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Good places

October 18, 2008

One of the questions any traveller gets asked a lot is the disarming: What are your favourite places? Now answering this is never easy, especially if your host is proud of their location but you find it less than attractive! Its never easy, but I do know that my favourite places are generally ones that seem comfortable with what they are; in general this means they are not big, they are friendly and they seem to possess a strong degree of cultural cohesion. Sometimes you just know when you have arrived in those places and I just found another one.

I landed in Hobart last night – my first visit to Tasmania – staying in the excellent Old Woolstore, and went out for a walk this morning to Salamanca Market and thence to the wonderful architecture of Battery Point. It has a great sense of place and the market was a real delight. Bob Phillips took me up to Mount Wellington for the views and the Eucalyptus in the afternoon. I was thinking of other places like this and the list is short. Wellington in new Zealand, Victoria in British Columbia, Banff and Jasper in Alberta, Stellenbosch in South Africa, Otranto in Italy, Nantes in France, Oslo in Norway, Galway in Ireland, maybe Boulder in the USA and almost certainly many places I have not visited yet. I just realised that a common theme here with four exceptions is that they are ports, and the exceptions are all mountain towns. So I suppose we look for similarities, I had a happy childhood living in a small town, sailing and climbing every weekend and it carries over.

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