Little Known Tourist Sights of the United Kingdom, Posted from the UK

About

Welcome explorer.

I was born with a restless, inquisitive spirit.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that I enjoy travel.  Now I find visiting well-known tourist attractions as much fun as the next person, but that isn’t enough for me. When I travel, I want to go beyond the tourist experience.  When I travel, I want to completely immerse myself in the culture and learn the history of the people who make up that culture.  To do that, I walk a less worn path than that of the regular tourist.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I first read this poem when I was 18.  Little did I know it would become a way of life.  When given the choice between the known and the unknown, I have always chosen the road less travelled.  I still do.

Why?  Who can say?  Maybe the unfamiliar fascinates me. Or it could be that I’m one of those people who enjoy tempting Fate by living life a little closer to the edge.   Or possibly, in future years, when senility claims squatters’ rights in my mind and I fall into the habit of repeating myself, I want to have stories worth repeating.  Or perhaps, and this is probably nearest the truth, I just don’t think things through.  Whatever the reason, this curious nature of mine always dares me to explore what others choose to leave alone.

I suppose that’s why I started this blog.  By sharing some of my experiences, I hope to encourage those who pass through here to try, at least once, taking a walk on the less-worn path.

You don’t need to spend your entire trip poking into the unknown.  You can spend a few hours or an entire day trying something different.  Big, bustling cities are fun, no doubt, but take some time to visit small, out-of-the-way towns as well.  People here are usually friendly and are happy to answer questions on local customs.  Useful if you want to blend in and not cause any offense.

By all means, shop at the designer stores.  They’re glorious.  But don’t forget to give the smaller boutiques and market stalls a try as well.  There are bargains to be had here as well as unique, handicrafts by local artisans that you just can’t find anywhere else.  The items created by these craftsmen tend to reflect the culture and history of the people.  They are much more memorable and desirable mementos of your travels than any of the mass-produced products you’d find in souvenir shops.

Don’t blow all your cash in fancy restaurants and glitzy bars.  There are so many cosy eateries and taverns that offer authentic nosh.  I’ve found taxi drivers are a really good source of information on where the best eateries can be found.  Generally, all they ask in return is that you hire them when you go out and about.  Seems fair enough to me.

When I first visited Paris, I went to see the Eiffel Tower.  You just have to, don’t you?  Afterwards I wandered about taking in the local scenery when I came across a quaint restaurant a fair distance from the tourist scene.  Feeling a bit peckish, I stop in.

I sat by the window people-watching as I warmed my hands on the cup of coffee I had ordered.  Between refills, I asked the waiter if he could suggest any local areas of interest that weren’t on the tourist circuit.  (Another good source of info.)

I also eavesdropped surreptitiously on the conversations going on around me.  (My French was a lot better then than it is now.)  Gossip gives you a lot of insight into the values of a culture.  It never fails to amaze me how we’re not so very different from each other regardless of language or upbringing.

Travel shouldn’t be just a diversion, it should be a learning experience as well.

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.  Who knows?  Maybe someday we’ll meet on that overlooked path.  It would be nice to have some company.

 

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