I’ve often wondered, while exploring one foreign city or another, how the locals see their hometown. Do Londoners ever stop to admire The Palace of Westminster? Do Parisians ever go up La Tour Eiffel and enjoy the view? Do Barcelonans ever stop while running errands and admire the architectural masterpieces scattered all over the city?
On my trip to Barcelona a couple of days ago, while sitting on the wall of Castell de Montjuïc and admiring the panoramic view, I caught myself wondering how many times I visited Ljubljana castle. How many times I cared to go up there to enjoy the view? If I remember correctly, the last time was a couple years ago when my friend from the Netherlands was here and I was one of his local ‘tourist guides’. A couple of days later, when we came back from Barcelona, we went straight to the centre of Ljubljana and I found myself standing in the middle of Kongresni trg, admiring the architecture of a building across the street and thinking ‘What is this’. After seeing the bell tower I realized it’s a church and, to be honest, I was quite disappointed with myself for not noticing the beauty of the city I’m living in.
After thorough consideration I came to the conclusion that locals and tourists see the same city from two completely different perspectives; in fact, they may not even see the same city but two entirely different ones. A tourist goes to a city which is, in some way, appealing to him; he buys a tourist guide or googles the facts about the city, reads about its history and decides which landmarks he wants to see. A local, on the other hand, takes that same landmarks for granted, his local history doesn’t seem so very incredible to him.
I still hope though, that Londoners stop in front of The Palace of Westminster from time to time, that Parisians go up La Tour Eiffel at least once in their life and I hope that Barcelonans are at least aware of the fact that they are lucky to be living in such an architecturally diverse city.