Sunday, June 5, 2011

There is so much more to do

We are not very good tourists in the sense that we do not cover a great deal of ground. Now Cate’s sister Liz and her husband Darryl work on the basis that if they leave a square meter of a city unexplored then they have wasted the trip.

They leave the hotel at dawn and return at dusk – and spend the evening planning their next day. Cate’s brother is also like this. But Cate’s brother is exceptional in that he knows what he is looking at – and remembers it. When you tell him that you went to see the Cathedral in Chartres he can tell you its entire history. It is terrifying.

Cate and I are usually the last one into the breakfast room in any hotel in which we stay and our first stop when we leave the hotel is the nearest café. And we do not leave that café until we know where the next one is.

You see – our idea of visiting a city is to immerse ourselves in the culture – not to skim over the surface looking at the peripherals like ordinary tourists. We find that cafés, bars and restaurants are the best place to do this immersion while we read the books about what we would like to see.

And we find that starting late means that we miss the early morning eager-beaver tourist rush and we have a more leisurely time with the late afternoon queues for museums – and the cafés are less crowded.

The great advantage of our method of visiting cities is that there is always more to see. When we go back to Berlin – for example – there is much to see because this time – as we rarely emerged from the hotel until about 2:00 PM – we actually saw very little – so vast tracts or Berlin lay before us unscathed.

And we will be back because it is – as I have said – quite wonderful.

It is very sophisticated and – at the same time – quite primitive. We saw in the Tiergarten a whole area dedicated to the exposure of naked bodies by gay male couples - and then we saw some horrid contraption called a beer-bike. This is something upon which drunken males ride along while drinking beer – and while shouting at young women.

There is worse. Having achieved a state at which they can no longer pedal they then move to a horse drawn dray where they can don a Bruno Costume – drink beer and shout at anything at all – I assume a Donkey would fill the need by this stage. It is amazing the hideous things that men can think of to do while they are drinking beer. 


  1. Every time the hubby and I visit a new city, we always park at a sidewalk cafe, have a nice beverage and watch the people and the city. It really is the best way to enjoy a new city. Definitely better than pedaling around a city on a beer bike....although the pic did make me laugh!

  2. Beer bikes also exist in Portland!

    I like to wander around places, but usually avoid the organized tours (unless it is absolutely necessary to get from Point A to Point B), because, more often than not, fucking American tourists ruin everything; you know which ones I mean.

    There have been a few cities where I had to see the main attractions, just to snap the photo and then be on my way, but I also like seeking out the paths less traveled.

  3. Cheers; The Beer Bike is one of the scariest things I have seen for a while.

    Smedette: Good grief - in Portland. What is the purpose of a beer bike? I do know which ones you mean!

  4. Have you listed your Fav Cafe's yet ?
    Fav position, seat, drink and where ?
    Where to next ?