One of the joys of travel is exploring iconic tourist spots. But sometimes the best travel experiences have nothing to do with tourism.
On our last trip to Bayeux, I spent our last full day wandering alone. Shelley was laid up with what turned out to be a broken ankle. I couldn’t wander far so that I could return to our room periodically with food and drink. So I couldn’t do a long walk. We’d already explored the town pretty thoroughly, but Bayeux is utterly gorgeous and I could quite happily re-visit what we’d seen.
So I walked along the Aure river, which winds its way through town. I met a friendly cat. I saw people walking their dogs. I went south of the town and wandered to the graffiti-covered rail bridge. I promenaded. In other words, I just wandered aimlessly and saw what there was to see. Everything was delightful.
But what I took notice of probably escaped the notice of the locals, because it was part of their everyday landscape. I took the photo above earlier today after taking out the garbage. Imagine a Bayeuxer wandering Adelaide and seeing this. They might be enchanted, or beguiled, or amazed, and a photo like this might end up in their album.
Of course, it’s easy to find lovely cityscapes when the jasmine ‘s in bloom. But I think that a mindful traveller visiting Adelaide will always find something to delight. This isn’t simply because Adelaide is especially lovely. Though I enthuse about Bayeux, not every part is picturesque. It has its share of ugly apartments, rubbish-strewn lots and neglected buildings. But to me, none of that matters. It’s all part of Bayeux’s character, and to me is as worth exploring as the main streets.
For those who are not just interested in the tourist spots, the act of travel helps make the traveller more mindful of what’s around them. Everything seems different, and the ordinary becomes enchanting. We become disposed towards finding the beautiful or the interesting because we are in a different place. Travel broadens the mind. Can travel help us to be mindful of the beautiful and interesting when we’re at home?