I haven’t been a lot of places in the world. Last count (about 5 minutes ago) it numbers 12 countries, and that includes the one I was born in (it counts!!). I’m not aiming to tick off every country in the world – lets face it, there are some countries that I would not go to unless I won a free trip. In saying that by the end of 2017, I hope to have added a significant amount to that list.
So in that vein, I have decided to do my Top 3 Favourite/Least Favourite Places I’ve been so far. I am going to leave out London – because well, we all know how I feel about London (and if you are one of the ones that don’t, you can read about it here).
So here are the Top 3 Least Favourite Places I’ve been so far (start with the not so good!):
1. Ho Chi Minh City
I wasn’t prepared for the heat, the people, or the scooters! It was my first overseas trip other than to Australia so I was completely out of my comfort zone. Plus being a large white person didn’t help! I was uncomfortable in the environment and I think that it scared me which has now made me not want to go return to this place where my sister-in-law comes from. I also quickly discovered that the Asian culture is not one that I am interested in. I know that sounds racist & narrow-minded but I have to be honest right? In saying that, I did like Vietnam more once I left Ho Chi Minh and explored the countryside a little more.
I guess I put this down to an experience and I have learned that you aren’t going to like every place you go in the world, Yes there are some places that you are going to go back to time and time again but there are also places that you go where you think “Well I don’t need to come back here again”. Vietnam as a whole was like that for me but especially Ho Chi Minh.
I know, I know.. it’s the world’s most beautiful city, blah blah blah. Honestly, I found the city overrated. The people were rude (well not so much rude as they ignored you if you didn’t speak French fluently), there were beggars & gypsies everywhere, and the drivers are literally insane. I honestly got there, quite prepared to like it but my feelings were pretty much ‘meh’.
Now that is not to say I hate the place. I would gladly go back to see if the city can win me over. Plus there were some really awesome moments I had in Paris:
- Seeing the Eiffel Tower, seriously an amazing experience. Seeing it during the day was magical enough BUT seeing it at night, lit up and sparkling – there are just some things you never forget in life and that, for me, is one of them.
- Walking along the Champs Elysees – I am not a shopper by any means but that was pretty awesome, plus it was late November so there was heaps of Christmas stuff – including a Christmas Market, which was pretty cool.
- Hall of Mirrors at Versailles – Versailles for me was another least favourite, well the inside anyway. I just thought it was over the top ostentatious and it really didn’t appeal to me at all. Then I got to the Hall of Mirrors and that blew my mind. It was spectacular. The gardens of Versailles were another highlight.
- Hop on Hop off bus – I had fallen in love with these tourist traps in Bath a few days previously and the one in Paris did not disappoint, in fact it has the distinction of being one of the best HOHO buses I’ve been on. For only €24 (in Nov 2010) you got a 48 hour ticket. My sister and I were only in Paris for 2 full days so it worked out perfectly for us. The bus takes you too all the important sights – Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame etc and it proved a great way to get around the city.
I did leave the city thinking (and saying) I wouldn’t go back. Now, on reflection, it is definitely a place I would like to see again.
3. New York City
I know! People are going think I am literally crazy by saying NYC. Honestly, this city didn’t appeal to me at the time of visiting but afterwards was when I kind of grew to appreciate it for what it was. What didn’t I like about it? The buildings are too tall – some days I couldn’t even see the sky for the skyscrapers. I felt like an impostor every time I went outside, not sure why but I felt like at any point people would stop, point and yell “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!” It was a very strange feeling.
I was a F.R.I.E.N.D.S fiend, I watched that show and wanted to live in New York City like Monica, Rachel & Chandler. I wanted to ride the Subway, visit Staten Island and eat hot dogs from a street vendor. So why then did I not love NYC? Honestly I can’t answer that question because I don’t really know myself. The closest I can get is that I kind of felt claustrophobic there.
One thing I have stopped doing after NYC is listening to people when they tell me I’m going to love a place. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing when they found out I was going to New York. “Oh you’re going to love NYC” was the general consensus. Imagine their surprise when I got home and was “Yeah, didn’t like it so much”. Another thing I have learned over the last couple years is that not every place I visit is going to be London. This means that my expectations were far exceeded by London but it doesn’t mean that I am going to fall in love with a place like I did with that city. And you know what, that’s ok! It’s ok that I don’t love a city just because everyone thinks I should.
NYC for me was ‘so-so’ but I would definitely go back – I have to! One of my bucket list items is to stand on the top of the Empire State Building on my birthday – aiming to do this on my 45th birthday in a couple of years time (yes I’m that old!).
Well there you have it… my 3 least favourite places. Surprised? I was certainly surprised to not like Paris or NYC more but I think what I did is compare them both to London (rightly or wrongly) and when they didn’t grab me the same way that city did, then I kind of turned the negativity on. However I am fully prepared to revisit these cities so that they can charm me like they have thousands of people before.
Still to come my Top 3 Favourite Places – to be continued…