I learnt this phrase, “sight for sore eyes” from my father. He and mum were avid and adventurous travellers, and would return home with tales of many sights for sore eyes.
It is almost too easy to look for “sights for sore eyes” (SSE) in ‘pure’ nature — the Red Wood forests in California, the Grand Canyons, the Lake District in northern England, the Swiss Alps, etc.
What is more satisfying, in my view, is when the natural and man-made converge. An example is the farmlands in the rolling hills around Mevagissey (above), Cornwall, a favourite part of England for my wife and I. On our way home from a short vacation in Cornwall last year, we made a tea stop at the beautiful medieval market town of Shaftsbury in Dorset. The view of the Blackmore Vale from Gold Hill (below) is a 5-star SSE! This is not CG (Computer Graphics) nor some Hollywood stage set. This is real life, authentic convergence of nature and the man-made. I cannot think of a modern equivalent of this though I believe it is possible.
Then again, every time I visit one of the great cathedrals, I wonder if our modern mindset is misplaced for a successful integration of nature and the man-made. Take Bath Abbey (below) founded in 1499, for example. It’s breathtaking and is, also, for me, a sight for sore eyes.
We don’t make them like this anymore. But we should.