Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Travel Tuesday - Back Streets


 I love to explore back streets and alleyways.  Main Street is pretty, but often made up like a drag queen to conceal the real character underneath. (Or to express the character the place really wants to have.)  Usually only a street or two away, is the real local place.  The unvarnished truth.  

In many cities the best values in honest local food, is in the back streets, close enough to be walked to, but far enough off the beaten path to not by in the high rent district.  I will never forget a great lunch I had a couple blocks behind the Colosseum in Rome, surrounded by locals I was the only person who didn't speak Italian.  

If the shops are not filled with locals, go to where the locals are. Having traveled a lot, you find the same "souvenir" items in multiple cities, the only thing that changes is the name of the city imprinted in the factory in Asia.  I like to find the stuff the locals made.  I have started collecting tiny bowls and vases, made by hand, by the potters I buy them from.  These tell me more about the place, about the people, than all of the junk in the gift shops on main street.  

I am aware of safety, there are side streets I won't venture down, but most of the time, in the middle of the day, most places are perfectly safe and so worth exploring. 

15 comments:

  1. What city is pictured? Charming!

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    1. Old Town Alexandria, five minutes from home

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  2. I like the back streets and off the beaten path too. You can experience the place much more by hanging with the locals. And avoid the busy tourist spots and landmarks.

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  3. I particularly remember Naples. The further away from the seafront we went, the cheaper the prices of coffee at an outdoor table.

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    1. I need to go to Naples someday

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  4. Yes to backstreets and off the beaten path and experiencing local life. When we were in New York a few years ago, exploring Astoria, we got caught in a downpour, and ran into a Greek bakery that had a large covered patio. We enjoyed pastries and strong coffee along with a group of older Greek men who were solving the problems of the world in Greek.

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    1. Those unplanned moments are magic

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  5. I like the "off the beaten" path parts of town for the same reasons you mentioned. They seem more "real" and less trendy and desperate.

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    1. There are a few main streets left that are not corporate street, far to few

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  6. You're absolutely right! The best pasta I ever had in my life was in a little restaurant off the beaten path in one of the little towns of Cinque Terre. I was practically the only one in the restaurant.

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    1. My brain flashes to a Florence, and another little place in Rome.

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  7. I've found some great places doing just that. Good advice.

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  8. We are not fans of taking tourist routes. We like to explore new places on our own, as well.

    Sassybear
    https://idleeyesandadormy.com/

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