One of the great pleasures of traveling is taking time to enjoy some tea in a new place according to the customs of the local residents. Also, being one of those people who travels for the purpose of getting a taste of what life is like in a place other than home, I consider such tea experiences to be part of the tour. Thus, I have become a “tea tourist.”
Being a “tea tourist” is not the same as taking a tea tour. When you take a tea tour, your whole focus is on tea and you are usually visiting a tea garden or even several tea gardens and maybe even visiting a tea factory or two. There may even be some official-style tea tasting going on — steep, slurp, swish, spit!
When you’re a “tea tourist,” you are first and foremost a tourist, traveling to some destination to see the sights and/or visit family and friends. It could be heading to Paris to ride the elevator to the top of La Tour Eiffel, drive through L’Arche de Triomphe, or catch a risqué show at Le Moulin Rouge. Or you might choose something exotic like a rafting trip down the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Trekking north to the wilds of Canada and Alaska for some snow adventures is another possibility. And then there’s a trip to Japan to explore the ancient sites and the modern sights. You have your fun and then head to the nearest tea joint to “fuel up” on tea and croissants or fruit tarts or sushi or baklava or whatever the local treat for tea time is.
Hubby and I visited friends in the Southwest U.S. One of the items on our agenda was, naturally, to check out local establishments serving tea. Our friends took us to a place they knew, one that was more café than tea room. The food was geared to local taste, and the tea choices were geared to compliment those foods. Nevertheless, it was an essential part of our visit to the area.
Some tea tourist destinations:
- New York City — tons of sites to see from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty to Madison Square Garden; and tons of tea places, including The Russian Tea Room.
- London — after you view the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, go shopping at Harrods, listen in on the debates in Parliament, and see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, you can hit any number of tea rooms or dine at one of the many Indian restaurants and enjoy a nice masala chai with your curry, nan, and mango chutney.
- Sydney, Australia — enjoy a performance at The Sydney Opera House, shop at the many fine stores, and stop off at a local tea room.
Many more such excursions await you around the world. Be a “tea tourist” and include tea as part of your journey!
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