For those wondering what kinds of places you will go to when you are abroad then worry not, for I may have an answer. You will see parts of the world you have only seen in photographs and the craziest part about all of it—you’ll see them all within weeks of each other! It is hard to believe until you do it but my travels have taken me to a few major cities recently that I am excited to rank. If you are from these cities, please do not take it personally (or do, I cannot control you and if your city is last then deal with it – it deserved being last). The cities in question, as the title suggests, are Vienna, Paris and London. Each with rich histories that date back to centuries old monarchies and empires which contributed massively to the world in the ways of politics, arts, cultures and literature. Each city is unique in its own way and will imprint themselves onto everyone differently as well so do not take my opinions to be gospel truth.
But if you do not think that Vienna is the best of those three cities then you can stop reading right now. Obviously, I am kidding, but that is my honest opinion: Vienna takes top honors when compared to London and Paris. Vienna is a city which clearly has a strong sense of pride but no arrogance. It was and is still clear to me how proud they are of Austrian eggs at breakfast. On every menu they make sure to specify where the eggs came from and sometimes even tell you the region within Austria! It is silly but goes to show how much they value what is authentically Austrian. Same goes for their art and music as well. When it comes to the painting “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, Vienna takes every opportunity to remind you that it is Austrian art and that Mozart was a true Viennese. The city is proud of what it has given to the world and when you combine that pride with the beautiful architecture of a Romanesque city with the order of a German society then you arrive at Vienna. A city ready to explode with musical and culinary traditions that seem largely overlooked. One simple walk down the Naschmarkt of Vienna will show you how diverse and lovely the city can be when you are willing to take in all the sounds, smells and sights.
Second on my list of preferences comes Paris. The city of lights really cannot disappoint when it comes to anything. Now certainly the Eiffel Tower was a little shorter than I expected so that certainly made it stumble down my list here (just kidding of course—size doesn’t matter, personality does!). But the city of lights will make you fall in love with it once you spend one night walking around almost aimlessly to take in the vibes and energy of the city. For me and my friends that meant going into a few stores to get some drinks and then stumble our way to the top of the Eiffel Tower at midnight. There are no words which can describe how amazing it is to see the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame and Parc de Princes all light up at night. It is a sensation unlike any other. But of course, Paris comes with its few downfalls: you will be made fun of for being an American (you just have to roll with it and laugh at yourself) and the Mona Lisa. Sure, she looks great but honestly it’s way smaller than you think. The line to see it is obnoxiously long and (cold take) it is not even Da Vinci’s best work. But overall, Paris now holds some key memories in my mind which I hope never fade because it truly is a magical city.
Finally, London. What is there not to make fun of London for? “Chewsday”? “Bo’ao ah wadduh”? (Bottle of water) Boris Johnson, as both a person and political leader? Or the fact that the tube costs an arm and a leg to ride but goes in a freaking circle? However, in all seriousness, London is a gorgeous city with lots to offer. From Hyde Park to Tower Bridge to the British Museum to a Pret on every freaking street corner there is plenty to do in London and one trip will never be enough to fully take in the rich variety of things to do. I loved walking around London and not needing to worry about a language barrier. It made it easy, but in a way, I missed speaking in Dutch or Spanish. I missed being completely out of my element because living in the unknown has been a constant for me and something I’ve quite enjoyed. London was great but I found myself not feeling as if I was abroad but rather in a weird version of the US. The landmarks are beautiful and they really cover up the fact that the queen is dead super well, but the landmarks are quite far from each other and with a metro area as big as London it’s hard to say that you really took it in fully and understood it. London deserves another trip because perhaps I missed something major but when compared to Vienna and Paris I am not sure it can stand as high.