The reasons people travel are almost as numerous as for getting up in the morning. Exploring exotic locations, following the sun, chasing the Northern lights, immersion in different cultures, visiting family or friends, city shopping or climbing expeditions the list is almost endless.
“getting totally lost even for a little”
One of my favourite reasons however is to explore, to find a little adventure whilst travelling. Setting off into an unknown city with little more than a daypack, possibly even leaving the map behind can be a small but worthwhile venture. Spending the next few hours getting totally lost even for a little while before finding the way back to more recognisable areas of the city, town or village flicks a few switches.
Wandering down narrow, winding streets, taking an unknown left turn down a secluded alleyway or maybe even finding a hidden passageway overgrown and obviously rarely used can provide a little unplanned adventure. Discovering an unexpected picturesque church, cosy public house or quirky museum not knowing what is around the next corner is exciting and can make exploring really worthwhile.
Regardless of the destination, whether becoming well and truly lost in the labyrinth of Marrakech’s medina or slightly misplaced in the citadelle of Corte there is ample opportunity for exploring.
On numerous occasions whilst enjoying my own little bit of exploration in the less accepted sightseeing areas I have been informed by locals I am heaidng in the wrong direction. Personally just witnessing the contrived sights for tourists is not what the travelling experience is about, there is a need to discover a little more.
Often the surprise can be the streets and buildings themselves, they provide some character to the destination, and they can tell the history of the location. It is common to find a story behind many of the houses and buildings that line these arteries crisscrossing the town, providing the adventurous with plenty of avenues to explore.
“fun discovering the juicy details”
A guide is often a sensible option here providing some insight into the history of the area and individual buildings too. There are times that a guide is indispensable but sometimes it can be more fun discovering the juicy details on your own. A smile, inquiring mind and a willingness to simply ask a local can often find an interesting story that maybe even a guide is unaware of.
The names of these streets can be unusual, amusing and represent the character of the destination, often the houses can have equally interesting names. A little observation is all that is needed to begin to understand a place, finding a shrine tucked away down a side street or a huge gargoyle almost ‘glued’ to a tiny residence. These are just tiny snippets of information that together provide the story of a town or destination.
People are the heart and soul of any destination, they provide its culture and it is them that really become the story of any town. Stumbling into some of the local characters that make up the community is one of the highlights of any trip for me. Suddenly coming across pigs, sheep, cattle, goats or hens grazing at the side of the road also gives me at least a little thrill. Discovering the unexpected especially when it provides just a glimpse of the culture of a destination is what exploring is about.
“the streets that are the stars”
However it is the streets that are the stars for this post, it is a celebration of them, the buildings, history and architecture old or new. Take a moment to take a look through the images, imagine the sounds daily life, the chatter of people, the occasional vehicle squeezing through the narrow passageways and those same people having to scurry out of their path.
Take a visual stroll through a destination where the streets have strange names and explore it from the comfort of your armchair. Hopefully you will be transported to these locations and have just a feel for the towns portrayed here.
I hope you enjoy this virtual journey and maybe next time when visiting an unfamiliar city or town you will do a little exploring of your own.