Aussies and Kiwis can smile and feel smug under beautiful southern skies today. Melbourne and Auckland are tied as officially the Friendliest Cities in the World. According to the annual Conde Nast Traveler poll of welcoming (and unwelcoming) world cities, Melbourne, with its “friendly bunch of people” is “one of the classiest cities in the world,” boasts “an abundance of parks and fabulous public art.” Auckland is described as “a gorgeous city on the water,” a place that ranks high for its culture and for its “clean, youthful, adventurous” vibe. Only one European city, Dublin, makes the friendliest Top Ten. The unfriendliest city in the world is Johannesburg, something that should not surprise these guys. The South African city is noted for its high crime rate, with one reader commenting that “it’s not safe to travel there independently”. Number two on the list of unfriendly places might come as surprise: Cannes, home of the world’s most glamorous film festival. One visitor dismissed the French city as “uninspiring, very forgettable”, and “a European Vegas.” Merde!
Meanwhile, a poll of welcoming cities in the United States ranks Charleston, South Carolina as the friendliest (historic buildings, great food, beauty) and Newark, New Jersey as the least friendly: it’s thought of as “an airport city” and “crowded and overpriced.” This must be a mistake, surely. After all, Joe Pesci is from Newark.