Tuesday, 29 August 2017

My Top 3 European Cities

The more that we travel, the more that I fall in love with cities. I feel like I can truly say that there are no cities we have visited that I don't fall every so slightly in love with, but there have been some that have definitely come out on top. So, without further ado, here are my top 3 European cities (so far...)

1: Poznan

Poznan barely grazed past the others to get to the top spot of my favourite European cities, but it definitely has forged itself a strong place there. Poznan is like no other city I have ever been to, with winding streets of old fashioned buildings interspersed with glass and modern clubs - it's lively, modern, old fashioned and charming all mixed into one perfect city. It almost feels like there's something around every single corner when you're in Poznan, from Pacha in the city centre if you're that way inclined, right up to the military museum in the centre of the Citadel Park; Poznan is a city for everyone in it, no matter how young or old, or what they're interested in.

Must see in Krakow? The fighting goats underneath the main square clock. Following the streams of tourists (and many, many locals) to get a good view at midday each day of the two little mechanical goats coming out and butting heads 12 times. Pointless? Yes. Adorable? Too right. There's also a croissant museum 2 minutes past it - when in Poznan, right? (I don't know what I meant by that either). Take time out of your day to visit the zoo and play with the horses (though beware, it's a very, very long walk around the lake in the centre), take a trip to the palm house (there's a fantastic aquarium here for the price) or head out to the huge manmade Lake Malta for bowling, skiing, churches and much more.

2: Riga

What I truly remember about this trip was how frigging cold it was, and in fact the day we left I felt as though I was the coldest I had ever been on a trip with only one exception (which you'll read about in my third entry). However, Riga is beautiful - with colour, rainbows and lights everywhere - it's definitely not to be sniffed at; and whether you find your way to the frozen river underneath the freedom statue (rumour has it this is a non-frozen lake in summer but I really can't imagine it ever warming up enough for that), or into the NYX shop in the city centre; Riga is beautiful, full of people and so, so welcoming.

Visit the zoo to see a real life Sven, do an escape room, find the Harley Davidson restaurant and eat lunch in a car- the possibilities are endless. Don't miss the shrieking cat house in the city centre, or the rows and rows of houses that look like their windows and doors have been painted on they're so intricate - and whatever you do, don't leave without trying a bottle of Black Balsam; which will set you back less than €1 for a small bottle in most supermarkets in the centre. In the winter, though freezing, I have to say; this city certainly is a beautiful one.

3: Krakow

The original love of my life in terms of European cities, and rightfully so. The first time I ever visited, Poland were in a particularly cold snap and temperatures with wind chill got down to -26 degree celsius, it truly got to the point that I started to think that I would never be warm again, but it won me over even there. Krakow isn't very metropolitan for the most part, even the main parts of the city feel like big villages, with elaborate parks, buildings and markets around every turn. Krakow isn't just for Christmas markets, vodka enthusiasts and school trips - there's so much to be seen that you'd be stupid not to grab flights and a cheap Air BnB when you see them (though, admittedly, that tends to be few and far between these days).

Beyond the obvious trips of the salt mines and Auschwitz (and I truly believe everyone should take the time to do these) make sure you take a trip to the fascinating and truly immersive Schindler's Factory Museum, make sure to fit in an escape room and go out of your way to have great vegan food. Visit the Circus Family chocolate shop in the city centre for melted chocolate in cups, visit the worst wax museum I've ever been to and dip in and out of the huge market in the main square. Pick up a shot (or a bottle) of vodka and enjoy the beautiful city come to life as much at night as it does in the day.

So there are my favourite European cities! Please do share yours with me, I need to get some trips booked for next year...

Sammy xo.

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