You’ve booked your flights and hotel. You’ve chosen what you think is a good central location. You’ve managed to navigate your way from the airport into the city centre, and have successfully checked in… now what. Where first? To eat or to get cracking on that tourist adventure you’ve been so excited about? You only have the weekend to fit it all in. You’ve heard that museum is worth a look, but at the same time there is that fantastic shopping district, not to mention the old quarter and the evening food festivals on the other side of the city.
Going for a mini-break is one of the best ways of globetrotting on a time and financial budget. Yet there is the age-old question of what elements of a particular city/region are the best. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve picked my top three or four things to do on a weekend away, I inevitably return home to hear some kind soul who has also been there tell me “oh if you didn’t get to see … then you haven’t really experienced the place!” I end up trying to save face by bigging up what I have done whilst secretly kicking myself for not having researched enough prior to departure!!
Not anymore, as salvation comes in the form of a travel guide with a difference.
The New York Times has, for over ten years produced a great column “36 Hours In“, offering tried and tested itineraries for different cities around the globe. More recently however, they have transformed these great pieces into fantastic books which (heads up!!) also make great Christmas presents for the keen traveller.
Available in the series are:
36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada
36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe
36 Hours: USA & Canada: Northeast
36 Hours: USA & Canada: Southeast
36 Hours: USA & Canada: Midwest & Great Lakes
36 Hours: USA & Canada: Southwest & Rocky Mountains
I picked up the Europe edition earlier this year and was blown away by it. The photos, practical itineraries and maps left me itching to book a last minute getaway and I’ve so far passed many many hours planning my next destination. The reasons I love it are twofold. Firstly, while it includes cities everybody would love to visit (Paris, Rome, London etc) and therefore probably know a lot about, it provides a great range of places you may not have considered before. There are places I’d only ever heard of in passing that have suddenly shot to the top of my “must visit” list! Secondly it is a great inspiration book, filled with beautiful images and ideas. I confess I frequently find myself procrastinating and filling my head with travel plans!
Of course half the fun of travel is the exploring you do on your own. The tiny winding streets with that amazing restaurant you stumbled upon and will probably never find again! I’m not saying don’t go your own way, but for those trying to get to grips with a place on limited time, this is certainly a really helpful start.
Have you read any of the books or the column?