Personal Preferences: Where in the World? San Francisco: Actually, the entire S.F. Bay Area is beautiful and diverse; small islands in the bay,
larger earthbound islands in the surrounding coastal mountains, redwood and eucalyptus forests, a
rugged seacoast. The city itself is compact and picturesquely situated on steep hills. A city for walkers
(if you're in good shape). Do some high-end window shopping in Union Square, take the cable car
to North Beach and Chinatown, have lunch and/or espresso with Italian pastry, and burn much of it
off by walking up, literally, to Coit Tower (many of the sidewalks on the way have stairsteps built
into them, which helps). Take a side trip north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and
a ferry to Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the west coast. Eat lots of fresh seafood ...
Vancouver: Not as hilly as San Francisco, but also compact and diverse, with a surrounding
environment that is just as beautiful, if not more so. Browse the boutiques and coffee shops
on Granville Street or in Kerrisdale or Davie Village. Walk around the wharves and watch the
cruise ships preparing for the trip up the Inside Passage, and take a ferry ... anywhere.
Paris: Fully deserves its reputation as a great city, perhaps the greatest. Grand architecture,
culture, food, and the marvelous Metro (the best subway in the world). We spent a great deal
of time in the louvre and the antique stores nearby; centuries of art and quality furnishings, all
aggregated within a few blocks. But walk around anywhere in the first seven arrondisements,
up any of the almost-too-narrow-for-cars side streets, gawking like a tourist who's never seen
anything taller than two stories, staring at the buildings, spending time inside the cathedrals or
those secular and petite sites of alternative worship, the ubiquitous cafes. And in your effort
to surrender to the myriad temptations offered by the wonderful restaurants and french cuisine,
don't neglect the couscous.
Saint Malo: Small city on the French coast; from a distance the very image of the medieval
walled city. A seaside tourist center where hotels provide TV channels in at least five languages,
a smal city proud of its history, its Bretagne celtic heritage and successful "corsairs", Saint Malo
is a picturesque and delightful focal point for touring around Mont St. Michel and the rest of
York: West central England, tudor architecture, museums, a walkable medieval city wall, good
restaurants and shops. Browse the small shops along the shambles, one of those well-maintained
ancient narrow streets in which the upper stories hang out over the sidewalk. Stop a while for tea
and scones. Arrive in York at the close-in train station or on or a canal boat. Stay the night at a
typical English bed and breakfast and wake up to hot grilled tomatoes and cold toast.