I’m very specific about my experience when I travel. It’s all about the views. Not the long lines and long wait to a museum or site (which by the way is practically Travel Rule One for me: travel during the week and off season to avoid crowds and inflated prices.) The views from afar and around a corner.
I want memories, not fatigue. Like the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower from the highest point in Montmartre. Have I ever actually been UP the Tour Eiffel? 45 minute wait? No thanks. But my view of it across the city’s roof tops was the best.
And when I hiked up the Arch de Triumph and saw all the hidden rooftop gardens of Paris–a total surprise, with the dizzying rotary below (much safer at this vantage point) and the spokes of streets spread out from the circle, dominated by Avenue des Champs-Élysées straight ahead. Wow!
Or the view of a city from a river cruise: NYC, Seattle, Boston, Paris.
NYC never made sense to me until I saw it all in panorama from the Empire State Building. Aye aye aye every inch is in use! Using the view as a map, I can get a better sense of where everything is located and how far between. I still get lost (with no sense of direction that grid thing never works for me) but that visual map does help and a few key skyscrapers and Central Park serve as beacons.
Mountains are never the same. Some are jagged, snow capped, grassy, rocky, brown, red or change colors like the mountains around Santa Fe and Taos and just about anywhere else in NM.
The mountains and hills of VT and the Berkshires are soft and slowly ascending, while the no-railings-close-to-the -edge -hold-your breath-around- corners ‘cliffs’ of Northern CA are browns, yellows and green (pull over at a visible space for a minute to admire the spectacular views–and exhale–or better still: get someone else to drive.)
The view of Montana’s flat top buttes miles in the distance over a sea of scented wild sagebrush, wheat and prairie was the draw for me there.
The vastness and open space of New Mexico’s deserts and Montana’s wheat fields and prairies is just like the oceans. I love the visualization of prairie schooners plodding their way through waves of tall grasses. Now I have some idea of what that was like.
And the close up views I take home with me like charms to a bracelet are from strolling around towns and cities everywhere. I love cafes and the pubs of the UK, which are the prettiest buildings in the village covered in flowers; and the one shop that sells the best clothing and jewelry, the fresh flower stall, the neighborhood grocery store and benches in the shade at the local park.
These dozens of memorable views are my best souvenirs and I carry them everywhere.