safetyDemo From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 310 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4412 times:
I have to be honest and say one of my favorite overnights when I worked at my first airline was Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It doesn't sound like a very interesting place. However, we used to get long layovers there and stayed at a nice hotel right downtown. The downtown was clean, full of friendly people, and a lot of great little shops and restaurants/cafes were near our hotel.
Unfortunately, I haven't been to CID since the flood - so I'm not sure how well it has recovered since then.
Please direct your attention to the flight attendants in the cabin...
aloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 9082 posts, RR: 41
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4376 times:
Tallinn was a very nice surprise a couple of years ago. I had gone to Helsinki for a couple of days and decided to spend one of them in Estonia - it wouldn't have hurt to do it the other way around. The centre had been lovingly restored, with great attention to the preservation of historic structures and buildings, and yet it was full of stores, restaurants etc. that make a place lively.
Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
johns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4330 times:
I second Tallinn. My wife and I just got back from a Baltic cruise and our expectations were backwards. We expected to like Berlin, St Petersburg and Stockholm the best but instead enjoyed Copenhagen, Tallinn and Helsinki more. They were much better "walking" cities and that's something that we really enjoy.
One of my favorite Canadian shows was "Corner Gas." The owner of the cafe grew up in Toronto. She was so mad at a pot hole in Dog River, she filled it in herself. One of the townsfolk got mad and said "Is this how you big city people to it?" She said "yeah, we just fill in pot holes whenever the mood strikes!"
My surprising towns are:
Rapid City, South Dakota
I am glad to see all the positive comments on Tallinn. That city is on my "bucket list"!
Ken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8843 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4146 times:
Biggest surprise when I was younger was Hong Kong. Five days of R&R for the ship and I fell in love with the place.
That was '66, the same year when we went to Sydney and had the first stow-a-way in modern times.
Sydney at that time was also a pleasant surprise.
Ft. Collins CO was also a pleasant surprise - especially when my granddaughter was born there.
Across the Pond I fell in love with London, Barcelona, Dublin and Vienna.
My biggest surprise has been Bangkok. I've long had a pretty bad impression of the place, then I went through there on an overnight to London. While my overall impression was from the hotel, (the Sheraton) and shopping at Jim Thompson's, but I found the locals very gracious and my opinion of the place changed dramatically.
San Francisco (Palo Alto) rounds out my favorite surprises.
mainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2117 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4120 times:
Brussels. Europe's capital has a reputation for being ugly and boring, but it's neither. It has some incredibly beautiful parts, but reminds me of most big UK cities in so far as in it's post-industrial, and has real elegance mixed with some pretty brutal 1960s planning mistakes. Brussels was a nice surprise because you get the impression it's full of euro technocrats and boring 'suits', but in reality it's a lively city with plenty going on, with the added advantage of being a little bit grungy, poor and seedy! I like it.
New York. I didn't know what to expect of New York. I thought it would be loud, brash, too frenetic and full of rude obnoxious people. Nothing of the sort! It's friendly, and relaxed.
flyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 3535 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4093 times:
- London. A very diverse city, and every part of London is true to its own spirit. I'd call it the capital of the entire world, because of its history and the numerous ex-pats that live there.
- Berlin. Somehow like London, but it's more boasting (which I do not like).
- Naples. Despite being dirty and having quite a few homeless people, it is a city I already liked as a child. It's an adventure!
- Freiburg in Breisgau, it has an old town that one simply cannot dislike.
All those have incited emotions in me.
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
PITingres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1226 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4061 times:
I forgot to add Paris, which shoud have been on my list given the thread title of "surprising cities". I never thought I would have much use for the place; I suppose I imagined some sort of stuffy monument to French past-delusions-of-grandeur complete with residents who cordially despised tourists, particularly of my origin. The truth turned out to be entirely different, especially the tourist-hating bit. (It appears that if one makes a rudimentary effort to speak two or three basic French politenesses, one can get along quite well. Who knew!)
edited to add: and I even enjoyed Paris after I foolishly allowed my camera to be stolen on the Metro, our first day there. Sigh.
Oh goodness, really? What did I miss? Alaska as a whole is total awesomeness, but Anchorage seemed to me to be a grey and dull place littered with tacky bear-themed souvenir shops and run-down bars filled with clientele of questionable repute.
When I die, when I die, I'll rot. But when I live, when I live, I'll give it all I've got.
Airstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 3156 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (3 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3997 times:
I lived in San Francesspool for more than 16 years and utterly loathed, detested, despired, abhored, and hated the !%$#@ -ing place. And everyone raaaaves about it. "World's most beautiful city," they rhapsodize. IGNORAMI. I arrived there from Bostn, a liberal young dude, bred among the Volvo Democrats and the blamed Bay Area made an arch conservative out of me. Nice going.
On a less emotional note, I was surprised in my several visits to both Montréal and Québec City. I didn't really care for Montréal (I won't go into why; I saved my artillery for that other place ), but I loved Québec City. I wasn't expecting not to like Québec City, what was surprising though was how easy I got along without speaking a word of French. The travel literature touts Montréal as a gloriously bilingual place, and also says you'll have trouble getting on in Q.C. if you only speak English. I've been to both cities several times now and I've always had the opposite experience: I encountered significant language barriers in Montréal. (In fact the Renaissance hotel over there still owes me my fried eggs )