In Rome last year I found out that there is a perfect way to observe tourists: on the Hop on, hop off-bus!
But why? You might feel that there is something better to do, like see the highlights pointed out for you by the subtle voice of the audio tour guide. I did that, the first ride I took around the city. But then I decided – after hours of walking around doing the ‘touristy thing’ – my feet could use a rest. I still had some bottled water, so I didn’t feel the need to spend my budget on a terrace (sorry locals!). Then it hit me: my ticket for the hop on hop off bus was still valid. Even when I had already seen it all, didn’t mean I couldn’t do it all again… And so I did.
It was a complete different experience compared to the first trip on the bus. You see people get exited once they spot a highlight as the Vatican. Click away on your camera people. It is hilarious to see a woman tugging the arm of her husband to film the Colosseum while he is still pointing the camera at the ruins of Rome that used to be. (And of course when they come home they’ll notice that the film has some ups and downs, literally, because of this incident.) Or to see people frantically pushing buttons to look for the translation of the tour guide in their language.
After a while it hits me though: of course, I was one of those a few hours before I decided to observe the people rather than the highlights of the tour… What would I have looked like? Probably like one of the frantic ‘clickers’ on the camera AND the audio guide buttons…