Traveling in a new city is tiring, there is just so much going on around you.
I often feel that the crowded streets are trying to suffocate me, and trying to find an escape in a cafe always seems to be a bad idea, because the places are overcrowded and people have to raise their voices even more to be able to hear one another.
At times like that I just wish that the crowds would just disappear so I can get some time for myself to just look around and enjoy the moment. Wherever I look, somebody is there trying to catch my eye and attention, somebody constantly wants something from me.
Sometimes it feels like I’m not welcome if I’m not there to spend money. Like I’m not allowed to just to look and enjoy the city without having a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always like that, but sometimes I do feel that pressure. Don’t you?
I realized, however, that it’s not impossible to get to enjoy a new city without the crowd.
There is a way to enjoy the city with all the lights and man made beauty without the actual people – in the morning…
I guess in a few places around the world the city never sleeps, but even London is rather quiet in the early hours of the morning.
Walking through a sleeping city is a special experience, there is something calm and melancholic in the air. You see completely different things during the day than you do at night.
The hustle and bustle of the day time traffic just disappears and at night you see a different beauty, the man made one: Lights, noises,and spaces – it stands out in its cold, bald appearance.
During the evenings with all the music, crowds and distractions the city pulls you in, enchants you and makes you forget about your problems. The evening is full of possibilities and promises, sugar coated in neon colored lights and music.
But all that is left when everything that blows life into the city is gone, is just an empty hollow space, and it feels as if the city is revealing some kind of cold naked truth.
The few people you see on the streets are also different, and you find yourself thinking about them a lot more; wondering who they are, what they’re doing up so early and where they’re going.
Some drunk dude is wobbling home from a party, still living in yesterday. Another man with an ironed shirt and perfectly combed hair is on his way to work and a new day has already begun for him.
A big city at dawn is a true sleeping beauty, and watching it slowly wake up creates an odd feeling inside your body, one that makes you feel vulnerable and lonely, realizing that life is incomplete and fragile – that is the freedom of exploring a city while it is fast asleep …