Bottom Places

I”ve shared my personal “top places” list. We all like to talk “best.” When we travel, we tend not to seek out “the worst.”

But what about “bottom places”? Uh, I knew you’d ask that. ;-)

A “bottom” issue is one to be approached cautiously. We know there are “bottom” areas in any major city. The U.S. certainly doesn’t lack for them.

Outside of the U.S., if we say London is a great destination, we are likely not referring to certain neighborhoods in the north of the city, which are clearly not “tourist areas.” Similarly with Paris. Same Rome. The list could go on.

And there are many places I have never visited. And I hate criticizing. All that said, if I have to offer up a “bottom” major central city destination I have encountered traveling outside of the U.S., it was probably Johannesburg’s central business district.

Overlooking central Johannesburg in the 1970s, on the cover of an apartheid South African government “information” publication. [Book cover photographed by me, 2014.]

South Africa is a difficult case, of course, owing to its history. Yet, comparatively, Cape Town’s downtown was excellent. Even Pretoria’s was fine.

My experience in Johannesburg was also in the late 1990s, which is now, naturally, a relatively long time ago. Years fly by so quickly. To end on a positive note, I have read Jo’burg’s CBD is somewhat improved, and working hard to improve further since then.

Top Places

We all have destinations we like. But settling systematically on a list of cities/ locales we’ve visited/ lived that we like the most? That may not be all that easy.

Restricting my own list to those outside of my country of birth, following a bit of reflection (over a cup of coffee this morning), and in no particular order, here’s mine (as of today, at any rate):

Ortigya island (Syracuse), Italy (a magnificent “old town”)
Brittany region, France (uh, not exactly a big surprise, I know)

Low tide, Brittany, France. [Photo by me, 2011.]

Low tide, Brittany, France. [Photo by me, 2011.]

Cape Town, South Africa
Sydney, Australia
Dorset county, UK (especially Christchurch, Bournemouth, and the Jurassic Coast)
Rome, Italy
Vancouver, Canada
London, UK
Paris, France (between this one and the previous, let’s not argue, ok?)
Brussels, Belgium
Dublin, Ireland

And, yes, you’ve counted correctly. That’s eleven places. I went with “11″ because – after I had written them down – I just did not feel I wanted to chop the list to fewer than those.

It’s my blog. If I want 11 of them…. it will be 11 of them, darn it! ;-)