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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Local Sightseeing? by pandab on 19 August 2005 1:58am
I've observed an interesting thing (to me anyway <G>) and wondered if anyone else had as well.

It first struck me during my second trip to London. I was talking with a gentleman in a pub and asked if he had any suggestions for unusual things to look for at the Tower. I'd been there the previous year and wandered all over it, so I was interested in ideas for things I might have missed there. I figured he was a good person to ask because he said he had lived in London all his life. The gentleman thought for a moment, and then he shook his head. He had been to the Tower, of course, but umpteen years ago on a school trip.

What about unusual museums, then? Something off the normal tourist track. Again, he thought and rattled off some of the more usual places--British Museum, National Gallery and so on.

Hmm, thought I. As we talked more, we realized that, though he lived in London, he rarely "toured" London. Likewise, though I've lived in my hometown most of my life, I've rarely seen its sights. Roanoke, Virginia has nice museums, one of which is an outstanding transportation museum, but I think the last time I visited was at age 10 or so. That was ... well, a long time ago <G>.

Since then, I've encountered the same thing in other places. Residents don't seem to "tour" their own cities.

Why is that, I wonder? Any thoughts?
Re: Local Sightseeing? by tucsonmike on 19 August 2005 7:12am
I'll be frank. My favorite thing in London was the Cabinet War Rooms. Pubs are out, I can't drink any longer...
Re: Local Sightseeing? by pandab on 20 August 2005 1:48am
I visited the Cabinet War Rooms on my most recent trip to London, and they were fascinating.

I don't think I would have gotten the full benefit, though, had I not had the good fortune of being there when an American vet of WWII was visiting as well. He served in Europe and was stationed near London for a while during the war. He had tons of stories. They weren't about the CWR itself, but they added a lot of color to my visit.

I travel alone, but I admit I sort of attached myself to he and his family after I overheard one of his stories. He didn't notice me for a while, but when he did, he seemed tickled that I was so interested in his tales <G>.

WWII vets are leaving us, and many desperately want to share their stories before the tales are lost to time.

I'm not much a drinker myself. I get some dubious looks when I order a soda in a pub, but I don't like drinking anything stronger while I'm traveling. I guess I feel the need to keep my wits about me when I'm on my own <G>.
Re: Local Sightseeing? by tucsonmike on 21 August 2005 8:23am
Pandab, you are right about those tales needing to be told. One thing we are working on in the Railroad Museum is an Oral History Project. The purpose is to get people who were connected with the Southern Pacific to tell their stories about working for them. Today, a man came in whose father had worked on the railroad in Mexico. I am trying to get him to tell the stories and have a friend translate them from Spanish.
Re: Local Sightseeing? by sminobe on 22 August 2005 5:17pm
Jean Kerr made a similar observation about New York. I'm sure it *wasn't* in her book, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies", but I can't remember where I *did* read it. Basically some friends were visiting from out of town & JK offered to show them around The Big Apple -- except she'd never been to any of the tourist attractions & neither had any of her NY friends. I think she ended up giving her visiting friends a NY guidebook -- written by someone *not* from NY...

As for LA, I have been to quite a number of touristy sites & know *about* a quite few others.
Re: Local Sightseeing? by tucsonmike on 23 August 2005 1:54am
Growing up, many New York sites I loved going to. There are certain restaurants we considered touristy and never went to. If we take you around, we will take you to where New Yorkers go.

Then again, one of my jobs as a kid was to take visitors for my parents to the Statue of Liberty. Why wouldn't my father take them? Because when he was a 14 year old Boy Scout an, overweight person got stuck in the narrow spiral stairs. This is bad when it happens in a Copper statue in July. For some reason, Dad didn't laugh when I smiled and said "what a novel way to lose weight." So he dreaded going, or if he did come to Liberty Island, he stayed in the pedestal and yours truly was dispatched to the top.
We went to certain museums regularly. I guess it depends.

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