Thursday, January 18, 2007

thursday thirteen meme vii

Thirteen Favourite Cities I Have Visited

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
when we went to visit the anne frank house (i was about 12), i wasn't sure how i'd feel. i'd read the diary, the play; seen the movie, etc. etc. ... i was excited to see shelley winters' oscar on the shelf, and the secret door behind the bookcase. what touched me, though, were the pictures of movie stars cut out from magazines that she had pinned on the wall, just like i had at home.

2. Berlin, Germany
berlin is where my father was born, where my niece now lives, and where my great-grandparents are buried. and there are pandas in the zoo :-)

3. Chicago, USA
chicago is a city that i would love to live in one day. it has all the culture of the east, but the people are so much nicer. it has american and national league baseball. it is by the water, and it is near (a four hour bus-ride) to my aunt's house.

4. Dublin, Eire
after a game between the republic of ireland and romania, john byrne (qpr & eire) invited me to the players' bar for a drink. i was well taken care of, and rather wobbly when it was time to go to the house of my cousins where i was staying the night. i had the address on a piece of paper, and asked the bus driver if he could get me there. he said that he could not, but he would take me to a guy who could. he put me on the second bus and told the driver to take good care of me. he really did - he drove the bus up to the front door of my cousins' house!

5. Edinburgh, Scotland
i could not wait to get to holyrood house and see the permanent stain on the floor made by the blood of david rizzio. when we entered, i noticed that all the floors were carpeted. i asked a docent why this was, and he told me that people still got very excited about mary queen of scots all these years later and the museum was trying to prevent vandalism.

6. Jerusalem, Israel
i'm just taking a moment now to imagine myself going into the king of falafel and ordering my favourite: hummous and chips. they do the chips properly, i.e., the english way. after i finish eating, i wipe my hands carefully and go into the maven bookshop for a bit of a browse.

7. London, England
london is my home, although i no longer live there. it is where my mother and my sister and my dearest friends live. it is where qpr lives. it is where my father is buried, alongside leo baeck and hugo gryn and jackie du pre and leslie hore-belisha who invented the belisha beacon. it is the city where my feet know where they are going, and i don't have to look at the map to use the tube

8. Munich, Germany
the best time to see the amazing paintings in the alte and neue pinakothek is during oktoberfest - the museums are pretty empty around then :-)

9. New York City, USA
the city of my birth and my ordination. the home of the chrysler building, the brooklyn bridge and the lions outside the public library. the empire state building lights up blue and white for chanukah. it's a wonderful town. (the bronx is up and the battery's yeah yeah yeah)

10. Paris, France
a stunningly beautiful city in which one may walk for hours. here i like it best after quatorze juillet, when the parisians all leave the city for the summer. it's a bit nicer then :-)

11. Prague, Czech Republic

i visited here in 1988, so i expect it is a lot different now. we had three days to explore, and i spent most of them in the cemetery looking at the amazing tombstones. we went to visit the jewish community centre behind the altneushul, and as we entered the large social hall it was quite dark. high up on the wall was a portrait, with a spotlight pointed at it. we moved closer to see which revered rabbi was so honoured, and found it to be a signed picture of barbra streisand from when she filmed 'yentl'.

12. Sidney, Australia
it was such a thrill to see the iconic opera house with my own eyes. i went to be with dayenu, the g/l/b/t group that was coming out as jewish in the parade. we danced through the streets and were hugged and kissed by many many people. i met lots of popes and nuns, but the costumes that remain on my mind were a group dressed as giant tampons to protest a tax on feminine hygiene products. people were so friendly ... if only oz was a couple of thousand miles nearer ...

13. St. Petersburg, Russia

as a child i had often wished i was a fairly rich (but not enough to get into trouble) noble around the time of catherine the great, riding through snowy fields in my troika. i was a bit overwhelmed to actually be in russia. the hermitage was my favourite tourist attraction. in fact, i'd seen many of the paintings in exhibitions back home. this meant that i was able to look at the building itself, and enjoy that as well. i remember that i loved a frieze of cherubs that all had weapons in their darling little hands!

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