April 4, 2012 in Holiday Travel
Travelling is predominantly about adventure and there is no greater adventure than discovering a city by getting lost in it. Put away your maps and follow your instincts as you explore six of the most fascinating cities in the world and find out what serendipity has to offer you.
Barcelona has been one of the emerging destinations in the world over the last decade and with its bustling streets, a wealth of world-class museums and galleries it´s hardly surprising. But more than that, Barcelona is almost entirely designed by the enamoured Catalan modernist architect Antoni Gaudi and as a result Barcelona is an open-air sculpture park with the likes of the iconic La Sagrada Familia and the surreal Casa Mila.
Sitting on the cusp of the Ganges River, the charismatic city of Varanasi is the spiritual centre and cultural melting pot of India. This most revered of religious places is said to have been found by Lord Shiva over 5000 years ago and its bustling streets are lined with fascinating architecture, skilfully crafted ornaments and inviting restaurants serving delicious Indian recipes. Furthermore, a walk along the ghats is one of the most absorbing experiences you will find anywhere in the world. Try a camping holiday to really experience all the city has to offer.
The cobbled maze of Kathmandu is best explored on foot. Winding your way through cobbled side alleys, thriving markets and peaceful monastery courtyards, there seems to be an architectural wonder with every turn. Not least are the enchanting temples, with their vibrant colours and triple-tiered roofs together with the UNESCO listed area of Durbar Square with its fascinating history and rooftop gardens where you can enjoy a pot of uplifting tea.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is very much an emerging megacity of the future and having lifted itself from the rubble of the Korean War is developing into a hegemony of 21st-century architecture. With towering glass skyscrapers contrasting with the Far Eastern designs of ancient temples, Seoul´s otherworldly attributes both amaze and inspire. Also don´t forget the down-trodden shanty towns with their street stalls selling everything from fried squid and shrimp balls to ornamental statues of Buddha and all manner of mobile phone accessories.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is one of the most passionate cities on the planet, and with a blend of pretty European architecture, attractive residents and a wealth of shopping opportunities, getting lost in the Argentinean capital is the best way to discover its hidden charms. As a walking city it is vast, too big to see in a day, but each district has its own unique character, though a common aspect are the bohemian cafes, tasteful street art, attractive fountains and numerous creative sculptures. Not to mention ridiculously cheap steaks!
Even since ancient times, Jerusalem is best known for its pilgrimages to sacred religious sites, but this holiest of lands has far more to offer than countless churches. The diversity of this cultural melting pot makes for a wealth of contrasting cultural spaces, with a wide variety of fascinating fashions, handicrafts and cuisines to discover. Despite the obvious political conflicts in the country, the majority of Jerusalem is safe to walk around so don´t be afraid to explore every inch of the city´s 500-year old stone walls and charred-grilled kebab shops tucked in narrow side streets.
Alan Horton is a specialist Freelance writer specializing in travel, especially camping and accommodation related articles.