A Second Look: Revisiting Cities

At this point, I’ve traveled to so many countries (92 and counting) and international cities (144 just in the past 20 months) that it’s no wonder that I’m starting to double up. In fact, quite a few cities top my list of favorites and so I decided revisit them.

Some of my favorite cities that I think deserve a second look are London, Istanbul, Bangkok, Copenhagen, and Cairo. Interested in checking them out? You can easily find package holiday deals for international cities at Dealchecker.

There are several advantages to re-visiting a city, including:

Time to Savor the Culture

On a repeat visit, you tend to have more time. Instead of rushing around and hitting all the famous hot spots, you can spend more time exploring the city’s nooks and crannies.

For instance, on my first trip to Istanbul I did all the typical tourist stuff:

  • Boating on the Bosporus: the waterway connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and separating the European and Asian continents
  • Touring the architectural wonders of Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque
  • Shopping the Grand Bazaar
  • Taking a side trip to Ephesus: the ancient Greek city built in the 1st century BC and one of the original 7 Wonders of the World

On my second trip, I spent more time hanging in the popular Beyoglu district, smoking sheesha (note: legal fruit tobacco), going to Turkish baths, drinking tea with locals, and volunteering (my favorite!). Without a doubt, my second visit gave me more time to soak in the flavors of this exotic city.

Living like a Local

In Copenhagen, I spent time with my friends Kris and Ane, who were super generous hosts. So generous, in fact, that Ane moved in with Kris for a week and gave me her apartment.

Having my own digs meant that I was outside the main hotel strip and in a more typical ethnic neighborhood. One of my favorite pastimes was just strolling around, checking out all the colorful kiosks and eateries.

Apartment living also meant I did household chores like going to the laundry down the street. You’d think throwing in a load would be the same as in America, but no. There are special spinning machines and a convoluted payment process, which is why I had to ask for help and in the process met a nice teacher on his summer break. Making friends at the Laundromat!

Kris also lent me his bike so I could brave the city’s bicycle highways. This gave me great mobility and since I already had a good understanding of the cityscape from my first visit, I wasn’t too afraid to get lost. Bonus!

Visiting Lesser-Known Sights

I’ve been to Bangkok three times now and on my last visit I spent a few days traveling to World War II historical sites. (I’m kind of a history buff). So off I went to the River Kwai to see the famous bridge and Hellfire Pass, one of the most notorious of Japanese forced labor camps.

Since Bangkok is such a thriving pulsating sin-city, there’s certainly enough to do to keep one occupied for days and multiple visits. And yet, I’m super glad I got to see the River Kwai memorials and to learn more about our Allied war history.

It took me three trips to exciting Bangkok to make time for this educational side trip, but I’m certainly glad I did.

Second Time Around

With limited vacation time and with so much of the world to explore, it can be difficult to visit a place we’ve already been. But there are some distinct advantages to giving a favorite city a second look. And you’ll probably end up liking them just that much more!

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012 and is filed under Travel Favorites.

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