or five days, and loved it. If you just want to relax and admire natural beauty, and maybe hike a bit, we haven't found anything to beat it.

Salzburg is a great small city. It's filled with tourists in the summer, but we've never felt overwhelmed.

I don't want to de-rail the thread, but does anyone have any recommendations for places for us to visit, based on what we like and don't like?

DrGoogle2017
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:28 am

theplayer11 wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:41 am
carolinaman wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:43 am
No one has mentioned a Swiss city yet. I have always wanted to visit Switzerland.
Switzerland is a must for anyone who likes natural beauty..best vacation for me
Zurich-liked, especially old town
Geneva- not so much, didn't seem a part of Switzerland
Everything in between...fantastic
Interesting, I didn’t plan to stay in Geneva during my two weeks in Switzerland. But I think for Switzerland, it’s a beautiful place with lots of lakes and mountains. I don’t think it matters where one stays because one can take the train to anywhere.

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:29 am

Nicolas wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:39 am
Durham, England. We were interested in the Norman architecture there but couldn't find a parking spot. We circled and criss-crossed the city for 45 minutes, finally we gave up and pushed north. It might be a perfectly charming place, we'll never know.
I took the train there and it was lovely to see an old church that I wouldn’t have thought about visiting until I was watching one of Sting’s Christmas DVD.

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Alexa9
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:38 am

The UK, North and Eastern Europe seems boring personally compared to the Mediterranean: Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece.

theplayer11
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by theplayer11 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:31 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:38 am
The UK, North and Eastern Europe seems boring personally compared to the Mediterranean: Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece.
I'm the exact opposite lol, prefer the northern countries more. I guess I'm just a cold weather guy, can't stand the heat and congestion.

krannerd
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by krannerd » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:50 pm

I did not care for Madrid. The night life wasn't a draw and I don't like having dinner at 10PM. There was some interesting architecture, but not enough to keep my interest.

I was there for a week (school related) and would not go back.

sevenseas
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by sevenseas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:14 pm

Just to be contrary, I loved Florence, Moscow and Madrid! Maybe I'm a cockeyed optimist, but I've never travelled anywhere that I later regretted or felt was a waste of time. Always found wondrous sights to see, great food to eat, and new (if admittedly superficial and limited) insight into the culture and people. Every place can have its negatives, and I certainly would rank some places much higher on my list (e.g. Paris, Barcelona) than others, but I can't think of anywhere I've been that I'd tell someone else not to go.

And my least favorite color is green. But I will still wear it and paint my walls with it. Go figure. :)

sevenseas
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by sevenseas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:27 pm

LookingForward wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:57 am

I don't want to de-rail the thread, but does anyone have any recommendations for places for us to visit, based on what we like and don't like?
Sounds like you like smaller, slower-paced places close to nature. Stockholm, Oslo/Bergen might suit. Lake Como, Italy. Provence (Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence). Edinburgh. Andalusia and environs (Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada). Outside of Europe: Queenstown NZ. Or why not just target a nature destination, e.g. Costa Rica, Galapagos, Patagonia...the possibilities are truly endless!

GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:32 pm

Marseilles. Got to be the armpit of France.

duckcalldan
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by duckcalldan » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:08 pm

OK, I’ll bite.

I’ve been to Europe a dozen times, and have enjoyed each visit thoroughly.

Throw a dart at a map of Europe and another at a map of USA. I’ll take the random European city over its random American counterpart any day.

That said, I didn’t care much for Pisa. But we did that as a day trip from Lucca, where we rented a flat for a week. We absolutely love that city.

Likewise, I didn’t like Lille. But we spent the night there to see the Tour de France, which, as a cyclist, was a fantastic experience. And I got to see the world famous velodrome in Roubaix.

Bottom line: every mundane European city has a pleasurable experience close to or in it. And most European cities aren’t mundane.

renue74
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by renue74 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:57 pm

Naples

Had a bad experience there outside the train station. Got pick pocketed.

There are plenty of other beautiful places in Italy that do interest me.

Geno
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Geno » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:11 pm

Paris and London
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JW-Retired
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by JW-Retired » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:26 pm

Bergen. Part of a work trip that we tried to combine with a family vacation on one end. In Bergen, I was mostly busy on weekdays but most everything closed at 5 pm. Very little seemed to be open on weekends too.

It was in the 1980's so possibly it's different now.
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hmw
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by hmw » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:48 pm

Madrid. My wife got pickpocketed on our honeymoon there. That probably colored our experience.

flyingaway
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by flyingaway » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:59 pm

I want to visit every places in Europe.

Nicolas
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Nicolas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:19 pm

Andorra la Vella. This city is situated in Andorra, a micro state located in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Its attraction to Europeans is mostly as a duty-free zone where one may cheaply purchase three main wares: perfume, electronic goods, and motorcycle parts. We won't be going back.
Last edited by Nicolas on Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

voltaire
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by voltaire » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:21 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:28 pm
Charleroi, Belgium - been to the airport, no desire to go back. I would probably extend this all all Wallonia, but I'm admittedly under the influence of a very close Flemish friend.
How exotic to see Charleroi commented on by someone who has, admittedly, only been to the airport.

I was there once, a few years ago, and we stumbled into the most fantastic country market I have ever been to, in Belgium, France or anywhere else.

Apparently, the market, held just outside the town (once a month or so), has been going for hundreds of years and is one of the main markets for horses and other animals in Belgium. There was food, beer, trotting horses with buggies and lots more. One of my favorite Europe memories.

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by head gamez » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:32 pm

I've spent a two day stopover in Paris and honestly, if ever connecting in CDG again I'd try to find the shortest connection possible. I felt like I was the only male walking around that had jeans that fit - aka.... not wearing skinny jeans.

I would probably go back to France to see the Normandy area and would love to catch a mountain stage of the tour. Paris.... never again.

I enjoy Warsaw and try to spend some time there when work takes me to Poland.

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:31 am

LookingForward wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:57 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:19 am
That's not actually true. The population increase is in sub Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Those people don't travel.

What you are experiencing is rising affluence and falling transport costs, especially air travel. Rich first workers. And the Chinese, just beginning.
I agree, plus rising information availability.

Bryce Canyon isn't overpopulated, is it? It's more likely that the internet has allowed people to find out how amazing it is, then rising affluence and low transportation costs have allowed more people the opportunity to experience it. It's nothing to do with population increase, let alone "overpopulation".

We recently made a return trip to Hallstatt, Austria, a beautiful little town on the edge of a lake. It's been steadily growing in popularity, and is now very busy with Chinese and Korean tourists, as well as the usual groups of other nationalities. The crowds make it a little more difficult for me to enjoy it, but I don't begrudge people from trying to enjoy the same things I've appreciated in the past.

Back to the original question, we've found that we have no real interest in returning to Amsterdam. It was just too busy for us. While we like Munich and Bavaria a lot, we've little desire to visit the German cities that rebuilt in the modern fashion, like Berlin. Maybe we're wrong, but it's far down the list for us.
Berlin actually has a lot of old stuff left, just not in the centre. That said, much has been rebuilt in ways that are sympathetic to old and new, such as the Neues Museum. The whole museum island is under reconstruction so some things are just not open (and that varies).

Berlin is all about the history and not just our parents and grandparents (WW1 Weimar Nazis Ww1WW2) but ours as well (Cold War, Reunification). If you saw the Tom Hanks film Bridge of Spies it caught the atmosphere beautifully. There's not much left of Die Mauer (the Wall) but what there is... Also The Holocaust Museum, Jewish Museum, German history museum.

Almost every German city was rebuilt after the war. Freiburg for example. Some quite beautifully. Nuremberg for example took a real pounding.



Rome and Paris are amazing, but so big-city that we're not anxious to return.

On the plus side, Lucerne is pretty but not our favorite place in Switzerland. That honor goes to Mürren, where we stayed for four or five days, and loved it. If you just want to relax and admire natural beauty, and maybe hike a bit, we haven't found anything to beat it.

Salzburg is a great small city. It's filled with tourists in the summer, but we've never felt overwhelmed.

I don't want to de-rail the thread, but does anyone have any recommendations for places for us to visit, based on what we like and don't like?
Innsbruck I prefer to Salzburg. A bit less chocolate box touristy. Neustift near there is a good place for mountain walking. Innsbruck does have less to see than Salzburg. Also Kitzbuhl. My been to Lech but heard it is nice. Austria is a *lot* cheaper than Switzerland.

Bolzano on the Italian side (Sud Tirolia) is supposed to be very nice ditto Murano. Can reach from Verona airport I believe. Which is itself a nice city. Winter ski season is when they are manic so summer is better (avoid August).

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by timmy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:41 am

Nice if you have a reason to go there but otherwise overrated: London, Amsterdam

Paris lived up to the hype

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:59 am

timmy wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:41 am
Nice if you have a reason to go there but otherwise overrated: London, Amsterdam

Paris lived up to the hype
I happen to live in London but I would reverse that.

Paris is overrated. London lives up to its billing.

Haussmans boulevard s turned Paris into a city for cars. Deliberately wide to prevent the mob barricading them. Pedestrians struggle although Anne Hidalgo (mayor) is taking steps to reverse that.

Anyways if you want French then London is something like the 15th largest French city in the world. Emanuel Macron actually campaigned here there are so many French voters living here.

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:55 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:59 am
timmy wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:41 am
Nice if you have a reason to go there but otherwise overrated: London, Amsterdam

Paris lived up to the hype
I happen to live in London but I would reverse that.

Paris is overrated. London lives up to its billing.
If I were to pick my top choice for a city to live in, it would be difficult to choose between London and New York City. NYC is closer and no bureaucratic changes would be required to move there. But London is absolutely wonderful. It's beautiful, cultural, intellectual, and well connected to the rest of Europe.

I have visited London many times over the years, and every time I've left with a strong desire to come back more often and for longer periods. I am not going to argue with those who are not interested in London, but I don't want people who have not visited London to cross it out.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:09 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:55 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:59 am
timmy wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:41 am
Nice if you have a reason to go there but otherwise overrated: London, Amsterdam

Paris lived up to the hype
I happen to live in London but I would reverse that.

Paris is overrated. London lives up to its billing.
If I were to pick my top choice for a city to live in, it would be difficult to choose between London and New York City. NYC is closer and no bureaucratic changes would be required to move there. But London is absolutely wonderful. It's beautiful, cultural, intellectual, and well connected to the rest of Europe.

I have visited London many times over the years, and every time I've left with a strong desire to come back more often and for longer periods. I am not going to argue with those who are not interested in London, but I don't want people who have not visited London to cross it out.

Victoria
NYC is more "urban" than London and faster paced.

Intellectual life I cannot compare the two. Perhaps some day i shall live for 6 months in NYC to make comparisons ;-)

Infrastructure is now noticeably improved in London than NYC. A function of large central govt transfers. At least once you get out of Heathrow ;-)

Brexit may kill London. We may have seen "peak London"

If I was really into French food, culture, theatre off course Paris would be better.

Gentrification is killing what makes all 3 cities exciting and stimulating. They now call the affordable 6th Borough -- Philadelphia.

killjoy2012
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by killjoy2012 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:09 pm

This really has all to do with personal preferences.

Least favorite:
- Brussels, Venice, Oslo, Athens

Most favorite:
- London, Paris, Madrid, Seville, Rome

DrGoogle2017
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:19 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:09 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:55 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:59 am
timmy wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:41 am
Nice if you have a reason to go there but otherwise overrated: London, Amsterdam

Paris lived up to the hype
I happen to live in London but I would reverse that.

Paris is overrated. London lives up to its billing.
If I were to pick my top choice for a city to live in, it would be difficult to choose between London and New York City. NYC is closer and no bureaucratic changes would be required to move there. But London is absolutely wonderful. It's beautiful, cultural, intellectual, and well connected to the rest of Europe.

I have visited London many times over the years, and every time I've left with a strong desire to come back more often and for longer periods. I am not going to argue with those who are not interested in London, but I don't want people who have not visited London to cross it out.

Victoria
NYC is more "urban" than London and faster paced.

Intellectual life I cannot compare the two. Perhaps some day i shall live for 6 months in NYC to make comparisons ;-)

Infrastructure is now noticeably improved in London than NYC. A function of large central govt transfers. At least once you get out of Heathrow ;-)

Brexit may kill London. We may have seen "peak London"

If I was really into French food, culture, theatre off course Paris would be better.

Gentrification is killing what makes all 3 cities exciting and stimulating. They now call the affordable 6th Borough -- Philadelphia.
I had better French food in London than Paris. Same with Italian food. Pizza is the better in my local pizza join than in Rome or Florence.

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GerryL
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by GerryL » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:25 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:19 pm

I had better French food in London than Paris. Same with Italian food. Pizza is the better in my local pizza join than in Rome or Florence.
To get good French food in France, you need to stay away from the tourist areas. A local advised me to look for menus that had a very limited list of dishes. I spent 2 weeks in Lyon ("gastronomical capital of the world") and the only bad meal I had was on a street catering to tourists.

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6miths
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 6miths » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:35 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:16 pm
Donetsk.
Luhanks.

Unless you are with an NGO.

Victoria
Enjoyed my trips to Donetsk but that was before all of the troubles. Once ran into (almost literally) the President of Ukraine coming out of the Donbass Palace. That said it was mainly about the people, the city maybe not so much.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:46 pm

GerryL wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:25 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:19 pm

I had better French food in London than Paris. Same with Italian food. Pizza is the better in my local pizza join than in Rome or Florence.
To get good French food in France, you need to stay away from the tourist areas. A local advised me to look for menus that had a very limited list of dishes. I spent 2 weeks in Lyon ("gastronomical capital of the world") and the only bad meal I had was on a street catering to tourists.
One of my most memorable meals in France was not about food. I went for lunch with a friend in Metz to a restaurant owned by his friend. As we were sitting at the table, the owner came to greet us and several other people stopped by at different times. They spoke in French and tried to engage me in the conversation, but my 100-word vocabulary was sufficient only for the greeting and polite responses. I don't remember what I have ordered; I remember it was delicious. But my strongest memory is of being a part of this community of sociable and polite Frenchmen.

Victoria
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by timmy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:51 pm

Zurich nice but overrated

Most cities in Italy :beer

Moscow is so interesting

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VictoriaF
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 pm

6miths wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:35 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:16 pm
Donetsk.
Luhanks.

Unless you are with an NGO.

Victoria
Enjoyed my trips to Donetsk but that was before all of the troubles. Once ran into (almost literally) the President of Ukraine coming out of the Donbass Palace. That said it was mainly about the people, the city maybe not so much.
Did you see Yanukovych?!

I am from Kharkov. It's very close to Luhansk and Donetsk, but I preferred traveling to Moscow, Leningrad, and "exotic" republics. My ex-husband had a half of his family in Luhansk and they seemed more provincial than Kharkovians. In 2016, I stayed in a small hotel in Krakow, and the personnel were all from Ukraine. The owner was from Kharkov, the receptionist was from Donetsk. She and I had several deep conversations and I have developed a second-hand respect for Donetsk.

It's funny how personalities of people you meet affect your impressions of their cities.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Nicolas » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:34 pm

I like Paris too, but my daughter loves loves loves it. So much so that ten years ago she quit the USA and is now “living the dream”, living and working in Paris as a free-lance French translator. (This affords us excellent opportunities for European travel with a built-in interpreter).
Last edited by Nicolas on Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 6miths » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:53 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 pm
6miths wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:35 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:16 pm
Donetsk.
Luhanks.

Unless you are with an NGO.

Victoria
Enjoyed my trips to Donetsk but that was before all of the troubles. Once ran into (almost literally) the President of Ukraine coming out of the Donbass Palace. That said it was mainly about the people, the city maybe not so much.
Did you see Yanukovych?!

I am from Kharkov. It's very close to Luhansk and Donetsk, but I preferred traveling to Moscow, Leningrad, and "exotic" republics. My ex-husband had a half of his family in Luhansk and they seemed more provincial than Kharkovians. In 2016, I stayed in a small hotel in Krakow, and the personnel were all from Ukraine. The owner was from Kharkov, the receptionist was from Donetsk. She and I had several deep conversations and I have developed a second-hand respect for Donetsk.

It's funny how personalities of people you meet affect your impressions of their cities.

Victoria
No I saw Yushchenko. It was actually pretty funny. I was just cutting through the hotel and the security detail and limos were out front when I went in and I didn't think much of it but as I entered the lobby one of the security guys stopped me. He was pretty relaxed and more so when it was clear that I could only speak English. As we were standing there, Yushchenko and his entourage came around the corner on the way out of the hotel. Yushchenko smiled as he went by, ever the politician I guess. The next day my translator said that he was in town for meetings and that I was lucky to see him.

Most of the people I met there were very personable. I was at a bit of disadvantage as a non-drinker but made some good friends over the few years I was traveling there.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by BeneIRA » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:30 pm

Venice was the one city in Europe that I did not enjoy, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there. It is very much like Disneyland. Go there for a day, maybe a day and a half, and you will get the gist and in my case, want to move on. When I went it was the shoulder season and so it wasn't slammed with tourists, but even so, the whole area is so geared towards tourists, it is hard to see what is real. Smaller Italian cities, especially in Tuscany, give a much better representation of Italy.

Vienna is more a livable city than a tourist one with a lot to do. The palaces are nice and I would highly recommend the opera, but those things take two days, tops. After that, the city is nice, the people are great, but there isn't much to do.

Meanwhile, some other cities that have been criticized, Paris, cities in Italy especially Florence, I really liked. However, spending a whole week in Paris, I am not sure how people do it. Also, I am a big fan of Budapest, but Prague didn't quite do it for me like I thought it would.

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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Nicolas » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:34 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:30 pm
Venice was the one city in Europe that I did not enjoy, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there. It is very much like Disneyland. Go there for a day, maybe a day and a half, and you will get the gist and in my case, want to move on. When I went it was the shoulder season and so it wasn't slammed with tourists, but even so, the whole area is so geared towards tourists, it is hard to see what is real. Smaller Italian cities, especially in Tuscany, give a much better representation of Italy.

Vienna is more a livable city than a tourist one with a lot to do. The palaces are nice and I would highly recommend the opera, but those things take two days, tops. After that, the city is nice, the people are great, but there isn't much to do.

Meanwhile, some other cities that have been criticized, Paris, cities in Italy especially Florence, I really liked. However, spending a whole week in Paris, I am not sure how people do it. Also, I am a big fan of Budapest, but Prague didn't quite do it for me like I thought it would.
As for Paris, I think that one could spend a week in the museums alone, a week might do just for the Louvre. Of course, one could tire of museums.

Then there are the parks, Versailles or Luxembourg, the Eiffel Tower, the restaurants, the Seine cruise or canal boats, and etc. I spent most of one day at Pére Lachaise cemetery, for example.

See the city from Montmartre, visit the Paris Opera House. Visit Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides. Take side trips to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens, or to Chartres to see its cathedral, possibly more impressive than Notre Dame. Descend to the catacombs.

There are multiple ways to profitably spend a week in Paris.

2stepsbehind
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 2stepsbehind » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:55 am

Nicolas wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:34 pm
BeneIRA wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:30 pm
Venice was the one city in Europe that I did not enjoy, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there. It is very much like Disneyland. Go there for a day, maybe a day and a half, and you will get the gist and in my case, want to move on. When I went it was the shoulder season and so it wasn't slammed with tourists, but even so, the whole area is so geared towards tourists, it is hard to see what is real. Smaller Italian cities, especially in Tuscany, give a much better representation of Italy.

Vienna is more a livable city than a tourist one with a lot to do. The palaces are nice and I would highly recommend the opera, but those things take two days, tops. After that, the city is nice, the people are great, but there isn't much to do.

Meanwhile, some other cities that have been criticized, Paris, cities in Italy especially Florence, I really liked. However, spending a whole week in Paris, I am not sure how people do it. Also, I am a big fan of Budapest, but Prague didn't quite do it for me like I thought it would.
As for Paris, I think that one could spend a week in the museums alone, a week might do just for the Louvre. Of course, one could tire of museums.

Then there are the parks, Versailles or Luxembourg, the Eiffel Tower, the restaurants, the Seine cruise or canal boats, and etc. I spent most of one day at Pére Lachaise cemetery, for example.

See the city from Montmartre, visit the Paris Opera House. Visit Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides. Take side trips to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens, or to Chartres to see its cathedral, possibly more impressive than Notre Dame. Descend to the catacombs.

There are multiple ways to profitably spend a week in Paris.
Agreed. In fact, I'm not sure less than a week really does the city justice. You can live there for years and not have seen everything. Even within the 18 arrondissements there are neighborhoods that easily take a day or two to soak in fully. And then if you add possible day trips outside of Paris, one week is barely enough to hit the highlights.

2stepsbehind
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 2stepsbehind » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:11 am

Personally:
Tallin
Riga
Vilnius
Minsk
Chisinau
Skopje
Podgorica
Tirana
Gdansk

I haven't heard enough about these cities that would put them on the map and my sense is these cities are less cosmopolitan and potentially more hostile to outsiders.

2comma
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 2comma » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:25 am

It's so personal what/where people will like and I think it matters how you visit places. I've done my share of checking off the list travel and it gets boring to me and it's so easy to visit somewhere, see the sights and have minimal interactions with the locals. And, sometimes a chance encounter can make all the difference in a trip. In Paris we asked if we could us a table where a gentleman had his coat on one of the chairs. We spent a very interesting hour with a very nice Parisian we'll never forget. Heck, in Paris I much preferred sitting with a coffee at a sidewalk cafe just people watching than I did waiting in line to see most of the sights. We were in La Rochelle (West cost of France) where our CC wouldn't work to buy gas and a nice couple offered to use there CC to pay if we paid them in cash. Near London I was working with a group of younger Brits and they took me to some of the most interesting pubs (Irish background so pub food is delicious to me), and fantastic Indian and Chinese restaurants. I took the train to London and attended as much theater as I could - it is almost on par with NYC, much more intimately sized and quite a bit less expensive. In Greece we travel with my wife's family. Some say they don't like Athens (similar to the rap Rome gets I think) but if you go with people that live there they do know the best restaurants, sights to see (and when to see them). It's not easy for everyone to have connections but we try to go out of our way wherever we are to get a bit off of the beaten path and mingle with the people we meet in foreign countries - it's certainly led to some great adventures.
If I am stupid I will pay.

island
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by island » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:49 am

I wouldn't need to go back to Milan

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VictoriaF
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:41 am

6miths wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:53 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 pm
6miths wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:35 pm
Enjoyed my trips to Donetsk but that was before all of the troubles. Once ran into (almost literally) the President of Ukraine coming out of the Donbass Palace. That said it was mainly about the people, the city maybe not so much.
Did you see Yanukovych?!
...
Victoria
No I saw Yushchenko. It was actually pretty funny. I was just cutting through the hotel and the security detail and limos were out front when I went in and I didn't think much of it but as I entered the lobby one of the security guys stopped me. He was pretty relaxed and more so when it was clear that I could only speak English. As we were standing there, Yushchenko and his entourage came around the corner on the way out of the hotel. Yushchenko smiled as he went by, ever the politician I guess. The next day my translator said that he was in town for meetings and that I was lucky to see him.

Most of the people I met there were very personable. I was at a bit of disadvantage as a non-drinker but made some good friends over the few years I was traveling there.
I suppose Yushchenko's security detail was more strict after he was poisoned in 2004. The marks on his face made him the most recognizable country leader.

Not drinking is a huge disadvantage in socialization in Russia. But moderate drinking is a risky mitigation. You come to a party with good intentions and leave a party with a bad hangover. But if you are willing to drink with the Russians you can make instantaneous life friends. I was listening to a Russian video blogger living in Prague. She was comparing how quickly people fit in in Russia and how much time it takes to develop deep friendships in Czechia.

Victoria
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stan1
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by stan1 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:57 am

2stepsbehind wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:11 am
Personally:
Tallin
Riga
Vilnius
Minsk
Chisinau
Skopje
Podgorica
Tirana
Gdansk

I haven't heard enough about these cities that would put them on the map and my sense is these cities are less cosmopolitan and potentially more hostile to outsiders.
One thing I do when I visit Central/Eastern Europe is to pretend I'm Jewish along with trying to blend in with locals. I"m not Jewish, but it does change your perspective which for me is part of what travel is about. Locals ride public transit and walk (even when its cold out so warm clothing is a must). Quaint villages with cobblestone and potted flowers on every window sill are nice to look at but for me there's more to travel than that.

Berlin, Crimea (Simferopol and Sebastopol), and Sofia are three of the more interesting places I've visited. Visits there have been impactful and more memorable than to London, Paris, or Rome. Hard to buck millennia of history.

fasteddie911
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by fasteddie911 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:35 am

Been to a handful of European cities and imo they all share similarities and I can see how visiting more and more of them can get mundane or redundant, the differences between each city can be less dramatic than say the difference between US and Europe. Personally, going from US to Paris was much more dramatic than going from Paris to a small European town.

Places I want to (re)visit: Paris and other parts of France, Sorrento/Amalfi, Tuscany, Iceland
Places I'd be interested to visit but ok if I didn't : Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Seville), Athens/Greek Isles, Turkey, Budapest, UK outside of London

Any place not mentioned I have no interest in seeing or revisiting. There are endless places to visit in Europe (and the world for that matter), and it can certainly be overwhelming, but figuring out what I'm truly interested in and enjoy has certainly put things into perspective.

expat
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by expat » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:37 am

Swindon

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6miths
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by 6miths » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:47 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:41 am
Not drinking is a huge disadvantage in socialization in Russia. But moderate drinking is a risky mitigation. You come to a party with good intentions and leave a party with a bad hangover. But if you are willing to drink with the Russians you can make instantaneous life friends. I was listening to a Russian video blogger living in Prague. She was comparing how quickly people fit in in Russia and how much time it takes to develop deep friendships in Czechia.

Victoria
Yes this was my impression. I am not a strict non-drinker, just never really acquired a taste and witnessed too many bad outcomes. The first couple dinners out I had a sip or two of my vodka shots but I just looked like a wimp. Even the local women in the group that I was with had no issue hammering back 3 or 4 shots in succession so I knew that there was no point. And this was a meeting of professionals. I was told by a couple of the locals that the behaviour went back to the days of the NKVD to ensure that you could trust those with whom you were meeting but I suspect that it was well established before those days. I spent a fair amount of time in the Vinnytsia area as well and the memories of atrocities at the hands of both the Russians and the Germans in the 30s and 40s ran very deep.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:56 am

2stepsbehind wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:42 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:42 am
2stepsbehind wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:31 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:19 am
jabberwockOG wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:13 am
We increasingly just want to stay home, fortunately we love where we live, or go to places with as few tourists as possible. Like a plague of locusts the incredible volume of unending tour bus hordes these days have totally ruined every major and many minor place that has traditionally been a "tourist" destination. The buses disgorge horde after horde of loud, pushy, rude mostly older tourists, wearing laughably bad hats, and almost always festooned with multiple cameras and a selfie stick.

Last visit to Bryce Canyon, where we have been visiting every 3-4 years for last 25 years, to hike last year in early October (supposed shoulder season) and by mid-morning the tour bus parking lot was full - with approximately 40-50 tour buses. Hell on wheels.

This situation in places that used to be beautiful and relatively peaceful is a depressing reminder of our increasingly over populated planet.
That's not actually true. The population increase is in sub Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Those people don't travel.

What you are experiencing is rising affluence and falling transport costs, especially air travel. Rich first workers. And the Chinese, just beginning.

My favorite city in the world - Paris, covered with McDonald's restaurants, graffiti, and choking on tour bus fumes, is a particularly sad example for anyone that remembers what is was like 30 or more years ago.
Actually Paris was like that in the mid 1980s, too. Traffic clogged, polluted, over touristed. And yes it had McDonalds too. It is the most tourist visited city in the world, even more than New York City. The current mayor has taken major steps to reduce traffic and pollution.

However gentrification is now hitting Paris as hard as it has hit London, New York, San Francisco.

I rather think they are ruining Shanghai, or have ruined it.
Way to engage in stereotyping. "Those people" travel quite a bit.
.
Those cotton pickers in the Ferghana Valley? They don't travel.

Those Zambian villagers? They don't appear as tourists in the British Museum, the Louvre or the Uffizi.

The post was about overpopulation. Sub Saharan Africans drown in smuggler boats in the Mediterranean, not do 2 week package holidays.

A bunch of middle class Nigerians shopping on Oxford Street is not representative of the 120 million people in Nigeria.

Population is growing at 1 per cent or less in most of the world except sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East. (India is at an intermediate stage but TFR is less than 3 So headed that way). You don't meet hordes of Pakistanis or Bangladeshis travelling. Not for 2 countries w over ,100 millions each.

The Chinese are the next country to do big international tourism. But the numbers are not actually that large relative to country population. Yet.
Why not? And how are they any more or less representative than Americans shopping on Oxford street given only about 5% of Americans travel overseas? Which "villagers" regardless of citizenship are likely travelers?

The number of Africans traveling (let alone drowning) by boat is extremely small as compared to those entering Europe via legal visas/flying.

Your posts are extremely offensive.
The original poster said it was overpopulation that is causing tourist sites to be overloaded.

It is not. The countries with the fastest population growth are not the countries with the fast growth in tourism.

There are far more than 2.5 Americans to 1 Nigerian (approximate ratio of populations) engaging in global tourism.

Growth in tourism is a function of higher disposable incomes plus falling costs of international travel. This is about developed countries travelling more not less developed (in fact poor) countries travelling more. (Migration is a different issue, Africa is hitting that level of connection w the global economy where historically migration spikes. That, plus a collapse in authority in Libya, has led to the tragedy in the Mediterranean). In the same way, central Asians migrate to Russia, Pakistanis to the Gulf etc.).

There is s threshold effect. China is just beginning to cross that threshold, a high enough standard of living plus foreign travel is now legal (it wasn't before the 1990s except for official business, afaik). However China has done more than any other developing country to reduce its birthrate. It has first world population growth.

Thus, the rise in international tourism is not about overpopulation.

If you can take offense at the above argument I suggest you are reading into it things that you think I said rather than what I did say.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:03 am

expat wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:37 am
Swindon
Haha, but the hotels in Swindon are really cheap. I almost tempted to book there.

goodlifer
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by goodlifer » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:03 pm

Paris disgusted me. I have no idea how anyone can think it is a romantic place when everything is covered in a thick layer of pigeon poop. Even the mass amounts of dog poop on the sidewalks were covered in pigeon poop. Too many areas smelled like open sewers. I went in February (not this Feb) and there was still too crowded for my liking. I saw people hand feeding their dogs inside pastry shops and then eating with same hand, and licking their fingers. I just wanted to throw up the whole time I was there.

I loved Ghent. I haven't been there since my daughter was born and my husband and I can't wait to go back. We will probably go this year if my husband gets a nice enough bonus. Delicious food, nice people, great shopping, and tons of history everywhere you walk.

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:08 pm

2stepsbehind wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:11 am
Personally:
Tallin
Riga
Vilnius
Minsk
Chisinau
Skopje
Podgorica
Tirana
Gdansk

I haven't heard enough about these cities that would put them on the map and my sense is these cities are less cosmopolitan and potentially more hostile to outsiders.
Tallin Riga Vilnius? Hostile to outsiders? These are 3 of the top tourist destinations in northern Europe. Tallinn is maybe a little small.

All 3 are filled w history. Riga for example has the ruins of the synagogue and the museum of the Soviet occupation. And where the human chain was strung across the Baltics and where the 12 people were shot down by Soviet snipers. Big Art Nouveau district, probably biggest in Europe. Market in former Zeppelin hangers.

Vilnius has one of the oldest universities in Europe and the Shibahara House. Amazing cathedral.

Hostility to visitors? Well the only real problems are p'ss drunk Swedes and Finn's (cheap booze) and (serious problem) it's on the Ryanair and easyJet circuit for British hen and stag cos, who have an awful reputation for misbehaviour. You don't want to be mistaken for them.

Can't speak to the rest but Minsk should be interesting (but if rebuilt in Soviet style post Ww2 might not be).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:12 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:03 am
expat wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:37 am
Swindon
Haha, but the hotels in Swindon are really cheap. I almost tempted to book there.
There is a train museum which is interesting.

Don't know if Honda plant does tours?

Surrounding countryside is beautiful.

Valuethinker
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: European Cities that don't interest you

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:24 pm

stan1 wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:57 am
2stepsbehind wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:11 am
Personally:
Tallin
Riga
Vilnius
Minsk
Chisinau
Skopje
Podgorica
Tirana
Gdansk

I haven't heard enough about these cities that would put them on the map and my sense is these cities are less cosmopolitan and potentially more hostile to outsiders.
One thing I do when I visit Central/Eastern Europe is to pretend I'm Jewish along with trying to blend in with locals. I"m not Jewish, but it does change your perspective which for me is part of what travel is about. Locals ride public transit and walk (even when its cold out so warm clothing is a must). Quaint villages with cobblestone and potted flowers on every window sill are nice to look at but for me there's more to travel than that.
You've read Tim Snyder's Bloodlands? Most of ECE the Jews are extinct. I think Poland has less than 2000? The Hungarian Jews were about the last shipped to Auschwitz. Along w the Salonikan Jews (that's in Primo Levi). I think they had already done Bulgaria (except where the bishop of Sofia intervened) and Romania by that point.

If you mean "take the perspective of a Jew contemplating the end of Ashkenazic Judaism? One can certainly do that. Although one can contemplate Shibahara's house in Vilnius or Mila 18 in Warsaw without that perspective, but just as a human being?

(I think it is, for most, better to contemplate "it's the Holocaust, what would I do?" As a gentile. The answer if we were Jewish is try to hide or escape and fight. That's fairly self evident. The question is more profound for a gentile in that situation. Cue Rwanda, the Rohingya, etc.).

Berlin, Crimea (Simferopol and Sebastopol), and Sofia are three of the more interesting places I've visited. Visits there have been impactful and more memorable than to London, Paris, or Rome. Hard to buck millennia of history.
All weighed down w history. Crimea that history still going on. Not sure how it is with the sanctions (western governments don't recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea) but I'd have to some research before I'd jaunt off there (although I'd love to see Balaklava "into the Valley of Death ride the 600").
Last edited by Valuethinker on Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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