Thursday, 13 July 2017

Six Cities I Still Desperately Want to Visit

Only those who risk going too far find out how far they can go. 

-Walter Bishop, Fringe 

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A moderately well-travelled individual, I have been lucky enough to visit some beautiful cities around our wonderful world, gathering memories, ideas, inspiration and keyrings along the way. While I have some definite favourites I have crossed off my list – and which I frequently daydream about revisiting – there are six cities I am yet to see which remain desperately high on my travel agenda. 


The Parthenon. The Acropolis. The Erechtheion. Thousands of years of western history on everyday display for the general public in the form of temples, monuments, ruins, not to mention everything in all the museums. My lifelong fascination with Greek mythology and the history of culture and language is all satisfied, in my pipedream, in one good long holiday in Athens. 


There are a number of factors calling me to Northern Ireland’s capital city. Probably the most obvious is The Elm Stone Saga, which is set not too far from there. I had planned to go (planned, booked, paid for, all but packed for) many years ago but the tour I organised was cancelled at the last possible minute and I ended up in London instead, and somehow, I have not managed to find the time or the right prompt to try and visit again. So, to this day, I have never been to Northern Ireland. But Belfast attracts me especially, more so than Coleraine, where Aristea is first found in Chosen. Have you watched The Fall? Belfast is the setting of this police drama/thriller, and it’s depicted so beautifully, highlighting the stunning architecture and night-time lights of this unsung city. It’s on my list! 


In none of my three visits to Germany have I been to the capital, one of the most liveable (and presumably visitable) cities in the world. This must be amended! Friends of mine who have been rave about its beauty and the safe, easy feeling of being there. I want to see the remains of the Wall, visit the Holocaust memorials and look at the Brandenburg Gate. More than all that, I just really want to see more of Germany – my very favourite country so far. 


I’ve seen Sydney and Melbourne, lived most my life in Brisbane, and have played with the idea of flying to Adelaide to see pandas, but the Australian city I most want to see after watching Secret City is the capital. It’s not one you hear about often – exciting holiday stories are usually about trendy windswept adventures through Melbourne or upbeat fun in Sydney – and in primary school SOSE it always felt like that dot you draw on the map last, like, oh yeah, we’ve got that capital somewhere around here… I had never been intrigued by it until Secret City was shot there. TV shows do such a great job of selling locations to me, have you noticed? They use wonderful sweeping camera shots of all the beautiful government buildings and the geometric patterns made by their careful urban planning. It looks pretty. 


I’ve stopped over here for an hour or so on a flight back from Wellington, but it doesn’t count because I never left the airport. I’d like to see this great southern city while it still (kind of) stands. The destruction wrought on it has done heartbreaking damage to what looks like a gorgeous, charming old place. The cathedral comes to mind as something I truly want to see, but I’m sure in a city of this age, second-hand bookshops, antique stores and quirky side street finds would still be aplenty, and these are my favourite things to do in a new place. 


I have always wanted to visit the Canadian capital. Maybe it’s the name; I like the name. Vancouver. I like saying it, the way it feels to produce the sounds in my mouth, and I like writing it. I like the ou. The things that catch your fancy when you’re a wordsmith. In pictures it looks delightfully pretty and clean, and friends of mine who have lived or visited Vancouver sell a story of a cultured, pleasant place. This is where they film Supernatural and The X-Files, which helps keep it at the forefront of my mind throughout the television season. People always have the nicest things to say about trips to Canada, and I like the idea of a northern-hemisphere, semi-frozen version of Australia with bears that don’t drop.