Recently, I was asked where was my favourite place to live. It was really difficult to answer! Partly, because the memories and feelings towards the places I lived in are also connected to my state of mind at that time and partly because all of them have unique, wonderful and extraordinary sights and places.
Vienna: it took several years abroad to value the beauty of this city, the fascinating mixture of old and new architecture, the heritage of a multi-ethnic state which is mirrored in food, proverbs, songs and customs. It’s hard to top the magical atmosphere of Vienna in December, the ambiance of a classic ball in February, the feeling of a fresh start in spring, the joy at the city beaches and festivals in summer and the tasting of the new wine in autumn. For me, Vienna is one of the best cities to enjoy and experience the best of all seasons.
Paris: I still remember one specific moment, several years ago, it was late November, I was standing in a bus, crossing the Seine, seeing the Eiffel tower in the distance (I know, how cliché) and holding some presents I’ve bought for my family and how it stroked me that I was living in Paris. I mean PARIS! The architecture, the culture, baguette and pain au chocolat, ice skating ON the Eiffel tower! What is not to love about that city? Well, there are some things which are not, let’s say, that fantastic, but nobody is perfect. Paris is like this eccentric and fascinating aunt which always brings the most beautiful gifts and is dressed in a unique way, but which also gets really exhausting when staying too long ;-).
Cape Town: the setting is already difficult to surpass: the ocean, Table Mountain, the climate. There is a pub, where you can sit on a wall, enjoy whatever you want to drink and let your feet hang in the ocean. Combined with good friends and sunshine, it’s a fantastic combination! Especially when followed by watching a rugby game live and then clubbing at the beach ;-). The influences of so many cultures originate in a fascinating city and offers a kaleidoscope of experiences.
Sydney: for me, it’s a toss-up between Sydney’s and Cape Town’s setting. Instead of a shandy at a pub, we’re now enjoining a glass of wine at the Opera Bar, listening to some jazz music and feeling a light breeze on another sunny day. This is what makes you fall in love with this city. What made me actually love her is the diversity: beaches full of tourists and secluded in a national park, high-class steak restaurants and incredible good sushi as take away, fancy ballets in the Opera house and free concerts during Sydney Festival in January, casual board shorts and striking designer clothes, a vibrant city surrounded by huge national parks where you could hike for two days without meeting anybody.
Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover: the majority of German cities don’t have the advantage of an incredible setting like Cape Town or Sydney. But they all have something to offer: Frankfurt has the money to support fantastic museums and cultural institutes, and as my husband once noted, you can get to everywhere from its airport ;-). Hannover’s Zoo is second to none and Eilenriede, a huge forest in the city, is the perfect play ground for kids and a soothing surrounding for walks. Hamburg combines the sophisticated society of old money with the hustle and bustle of an active harbour and the business of publishing companies.
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