One of the most storied cities in the world, and home to an empire that helped shaped western civilisation. In many respects, Rome is without comparison. I spent the best part of a week in the Italian capital (and you can read about it in detail here, and my trip to the Vatican, which is not a part of the list, here) and it was one of the most absorbing weeks of my life. The history is unparalleled, the culture fascinating, and the food indescribable (my favourite pizza place was here, not in Naples or New York). I could list at least 10 things in Rome that I absolutely loved, but, with some creative accounting, here are 5 of my favourites.
It's difficult to do justice to a city as spectacular as Naples. It has a raw beauty that is refreshingly unique in an increasingly homogenised Europe. A city that combines traditional architecture with modern skyscrapers almost seamlessly. I'll never forget arriving into Naples and seeing scooters piling on top of each other, street vendors covering the pavements, the smell of food from road side stalls and shops floating over the cobble stoned streets. From history to food, to insta-worthy landmarks, Naples is a city that has it all. You can read my detailed observations of the city here, but below are my 5 favourite things about Naples.
Airport Rating ****
Reception of locals ****
My visit to Singapore gave me the opportunity to take a side trip to nearby Kuala Lumpur, giving me my first taste of Malaysia. The city is relatively new, established in its modern form some 30 years after Singapore, yet somehow it feels comparatively ancient. I managed to spend 4 days in the city, and although I'll write a separate article on the Batu Caves, this post covers my thoughts and observations on an often overlooked city.
I lived and worked in New York City and found it was unlike anywhere else in the world. And, without a doubt, Manhattan is NYC's beating heart.
The cool thing about Manhattan is that it's split into a number of neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character. The differences between Chinatown, the Financial District, TriBeCa and SoHo are incredible, even though you could walk through each of them one after the other.
Given these differences, I decided that during my time in New York, I would visit every part of Manhattan and then pick some things I really enjoyed. Since my return, friends have been asking for my tips, so I thought I'd share this more widely. This list shows one thing to do in every Manhattan neighbourhood, with the neighbourhoods defined by the city's own political map.
Airport Rating *****
Reception of locals ****3/4
Chaotic, loud and dirty, yet with a raw beauty I haven't seen replicated anywhere else for a city its size. Naples is without a doubt one of my favourite cities that I have visited.
With a history stretching back almost three millennia, scenery that includes a volcano, a port and architecture rivalling Rome, and a culinary reputation surpassing most other cities, Naples should be near to the top of everyones must visit list.
In many ways the city is similar to the Barcelona of 15-20 years ago - that raw beauty and a local/traditional essence is still there and tourism is not yet the all encompassing feature that I am sure it will become. I visited Naples for four days, and below are my observations and reviews of a city that I think is comfortably in the top 5 of my favourite cities globally.
Airport Rating *****
Reception of locals *****
Known as the Eternal City, the Capital of the World and the first ever large metropolis, Rome as a city is almost unparalleled in terms of its history and impact on the western world.
I decided to spend a few days discovering the history and story of the city with tips from locals born and raised in the city and found Rome to be one of my favourite cities that I have visited - both as a general traveller, and as a Sikh.
The New York Pizza
Ever since Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in the United States in the Little Italy neighbourhood of New York City, the New York style of pizza has grown into a global phenomenon unique in its flavour, detached from its Neapolitan origins.
From that first pizza place in 1905, the city now has close to 500 pizzeria's operating in the city. So what makes New York pizza so different? Firstly, there's a standardised size, 18 inches in diameter, secondly it uses a high gluten type of bread. I've tasted pizza in many parts of the world, but the New York style is definitely one of my favourites, in fact, I had a boss who would come from Washington DC, just for the pizza! So what else could make New York pizza so special? Some say its the evolution of the pizza through Gennaro Lombardi (many successful NYC pizzeria's can trace their origins directly to his pizza place), others say its the unique concentration of minerals in New York's famously high quality tap water.
Whatever the reason, you are never more than a couple of blocks from a good pizza place, and during my time in New York, I made it a mission to visit some of the best pizzeria's the city has to offer. After all of that, here are, in my opinion, the 5 best pizza places in New York City.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.