The best thing to do on holidays
My perceptions of holidays are changing. In the past they were a period of time to complete the checklist of pre-ordained sites I ‘had to see’. I’ve been to plenty of museums and galleries in my time and seen many interesting things.
However, I’ve been having something of a revolutionary mind-set reworking. Holidays are really good for chilling. Seriously. You don’t need to work, you don’t need to do anything, you just need to get your flight at the end of it. Just find a café and relax.
Now, this isn’t always how I behave. In fact, I felt incredibly tense in Istanbul until I knew that we were going to see all of the big sites. But some of the things I enjoyed most about the trip were just sat drinking Turkish coffee, eating some food on a terrace or enjoying a shisha pipe. They were relaxing times.
It’s at these points that you can really take stock of your surroundings and realise you are in a different country which behaves in a different way.
Of course I can’t knock people for dutifully going to see the top 10 in a guide book, but I feel that I’ve seen more art, old coins and pottery to last a lifetime.
The bits of sites I often think are the most impressive are the buildings, not necessarily what’s inside them. For instance, Topkapi palace in Istanbul is pretty cool from the outside, you can wander the gardens and come across a statue of the great Ataturk. But, from the inside, it’s just a collection of old stuff which you can’t see because everyone else is desperately trying to also see the old stuff.
I find I’m happiest standing outside and marvelling at the exterior designs. One of the few places I’ve been where it is imperative to go inside, is the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – it’s stunning.
The rest of the time I want to take the weight off my feet and relax, or get on a bike and explore. You can people watch, you can chat with your friends and you can remind yourself that you aren’t at work. It’s brilliant and peaceful.
Saying this, I will still 100% be anxious to see whatever a city has to offer. If I go somewhere which has a must-see museum, there will need to be some convincing to pull me away from it, but my perceptions are changing…