If They Build It, Travelers Will Come…

Architecture Tours celebrate the most beautiful structures in the world. At the age of 20, I walked in to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Easter Sunday. I was traveling alone in Europe in the same cut off shorts and T-shirt I’d washed in the sink every morning that week. I had my cheese sandwich, purchased at the corner walk up window, and I was so struck with awe that I sat down in a pew and did not move for an hour, hunger forgotten. I had already seen Stonehenge, Clonmacnoise, Buckingham Palace and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, among others. I will never forget the feeling of being literally ‘struck’ by overwhelming craftsmanship and detail.

Do you know that feeling of awe? That turns in to a sense of wonder? Where you stop, slow down, mouth open, senses flooded to frozen, and you never want it to end? That day in the Cathedral I just wanted to sit there forever. I respected the moment and dreaded it’s eventual end.

You could seek and find architectural awe by starting in the following well known places: Taj Mahal, Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat, Sydney Opera House, the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona and Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Much of the history of these well-known places is even more inspiring than witnessing them. Architecture is for people who enjoy the research as much as the visual experience.

Look to these slightly less famous places: Wat Phra Kaew in Thailand, Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, The Atomium in Belgium, Haohan Qiao Bridge in China, the Skytree in Tokyo, or The Shard in London. The subjects are vast and many, each one more miraculous than the last. So how do you get there? How do you choose?

You can choose your tour by city, by architect, by vehicle of transport. City is easy to choose: go to your favorite, most inspiring or bucket list city and google the buildings. Done. Or choose your tour by architect: use something like Pinterest or any visual medium to find some buildings, bridges, hotels that make you halt on the picture and say ‘Yes!’ Then find the architect and research what else they have designed. Boom. Tour planned!

And finally, vehicle of transport might be the most interesting choice to look at. You can use a car or a bicycle, you can walk around London or run around Copenhagen. They really have running architecture tours! You can even enjoy a Segway around Chicago. You can go by boat or bus. You can choose self guided or tour guided. As always, I suggest you make these kinds of general decisions and base your choice on YOUR personal preference and what intrigues you! Having these preferences thought out ahead of time will help Black Label Travel design the ultimate architectural experience for you.

By the way, I did finally leave the Cathedral and a very handsome Parisian street artist approached me to pencil sketch my portrait as I looked at the Cathedral. I still have the sketch. He captured my awe. I haven’t hung it up because he drew me naked (his imagination). It was Paris after all.

Shannon Calder, travel writer [Follow her on TwitterInstagram]

The magnificent Burj Al Arab Hotel, an architectural wonder

Leave a reply