Monday, 22 December 2008

The places to be in 2009

Just had an email telling me this...
The world’s bestselling city guidebook publisher, DK Eyewitness Travel, has named its pick of the best cities to visit next year...

Vilnius – European Capital of Culture in 2009, the Lithuanian capital is planning 120 art and culture projects, and over 900 cultural events. Highlights include the Vilnius Book Fair in February, Street Musician Day in May, Culture Night on Midsummer Night, and the LUX Festival of Lights in November which brings socially deprived groups into the ‘lighted’ city, using science, nature and art to ‘light’ Vilnius at its darkest period of the year.

Buenos Aires – The old port district of La Boca will feature a major exhibition of France’s surrealist master Marcel Duchamp at the recently revamped Fundación Proa art gallery in February. In June the Puerto Madero docklands district opens the first-ever Fosters & Partners (led by Sir Norman Foster) design project in Latin America. The uber-hip residential space will be the centrepiece of a new cultural district.

Gdansk – Reputed to be the new Krakow in 2009, Gdansk’s old town has been spruced up and the picturesque Bergher houses that line its streets are interspersed with an influx of new hotels, restaurants and shops. With direct flights from Liverpool, Stansted and Birmingham with Ryanair, Poland’s coastline could see a new influx of visitors to this part of the Baltic Sea.

Seattle, USA – With a new Four Seasons hotel just unveiled, a new Hyatt at Olive 8 opening in January 2009 from the Hyatt brand, and a large new “eco-friendly” hotel called “1” scheduled to open mid 2009, a good nights sleep in Seattle is scheduled for next year. Something you need in a city that can see you catching a rock show or taking in the sleek downtown area by kayak, all in one trip. A truly modern American city surrounded by acres of stately redwoods, misty coastline, and glacial caves makes for intriguing juxtaposition.

Bristol – Dita Von Teese recently opened a new Harvey Nichols store alongside a Cinema de Lux and a wealth of luxury apartments at Cabot Circus - a long awaited boost to the Broadmead shopping district. Not long after, Bristol’s robust eco-appeal got stronger as it was named the ‘most sustainable city in Britain’. Luxury consumerism and environmental sustainability look set to coexist in 2009.

Fes – With new direct flights from Gatwick starting in December 2008, with the low cost airline Atlas Blue, it won’t take long before the tourists turn east from Marrakech’s crowded souks, to explore Morocco’s spiritual and cultural hub. The narrow streets of Fes are alive with commerce, and all lanes lead to the Karaouiyne mosque, established in 859, one of the oldest and most illustrious mosques in the western Muslim world.

Washington DC – Fresh with reinvigorated patriotism, tour the Eastern Seaboard by train or bus, heading south from New York to the home of the founding fathers in Philadelphia, then on to the seat of American government. With the largest library in the world (Library of Congress), the National Museum of American History and Arlington National Cemetery, not to mention the White House, Washington DC is a vision of marble and light, with icons and monuments at every turn.

Copenhagen – With 12 Michelin stars awarded in 2008 (that’s more than Vienna, Rome, or Madrid) plus a clutch of new boutique hotels and minimalist designed budget hostels, Copenhagen has become the ultimate gourmet and style destination. Its green-credentials aren’t bad either, recently becoming the world’s first ‘Bike City’ with 36 percent of all Copenhageners cycling to work, school and university.

Cape Town – The hosting of the world cup in 2010 means that visitors in late 2009 will see an upgraded Cape Town Station and the arrival of the One&Only Cape Town luxury resort, complete with Africa’s first branch of Nobu. Cape Town looks set to raise its tourist game in 2009 as it gears up for the sporting events of the following year. Add this to the world famous vista, outdoor activities, and affordable prices due to the exchange rate, and it’s a good time to visit.

Vienna – Vienna’s festival calendar is a true ballroom blur, kicking off with the city’s glittering New Year balls and the annual splendour of the Vienna Opera Ball on 19 February 2009. Come mid-May the city’s greatest festival, the Wiener Festwochen, comes into play with operas, theatre, music and performing arts, and Mozart’s operas are performed in the beautiful Schönbrunn Park until late August.

Would have thought they'd have mentioned a certain event taking place on January 20th in their reasons to visit Washington DC... 5 million people expected, and partying round the clock.


Old Holborn said...

Go on, Kerry, I dare you. Recommend that Japanese Tourists take a wander through your constituency after dark.

Kerry said...

Why not? I do.

Northern Lights said...

As do I

Bluebaldee said...

My wife and I were wandering around "out East" last weekend well after dark.

Don't see what the problem is.

Mind you, got chased by a group of Japanese tourists trying to take our picture......

Kerry said...

Well they've probably never seen a bluebaldee before.

Anonymous said...

Not sure that guide knows what it's on about. I've got not-in-laws who moved to Buenos Aires recently.

They say "on Friday 12 December there was yet another mass demonstration which attracted gunfire from the massed ranks of police present and brought the afternoon traffic to a standstill. The name of the demonstration caught my attention instantly... 'The Hunger March."

Presumably this wasn't going on in the uber-hip residential spaces for tourists?