Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just Wander

Want to really see a city? Just wander. I no longer follow a map when I’m exploring a city for the first time. In the past I would map out all of the popular areas and “must sees” and then start heading toward them. The problem was that my eyes would spend more time looking at street signs than looking at the city. I would spend more time worried about the next turn or getting lost than I would spend enjoying the moment. I wasn’t able to enjoy the moment for what it should have been: a time to relax, enjoy and discover.

What I do now is quickly read about good areas to visit, see where they are on the map to get a basic idea and then I start walking in that general direction. Sure, sometimes I don't make it to my intended destination. Funny thing is that without a doubt, I can say this is the best way to explore a new city (for me). Every corner becomes a new unknown. You never know what's next. You’ll wonder for hours and it will feel like nothing. I did this when I first arrived in Barcelona and would walk for 4, 5 sometimes 6 hours at a time.

So next time you visit a new city make sure to bring your walking shoes and leave the map behind. Wander. Explore. Discover. You’ll be glad that you did.

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