Isn’t it odd, how we tend to never really have a closer look at local heritage surrounding us? How, for instance, most New Yorkers have never been up the Empire State Building? Londoners never took a trip out to see Stonehenge? Parisian people don’t bother visiting the prosperous site of Versailles? How many times did you go and visit local heritage only for the sake of yourself, and not because you wanted to show visitors around? Well, it is quite a phenomenon… I’ve talked to so many people from big cities about a certain famous castle, site, museum. Most of them told me they have never actually been there…
I’m no different. Although I try to kick my bum every once in a while to go and see such beautiful sites on my own, I tend to push it away and tell myself that “it’s right there, I have all the time in the world to see it”. Well, maybe you don’t, and this isn’t a depressing but only a realistic fact. So why not start visiting local sites right now and brighten up our knowledge and life?
Last weekend I was out in the mountains again – after nearly 5 years. Shame on me, I know! It was less than a 3 hours drive and there we were, up in the mountains, in a tiny village where their main language is a language I don’t speak nor understand (Rumansch, one of the four national Swiss languages, only spoken by a few thousand people up in the mountains). The mountainside was absolutely stunning, the views breathtaking, and most of the locals very friendly.
At some point during the afternoon, I was delighted to see some young men marching around with big bells hanging from a wooden trunk they carried on their shoulders. I have so far seen such a custom once in my whole entire life. The men wander around in a row behind each other, all in a same rhythm which make the bells ring in a very monotony way. It is said that the noise would drive away the bad winter spirits, welcoming the spring time. I heard and saw them a few more times later on that evening (alas, never managed to take a nice picture!) and it always made my heart lift. There was a common sense of tradition which just filled me with happiness. And all of that a less than 3 hours drive away from home! Every time I experience such a thing I wonder why I don’t do that more often. Why most people I know don’t do that more often as well. We like talking about beautiful things we can do, but tend to save them up for later… why?
And you – what beautiful heritage surrounds your home? Have you ever been there before? Why don’t you dare doing a small trip for yourself as well?
Pick an afternoon. A day. A weekend. Go out and explore that interesting museum in your home town. Go find that hidden stone in the woods which is said to have been brought there by druids. Go have a look at this new piece of art placed in the middle of a public square by a famous artist. Pick anything!
It doesn’t have to cost anything – sites in the nature are accessible to anyone. Many museums in big cities can be visited for free. Call up a good friend and spend a beautiful day exploring local heritage around your home. You won’t regret it!