My favourite cities

Posted by: on Oct 24, 2013 | No Comments

I have the privilege of visiting many countries and cities mostly in connection with work. Many times I make the visits short to be efficient and to be able to get home and spend time with my family, but sometimes I do get a few hours to get to know the city or surrounding areas.

I sometimes get the question: ‘Which is your favourite city and/or favourite country?’

This is very hard to answer. I think that one, in order to truly enjoy being in a city or country, has to speak the language. When you visit a country where one does not speak the language, how enjoyable is it?

Yes, many people speak English and this is somehow becoming the global language which everybody wants to learn. The problem with English is that very few non-native speakers actually speak the language without sounding like a foreigner.

For example, if a non-native English speaker speaks English with, say, a German then both are disadvantaged because one can never express oneself freely.

I have been fortunate in the sense that I have been given the opportunity to learn a number of languages and speak quite a few rather well. This has definitely helped me, not only to get to where I am today, but also to enjoy the visits to different countries and cities more.

Coming back to the question about favourite countries or cities. I will mention a few cities I truly like and justify why I like the city.

1. Madrid — it is a great city. The capital of Spain and very Spanish. I like the old town, the Barrio Salamanca, Parque del Retiro and many other places. People are generally friendly and they know how to enjoy life. My favourite shoe shop in the world is also located in Madrid: LG Gloria Castellanos on Gran Via. I have bought shoes there since I was 20 years old. Definitely helps to Speak Spanish in Madrid even if many Spaniards today speak English. It is a genuine city and feels like a grand capital. Favourite restaurant in the city is Astrid y Gaston (Peruvian food at its best).

2. London — the most global city in the world. Everyone and everything accepted. London is just nice to be in. Great restaurants, museums, theatres, shopping. Something for everybody all year round. I spend a lot of time in London and I can never get enough! London simply has everything. Yes, it is crowded and infrastructure could be improved but all this is quickly forgotten when arriving in London (assuming that you do arrive and not get caught by congestion at Heathrow, bad weather, etc). My favourite restaurant in London is Hakkasan (in two locations, but choose Hanway Place).

3. Gothenburg — my home town. Always in the shadow of Stockholm but a nice and friendly city. Small (1 million with suburbs) but you have everything you need. Wonderful restaurants, great cafes, art galleries, theatres, opera, etc. I like the area surrounding Linnegatan very much and the old town called Haga and I like the sea and the smell of the sea. The sunset in Gothenburg is quite unbeatable. You can never get that in Stockholm which is a great city but located on the east coast. Gothenburg is home to many up and coming clothing brands (incl Nudie, Monki and Elvine just to mention a few). My favourite restaurant in the city is Thörnströms, a guide Michelin starred restaurant with great food.

4. Munich — this is where I have my office. The head office of Diaverum is in Lund but the management works out of Munich. We have our office in the downtown area of Munich. The third largest city in Germany and the most affluent. It feels much smaller than Berlin or Hamburg. In Munich it truly helps to speak German. If you do not speak German you will not enjoy Munich as much as when you do speak German. I like the fact that there are no high rise building allowed. The Frauenkirche (Cathedral) is the tallest building and will remain so. Munich has something for everybody: the Brandhurst Art Museum, the three Pinakoteken (also art) and the Englischer Garten (which is larger than New York’s Central Park) are musts when visiting the city. A favourite restaurant of mine in the city is Osteria Italiana, the most genuine Italian restaurant in the city.

5. Santiago de Chile — has become a world city in the last 15 years. Infrastructure is great compared with other Latin American cities. The airport is well connected and you have the mountains and ski resorts less than an hour away. The climate is great — never too hot or too cold. Santiago has increasingly become the first point of entry into Latin America for many foreign brands. H&M opened their first Lat Am store earlier this year in Santiago. Chile has had one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world during the last 25 years and this is clearly visible when visiting Santiago de Chile. A favourite restaurant of mine in the city is Astrid y Gaston (Peruvian food).

There are, of course, many other nice cities but this is my immediate list.


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