I was in Europe last month! Here is one photo from each city I visited. And below is a brief impression I had of each of those cities, explained by comparing each to an American city. Except for one.
(NOTE: of course you can easily poke holes in all of these comparisons. Whatever.)
Amsterdam is the San Francisco of Europe. Passionate about pot and sexual freedom and bicycles.
Brussels is the Salt Lake City of Europe. Clean and well managed, but largely cold and charmless.
Berlin is the Chicago of Europe. Large and kind of dirty but with pockets of urban beauty, also unable to escape its history of corruption.
Helsinki is the Atlanta of Europe. No aesthetic identity, and has perhaps surprisingly hosted a Summer Olympics.
St Petersburg is the Philadelphia of Europe. Barely able to contain its huge population, holds on to what history it can, used to be the nation’s capitol.
Tallinn is the Savannah of Europe. Smaller than its nearby counterpart, but holds on to its history much better. An oasis of old-fashioned charm.
Copenhagen is the Minneapolis of Europe. Beautiful with its ubiquitous parks, cyclists, and bodies of water, and has a feisty streak of liberal and libertarian politics.
Which leaves Stockholm. There is no American equivalent of Stockholm. However, if you’ve ever played any version of the SimCity games, and played with a cheat code so that you could make your city be totally perfect and have all of your citizens happy and taken care of, that’s what Stockholm is like.
Other analogies that have occurred to me from my earlier experiences: London is the New York of Europe, Rome is the Boston of Europe, and Spain is the Southern California of Europe.
I loved my trip very, very much. I want to go back to most of these places. Most of all Sweden and Denmark. St Petersburg is a fucking zoo; if you ever plan on going there, go in the winter so that you don’t feel like a cow in a cattle car everywhere you go. And stay off the roads.