Sightseeing

‘Let’s just walk around…’

I love this words. I love travelling and to me that includes a healthy dose of sightseeing: buildings, museums, bridges, fountains, sculptures, parks,… Some of these places are very romanticised and are not really what you were expecting. Sometimes there is nothing to see other than appreciating what you see. But, wouldn’t you rather to bitch about something you have seen?

I find that some people get frustrated with sightseeing because it is just walking around. To me, walking around is great! Smelling the city, seeing the people who live there, the shops, the actual life. But I have enough self-criticism and sightseeing experience to know it can suck. Big time. Rain, wind,too cold, too hot, too hangover, same places too many times.

To be clear, it depends on who you are. I am not here to convince anyone that they should get a backpack and go walking around. (They should, though) But, no kidding, I have met people who are born and bred in London and they HAVE NOT BEEN TO HYDE PARK. Okay, hear me now, it is just a park indeed. But it is also FREAKING HYDE PARK. Just go. Summer day, have a picnic in town. Enjoy the sun! Then say, meh it’s not that great. And mean it. You’re allowed to say it with authority once you have been there. Never go back, what a shithole it was…

When I talk about sightseeing I don’t mean just the touristy places, I really mean walking around. See a pub that you like? It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Have some (terrible) local food. Try to speak the language, ask for directions, talk to the local drunkard (this is a sad requirement for any town, and if you spend enough time in the pub you’ll meet them).

My in-laws were in town this weekend – I blame them for my missing post last week. We did the whole touristy walk around London; yes, that one we have done every time someone comes to visit. The weather sucked. Windy, spitting rain, very cold: a truthfully winter day. Flawless yet flawed. But still, to see them be excited about these same buildings we see every day, taking pictures of the things we are not even amazed by anymore. Seeing them out of their element, happy to be out there, enjoying a different weekend.

My mum is a traveller. Every time I move (quite often I must add) she comes to visit AND we travel somewhere else as well. We have rented a car in Edinburgh and drove up to Sky and then walked around to see the sights. We have stayed in an airbnb in Vienna, met some locals, saw places we wouldn’t have done so otherwise and then taken a 10h train from Vienna back to Stuttgart. She isn’t afraid of the wild outdoors.

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Sightseeing can take you to amazing places, do you know what won’t? Sitting on the couch. Get out of your routine, comfort zone, and most visited places and meet friends in another part of town. Walk around till you find a nice cafe. Fraternise with the local fauna. It might even be a good day.

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