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Places that were better than you expected

Places that were better than you expected

Feb 21st, 2003, 05:31 AM
  #1  
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Places that were better than you expected

The question about highly touted places that disappointed made me wonder. What place or site turned out to be much better than you expected? For me it was the Appenzel region of Switzerland. After the Berner Oberland I thought it would be a letdown. Someone had actually told me it was like Lancaster County Pennsylvania (don't know where they came up with that!!) I was surprised to find it was so beautiful .
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Feb 21st, 2003, 05:39 AM
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Venice--I'd had a unpleasant day trip there when I was 12. When I returned to Italy with my wife 40 years later, she insisted that we spend 4-1/2 days there. I am so happy that she did. Would have loved a couple of more days.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 06:45 AM
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Brugge, Belgium. When I had heard that it was a perfectly preserved medieval town, I expected something out of Disney. Instead, it was perfectly charming!
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Feb 21st, 2003, 07:56 AM
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Ferrara, Italy. Night was falling, we had no reservation, didn't know where to go. Guide book said Ferrara was mostly ugly & industrial, with interesting city center. Only one real hotel in town...but they had a vacancy. What the hell, we said.

Looked like a wasteland driving into town (East Rutherford NJ meets Gary IN). But the old pedestrian zone in the "centro," near the huge imposing castle, was absolutely charming and completely untouristed. Worth a look, if you're in the area.

Also, the Reinfalls at Shafhausen were far better than expected, since you can walk right up and touch the cascading water.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 07:57 AM
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The Minho region of Portugal. It has changed little in 500 years.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 08:07 AM
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Brugge, Belgium - I wish I'd known to spend a little more time there.

Amsterdam - hearing about all the drugs, prostitution, etc. I was not that thrilled about this destination. Even at the train station it was really dirty, someone had peed in all the elevators and beggars were everywhere.
But once we got out to tour the town it was a very nice place - the canals and architecture were a real treat and the people were very nice. I will certainly be planning another trip through that way.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 08:11 AM
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Edinburgh, Berlin, Italian Alps, Prague.

Disapointments: Athens, Sweden, Glascow, Tivoli Gardens,
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Feb 21st, 2003, 08:15 AM
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Bath
Edinburgh
Munich
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Feb 21st, 2003, 09:46 AM
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Count me among the others that found Brugge better than advertised.

Also Hallstatt, Austria. We had 3 nights booked in Salzburg mid summer and after just one day of fighting the crowds decided to head to the mountains. Our guide book had a pic of Hallstatt on the cover so we headed that way with a short stop at the ST. Wolfgang see. Best decision we ever made. I still LOVE Salzburg, but its better in the off season!
Hallstatt was so wonderful, especially after the tourist busses left. We got a room at the Gruner Baum with a balcony over looking the lake. Really a great find.

Vianden, Lux was also a very nice surprise.

The Rhon area of Germany. So much to see and do and no tourists to speak of.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 11:26 AM
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Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer in France was a pleasant surprise. We knew that it was the town of Gypsy (Roma) pilgrimages to their Sainte, but didn't know what else to expect. We were surprised at the clean, neat, pure white town and at the friendliness of the people. It looks like it could be a Disney attraction it is so perfect, lol.
We spent a happy afternoon talking to the locals.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 11:42 AM
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Paris—with all hype about Paris, I had a high expectation. But when I actually went there, it blew my mind. It was even better than I expected.

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Feb 21st, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Lake Como District...I was there in October for 10 days R&R by myself...I thought I would be lonely, instead I met nice people at the bar/cafe of my hotel, made friends of every waiter in in every place I stopped. Many of the shopowners had more time to spend and chat. Found some great clothes. I did get sick but miracle of all miracles the local pharmacist cleared up my bout of bronchitis in two days! Loved it all.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 12:18 PM
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Paris
Brugge
Castles on the Rhine
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Haarlem, Netherlands
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Feb 21st, 2003, 12:27 PM
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I'm another Paris one. The first trip there I didn't want to go. I heard about all the rude Parisians, dog crap, snottiness and me without language skills. I fell in love the minute I walked out of the metro and have been back every year since!
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Feb 21st, 2003, 01:04 PM
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Oslo, Norway. I like big, crowded, noisy cities so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Oslo. The people were very friendly and the city is quite charming and picturesque.

Amsterdam. My first visit there was right out of college and I didn't realize there would be so many canals and so much ethnic diversity. I have been back twice since then and hope to go again.

Since you didn't specify that the cities had to be in Europe, I would also add Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China. I didn't realize Sydney had so many beautiful beaches or that the people would be so laid back and friendly. In China, I had read that Shanghai was the more cosmopolitan and sophisticated, and perhaps it is. But I liked the ambience of Beijing better.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 02:38 PM
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San Marino!! Well... you know what they say about San Marino. But we arrived late in the day... got a hotel room with a view over the gorgeous valley. After late afternoon all the turistas were gone and we had this lovely place almost all to ourselves.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 03:58 PM
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Venice I thought it would smell like the open sewer it is.. but the place was actually reelly cool especially the residential non tourist places..
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Feb 21st, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Zurich - I hadn't read too many great things about it but in october for the three days I was there I loved it, the old town areas, the shopping areas, the suburbs, the lakefront, the whole city. Every time I have been to Switzerland there's been a great festival going on somewhere and this was no exception, the Swiss really know how to party.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 06:24 PM
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Washington DC. I had no desire to go but was very happy when we left.
Paris also was much better than I imagined. Sitting on a bridge over the Seine watching the Eiffel Tour light up was great.
Though not completely unexpected Rome is my favorite.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 06:56 PM
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Lucerne. I felt as though I came home. I felt I could stay by the river side forever.
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