7 Ways to Make Your City Break Memorable
City breaks are often shorter than full length holidays and making the most of your time can be an exercise in logistics as much as it is in leisure. Follow these seven tips for a memorable experience wherever you choose to go…
Take a Risk and Scare Yourself
This does not mean cross the road without looking, steal a car, skydive under the influence or expose yourself to a police officer. This does not, under any uncertain terms, mean put yourself or others in danger. It does however mean that your comfort zone is probably boring.
It is likely that you spend the majority of your life doing stuff that you are very comfortable with. But whilst you are away make sure that you push your comfort zone a bit. You could find yourself starting to live a lifestyle that gives you a great deal of satisfaction, after all we travel to expand our understanding of both the world, and of ourselves.
Maps, guide books, tourist information, sometimes it can get a little over complicated. There are many ways to learn your way around somewhere new, but the unrivalled best, is getting lost.
Getting lost is the most immersive way of orientating yourself. A great tip is every now and again turn around and take a mental snapshot, that way you see how it will look when you come back from the other way.
Order Something in a Foreign Language … and Eat it
Two things that will always go down well with the locals; making the effort, and trying something they love. This is particularly effective when you combine language with food. Eating local cuisine is a must in any city, and there are traditional foods and drinks for almost every corner of any city worth visiting.
Indulge your tongue with a linguistic and culinary combo, by ordering something in the native language. *Extra points for those who select a particularly adventurous option and whoever is able to order without making the waiter laugh.
Cities are busy. There is a good chance that you are in one now; being busy. At some point today you may leave the office or home, but you will be going somewhere, doing something, with little time for anything else. Stop doing this, especially when you are on a break.
The truth is there is a lot to be said for doing nothing. You will look up and see a city where a different way of life is embraced. Maybe it is faster than yours at home, maybe it’s slower. How do they live? It’s only when you stop doing anything that you can appreciate what you really want to do with your day.
Travel Like the Locals
Embracing the maze of public transport is a brilliant way of discovering a city and whether it’s a red double-decker bus, a yellow cab, gondolas or a swarm of rickshaws, it is possible for transport to become an icon of a city and its people. It is true that at their worst they can descend into kitsch novelty acts, but at their best they are the purest and most honest way of immersing yourself in other people’s lives.
It’s often very cheap and convenient, whilst it forces you to interact. So rather than following the cool and computerised tones of your satnav, take the tramlines, and absorb the chatter of a city you came all this way to explore.
See a Sporting Event You Do Not Understand
Every city has a sport. That may sound like a generalisation but it’s almost universally true. Watching an event with some locals is a great way to get a bit closer to their culture and offers instantaneous acceptance. Win, lose or draw, if you stand with
them you are one of them.
This becomes even more pronounced if you have absolutely no idea what is going on. What better way to overload your senses then by getting involved in the tribalism of a sporting event that you are completely new to. The more raucous the better.
Old and New
Most modern cities are clean and safe, and although vital regeneration projects give cities a bright future in a post-industrialist age, many modern parts, especially the shopping quarters can be carbon copies of each other.
The thing to remember however is that many modern cities are not actually that modern. The old parts may have been mostly flattened during conflicts, or simply consumed by redevelopment, but clinging on in little protected corners, or as the odd architectural gem, the old town survives. Seek these out and you will be witness to the cities true beginnings.