posted by Aunty Cindy
Have you ever visited a place, and quite inexplicably you just loved it? I don't mean like Disney World, or the Indy 500, or even the county fair. Of course you LOVE those, but that's why you went there. I'm talking about an affinity for a place, usually a city, that's like a strong sense of connection.
A feeling of belonging.
I've heard this phenomena referred to as "genetic memory." Something in ye olde DNA is sparked somehow. Now much as I like this theory, I can't quite buy it. At least not in my case, but I'll explain why in a moment.
The first time I ever got this feeling was in my late teens, and it was my very first visit to San Francisco. Chalk it up to youthful enthusiasm, but The City By The Bay remains one of my favorite places in the world. The only other American city I've felt so strongly attracted to was New York City. And I have yet to connect like this with any place in Asia. But Europe is that WHOLE NOTHER STORY...
The first time I went to Italy, I had about a dozen people tell me how much I was going to love Florence! In short, I didn't. However, the minute I walked out of the Termini train station in Rome...Badda Bing, Badda BOOM! Love at first sight! And every time I've set foot in Rome since, I've had the SAME FEELING! So much for that genetic memory theory, because as far as I know, I don't have one drop of Italian blood in me. And no other place in Italy has affected me that strongly.
So far, the only other city that has stirred this unconditional love-fest in me is Paris. This is doubly strange because not only am I not even a miniscule bit French, but I was prepared to NOT like the place. Let's face it, Parisiennes are not known for their friendly hospitality, and that first visit for me was a month after Princess Diana died there. My head was not in a 'good place' about The City of Light, but it didn't matter. Paris instantly stole my heart!
Now I'm about to see if that love is true. This time next week, your old Aunty will be jetting off to see London and Paris for a few days. I'll let you know if I still LOVE PARIS!
Have you ever felt that instant attraction to a city or place? Please TELL us all about it! Also, since Aunty hasn't been to London in over 20 years, pretend you are stowing away in my luggage. What do you recommend we not miss in good old London town?