When you think of summer travel, what do you think about? Do you imagine camping? Hiking? Sailing? A trip to the beach?
Here is an often not-thought-of locale for travelers who are interested in something new…ruins! I personally LOVE ruins, and have visited…none. But my heart longs to see them, and when I see them showcased on television shows or displayed beautifully in national magazines, I bump up my goal of visiting them higher on my bucket list.
While I dream about visiting such amazing pieces of history, I enjoy looking up locations in books at the library or on websites on the internet. One of my favorites is the Colosseum of Italy. Ah, what an icon! Just to imagine the events that took place in this arena are overwhelming and fascinating…I can only imagine the feeling if you are standing amidst the structure itself.
Another favorite of mine is an ancient Mayan city in Tikal, Guatemala. The towering, climbable structures that were once home to 90, 000 people are an impressive array of temples and pyramids. Which brings me to another icon set of ruins, the Pyramids of Giza. Have you been there?
However, I would have to say that the type of ruins that fascinate me the most are the kind of structures that are carved in to mountains and/or walls of stone. Right here in the United States, Colorado boasts a fascinating state park that delivers mesa-top pueblos and dwellings built beneath overwhelming, overhanging cliffs. These can be found in Mesa Verde National Park. And overseas, the ancient city of Petra, Jordan was half built and carved into cliffs of red sandstone. Adorned with elaborate altars, accompanied by tombs and temples, these fascinating ruins are well worth the 1/2 mile hike through a narrow gorge to reach it.
If you decide that a trip to visit historical ruins is what you want to try this summer, be sure to plan accordingly. Time your trip for the less crowded times of day. Hire a knowledgeable, seasoned guide. And most importantly, give yourself plenty of time to explore. Some ruins require days of exploration, and even if one doesn’t, some extra time to soak in the majestic beauty is essential to a full experience.