Top 5 Favorite Cities in the World by Naomi, Run Away With Me
Welcome back again to our Guest Post Blog Series, Today we are featuring not just a simple blogger but also an adventurer. Reading all her stories and experiences on her blog, it’s really great to know her more and to get to know her Top 5 Favorite Cities in the World.
As an adventurer like her, she actually mentioned that she slept in hammocks, trekked through the jungle in Cambodia, and even ate a raw jellyfish in the Philippines, and there’s many more.
Naomi has traveled around the world by all her means. She became an English Teacher in Barcelona, she also volunteered with refugees in Greece and recently moved to New Zealand.
Among countries that she visited are Nicaragua, Morocco, India, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand, and a lot more.
I’m super excited to know her Top 5 Favorite Cities, aren’t you? Let’s delve into Naomi’s world and run away with her!
Barcelona is an incredible place filled with beautiful architecture, history, rich culture, good wine, tapas, and is built along the Mediterranean. What more could you want? I spent a year teaching English here and fell in love with the city.
Coming from a fast-paced city like Toronto, it took me a while to adjust to the slower pace of the Spanish people. While everyone at home is speed walking down the street with a quick-brew drip coffee in hand.
The Spaniards actually sit to enjoy a quality cappuccino and a cigarette on a patio. They take their time and enjoy the little things.
They really do take siestas! The students I taught were given an hour and a half lunch break to go home and eat with their families. I often took a little siesta between lessons, too.
I also gained some weight. Between pan con tomate, chipirones, patatas bravas, and all the jamon… I didn’t stand a chance and regret nothing. I spent countless afternoons on patios, found by wandering down charming cobblestone side streets, drinking vino tinto with friends, and practicing Spanish – the most beautiful language in the world.
When you go (and I do mean when), be sure to visit Gaudi’s incredible architectural masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. Enjoy a glass of Sangria somewhere in the Gothic Quarter. Dance all night at one of the beach-side clubs. I promise you’ll fall in love with it the way I did.
Full disclosure, I’m probably a little biased because this is my home. I truly, objectively believe Toronto is one of the best cities in the world, though. Toronto’s only identity is that it doesn’t have its own identity.
There are so many cultures that have come together to make this city what it is, that it can’t just be one thing. You can enjoy Syrian street food, try a pho burritos, and eat Ethiopian food with your hands, all in the same day (I’m not sure which one of those would be proper for breakfast though I guess you’ll just have to have two lunches).
We throw one of the best Gay Pride Parades in the world, an epic Caribana, and even have a whole week dedicated to poutine – our gravy soaked national dish.
Canadians are proud and blindly support our sports teams even though they’re generally pretty bad. I don’t even like sports and I get excited when The Jays make it to the playoffs.
The people are as polite as our stereotype claims – if you run into someone on the sidewalk, they’ll probably apologize. Our craft beer scene is pretty cool. There are tons of small breweries in the city, and you can find lots of bars that feature strictly Ontario/Canadian craft beers on tap (try The Craft in Liberty Village).
Even Drake raps about how much he loves this city, and say what you want about him, his music is undeniably catchy as hell. There’s also no end to the amount of small live music venues and talented artists to fill them.
Toronto is an amazing place to do some urban exploring. I’ve lived here for the majority of my life and have never once run out of things to do.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is home to New Zealand’s major International Airport. Chances are, if you’re visiting New Zealand at all, your journey will take you here! For whatever reason, I’ve found Auckland gets a bad rep. You’re either team Wellington or team Auckland (though I would argue they’re both wonderful in their own way) but I’m an Auckland fan.
I’ve chosen to live here over other beautiful cities like Wellington, Christchurch, or Dunedin because it’s without a doubt the most livable. There are lots to do for visitors too! Want to hike up a volcano? Do you like beautiful beaches? International food? Auckland’s got you.
I have found some of the cutest cafés, had some delicious craft beers, eaten amazing authentic Asian food, and enjoyed the sun on many patios. There are islands and beaches in the surrounding area that are so easily accessible by car or transit.
Rangitoto (just a 30-minute ferry ride away from the city) is probably one of the coolest places I’ve seen. This old dormant volcano stands in the middle of an island which has such a unique ecosystem that it’s heavily protected; so much so that you have to clean your shoes and check your bag for lizards and bugs before you can board the boat.
There are no shops or restaurants on the island, no one lives there, but you can go for a nice little hike to the top where you’re treated to an amazing 360-degree view.
Make that your day trip and in the evening return to the city and enjoy a live jazz band at an underground bar, then tell me you can find the same in Wellington. You can’t.
Marrakesh has an unrivaled kind of hustle and bustle. Get lost in the medina where the giant soul (market) will swallow you whole. Your senses would be assaulted as you weave your way through the narrow pathways lined with shops selling everything and anything, from colorful leather slippers and hand painted clay dishes, to raw fish or camel meat.
The shopkeepers will yell for your attention and try to entice you to buy. You’ll make a wrong turn and forget where you came from, finding something new around every corner. When or if you ever make it back out, you can settle into a beautiful and relaxing Riad.
These are a unique style of Moroccan hotels, defined by their inner courtyards, that usually contain gardens or sometimes even swimming pools. The open-air concept creates shade and cool airflow which is necessary for those hot Moroccan summer days.
The culture is of course very different from what we’re used to in Western countries, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Hearing the call to prayer echo throughout the city is melodic and enchanting.
I will never forget the evenings I spent listening to this from rooftops with friends, drinking mint tea and passing around a hookah.
Tajine (and literally anything with Moroccan spices) is a must-try signature dish. If you’re adventurous, try snail soup! You won’t be able to easily get your hands on any alcohol but will become addicted to mint tea.
There’s no way to experience Morocco without diving in head first, so prepare to embrace all the vibrant colors, sights, smells, and tastes of Marrakesh!
Iceland is probably one of the coolest places on the planet, and the capital city doesn’t disappoint. The music scene is on fire, especially in October when they host the Iceland Airwaves music festival.
It’s not like most capital cities which tend to be a collection of skyscrapers, creating a concrete jungle. The tallest building is just 20 floors (and the rest are much lower) which gives the downtown core and cobblestone streets an even more quaint and cozy feeling.
All the people are effortlessly beautiful. No one seems to really care, no one is ever done up or trotting around in stilettos, but the locals are somehow still slaying with fresh faces, messy buns, scraggly beards, and clunky boots.
It’s a friendly culture. The first morning I arrived there was an old drunk man arguing with a cop. He turned to me to make his case and get me to agree but spoke to me in Icelandic.
When I could only offer up a confused stare, he slurred, “oh, you’re not from here… well, welcome to Iceland!” with big open arms. Everyone else was very welcoming too, but for the most part, less drunk.
The blue lagoon is an amazing spa experience unlike any other. You can soak outdoors in mineral-rich, opaque blue water that’s steaming like a giant warm bath.
If you rent a car and drive in any direction out of the city center, you will find incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE, landscapes. Epic waterfalls, hot geysers, glaciers, and black sand beaches are just some of the natural wonders that make Iceland so amazing.
The city comes alive at night and never sleeps, so prepare to party until you’re ready to catch the sunrise.
What an admirable person our guest blogger is, to read all her experiences is terrific! My favorite part? Well, I’ve been dreaming to visit Iceland and Morocco so I’m tangled between these two.
Reading her fabulous adventures makes we wanna pack all my things and just travel right away! What an enjoyable and inspiring
I would like to thank our guest blogger Naomi for sharing us all her experiences in this lovely Top 5 Favorite Cities that she has chosen.
Thank you for being so cordial of letting us know more about you.
If you want to read more of Naomi’s travel stories visit her blog Run Away With Me
Top 5 Favorite Cities in the World
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