Ok, by now most of us who travel to popular destinations have come to expect and enjoy street entertainers. Their talents put a smile on our face, give us a reason to pause and provide a chance to take a fun selfie. Here are my highlights from this summer.
If you love street entertainers, then go to Avignon, France in July. During the Festival d’Avignon the city becomes a hotspot for performers. I’ll be honest, some are fantastic and some needed a little more preparation, but it is still great fun. Starting around noon the walled city looks like a giant costume party. The likes of Snow White and SpongeBob mingle among the tourists while dancers and musician groove to the music. Many are their to promote their local plays or movies, while others are entertainers passing the hat. Its a wonderful way to enjoy an ancient city. My Video: Avignon Street Entertainers
In Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina the talent was more physical than creative. Every summer day starting around 10 in the morning until sunset, you will find young men in their swimming trunks around the Stari Most bridge asking for money. Once they feel they have collected enough money, one of them will jump from the 25 meter (82ft.) bridge. (Keep in mind the Olympic high dive platform is only 10 meters high.) This beautiful old bridge was completed in 1566 during the Ottoman Empire. It was destroyed during the Bosnian War in 1993, but thankfully rebuilt with the original stones and finished in 2004. Young men have been jumping from this bridge for centuries and taking part in an annual competition at the end of July. My Video: Mostar Bridge Jumpers
My #1 favorite street performer from this summer had no real talent other than just being itself. Along the waterfront in Thessaloniki, Greece I happened upon the a lone elephant. It stood quiet still not saying a word next to a small cardboard box. I looked around to find its owner, but to no avail. Not even a simple sign giving us a name. The elephant came dressed as though it was ready for a parade, but none was scheduled for the day. But it had the best talent of all, it caused me to stop and wonder.
The next evening as the sun was setting I walked again next to the waterfront wondering if I would once again see the lone elephant. Just as I thought it was a one night occurrence, there was the elephant again. It had found a new spot closer to the statue of Alexander the Great. I must not have been the only person who thought this little elephant was very talented because its box was full of coins!