Journey of the Senses: Part 3 – Sight

If you ask most people what type of learner they are they would likely answer visual.  That means they prefer looking at things to absorb the information rather than listening (auditory) to it or using their hands (kinesthetic).  I am definitely a visual learner and use visual sight memory when I recall my fondest travel memories.  Here are a few of my personal visual travel memories that bring back vivid imagery through sight. Written by guest contributor: Gene Jochen

Eiffel Tower, Paris: My most vivid memory of the “city of love” is the Eiffel Tower.  Standing 984 feet in the heart of Paris, it’s a picturesque landmark that you can see from miles in every direction.  I love to just sit along The Left Bank from a vantage point where I can see the tower in the distance.  I often spend hours people watching with the comfort of the tower looming high in distance.  One particular visual memory of the Eiffel Tower was a few years ago when I took a Seine River dinner cruise that departed from the bank of the river just in front of the tower.  We departed just before dusk and I recall watching it disappear as we sailed further down river. It was a sight to behold. But the highlight for me was on the return trip; viewing the tower from the upper deck of the long boat as we sailed home towards her beauty. The tower glistening and glowing in the dark skyline.  A magnificent and majestic sight and one I will never forget.

The Colosseum, Rome: A few years ago I spent a full week in Rome and was able to explore much more of the city while not feeling rushed like the typical tourist. The part of this trip that was most memorable was meandering my way daily to the Colosseum to “imprint” yet another photo of her in my mind.  I would walk around it each time to marvel at its rich history as I took hundreds of photos that week.  One of my favourite vantage points to see its magnitude is sitting just opposite the Colosseum in the Parco del Colle Oppio where you can peacefully take in this awe-inspiring New Seven Wonders of the World.

 Kruger National Park, South Africa:  One of my travel highlights is definitely being on a real African Safari – where the only shooting was from my digital camera.  The day of our safari is still imprinted vividly in my memory as we slowly worked our way through the park in our jeep while our guide pointed out each of the Big Five animals we were to see that day: the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo. As well we witnessed hyena, wild dog, wildebeest and of course the giraffe as well as many other animal and bird species. A day I will never forget.

Great Wall of China: One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall truly is great.  Built from the 7th century BC to 1878, it is as long as 13,171 miles (21,196km) from east to west in Northern China.  We spent several hours at the Mutianyu section, just a few short hours from Beijing.  Here, we had ample time to climb up several sections of the Wall to see this amazing construction feat as well as to see her long expanse for miles in each direction.  The Great Wall literally goes on forever and lives forever in my memories.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India: Built in 1648 by Shah Jehan as a memorial to his wife, the Taj Mahal is another one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.  The day of my Taj Mahal tour, we were one of the first groups to arrive just as the sun was rising.  The Taj is well hidden from view as you first enter the grounds up until you pass through the Darwaza (main gateway) where it glows and shimmers in the new daylight.  This ivory-white mausoleum had been through a full façade renovation and our timing was perfect as the years of scaffolding had just been removed and it was there in all its splendour.  After a “fast pass” tour of the inside of this beautiful structure, I spent hours walking the grounds enjoying my own personal spiritual experience of its spirit and beauty. A sight and experience I will never forget.

Grand Canyon, Arizona: In the summer of 1980, the Simon & Garfunkel song “America” and the lyric “They’ve all come to look for America” resonated deeply as my family journeyed across the US on a family camping adventure.  We toured as many historical sites as we could that summer with the south Rim of the Grand Canyon definitely the highest of highlights.  The first time I witnessed the breath-taking view of the Canyon is burned in my memories.  The rich colours, vast expanse and the enormity of the Canyon is almost beyond words.  Seeing its magnificence from the ridge is one thing. But I also wanted more so I “ditched” my family and joined up with a guided mule-pack tour where we rode down into the heart of the Canyon and out to one of its ridges, just above the Colorado River. My sight senses were definitely overloaded that day.  Looking up from the Canyon floor at the purples, reds, browns and yellows of its walls is a sight that is always close to my heart and mind. 

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favourite travel SIGHTS?  Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy this sensation as you fondly recall some of your most memorable experiences.

About the Author: Gene Jochen, COO of Hibiscus Tours International Ltd and the Real Estate Travel Academy. Professional travel advisor and educator.

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