In Praise of Spontaneous Travel

You seriously don’t have a hotel room booked?
I am writing this in Warsaw, Poland.

That in and of itself isn’t that impressive. Many people visit Poland every year.

What makes this special is that up until a few days ago, I had no idea I was going to be in Poland. In fact, until yesterday, I had no idea I was going to spend the night in Warsaw.

My original plan was to fly to Germany early for the ITB conference and just hang out in Berlin for a week while I waited for it to start. I realized that Berlin wasn’t far from Poland, taking the train was very easy and I had never been to Poland before. Even factoring in the cost of a train ticket, I’d probably save money by staying in Poland rather than in Berlin.

So I decided to go to Poland.

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The Historic Centre of Warsaw

Historic Center of Warsaw UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: Warsaw was deliberately annihilated in 1944 as a repression of the Polish resistance to the German occupation. The capital city was reduced to ruins with the intention of obliterating the centuries-old tradition of Polish statehood. The rebuilding of the historic city, 85% of which was destroyed, was the result of …

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Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: Antigua Guatemala is an outstanding example of preserved colonial architecture and of cultural value. The religious, private and government buildings bear exceptional testimony to the Spanish colonial architecture in Antigua. Built 1,500 m above sea level in an earthquake-prone region, Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded …

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Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: Together with Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, Maya is the most important reserve in the country, because of its archaeological and bio/ecological interest. Rivers, lakes, swamps and flooding savannas are important for biodiversity and for migratory birds. The reserve contains the largest area of tropical rainforest in Guatemala and …

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Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua

Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: The ruins of Quirigua retain an impressive series of stelae and sculpted calendars, partially deciphered, which constitute a remarkable and unique source of the history of the social, political and economic events of the Mayan civilization. The zoomorphic and anthropomorphic sculptures are among the most attractive pre-Columbian works known. Quirigua …

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Maya Site of Copan

Maya Site of Copan UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: Copán with its temples, plazas, and terraces, comprises a type of architectural complex among the most characteristic of the Mayan civilization. The lengthy inscription on the Hieroglyphic Stairway Plaza is of considerable historical significance The Mayan city of Copán as it exists today is composed of a main complex of …

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