I’ve written about travel moments in the past. Very rarely did they have to do with the actual place that I was in, but more with a culmination circumstances. The Duff Brothers could have been performing in any city. It was the bar, the people, and the music that captured the travel moment. The same with the pop band in Chiang Mai. That band could have been playing in any international city. It just so happened that we stumbled across them in Chiang Mai. As goes Starkbierfest in Munich. Toss aside the fact that Munich is a haven for beer and the subsequent festivals. That experience could have taken place at any alcohol festival in the world – grappa in Italy, wine in Napa, etc.
I get annoyed when I read blogs from tourists that are so wrapped up in being there that they aren’t enjoying being there. “OMG! I’m in Paris! Look at me!” Sent on Facebook to the world. Those are the people I wrote about in The Truth About Venice. They rush from attraction to attraction not taking the time to slow down for a Prosecco in an empty square. We laughed at them rushing by from our sidewalk café – the passport collectors. Frommer’s Day by Day Guides, which we swear by, even encourages this behavior with their Favorite Moments section. The guidebook calls out places to visit just to get wrapped up in the place. Not the people, food, drink, or music – but the place. I call bullshit.
That is until I walked across Rialto Bridge. I was completely captured by the place and nothing else. Day or night, it didn’t matter. Whenever we walked across Rialto Bridge, I had to stop. I had to take a picture. I had to pause. I had to watch the life on the Grand Canal – Venice’s lifeblood. I had to stare at the surrounding architecture. I had to become lost in the romance of just being in Venice. I had to be a cheese ball tourist.
It’s not like any of those moments were private moments, either. Whenever we passed over the bridge – first thing in the morning, on the way to dinner, coming back from a late dinner and drinks – it swarmed with tourists and flashes from cameras and smart phones. Much like the Trevi Fountain, we were never alone. Yet, unlike at the Trevi Fountain, we could huddle together along the rail with no other tourists in front of us. Secluding the outside world of obnoxious tourists and even more obnoxious vendors, we would stare out over the Grand Canal and breath in the romance of what Venice once was. I could have lingered for hours.
What spot has mesmerized you in the same way? That the place alone, and nothing else, completely captured you?