On a continent that often proved frustrating, Mendoza, Argentina could not have been a more welcoming respite, a food and wine paradise with leafy tree-lined boulevards and the nicest people.
Best City Breaks
Bogota is Colombia’s capital city at the foot of the Andes, with a colonial old town remarkably similar to the one in Quito, Ecuador. Even though Bogota is a huge city, the tourist attractions are mostly clustered in the old town, which you can visit in a day or two.
From Cartagena we flew to Medellin, Colombia’s city of eternal spring set in the lush Aburrá valley. Once the most dangerous city in the world in the 1980s, Medellin has transformed itself into the most innovative city in the last decade.
In February we spent a few days in Cartagena, Colombia, famed for its colorful old city inside a fortress-like wall. February we discovered was summer, the dry season when the city receives the most tourists, driving prices up and making Cartagena Colombia’s most expensive city.
We found Lima to be a big, gritty city with perpetually foggy weather, congested traffic, and poor air quality. Only a few neighborhoods are safe to walk around in, and of those, Miraflores has become overly commercial and cute, colorful Barranco is being overtaken by high-rise developments.
We just spent 4 days exploring Quito, the first city on our South America trip. At an elevation of 9350 feet and right next to the equator, Quito also happens to be the best preserved colonial town in the Americas.
Yerevan has no shortage of concrete block buildings and monuments from its Soviet past, but you’ll also see a snow-capped mountain looming in the distance. This is Mount Ararat, Armenia’s beloved national symbol, which you’ll begin to notice everywhere.
Three years into traveling all over the world, we were incredibly impressed by Vienna’s livability. It’s expensive but you get remarkable value for your money. The city is beautiful, clean, functional, and walkable, with a high density of cultural institutions, green spaces, and exquisite architecture.
The first thing you should do upon landing in Vienna is walk the Ringstrasse, or Ring Road, a circular boulevard around the former imperial center of the city. It’ll lead you to most of the famous buildings and gardens in Vienna.
In 2018 we spent a month and a half in Japan. We went to all the “must-see” places like Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nara Deer Park, and Fushimi Inari Taisha, and were inevitably disappointed by how overhyped and crowded these sites were. So here’s a list of places we recommend instead.