As a Tourist: One Regret and One Lingering Question

Anita and I visited many new places over the past three months. After every trip, we discussed the reasons we’d like to return to cities and regions: to see things that we couldn’t fit in our schedule, to experience a place in a different way, or to return for a different perspective on an unusually rich site or collection.

I have few regrets from the trips we’ve made so far. Anita and I find most hotels charming, and if we are momentarily disappointed by a locale or our accommodations, we assume that it’s our job to recognize something that we missed. Our photo collections on flickr are a celebratory embrace of tourism: “Look at what we saw!” And that’s a good reflection of our overall attitude.

Still I find that, for each trip, there’s a lack of some kind: something that I do regret, or a curiosity that will not be sated and will not go away. One regret comes from our time in Lisbon. We did not hear a live performance of fado. We tried to find a venue, although half-heartedly. Weeks later, I still feel that I missed something. I will return to Lisbon, and one reason is to hear the fado.

I’ve known for a long time that Portugal was uniquely famous for its bull-fighting, and we did not see that, either. But I have no regrets about missing that distinctive feature of Portugal’s culture. I don’t plan to see a bullfight when I return. I am just not curious about it, which is unusual for me.

Sometimes, a nagging curiosity is like a good itch, because there’s something pleasurable about the discomfort. I have that feeling about a trivial detail from one place on our trip to northern Italy. In the Piazza BrĂ  of Verona, there’s a building with the following architectural detail. (You can click on the photo to see the context.)

alternatingarchitectureverona.jpg

I saw this pattern of alternating crowns in several places, and it seems so familiar that I must have noted it outside of Italy, too. I want to know the name for this style, I want to know why it was used, and I want to know whether it is as common as I think it is. I did the usual surfing around the web to find answers, but I failed.

If you can help, I’ll award you the Commenter of the Irish First Quarter of 2008. (I’ll have to think of an appropriate prize, to be delivered upon arrival at the BBB&B, of course.)

1 Comment to “As a Tourist: One Regret and One Lingering Question”

  1. Rachel Hester said...
    23 June 2008

    Hello,
    I am having a great time reading your blog on Ireland. My husband and I have been talking about moving there (from Iowa) and I found your website and just love your stories. Hope you don’t mind me snooping!

    With regards to the architectural design in your picture, I found info that said they are called “pediments”. I found a few buildings with “alternating pediments”, I hope this is what you are looking for.

    http://www.finehouse.net/Pediments2.htm
    http://www.archiplanet.org/w/index.php?title=Farnese_Palace&printable=yes

    If you don’t mind, if I have questions on Ireland, could I write you? Websites do not help, I want to know a “real” persons account of Ireland, not a travel site.

    Thank you and take care,
    Rachel