When I travel, I usually have some preconceived notion about what I will see – especially when it comes to famous places.
When I was 8 or 9 years old, my mom, grandfather, and I took a trip to DC. I distinctly remember walking past the White House with my grandfather. My first impression of the White House?
“Is that all? Our house is bigger than the White House!”
Yes, I actually said that. Out loud. With lots of other tourists around. I guess I had a bit of a depth perception problem, because our house was definitely NOT larger than the White House.
Then, when I was in Peace Corps, my friends and I took a trip to Egypt to see the Pyramids at Giza. I thought it was completely in the desert, far away from Cairo. It would take hours to get there. We would even need to ride camels to get close to the Pyramids.
The desert part is true enough.
It wasn’t until I saw the Pyramids in person that I realized that Cairo has sprawled out to meet them. The Sphynx overlooks a KFC. There is a stadium was being build practically right beside the Pyramids. NOT what I had expected.
My most recent trip was to the Alamo. I guess that last time I thought of the Alamo, it was still the 1800s, in the middle of the dessert, and people like Davy Crocket were still living there.
I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Alamo was in the middle of San Antonio. If you look really carefully, you can see a sign for the Crocket Hotel right behind the Alamo.
My warped perception did not decrease their coolness factor in my mind. It is just eye-opening when you have always thought about these places in a certain light, only to find the reality is much different.
Have you ever been surprised by a famous place?