6 Cities I (Probably) Won’t Be Returning To

Medan

Over the years, I’ve visited many cities–large, medium-sized and small. I’m not even sure how many.  Although I don’t love large ones (with a few exceptions), I do like them. Generally, however, I prefer the smaller ones.

Looking ahead, I’m thinking about where else I’d like to travel. Most of my trips require a stop in a large city. Sometimes I want to go for sightseeing; other times, I can’t avoid it due to airfare issues and/or the location of major transportation hubs.

I’m realizing that although I’l revisit certain countries and regions, there are some cities (3 in Europe) that I’ll probably skip altogether (except one, which is a maybe). As you will see, in each case, it’s for different reasons.

Note: the listing is in alphabetical order–not ranked in any sort of way–and no offense is intended to the people of any of the cities or cultures. I’m not suggesting that other people bypass the cities on my list. And if you happen to love one or more of them, that’s great.

I think it’s important to remember that travel is an individual thing and not every destination is experienced the same way by everyone.

1. Barcelona

Why: ‘It’s complicated’

This is a little complicated for me–hence, the Facebook relationship status reference. When I visited as a tourist—and spent time with some friends (locals from a nearby suburb)—I thought Barcelona was fantastic. I loved it.

A year later, I found a job there. As a Business English coordinator at a prestigious language school. I was psyched and went for it. Packed up my life, sold just about everything I owned and moved.

Unfortunately, living there was very different than I imagined. The honeymoon period ended fast. I spent time with the friends I knew previously, met their friends, too, but I didn’t connect that much with other locals or sadly, with my students (there were a few exceptions). I also got pick-pocketed. And the cigarette smoke, which seemed to be everywhere, really wore on me.

In general (pick-pocketing aside), I just didn’t click with the culture. (By the way, I lived in Gracia, a cool neighborhood, and down the street from one of the Goudí buildings…even so, I didn’t love it). Again, I thought it was great when I was a tourist, but it never felt right for me as an ex-pat. I saw enough and now feel no need whatsoever to return.

DSC_1953

Also, other Spanish cities and provinces appeal to me more

I’ve been to quite a few cities and provinces in Spain, including Madrid, Galicia, Basque Country, Valencia and Andalucía. Granada was one of my favorite cities before and after living in Spain. Would I go back there? Yes, absolutely. Also, there are other cities in Spain I’d like to see for the first time.

2. Beirut

Why: an unpleasant experience

beirut street scene

I almost didn’t list Beirut because I’m not 100% sure I won’t return. The truth is–I might want to return. So what was it about this city that landed it on this list?

I had a negative experience while there. I got ripped off by the taxi driver who took me from the bus station to hostel where I had a reservation. I remember it being hard to find because it was in an odd building.

Once inside, I hated it. It was hot and humid and people were sitting in the dark. Others were outside smoking and drinking. The beds in the room were too close together and the one I was going to sleep in had Mickey Mouse sheets. I ended up leaving after paying and not looking back. (After this, I started to only take private rooms at hostels).

The second room I found, in a hotel, looked better superficially, but it wasn’t very good once I looked more closely. It was dirty and unacceptably noisy (any/all rooms). And the manager was a creepy kind of flirt.  It was hot as hell that time of year (July) and I was tired after traveling for close to 6 weeks. Needless to say, I had a miserable day and night. I think I ate at McDonald’s, too. :)

Loved Bcharre

I was much happier when I left and went to Bcharre, a town in the mountains where Khalil Gibran was born. Although I didn’t have a car, which made things tricky, I got to know the real Lebanese people. I met some really nice one there, too, including some from Beirut.

Second chance?

Even though I didn’t love Beirut, I think I might give it a second chance. I know that having dealt with bad accommodations is what it is–an unpleasant experience. And I believe I made some mistakes along the way, too.

Next time, I would opt to use CouchSurfing because what I really wanted, I think, was to connect with the locals, which is not always that easy in a big city. I believe this would make a huge difference.

3. Belize City

Why: Didn’t care for it

First, I want to say that I really loved Belize and highly recommend it. I visited Dangriga and Hopkins Village, areas a little bit off the beaten path, and really enjoyed myself there. I’d like to return and see more of the country.

Why did I go to Belize City? I needed to spend a night there since my flight was the next morning.

After arriving and getting settled in, the friend I was with and I were a bit taken aback by the city–the appearance and the vibe. We saw mostly two extremes: depressing and slightly dodgy areas and streets with fancy high-end hotels where there was little or no local culture. (Maybe that’s changed since 2006/2007?) I recall feeling uncomfortable (and little bit unsafe) as we walked around.

Belize City early morning

4. Copenhagen

Why: Been there twice

When I visited Copenhagen, more than a decade ago, I though it was quite wonderful. And I’m sure it still is. But I’ve been there twice and can’t think of a good reason to return. If I visited Scandinavia again at some point, I think I’d skip Copenhagen (and Denmark as a whole) because I’d prefer to check out the neighboring countries and their cities/towns.

80896-Copenhagen

5. Medan (Sumatra), Indonesia

Why: Unpleasant and chaotic

Medan hotel outside-2_Dec 15 2005

I didn’t really want to spend the night in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, but I had no choice. The trip there from Lake Toba took most of the day and my flight to Bandung (from Medan) was scheduled for the next morning. I had to do it.

When I arrived, it was hot, humid and noisy. There seemed to be a lot of chaos, too. I had to go to the pharmacy for something and the journey there was rough. Although many cities have rats and roaches, this one seemed to have more. And the street was pretty challenging to walk on (due to potholes and general disrepair).

The only positive experience was chatting with the pharmacist and his employees. They tried their best to help me and despite the language barrier, we somehow understood each other. I’m glad I had the chance to interact with them even though it was brief.

6. Prague

Why: Liked but didn’t love it; too many tourists

Prague

(Photo copyright Moyan Brenn)

Sure the beer was great and I recall drinking one of the best mojitos of my life there (for $9)–and yeah, the history and culture were interesting, but…

I was there about 6 years ago, and it was no longer super affordable. It was, however, super crowded (it was July) and hot. I remember large tour groups being led around by guides holding up colorful umbrellas and getting bumped into a lot. I do recall taking a bike tour, which was excellent.

Although I enjoyed myself and am glad I went, I wasn’t torn up when it was time to leave. I never felt I connected to the culture or its people, which was a shame. For me, that’s what travel is really about.

Really Liked Czesky Krumlov

Having said this, I recall visiting a small city a couple hours away from Prague, a town called Czesky Krumlov—and really liking it. Some call it “mini Prague.” It has a bridge, a river and a castle, too. It was simply charming! I rented a room from an Austrian family there and although we couldn’t communicate very well, they were nice and made sure I was comfortable. The room was spotless and the breakfast was great.

I recall eating at a certain medieval restaurant, Šatlava, several times. The food and atmosphere were incredible. This smallish city was wonderful (except for the relentless rain). I remember getting a lot of reading done there.

Any Cities I Would Like to Return to?

Yes, there are several.

Definitely Istanbul! There’s nothing quite like it. Something magical and exciting there. I also love Toronto. It’s got so much to offer and it’s really pleasant. I’m sure I’ll revisit Amman at some point. It’s not that I loved the city–I just liked it–but I connected some great people there I’d like to see again if possible. 

One of my favorite cities was Damascus. Someday, after the war ends the country rebuilds, I’d like to return…as a volunteer.

How About You?

Any cities on this list that you like, dislike and/or have visited more than once?

Are there any other cities you’ve visited that you are sure you won’t return to? Which ones and why?

Any there any that you’re madly in love with and want to revisit or have visited multiple times? Which one/ones and why?

Comment Policy: Comments that add to the conversation in some way are always welcome; disrespectful remarks and/or personal attacks against the writer or other commenters are not.

Photo Credits

Barcelona: IK’s World Trip; Beirut: Steven Damron; Belize City: Kathy; Copenhagen: Xiquinho Silva; Medan: Michael Renner; Prague: Moyan Brenn.

50 Responses to 6 Cities I (Probably) Won’t Be Returning To
  1. Maria Falvey
    December 1, 2013 | 10:26 am

    Interesting observations and a few sad experiences *hug*

    Barcelona now has a ban on smoking indoors at public buildings and restaurants/bars so should you get routed through there in the future, I think you’ll notice the difference.

    Prague, I was there during February and while everything was open and there were a ton of people… I never ran into another English speaker during my 3 week stay so maybe the time of year has something to do with the tourist population.

    I like the idea of this list and the fact that you’re thinking about the “Why” behind the decision.
    Maria Falvey recently posted..Haiku – Managed WildernessMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 1, 2013 | 10:34 am

      Barcelona has a ban on smoking? Wow…never thought that would happen! That would make it a lot better there, for sure. Even so, I’d pay a little more to fly into or out of a different city just to see something else.

      As for Prague, I can imagine it being very different in February. (Too bad that’s the winter, though.) I’m sure time of year has a lot to do with it. Also, the part of town one states in makes a difference. I recall being in the center of the city, which meant even more tourists.

      I had a similar ‘super crowded, etc.’ experience in Rome, but I didn’t put it on this list because, well, it’s Rome. :) I would like to go back one day. If so, that would have to be an off-season trip.

      Do you prefer to travel off-season?

      I usually do. I did that in Panama and with the exception of Boquete, most places I visited were not overrun with tourists. Also, there were some nice discounts on rooms. The only problem was that it was rainy season. Made some activities tricky or not possible. Even so, I loved Panama!

  2. Jeruen
    December 1, 2013 | 5:11 pm

    Oh I hate this topic of talking about returning to places, mostly for the reason that I think there are so many places in the world I’d like to visit, that I don’t have enough time to return to the places I’ve already been to.

    For example, I would probably list Athens, Greece. I have been there only once, spent 5 days, but those were 5 packed days, and I honestly can say I have seen a lot. Would I go back? Sure, if I lived forever. But at this point, there are other cities I’d like to visit for the first time, before I’d go back to Athens.

    Same thing with New York City. I’ve visited it so many times, but mostly because my family lives there, or I needed to get a visa for another country, and the closest consulate is in New York City (this was when I was living in Buffalo). But I’d never come back to New York City if all I wanted to do was to sight-see.

    Overall, my reasons for not coming back probably would not be about bad experiences, but mostly because of the burning desire to go and see something and someplace else. A city has to have some special charm, whether it is the city itself, or the people who live there, in order for me to keep coming back, and not get sick of it.
    Jeruen recently posted..Walking the Berlin Wall TrailMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 1, 2013 | 6:06 pm

      I hear you, Jeruen–we would all need multiple lifetimes to see the new places and revisit the ones we already know and love!

      So, Athens and NYC? Interesting.

      I love how you concluded your comment, saying that a city has to have that special charm. I agree that it’s something about the city or the people that will pull you back. And not every city has that.

  3. Sarah McCormack
    December 1, 2013 | 7:18 pm

    I enjoyed all your comments.. I really want to visit both Barcelona & Prague one day. I will be prepared for the crowds, I suppose!!

    The city I will never tire of is NYC.. have been 9x and plan to go many many more! There are always news show, new restaurants and new exhibits to visit. I love everything about it. I also love London… so much to see and do.

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2013 | 12:07 pm

      Hi, Sarah. If you do go to Barcelona and Prague, my main recommendations are a) to go off-season and b) maybe do a little couch surfing if that’s something you do. I guarantee you’ll enjoy these cities more!

      That’s cool re: New York! I’ve never been to London. Hope to go someday.

  4. kami
    December 2, 2013 | 9:10 am

    even if Prague is my all time fave city I can understand your feelings towards it very well. I’ve been going there for years now and I can see how it’s changing, not exactly in a good way. Besides it’s so damn crowded in the summer time it’s just impossible to walk around! I just stoped going there in the peak season and when I visit Prague I don’t really go to the center because it just lost all its authenticity and is like a Disneyland!

    As for Barcelona – I’m not a fan of it as well and even if I’ve been there twice I doubt I will return. I’ve heard that you like either Barcelona or Madrid and I’m definitely a Madrid person!
    kami recently posted..Sunday with Pictures: neons of HelsinkiMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2013 | 12:06 pm

      Hi, Kami. Thanks for understanding what I was saying. A lot of it for me was the crowds. Yep, it was very hard to walk around. If I ever did return for some reason, I’d go off season and stay away from the center. I’m sure I’d like it more.

      Funny re: being a Barcelona or Madrid person. I’ve heard that, too. So you’re a Madrid person? Nice. Madrid was the first city I visited when I was in Spain a long time ago. I was very lucky to have a friend, a British woman who was teaching there, to show me around. We went to some great local spots. I’ll never forget the tapas I had there (and in Basque Country). Wow!!

  5. Becky
    December 2, 2013 | 12:18 pm

    I loved Barcelona – but I visited as a tourist and likely won’t ever live there, so I’ll enjoy my magical experience as a temporary visitor :)

    Prague (and Cesky Krumlov) are on my list of places to visit, and you’re not the first person to tell me Prague is too touristy. I’ll give it a shot and let you know.

    On my list of places I likely won’t return to: Brussels and San Francisco. Great for some people, but not a good fit for me.
    Becky recently posted..Just the Facts: Frequently Asked Questions about NicaraguaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2013 | 12:27 pm

      Hi, Becky. I hear you re: Barcelona. It was magical for me, too, as a tourist. I have a feeling that certain cities are like that–very different when you live there versus visiting.

      Glad to hear you’re going to Cesky Krumlov–cool! I look forward to hearing what you think.

      Brussels and San Francisco on the ‘not revisiting’ list? Interesting. I haven’t been to Brussels. And what you’re saying, I think, is the bottom line; great for some, but not for everyone.

  6. Laura Zera
    December 2, 2013 | 5:32 pm

    Am totally with you on the cigarette smoke being a downer in Europe, Lisa. I’m allergic to it, so it makes me so miserable when I’m there.

    City-wise, I usually try to avoid the big cities as much as possible, but I will say that I found Vientiane, Laos to be entirely charming. One that I wouldn’t go back to in a hurry is Douala, Cameroon.
    Laura Zera recently posted..Ten Whackadoo Travel Facts From Around the GlobeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 3, 2013 | 10:38 pm

      You’re allergic to cigarette smoke? That must be challenging when you visit Europe then.

      So you’re not a lover of big cities, either? I hear you. Interesting re: Vientiane. Will keep that in mind. I’ve never been to Douala, but I would imagine it might be a little chaotic and tricky to navigate.

  7. Contented Traveller
    December 3, 2013 | 3:35 am

    I am a re-visitor if I absolutely love a place, sometimes multiple times. However a few were good once, and that will do it. Some once was more than enough.
    Contented Traveller recently posted..Ubud, Bali. If you don’t like art, good food, monkeys – then this is not for youMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 3, 2013 | 10:39 pm

      I’m with you; if I really love it, I do go back. That was the case with Oaxaca, Mexico. I actually went two years in a row!

  8. Amanda
    December 3, 2013 | 10:01 pm

    Interesting list!

    I haven’t been to all of these locations… but I agree with you about Prague (and about enjoying Cesky Krumlov a lot more). And also I can assure you that things in Belize City have only gotten worse. I loved Belize, too, but I would never recommend for anyone to spend longer in the capital than they absolutely have to.
    Amanda recently posted..Review: Greek Islands Tour with Intrepid TravelMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 3, 2013 | 10:40 pm

      Thanks, Amanda!

      You also went to Cesky Krumlov? Cool. What a sweet town!

      Belize City has only gotten worse? Oh boy. I remember when I was there, people kept telling me and my friend to try to coordinate internal flights with the international flight–to do it all in one day. I think I understand that now.

  9. James
    December 4, 2013 | 8:48 am

    I think you should give Barcelona a second chance. It really isn’t that bad but I can understand why you think you won’t return. The smoking used to drive me crazy especailly when they’d light up beween courses and stub out the cigarette on the plate. The crowds are unbearable but only in the city centre if you avoid the tourist areas you can also avoid the tourists. As of yet I haven’t been pick pocketed and after more than 10 years here I think that I’m pretty lucky. Catalans take a little time to warm to you but once they do you have a friend for life, I suppose again I was lucky in that I had a Catalan girlfriend who introduced me to her friends. I didn’t get caught in an English Ghetto.

    • CB Driver
      December 4, 2013 | 9:59 am

      Thank, James. If it were another city in Spain, I might give it a second chance–but Barcelona had two chances. And one of them involved actually living there, so…I won’t be giving it a 3rd chance. Not when there are so many other places to see. :)

      True about the Catalans taking time to warm up. I was lucky I had friends before I arrived–some wonderful people I met well before living there. They lived in a suburb near the city, but not right in it.

      I lived in a real Catalan neighborhood, by the way. No English ghetto for me. :) I did enjoy my interactions with my neighbors and other locals–and the friends I mentioned. Even so, it just didn’t click for me. I guess some places just don’t work for everyone. Glad it works for you.

  10. Joe @ Cosmic Smudge
    December 4, 2013 | 1:04 pm

    There are cities I probably won’t return to but mostly because there are too many places I haven’t been to, yet. Glad you were able to get to Bsharri. My wife’s mother is from there and the views are spectacular.
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    • CB Driver
      December 4, 2013 | 7:06 pm

      I know what you mean. There’s just so much other there to see!

      Your wife’s mom is from Bsharri? Very cool. What a lovely town. The people were really nice there, too.

  11. Helene Jermolajew
    December 4, 2013 | 7:20 pm

    Return travel, love the topic CB. There are 3 definite places I do not want to go back to 1) Bangkok Why? Been there twice (for dental work and general tourism) and didn’t like it either time. I found it dirty and overrated, however I do recommend that people go there at least once and make their own decision. There are enough interesting places to see for one trip. I preferred Chiang Mai but probably won’t go back there either. 2) Naples Why? Have been there twice and still don’t like it, however you can’t avoid it if you want to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius or go to Capri or the Amalfi Coast. I found it dirty, unpleasant and rather unwelcoming, also didn’t feel terribly safe. The second visit was with my 2 sons and daughter-in-law and they all hated it (one son of course had his phone stolen). It’s a pity that one of my 3 favourite hostels is located there (Hostel of the Sun) 3) I probably wouldn’t stay in Athens again, been there twice and it is getting worse and worse with the economic crisis, really didn’t like it this year, however again it is unavoidable if you want to see the antiquities.

    Places I would return to? 1) Belgrade, that’s a definite, spent a total of 3 weeks there in 3 visits this year, my favourite hostel is located there (The Hedonist) the city is chilled and friendly, lots to see, terrific food, super cheap and safe and I made so many new friends from all over the world because everyone loves the place. 2) Paris, was there in 2006 but only for 3 days so didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see. 3) Heidelberg, again I was there in 2006, loved the town, it was like walking in a German fairy tale book. Didn’t get to the Philosophers Walk, so one day I will return. Oh, and the pastries are out of this world. 4) Probably Barcelona, again only spent 3 days there in ’06, more to see. There are oh, so many more Branson Missouri, New Orleans, Clarksdalr, Memhis, Berlin and the list goes on but…….there are so many new places to see that I doubt very much that time will allow. Currently in Antigua Guatamala for 3 months, studying Spanish.

    • CB Driver
      December 5, 2013 | 12:47 pm

      Hi, Helene. Love your comment–very interesting!!

      I have not been to the first 3 cities that you listed. Your reasons for not wanting to return make sense to me. Dirty and unwelcoming (in two cases) are definite turn-offs.

      Re: the list of cities you would return to…good to know about Belgrade and Heidelberg. I love the idea of ‘walking in a Germany fairy tale’ book. That sounds really cool.

      You’re in Antigua studying Spanish right now? Excelente…enjoy!! :)

  12. Travel Makes Me Tick
    December 8, 2013 | 4:26 am

    Huh! Funny, because I’m about to leave Barcelona after 4 years of living here, and even though there are things that I still love about the city, I can also relate to a lot of the things you mention in the post (and probably to those you don’t mention, too!). I’d say it’s a great place, but hard to really call a home for a longer period.

    Medan, I hated it, too. It’s nothing but a transit city. I did love Prague, though :)
    Travel Makes Me Tick recently posted..Thinking ultimate relaxation? Think Pulau Kapas, Malaysia.My Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 8, 2013 | 10:55 pm

      Hi there. You’ve been living in Barcelona for 4 years? Wow. Interesting re: the other things that you relate to. Now I’m curious. :)

      Yup re: Medan.

      Are you in Malaysia? That ‘ultimate relaxation’ phrase in your recent post just caught my eye. :)

      • Travel Makes Me Tick
        December 9, 2013 | 4:24 pm

        Altogether it’s actually been 5 and a half years! I’m glad I’m finally moving on, but at the same time I’m sure I’ll probably miss Bcn a little, too. But I guess life is just bitter sweet like that :)
        I’m not in Malaysia atm (I’m updating my blog with my escapades from earlier this year), but I’m off to Asia again in January, and I’ll surely be stopping by Malaysia (possibly even trying to settle there for a bit, let’s see).

  13. Tony
    December 8, 2013 | 4:51 am

    I’m glad your thinking of giving Lebanon a 2nd chance & once you do kindly inform me & I’ll be glad to show you around , make you meet the locals & make you taste my mom’s food

    • Tony
      December 8, 2013 | 4:51 am

      Prague

      • CB Driver
        December 8, 2013 | 10:52 pm

        This is a place you won’t return to?

    • CB Driver
      December 8, 2013 | 10:52 pm

      Hi, Tony. Thanks for the offer! I’ll keep it in mind in the event I return.

  14. Belize Travel
    December 9, 2013 | 6:24 am

    I have to agree with you on the Belize City part — no one likes Belize City but the rest of Belize is so beautiful to visit.

    • CB Driver
      December 9, 2013 | 2:10 pm

      Hi. Thanks for stopping by. Shame about Belize City, but so true re: the rest of the country. I thought it was gorgeous and I’d return if the opportunity arose!

  15. Kirsten
    December 9, 2013 | 1:58 pm

    I’m Canadian but my dad’s family is Danish so I’m completely partial to CPH – I call it my second home and go back there whenever I can ;)

    Alexandria is the city I wouldn’t go back to. I was there for a few days last year and it was one bad experience after another. I was groped by a two men at Fort Qait Bey who then proceeded to follow me around for the rest of afternoon, it was sooooo dirty and the biggest one was this: I was at a McD’s near my hotel which was mainly full of tourists and these young local guys came in and started asking everyone who looked like a foreigner where they were from. All of us were from either Canada or Australia and these guys seemed fine with that and were friendly enough and went on their way. Then they asked this one older gentleman and he answered that he was from the USA. These guys left, came back inside with baseball bats and wooden posts and started in on him. Just for being an American! Security came and out an end to it asap thank goodness! All in all, I didn’t feel safe there whereas I did in Cairo and anywhere else in Egypt. I also think cities like Cairo & Luxor have way more to offer so while I fully intend on going back to Egypt I will be completely skipping Alexandria.

    Besides CPH, my favourite city that I keep going back to and will continue to revisit over and over again is Rome :)
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    • CB Driver
      December 9, 2013 | 2:08 pm

      Hi, Kirsten. Thanks for joining in! I thought CPH was lovely–definitely. The only reason I wouldn’t go back is because of being there twice and hoping to see something else. It is a very nice city. You are very lucky to have family there. That must be awesome!

      Re: Alexandria…OMG…sounds horrible. That groping is unacceptable. And can’t believe the baseball bat incident. Yikes. I never visited Alexandria, but a long time ago, I went to the other cities in Egypt. Thought they were pretty cool. I was on a tour (it was way before I became an independent traveler), which made it easier.

      Awesome re: Rome. I’ve only been there once and it was too rushed. I’d like to return!

  16. Naomi
    December 10, 2013 | 5:44 am

    Interesting. Sometimes I won’t go back to a place because the memory of the experience will be sullied by returning. I think I would find it hard to return to Prague having visited in 1990 not long after Communism fell and well before all the frigging tourists turned up.
    But in general I don’t really have a feeling either way about any cities when it comes to putting it on the “won’t return” list. I hated London but figure it may have been a time and place issue and so I never did any of the tourist sights because I felt so negative about the place. 25 years on I’m a different person and would actually like to return and be a tourist. Medan is a country town compared to Jakarta – definitely a city I try not to spend any time in, but then again, I’ve never actually tried to. I might actually find I like it.
    Although I agree with the commenter who says that in the end, you mostly don’t return to places because there’s too much else to do, I like that this is actually about saying: would I actually choose not to go to a certain city again? Probably only Prague for me, only coz it might just break my heart…
    Naomi recently posted..2 beers and a bottle of methsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 14, 2013 | 10:20 am

      Hi, Naomi! Good to see you on the bus again. :)

      You are such a fascinating woman/traveler. I love your travel taste and think it’s cool that you visited Prague when you did (wow–I’d love to hear your stories). If I had done that, I wouldn’t want to return now either. Funny re: the ‘frigging tourists.’ He he he…

      I wonder why you hated London…hmmm. I’ve never been there. Believe it or not, I’m more interested in visiting Ireland than England.

      Really funny re: Medan vs Jakarta. I’ve heard that and when I was in Medan, I thought–this must be a mini version of Jakarta. I avoided Jakarta when I visited Indonesia. I don’t love big cities and I know that’s an intense, chaotic one. I do have some friends from there now, so if I do go in the future, I think it’ll be cool.

      Thanks for joining the chat. Always a pleasure to hear from you! :)

      • Naomi
        January 1, 2014 | 1:01 am

        London reminded me of Sydney, only worse weather. People were unfriendly, self centred, success oriented. And the backpacker vibe is all drunkenness and mindless sex (never been my cup of tea). I still feel the same about Sydney, except for its pure physical beauty.

        As for Ireland, it’s a beautiful place but so is south west England, Scotland and Wales.

        I’ve spent one night in Jakarta in an absolute dive in Jalan Jaksa then took a train out the next day. I may spend more time there on my next trip in April. I actually liked Medan. I stayed in a lovely quiet place near the airport and pottered around town to some of the malls and markets. I didn’t stay near the mosque where most of the bedbugs live!
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        • CB Driver
          January 2, 2014 | 4:22 pm

          London sounds a bit like NYC–lol–except the drunkenness and mindless sex. Ireland sounds great.

          Eww re: the bedbugs near the mosque. That’s where I stayed! I was lucky. I didn’t have any in my bed. I do recall, however, seeing a roach near the door in the a.m. :)

  17. Globe Guide
    December 10, 2013 | 12:05 pm

    This article is spot on, and it highlights a problem I’ve noticed with my own travels: accommodation is everything! It can really make or break your experience if you have a great hotel room, or a terrible, dodgy one.
    By the way, I have friends who made it over to Czesky Krumlov and loved it, so it definitely sounds like a must-do spot!
    Globe Guide recently posted..La Paz, Bolivia: Witches, zebras and a Moon ValleyMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 14, 2013 | 10:14 am

      True re: accommodations. It can make a huge difference. I truly believe that if I’d been in the right hotel (or preferably a homestay) in Beirut, that would have made a major difference.

      Sounds like a lot of people love Cesky Krumlov. I’m really glad I went. It was worth it!

  18. Lizzie
    December 11, 2013 | 6:21 am

    I wouldn’t say there are places I don’t want to visit again as things change so often, but there are some places that I’m happy to not go back to for a while. Madrid is one of these. Much like your experience in Barcelona, I just didn’t click with the city. It’s a shame, but these things happen. We can’t force ourselves to like a place, afterall!

    I personally loved Copenhagen but, as it is so small, it’s easy to do everything in a matter of days. I also think it’s good to get out and see other places rather than keep returning to the same ones. Keeps life exciting :)
    Lizzie recently posted..The History of Travel and Art: David Klein’s Vintage Travel PostersMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 14, 2013 | 10:13 am

      Hi, Lizzie. I know what you mean about not returning for a while. There are some places I would like to revisit, but I’d prefer to wait.

      So you didn’t click with Barcelona, either? Interesting. Someone else said that people tend to like BCN or Madrid. I definitely preferred Madrid (once I’d been living in BCN for a while). I did enjoy BCN as a tourist, however.

      I agree….why not keep things exciting by visiting some new cities/destinations. Makes sense to me!

  19. Lisa
    December 19, 2013 | 8:43 pm

    Prague is on my list to visit because I want to visit the National Museum and Prague Castle. Copenhagen is also on radar as well because I would love to see Christiansborg Palace. I don’t mind crowds but love traveling to cities that are rich in culture and history.

    • CB Driver
      December 19, 2013 | 10:32 pm

      Cities rich in culture/history are fantastic. Great that you deal well with crowds. Enjoy!

  20. Kieu
    December 27, 2013 | 11:12 pm

    I like this post! Ours is vastly different than yours but that’s why I like it. Everyone’s own experiences shape this they feel about a certain city. I have a fond heart for Barcelona and Prague and wouldn’t mind visiting Copenhagen. Lol, guess I like your won’t list a little. Hehe. I probably won’t be returning to Kuta, Beijing, and New Delhi any time soon. :)
    Kieu recently posted..We’re Married!!! Sort of..My Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 27, 2013 | 11:51 pm

      Hi, Kieu. Glad you liked it! True re: people’s experiences shaping feelings about a city. Makes sense. Your list of ‘won’t be returning to’ cities is very interesting! I’ve heard from many that Kuta is awful–tout hell–and I’m thinking that might be part of what turned you off. It’s also a pretty serious party place, right?

      I’ve been to Beijing. It was a very long time ago. I recall feeling a little claustrophobic there. I can’t even imagine New Delhi. I would think that it’s super chaotic–just a guess.

      Thanks for joining the chat!

  21. Cata
    January 4, 2014 | 3:35 am

    Copenhagen, Prague and Barcelona, I did not visited them, but I was thinking they are great places and everybody likes them. For the others, you can expect to have bad experiences. Was nice to read your opinion about this places.

    • CB Driver
      January 4, 2014 | 10:40 am

      Thanks for reading along, Cata.

  22. Johnny
    January 9, 2014 | 6:42 pm

    I can’t think of any cities that I really don’t want to return to, which is a good thing of course. Thanks for the heads-up about Medan though, I haven’t been there and have no plans on going. Anyway thanks for an interesting post!
    Johnny recently posted..Kosterhavet National ParkMy Profile

  23. Katie Featherstone
    February 9, 2014 | 12:11 pm

    Interesting list. I don’t want to go back to Bangkok or Hanoi. Both of them I’ve been to multiple times, they’re very busy and places were you’re likely to be scammed!
    Katie Featherstone recently posted..Seven big Italian cities, three weeks and an almost non-existant budget.My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 9, 2014 | 4:19 pm

      Hi, Katie. Thanks for sharing your cities. I’ve never been to either, but I can imagine they’re a bit chaotic. Places where you’re likely to be scammed, huh? Good to know. Thanks!

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