Every destination we eye brings forward the ultimate travel question: What sites can we skip?
It runs counter to the usual travel query – what are the must-sees.
That is the wrong question. It works backwards in that it assumes an infinite amount of time is available whereas even the most summary of polls will pile on a backlog of tourist-to-do’s that at the end of your journeys will evoke a haunting suspicion that you have left the “must-sees” unseen and for years to come as you ruminate on your travels, it will be in an air steeped in the stench of bygone opportunities.
And that is not what you paid for when you ponied up to the travel web-site and booked your holiday.
So edit your list.
The ultimate travel satisfaction is not in aiming high, nor low, but for somewhere between mediocre and medium. Forget those travel-writers who make it sound possible to see it all in 36 hours (a la New York Times travel section).
We have taken serious runs at seeing cities in 36 hours, but to keep up with the NY Times version would require copious consumption of Red Bull and absolutely no sleep (although this would save on hotel bills).
And so, I have been to Paris, but not the inside of the Louvre (long line-up).
I have lived in Spain and not gone near the lauded Camino del Santiago pilgrim walk (I read the Bible and learned that heaven does not require hiking, although if you like a good walk, go ahead).
I have been to Germany and not seen a holocaust museum (although I heartily believe that everyone who complains about Israel being knee-jerk over-defensive should visit at least five holocaust museums).
But I drift from my point, which is, what can you skip on your trip? Well? What can you skip?
More ramblings on this later.
That’s the practical MMM (Manitoba Mennonite Method)! Your father is wise.
The first time I traveled to Europe I was with my dad. It was in a London pub that he taught me the concept of “What can you live without seeing” and we made a list on a napkin. It made the trip very low stress because we weren’t trying to hit all the supposed high points.
I’ve been to London and only saw the Tower of London from across the street. We skipped St. Paul’s because it was covered in scaffolding. In Berlin we skipped most of the Museums and galleries and opted to wander. In New York we didn’t bother with the Statue of Liberty.