Sunday, 6 April 2014

Second time around

I always get a thrill when I land in a new place for the first time.

Even with a bit of jetlag, I'm keen to immediately hit the streets and see what's in my new neighbourhood.

But there's also a bit of pressure and prioritisation to be done; will I be able to see everything I want to see and do in the time I've got?

A second look at Paris
While I normally try to avoid revisiting places I've been to before in favour of new destinations, on recent trips I've had the opportunity to return to a few favourites.

It made me wonder whether I actually get more out of a city the second time around. 

On my first trip to Paris with a friend some years ago, I had a wonderful and jam-packed couple of days seeing all big sights: the Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Arc d'Triomphe and others.  We even found time to check out Paris' sewers.

My recent second visit was a much more leisurely affair (hopefully not because I'm older).   

I didn't rush out the door in the mornings, I went for a run along the Seine on a Sunday morning with the locals, and spent more time just wandering the streets.  I also revised places I really enjoyed the first time, such as the Musee d'Orsay.   

When I left, I felt I had seen more of Paris working as a city, rather than just a tourist playground.

Perhaps I need to revise my policy of not revisiting my previous destinations?  (This could pose a problem to the bank balance.)

Five ways cities can be better the second time around

1.  You tend to avoid other tourists more and enjoy spending a little more time in more local haunts

2.  You've got the local transport network down pat (remembering the mistakes and confusion of your first visit)

3.  You can focus on a handful of neighbourhoods rather than feel the need to rush around and see "everything"

4.  You enjoy seeing your favourite spots again and the happy memories they bring back of your first visit

5.  You take more time to just sit, relax and enjoy the city.  You may even sleep in, something that would have been inconceivable on your first visit!

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