Every city has its merits, whether it’s in the jungles of Asia or the sands of Africa, but then there are some cities that are so magnificent, so breath-taking that they seem to come out of a novel. If you Google the word ‘vibrant’ it throws up definitions like: ‘pulsating with vigour and energy’, ‘vigorous; energetic; vital’, and ‘exciting; stimulating; lively’. So, if you’re planning on a city break sometime soon or one of these escorted tours that are becoming all the rage, then you might want to think about stopping off at the cities listed below, which I think are some of the most vibrant and incredible cities on this green and blue Earth.
Could I really start with any other city than Tokyo, the most vibrant of them all? It’s a neon concrete jungle full of possibility and excitement. Whether you’re a Murakami addict, a Kurosawa savant, or simply love sushi, then chances are Tokyo is already right at the top of your bucket list. Whatever stereotype you can think of for Asia, forget it when it comes to the Japanese as they break every mould. Japan, in my opinion, has one of the richest cultures in the world and what better place to experience that than its capital.
Staying in Asia, for a moment – Shanghai should be visited by anyone interested in exciting places. You may be thinking, ‘why would I visit Shanghai, if I’ve just visited Tokyo’ – well maybe because not all Asian cities are the same! Just because they are near each other geographically, does not mean they are similar. Would you claim that Paris, London, and Rome are all identical because of their geographical proximity? If you are looking to experience China, then Shanghai is where you need to go. It’s great for all ages and it smacks of old world charm and new world wealth.
A strange choice, I’m sure some of you are thinking, especially as it shares a landmass with London, but don’t underestimate Edinburgh especially when the Festival is on. The Edinburgh Festival is the capital of vibrancy in this world. It is known from here to Timbuktu for being the crowning jewel of comedy and art and if you’re looking for something different for your vacation this year, then Edinburgh is definitely different. If comedy isn’t your thing (and I’m sure there are people who don’t like laughing) then bathe in Edinburgh’s historical buildings and majestic history … plus you may spot J.K. Rowling.
You didn’t really expect anything else but New York to be last on this list, did you? The set of a thousand movies, TV shows and novels, there is nothing quite like walking New York’s streets and recognising Monica’s apartment, or the bench from Manhattan, or seeing Times Square and the Empire State Building after seeing it in every other film Hollywood has ever produced; the only thing similar is the first time you walk London’s streets. For people not from America, New York is the pinnacle of American culture; it’s a symbol for everything right with America, its strength, unity and it being a centre for change, with Ellis Island and its history of taking refugees and immigrants. The American Dream is alive and well in New York.
Just get out there and see this crazy old world for yourself.