Berlin grew on me. I started quite disappointed but after a few days I thought the city was very nice. I liked the German people (quiet, respectful) and I got used quickly to some of the problems like old buildings and weird traffic rules. The smoking issue remains the biggest problem and I can see that being the factor between saying that I loved the place. At the end I could see myself visiting there again.
London was ok. The city itself (including Westminster) is very nice. It looks much richer than Berlin and Rome in every single way. The shopping district (Oxford Street I think) was the busiest, more crowded place I think I’ve ever been to. Traffic was horrible and weather was Seattle style (gloomy and depressing). Service at restaurants was horrible and everything was very expensive. They should have a city wide effort to remove graffiti which was abundant.
Rome was probably the biggest let down. The neighborhoods around downtown looked like middle class Brazil in the 80s – lots of graffiti, trash bags laying around, ugly little stores. Downtown was nice but not as well preserved as Paris or London. St. Peter’s Basilica was by far the best thing about the place – it was the most impressing set of sculptures I’ve ever seen and just the size of the place is unbelievable. Overall though, this was the one city that I would not recommend.
Paris was better than expected. The city looks very nice and it feels spacious when compared to London. People were not as annoying as I predicted and finding english speaking people was not as hard. It was the city that ‘looked like Europe’ as far as matching my fantasized idea of the place. The Louvre was fantastic. It was very expensive and service was very poor compared to the US. If a friend asked me what is the one place they should visit in Europe I would end up recommending Paris.