Travelling and Tourists
14.03.2007 22 °C
I have landed in Rome. I arrived at a hostel I had chosen, sans booking. I had walked miles, I'm sure. They didn't have a bed, and the manager sat on my new sunglasses. C'est la vie! I got reimbursed for the glasses and offered a good deal to stay there tomorrow night. Life works.
I spent some time in Firenze, visited a pile of churches and saw much art. The statue of David was beautiful, of course, but I am sick of renaissance art -- how many images of the virgin and child or distinguished noblemen will it take for my mind to shut down? I saw a strange mimed Baroque comedy with a Texan -- great fun. Anyways Firenze had some beautiful parks and quaint cafes, in between the throngs of tourists.
I followed these throngs, to the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO world heritage site, five tiny mountanous coastal towns with hiking trails in between them that are truly stunning. And then, the throngs led me to Siena, where the buildings glow with a dirty pink shade and everyone sits in a main piazza in the sun, just chilling.
The throngs of tourists... I dislike being a tourist, though I am one. Is this a paradox? I believe so. I am all supporting of travel and seeing the world, but each person that visits a place puts a certain amount of detriment on the place, dilluting the culture and subtly taking away from the thing that makes the place something to see. I am conscious of my own doing, each time I buy a postcard, or fail to speak the local language when asking for help.
On the other hand, tourists support the country and it's economy. I struggle to find a happy medium in this problem with so many sides... how can I travel and not just be one of the dumb, gaping tourists? Or is this inevitable?