Off the Beaten Path

25 May

 

Like many of us seniors, I am no longer interested in scrambling into uncharted territory just so I can view something most everyone else hasn’t already seen and photographed. I prefer the attractions that are easily reachable, even though thousands have been there before me. But I have also come across a good sampling of lesser-knowns that have been well worth exploring.

Devils Tower in Wyoming, for example, is overshadowed by such nearby wonders as Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons and Mount Rushmore, so it’s not as popular as the others. It is, however, well worth a relatively short drive from any of its peers. The huge rock formation towers over pristine forest areas where, if your timing is right, you can spot a mother deer nursing its fawn.

The Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, isn’t high on the list of “must sees” but those who take the time to go there are well-rewarded. The building is an architectural delight; the surrounding grounds are perfectly manicured, divided by a small stream and dotted with excellent statuary.

Budapest is a premier destination for both European and international travelers, and most gaze in wonder at the ornate Parliament building on the Pest side, then cross the Chain Bridge to visit St. Matthias Cathedral and the Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side. But a short distance away, the Budapest Opera House sits as a monument to the nation’s love for fine art and its ability to withstand enemy occupation. Both the interior and exterior are spectacular, worth extended gaping and countless camera clicks.

The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is home to an excellent variety of museums, but my favorite is the Unser Racing Museum. Although it’s not in the Old Town area as are most of the others, those who find it, especially those who like the roar of high-powered engines, will pat themselves on the back for their determination. The building is built in the shape of a tire, and the interior houses an excellent collection of memorabilia associated with the famous racing family.

Among my most pleasant memories is one of a lunch hour spent on the Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. I was among thousands who gathered there that day, and still meet there every day, to watch the glockenspiel at the New Town Hall go through its motions. With a giant beer stein in one hand and a camera in the other, I viewed this spectacular array of mechanical genius with undisguised awe. The soldiers marched, the bell clanged, the ladies danced, just as they have been doing for decades. Although it’s not really an off-the-beaten-path attraction, it is not well-publicized outside of Munich so you’ll be rubbing elbows and quaffing lager mainly with the locals. Off the Beaten Path

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