Bob Bestler

Holy cow, Charleston is best in the world

There it was, in big, bold, black letters blasting out from the front page of Charleston’s Post & Courier:

“Charleston really is the greatest city on Earth.'”

Holy cow! Or should I say, Holy City!

I live 40 miles from the greatest city on Earth.

Who knew? Who knew Charleston was the greatest city on the entire planet? I thought it was just a place to go around on the way to Hilton Head and other points south.

The honor was bestowed by the readers of Leisure + Travel magazine, who put Charleston ahead of all the great cities of the world, too many to mention in this small space. Name any one of them and they now stand behind Charleston, the self-proclaimed Holy City.

No, I don’t know why it’s called the Holy City. It claims to have a lot of church steeples, but so do thousands of other towns and cities. Charleston does have a lot of shrimp and grits. Could it not more appropriately be called the Shrimp City?

But I’m being rude and I suppose one should never be rude to a city whose citizens are often declared, in some other poll, to be the most polite in the world. I promise to work harder on my polite, Charleston.

It is indeed a great honor and if a similar honor were given to Myrtle Beach, you can bet we’d be shouting it from the balconies of our beachfront hotels.

Still, it does make me wonder what kind of people read Leisure + Travel.

Consider a few others on the list of the 15 Best Cities in the World:

No. 2 is Chiang Mai, Thailand — yes, that is the same Chiang Mia we have all come to love during our two-week vacations.

No. 3 is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and No. 4 — at last — is one all can agree is a great city, Florence (Italy, not South Carolina, you sillies).

There are also several cities in the top 15 that we all might deem great, Barcelona (No. 8), Rome (No. 11), Beirut (No. 12) and Bangkok (No. 14).

And there’s a couple more southern cities my bride and I have visited often, New Orleans (No. 7) and Savannah (No. 9). Hooray for them, too.

Charleston, which was No. 2 last year, was selected, according to Leisure + Travel, because of its “historic battlefields and jasmine-scented streets,” its restaurants and hotels and its “Antebellum charm, excellent boutiques and beautiful waterfronts.”

The city, it said, “has managed to preserve all the qualities for which it is widely known — a prime coastal setting, historic architecture and friendly locals — while also nurturing a creative culture.”

So congratulations, Charleston. And for the readers of Leisure + Travel, remember that if you want to visit a great beach, we’re just up the road a bit. Why not stop by sometime?

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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