I think Cardiff's a nice enough city, but for me I would say the best city in Europe is Paris. Not an original choice, but as much as I might want to pick another city I can't. Some of the finest art/museums in the world, some of the finest food in the world, stunning buildings, a truly unique atmosphere, more historical sights than you could wish for and a huge amount of diversity between the different areas of the city. I can't top that I'm afraid.
I miss it...
It is quite possible to visit the UK without ever noticing the down side to the culture here. Yes, one can have lunch at a pub or inn and enjoy the food and atmosphere. However, there is another side to drinking here. At night there are many towns and cities across the UK where paramedics line the streets waiting for folks to collapse as a result of excessive drinking.
Of course visiting the UK and living here are two entirely different entities. Britain has the worst rates of crime, health, binge drinking and a whole list of terrible social problems (of which I refuse to get into on this site for fear of offending others with the blatant facts) to be found anywhere in Europe.
Cardiff does have a few tourist attractions, but of course those who live there are not going to want to visit these more than a handful of times. It was the same in Rome when we visited last month. The local folk were completely uninterested in the Vatican or the Sistine chapel.
If you are interested in Castles and museums then I would certainly recommend Paris and Rome to you. Of course the museums are not free entry unlike in the UK, but are quite breathtaking. As for cuisine, Cardiff pub food certainly does not compare to authentic French or Italian cuisine. Whilst on the subject of pub food; have you ever wondered why Britons are the most obese in Europe? It's all in the culture and cuisine!
One cannot possibly decide on a place to live on the basis of castles or pubs. You have to look at cost of living, employment, housing, crime, schooling, transport, access to local services, shops and amenities. Here Cardiff doesn't top the UK list let alone the European list.
Incidentally, Cardiff is not well served by air. Cardiff International airport is amongst the most expensive in the UK to fly to/from. I live only 45 miles from the airport but find it far more cost effective to fly from London, Birmingham or Manchester even after factoring in the additional cost of getting to and from these airports. Additionally, Cardiff airport does not serve many destinations that I would consider worth visiting, or at least does not serve them at competitive prices. Ryanair and Easyjet don't even operate business from Cardiff at all. Even British Midland (BMIbaby) offer only limited destinations (certainly no flights to/from Rome) I often find flights from Cardiff are twice or even three times the cost of other UK airports. It's just not a feasible option.
Why has the rest of the world not discovered Cardiff yet??? Probably because there are dozens of other cities in Europe that compare more favourably in terms of history, sightseeing, cuisine, culture, shopping and nightlife.
Here's a link to help clarify some of the points i've raised above....The world's best cities:
I see your point. Drinking is a problem and the food in UK is not healthy indeed, but it is better than in USA or Canada. But once, again, one can choose what to eat and wether or not drink.
The grass is always greener in the other side. You Scratch, as a Saxon admire the Latin culture, that's why you like Italy, in the other hand, I as a Latin admire the Saxon culture and so it goes. I want to go to Italy, but is not in the top 10 priority of my list. I love Italian food and I live amongst Italian descendents so I think I had enough of Italy for a while. I dream about visiting Ireland, The Scadinavian countries and Russia.
[ Edit: Edited on May 13, 2007, at 7:38 AM by audry79 ]
With respect, I think we're in danger of exaggerating the social problems in the UK. Sure if you go somewhere like Stoke, or a sink estate in Liverpool or Glasgow you're bound to encounter some problems and there is no doubt a problem with the drinking culture here (though personally I don't drink at all), however it's easy to look at figures and exaggerate how large an impact that actually makes on people's lives. I've lived in Glasgow, supposedly the murder capital of Europe, for almost all of my life and I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else - despite having a strong hatred of drinking cultures, violence and all the other things which seem to be associated with the city.
I think you both raise a good point about the grass always being greener on the other side though, for most people the place that they live is always less exotic than somewhere on the other side of the world. Also it seems obvious that you can enjoy smaller places for the atmosphere more than for the sights, the food or anything else. Personally one of my favourite places in Europe is Bern in Switzerland even though if you were to compare it to Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Vienna and the like it would seem a little dull, the food wouldn't be as good and there wouldn't be as much of interest. Sometimes just awarding somewhere a rating in terms of its constituent parts doesn't give a full picture of why people enjoy a particular place. In that context I can understand why someone would enjoy a place like Cardiff.
[ Edit: Edited on May 13, 2007, at 11:47 AM by BlankFrack ]
Thank you, BlankFrack, you said all, and by the way, I also would rate Paris as one of the best cities. Wonderful, isn't it?
What makes a city the best city in Europe?
For me that would be a city in which I have friends, and a city that I know pretty good. It's so hard to get a good picture of a city if you where only there for 2,3 or 4 days. Visiting and Living are so completely different things.
Personaly if I would have move to a different country at this moment, I would tell you that I would be off to live in Madrid. I know that a lot of people would find that a strange choice, but it is a city in which I have a very good friend, and know some other people as well, and a city that I feel good. And lucky me ... I am leaving for Spain in a couple of days (for a break, not to move ...... yet)
Good morning folks,
This is turning out to be quite a multi-topical thread.
I feel I must make a clear distinction between a place which is nice to live and one which is nice to visit. Cardiff is rather nice to visit, and if it were the only place visited in Wales then one would leave with a positive feel about the country. From my point of view it is hard to wee the rest of the country outside of Cardiff in the same light. Wales is riddled with social problems. The statistics speak for themselves. BlankFrack, here you make a very reasonable judgment in talking about the impact of social problems. However, as I said previously, it must be considered that visiting a city is an entirely different ball game to living there.
I met my fiancée 13 years ago and visited Cardiff for the first time shortly after meeting her. It was very enjoyable. The city offered good shops for a small sized capital, was clean and tidy and appeared moderately aesthetically pleasing on the surface. Each time I went back to Cardiff I would see differrent areas, through Canton, Culverhouse, Llandaff, Whitchurch, Ely etc and I began to see the city from a living perspective. In my opinion it was no better than many other British cities. Bristol, nearby has better shops and more history too, but also used to be Britain's car crime capital, although I believe other cities now top that league.
My point is that whilst the grass may appear greener on the other side, then should we not consider that by viewing the likes of Cardiff from only a visiting perspective we are applying that very same theory here. Furthermore, by comparing Stoke's social problems to Cardiff's tourist attractions we are not comparing apples to apples. Cardiff is fine to visit but surely not the most ideal city in Europe in which to live.
Audry, I am not so much a fan of all things Latino. Certainly I prefer Italy to Spain and Portugal. Similarly, I also happen to like Saxony in Germany too. When you next visit Cardiff you may receive one or two unfriendly replies for suggesting a presence of Saxon culture in the city. Cardiff is very much a Celtic city as with the rest of Wales. The Saxons were the old adversaries!
As for Scandinavia, certainly a visit to Oslo is well worth it. The Norwegians are great people and the city and surrounding area is very clean and beautiful.
Hi! Don't worry Scratch, I know Cardiff is Celtic, although it is not the most Celtic part of Wales - my boyfriend is Welsh by the way, very Welsh, I would say - but I meant I admire Saxon culture in a general point of view. However, we can not deny the English influence in Cardiff is stronger than in the rest of Wales.
Really interesting thread guys! If I had been asked this thread last year it would definitely have been Barcelona - & I still think its a great city to visit. It has the beach right beside the city & a port in between - and of course the Ramblas!
Now though, it has to be paris - Obvious choice I know but I have been there twice this year(3days & 8 days) and I would still go back next week if I had the chance. There is so much to do, and corny as it sounds, there is nothing like seeing the eiffel tower lit up at night & tourists from every corner of the globe. We met some really great friends there too, and visited them the last time we were over so that makes it feel less like a foreign country too.
Romantic-eiffel tower, to scary-the catacombs I think paris just has it all.
I sound like a travel agency!!!