Don't bypass whimsical delights; they may just be your must-see!
Experience travel with all your senses
In a new destination, the many elements combine to make the place feel exciting and unfamiliar. Some of the most noticeable include people speaking a foreign language, buildings of a different construction than back home, and strange vehicles. But small details can add the texture that fleshes out this alien place we seek to understand. I love to take in all those small delights, many of them geared to the tourist trade, as a way of experiencing the places I'm visiting.
A few of my own delights...
An Organ Grinder and A Parrot - One afternoon in Valparaiso, Chile, Mike and I were wandering, photographing the colorful pastel buildings. We turned a corner and found an organ grinder with a parrot. I thought we'd turned a corner not in the street, but in time! We listened to his music for a while, put a coin in his cup, and strolled back into the twentieth century. It was lovely.
Hallowed Ground - On a city tour of Rome, our guide took us to a section of the Appian Way, likely a regular stop on his tourist route. This historic road, a major artery of the Roman Empire, laid its first stone in 312 BC. When I stepped onto the road and walked a short distance, I caught my breath. I was treading where Roman soldiers and gladiators had once trod. Imagine living in a city with more than twenty centuries of history under your feet or around every corner.
Ghostly Good Times - When visiting friends in Montana, they suggested we visit Granite Ghost Town. The words "ghost town" conjured up an image of a tailored Hollywood set with Casper peeking out from behind a carefully restored door. However, Granite turned out to be a fascinating place. Located in a remote area, the wilderness was actively reclaiming many of the aging log buildings. A few structures had been restored enough to walk through and glimpse the town's hardscrabble past. It was well worth the trip.
So, even though a tourist attraction like the organ grinder or the routine stop at the Appian Way might not be considered a "must see" on any trip to that destination, savoring each of those small encounters can enrich a visit.
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