Friday, May 29, 2009

greatest hits

Got back from an action-packed trip to New York, Zurich, and Spain on Monday, and can compare them all side by side and back to back.

So, in overly simplified terms, very short lists of what I loved best at each place this time around.

New York: I love that people are out doing things at all hours on all days. Impromptu brunches, random drinks, afternoon shopping, there is always something going on, and there are always people doing whatever it is that they're doing. I love that as long as I'm not too far downtown, I can navigate without help. I love that you can walk or take the subway just about anywhere, or if you're feeling lazy and extravagant, you can take a cab.

Zurich: I love that people live and work on a predictably relaxed schedule. I love that everything is so ridiculously organized and efficient. I love that when it's sunny and warm, you can walk to the lake, and it's one of the prettiest city-accessible places I've ever been. I love that there are funny old traditions that include things like accordion music and yodeling that people of all ages embrace, especially when it's open mike night at a campy local bar.

Spain: I love that some Spanish ham is worth traveling to eat. I love that in the north, they speak Basque, one of the least useful languages in the world, in terms of number of people who speak it, and relevance to other languages, but you can get by if you know French or Spanish. I love that they have ridiculously good food for $3 (in bars) or $300 (in Michelin 3-star restaurants). I love that there is a cathedral that focuses on a 14th century miracle that involved chickens, and showcases two live chickens in their own special altar-display.

Mountain View: I love that at this time of year, it's sunny and warm every day, and the jasmine is in full bloom everywhere you go. I love not living out of a suitcase. I love having a job that is fun to come back to after vacation. I love seeing how excited my dog is to have me back.

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