"You don't really get to know a country from its capital"

Discussion in 'travel and world' started by Lord Camomile, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    So said a friend of mine. Worth pointing out she lives in Vienna, having moved there from London, so it's not like she's averse to capitals. I think it came up from a conversation about when I visited Tokyo, and how things were both very different but also still somewhat familiar.

    It could possibly be extended to "most major cities"; NYC, for example, probably fits the same bill.

    Instinctively it feels true, but I'm conscious I haven't traveled that much (relative to some; obviously much more than others) and also often not beyond capitals and major cities.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  2. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    I reckon there's a good deal of truth in that.
    Poi E, muscovyduck and Idaho like this.
  3. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    Sounds like a fair rule of thumb. In either sense of the word capital.
    Cid, muscovyduck, Lupa and 1 other person like this.
  4. scifisam

    scifisam feck! arse! girls! drink!

    I'd sort of agree, with the caveat that capitals are important in themselves - they usually have way more people than anywhere else in the country. If you have limited time to see a country, then seeing the capital is as worthwhile as travelling further out to see other places. It is still a part of the country, after all.

    But yeah, if you go to New York or Washington DC (I know NYC isn't the capital), you get a completely different impression than you'd get almost anywhere else in the country. Berlin is far more cosmopolitan than anywhere else in Germany and has a very different recent history. And London's demographic make-up isn't much like other cities in the UK and the concentration of politics and finance here makes it even more different.

    I'd also say that visiting suburbs of major cities can be a really good use of time. The last time I went to LA, I stayed in Annaheim. It's known for Disneyland but I stayed with a friend in a normal flat walking distance to central Annaheim, and it's technically a separate city to LA, and feels like it - it's oddly European for a city on the West coast.
    muscovyduck and Spymaster like this.
  5. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    Certainly if you only hung around Beijing and Shanghai you'd not get much of an idea how most of China lives.
  6. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    I'd say it's true but only insofar as you don't really get to know a country from any single city or town.
  7. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    You get to know everything you’d ever need to know about anything from Glasgow.
    Pickman's model, Cid, Riklet and 10 others like this.
  8. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    The Vatican, Monaco and Liechtenstein beg to disagree.
  9. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    and Singapore.
  10. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    And, while the op is fairly true, it is pretty much as true that you wont really get to know a country if you don't visit its capital.
    emanymton, scifisam and QueenOfGoths like this.
  11. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    Yeah. Worker run city ‘states’. That’s what we need. People’s republic of Preston and so on.
    Miss-Shelf likes this.
  12. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    I think it’s very true. Capitals are great in and if themselves but normally very different from the country they are in.

    Jakarta virtually has its own unique language that’s noticeably different to Indonesian or Javanese. London is less friendly and more manic than almost anywhere else in the U.K.
    krtek a houby likes this.
  13. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Canberra is a pretty good way to know Australia. It's in the middle of fucking nowhere.
  14. scifisam

    scifisam feck! arse! girls! drink!

    Definitely. For tourists, obvs, not for residents.
  15. killer b

    killer b Minimum Waste / Maximum Joy

    we're working on that one.
    Yossarian and danny la rouge like this.
  16. Yossarian

    Yossarian free shrugs

    Second cities are where it's at, like Osaka and Aarhus, which are the only examples I can think of to support this theory I just made up. Maybe Thessaloniki.
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  17. strung out

    strung out (",)

  18. [62]

    [62] This week the score draws are plentiful

    Yeah, I generally agree. Interesting that she's from Vienna, as that's a particular outlier of the rest of Austria.
    Lupa and Bahnhof Strasse like this.
  19. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Back to the mug-shot

    In this thread

    I ramblingly mused

    Maybe capitals divide into those that are really just recognisably larger versions of towns and cities in their country and those that have some unique character other than sheer size that sets them apart.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
    scifisam likes this.
  20. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    [​IMG] Certainly London is unlike the rest of England. A lot of it burnt down over the years so if you go to say Rochester and any other small towns nearby you see an older England. Look at old Cloth Fair, Smithfields, some of it still exists, Going = into the Dick Whittington for a pint, looks an experience! ->


    Have been briefly in Madrid where the centre is nothing like the rest of Spain but there are pockets that are familiar.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  21. Nikkormat

    Nikkormat Well-Known Member

    I'd say it's true here in Czech Republic. Prague - even beyond the city centre - is different from the rest of the country: income, culture, diversity, but perhaps most clearly, politics. Brno, the second city, seems to occupy the middle ground between Prague and "the rest".
  22. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Share knowledge, don't weaponize it

    True, I reckon. Lot of people coming over here only tend to go to Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto. Rural Japan is a different kettle of fish, altogether. More welcoming, helpful and less stressed from our experiences.
  23. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    Meanwhile, it is a truism that all of England is exactly like Dorking
  24. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Share knowledge, don't weaponize it

    Guess it depends on where you're at (in London) and who you're hanging out with. I found it to be a lonely place for a few years but found genuine friends after a while.
  25. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

  26. Poi E

    Poi E Well-Known Member

    England needs a lot of hugs at the moment.
  27. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Too much agreement on this thread so I'm going to go the other way. London is exactly like the rest of the country. In fact it's the rest of the country in microcosm. You want picture box Cotswolds, go to Dulwich Village. Farming? Bromley. Endless 50s soul destroying estates? Bexley. The monarchy, the bankers, light industry, poverty, factories, rowing clubs, bowling clubs, night clubs...there's no bit of British culture that isn't in a London. If you want to meet people from all corners of the UK in one place, come to London.

    No mountains...but have lakes and woods and wetlands and heathlands. Pretty same range of political opinions too. Johnson has already won in London before.

    For some the "London is another country" is straight racism. For others it's because they don't know London other than a bit in the middle.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    oryx, girasol, Spymaster and 2 others like this.
  28. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Id add if you want to know about what the UK really is come and have a long hard sickening look at it's seat of power and the spoils and inequality it produces.

    I've also been to capitals that are just slightly bigger towns, and hard to distinguish from other towns in that country, apart from a slight size difference.

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