What do you do in slow travels?

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flyingaway
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What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am

People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?

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Pajamas
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:19 am

I haven't heard the term "slow travels" in particular, but when you stay in a place for more than a couple of weeks, you get a different perspective on it. Shopping for food, dealing with the trash and recyclables, the weekday vs. weekend rhythm, maybe even experiencing different seasons. You create routines, see and say hello to the same people on a regular basis. The place becomes familiar rather than strange. It's not the same as living there over the long term, but it's a different experience from a short-term visit focused on tourism.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:23 am

What do you do at home?

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:30 am

I try to learn native ways unfamiliar to me, learn words in the native tongue and just live life like a native person to that country. Personally if one isn't interested in doing those things, they should probably consider just seeing the attraction that brought them and move on to somewhere else.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:33 am

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:41 am

I haven't done this in a foreign country, but in the past few years my wife and I have made road trips within the U.S. that took six weeks or more. A few years ago we actually spent a total of eleven days camping in Custer State Park, South Dakota. I will admit that we were starting to get very slightly bored after about nine days, though.

Everything depends on what you are interested in, of course, but here are some things we've found to do.

1) If it's a place of natural beauty, revisit it several times. It is amazing how many different things you will see, and how different even the same place looks at different times of day with the light coming from different angles. At Custer State Park, there is a paved loop road that is 18 miles long which takes a couple of hours to drive, and I believe we drove it three times and it was different every time. Buffaloes one day, "begging burros" the next.

2) I use TripAdvisor's "Things to Do" search, and sites like "Roadside America," and "Only In Your State," and very often there is something that we really enjoy--not a "bucket list" thing, but a "by all means take the time to see it if you're passing through" thing. Here are a few. Each one of them was absolutely worth spending hours, half a day, more than half a day at.

Mission Oaks Gardens in Zanesville, Ohio.

The Rogue River Natural Bridge. We stumbled on this while we were driving to Crater Lake. It's not a bridge in the sense of being an arch, but a sort of a flat rocky area where a cascading stream suddenly vanishes into the rocks, to re-emerge a few hundred feet later.

Casey, Illinois, home of the World's Largest Pitchfork, the World's Largest Knitting Needles, the World's Largest Mailbox, etc.

The Campbell County Rockpile Museum in Gillette, Wyoming.

The Gooseberry Badlands Scenic Overlook and Trail, "near" (20 miles) from Thermopolis... which we visited the same day we visited the Legend Rock Petroglyphs.

Now, I have to say many people would find these boring or not worth the effort. You have to find these things for yourself.

3) My wife and I love to visit grocery stores away from home. Well, we used to. Over the last twenty years the U.S. has become so dominated by national supermarket chains that it's no longer as much fun. But, certainly, in a foreign country!

If it's at all possible, if you are in lodging that has its own kitchen, you can save money preparing some of your own meals and give yourself a reason to try a foreign supermarket. I remember when we visited the Netherlands being just blown away by the amazing number of wonderful and strange kinds of cheese we could find in any old supermarket.

4) Many, many city parks are just delightful to spend a couple of hours at.

5) If you are interested in a museum in the first place, then you will probably find that any big museum in a metropolitan area is worth more than one visit. You always get tired long before you've seen everything, and somewhere in the part of the museum you haven't visited you may find something much more appealing than the famous things every tourist looks at in the first hour.

6) I forgot to mention that on our Netherlands trip, about three weeks, my wife insisted that we not rent a car, and she was right. If we'd had the car we would have just used it for everything because it is just slightly intimidating trying to figure out how to use public transportation. Simply using public transportation can be a pleasant, mild, interesting little adventure all by itself.
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by msk » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:44 am

I think the OP is not ready for slow travel, yet. My 19 year-old daughter has just spent 41 days travelling through Indo China, including Siem Reap, but it certainly was not slow travel! They must have visited more than 15 different locations, including Hue and Yangon, by air, train, bus and boat. The way to put oneself into a slow travel mood is to book yourself into a house or apartment for a month or more. Certainly not in an expensive hotel where you will keep looking for value-for-money. Make sure there is good wi-fi so that you can sign in to BH :beer like I am doing right now. I am half way through my current slow-travel month.

PS you definitely need a partner. Bring along DW and you can enjoy nagging each other even while staring at that beautiful lake in New Zealand, just like at home :P

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:53 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
Rent a bike. Rent a Vespa. Shop. Go the beach. Go on a hike. Rent a boat. Rent a car. Find good wine? Have a case shipped home. Find good olive oil? Get 5 liter cans sent home. Go see an opera, ballet, soccer match, horse race, concert. Hunt down a great dining experience. Visit with each other. Visit with other tourists. Find some locals that speak your language and engage with them. They will be able to point you in the direction of things most tourists are clueless about. Explore off the beaten path.

Absorb the culture and history - that's why you are there. What do they eat? What do they drink? What do they do in their free time? Where do they go to unwind? How do they greet each other? What is considered socially acceptable in their culture? How does it differ from yours? What do you see, observe, notice?

A language doesn't exist without the culture. The culture doesn't exist without the language. There is so much to learn, absorb and enjoy, that if you miss the language/cultural aspect - you've just missed out on a huge component of the experience.

If you do all of that, you will be hard pressed to have a boring moment on a travel trip. Sure, you need to sit down and rest with a cup of coffee, or mid-afternoon snack, or glass of booze every now and then - but don't stop learning, absorbing, experiencing for a minute while you travel.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:56 am

msk wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:44 am
I think the OP is not ready for slow travel, yet. My 19 year-old daughter has just spent 41 days travelling through Indo China, including Siem Reap, but it certainly was not slow travel! They must have visited more than 15 different locations, including Hue and Yangon, by air, train, bus and boat. The way to put oneself into a slow travel mood is to book yourself into a house or apartment for a month or more. Certainly not in an expensive hotel where you will keep looking for value-for-money. Make sure there is good wi-fi so that you can sign in to BH :beer like I am doing right now. I am half way through my current slow-travel month.

PS you definitely need a partner. Bring along DW and you can enjoy nagging each other even while staring at that beautiful lake in New Zealand, just like at home :P
Thanks. I have not been in a house or apartment in travel. I will certainly ask questions about that arrangements when I do slow travels. You are right that I am not in a slow travel mode yet. I have visited 10 countries last year and 9 so far this year. But I think I need to slow down, just do not know what to do if I slow down.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by KlingKlang » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:59 am

This is from my experience working outside the country rather than "slow travel". It is invaluable to make friends with a local person or family and go with them to the same attractions, parks, restaurants, stores, and churches that they do rather than the tourist attractions. It gives you a totally different perspective on a city.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Katietsu » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:09 am

I get bored just "looking at an attraction." I want "do something" there. In Paris, go to mass at Notre Dame. Read a book or draw amongst the sculptures in the Louvre. Do a day hike or longer into the Grand Canyon. Catch and cook your own crabs on the Eastern Shore. Swim in the San Francisco Bay. Work for a week or two at an archeology site in whatever part of the world interests you. Take a class on olive oils or balsamic vinegars in the Mediterranean. Take a bonsai class in Japan.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:26 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?

Cook your meals. Shop for food. Daily tasks.
Meet your neighbors.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:37 am

Find a hobby that travels with you. Fishing, skiing, hiking, painting, scuba diving, etc Its hard to "live like a local" when the locals work all day but you don't. The best vacations I've had are when I'm traveling for an activity and experiencing the different culture and food that way vs just checking off a list of sights to see.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by climber2020 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:56 am

Hiking. Most places other than large metropolitan areas (which I personally avoid) have at least a few hiking trails that can easily kill a few days. Activities can also be scheduled with more free time in between to allow for rest and interesting things that may unexpectedly pop up.

Example: for our honeymoon, we spent a week in Easter Island (some thoughts about this great place here if anyone is interested in going). A motivated tourist could easily see most if not all the sights on the island in 2 days. We went at a more leisurely pace, limited our sightseeing to just a few places each day, and revisited interesting locations several times. There were also some great trails we hiked that many tourists never get around to doing.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:12 am

In a city? I try to get out. Out of the city. On a recent trip, I went canoeing, hiking, and cycling. Days on end of each. I only spent 2 nights in the same hotel and many nights in a tent.

One can only eat a few times a day and drink so much coffee and alcohol, so after museums and attractions, the "vibe" of a place is pretty much just like living at home only more expensive and harder.
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:19 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:12 am
In a city? I try to get out. Out of the city. On a recent trip, I went canoeing, hiking, and cycling. Days on end of each. I only spent 2 nights in the same hotel and many nights in a tent.

One can only eat a few times a day and drink so much coffee and alcohol, so after museums and attractions, the "vibe" of a place is pretty much just like living at home only more expensive and harder.
So for slow travels, we need to get used to inexpensive hotels? I need to talk to my wife about that. She has been complaining about my hotel choices, not up to her standards.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:23 am

climber2020 wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:56 am
Hiking. Most places other than large metropolitan areas (which I personally avoid) have at least a few hiking trails that can easily kill a few days.
You can do this in large metropolitan cities as well, it just isn't called "hiking". It's just called walking around :). Quite a few cities have organised walks nowadays. Usually around a theme like architecture or history or ghosts. But when people go hiking in the wilderness they don't have themes. They just walk and see what they see. The same thing works just fine in cities except we're all brainwashed to think cities and the people living in them can't also be beautiful in their own way.

If you're not sure where to start, look up a photography tour since almost by definition they are about seeing the everyday beauty in cities.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by oxothuk » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:36 am

climber2020 wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:56 am
Hiking.
+1
My wife and I have taken several self-guided walking tours in Europe where we stay in a very small region for 1-2 weeks. There are lots of companies who organize tours like this, but our favorite is www.inntravels.co.uk

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:38 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:23 am
climber2020 wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:56 am
Hiking. Most places other than large metropolitan areas (which I personally avoid) have at least a few hiking trails that can easily kill a few days.
You can do this in large metropolitan cities as well, it just isn't called "hiking". It's just called walking around :). Quite a few cities have organised walks nowadays. Usually around a theme like architecture or history or ghosts. But when people go hiking in the wilderness they don't have themes. They just walk and see what they see. The same thing works just fine in cities except we're all brainwashed to think cities and the people living in them can't also be beautiful in their own way.

If you're not sure where to start, look up a photography tour since almost by definition they are about seeing the everyday beauty in cities.
That was exactly what I did in every evening, walking around the city, when I was travelling alone. But I could not go far away from the hotel due to safety concerns.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:48 am

Another thing to do is to meet like-minded travelers and do things together in your location. I have also talked to people on my flight or in my train compartment. More than once I was invited to dinner at home with "the family" upon arrival. On the way to Rome, my new friend's parents ran a family restaurant in their neighborhood. What a great evening!
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by victw » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:51 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
OP - I'm still working on the art of slow travel. I was in in Siem Reap about 12 years ago - and if I remember correctly the town exists only as a base for visiting Angkor Wat. I loved Angkor Wat and will go back. But Siem Reap - not a place I would plan on hanging.

There are similar places on other trips where the place of notice was either a day trip or a destination spot. Last year it was the Alhambra in Granada Spain. I wasn't interested in spending more time other than the focus attractions - but we did extend our time in Barcelona - to slow down.

We tend to extend our time in cities that are larger and have more activities that could be enjoyed by spreading them out rather than planning non-stop morning, afternoon and evening activities.

Nice discussion.
Vic

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:53 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:19 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:12 am
In a city? I try to get out. Out of the city. On a recent trip, I went canoeing, hiking, and cycling. Days on end of each. I only spent 2 nights in the same hotel and many nights in a tent.

One can only eat a few times a day and drink so much coffee and alcohol, so after museums and attractions, the "vibe" of a place is pretty much just like living at home only more expensive and harder.
So for slow travels, we need to get used to inexpensive hotels? I need to talk to my wife about that. She has been complaining about my hotel choices, not up to her standards.
Hotels are less than ideal for slow travel. You get a bed, a bathroom, and maybe a tiny balcony. If you're lucky, there might be a refrigerator and microwave, but that seems less common overseas.

You need to look at apartments and homes via sites like AirBNB or VRBO. There are weekly and monthly discounts. We took our kids to Paris and Iceland this spring, staying in AirBNB rentals in both places. We had 2-bedroom apartments with full kitchens near the city centers for less than the cost of a hotel room. You feel more like a local / neighbor when you live among them rather than staying in a hotel among other tourists and business travelers.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:55 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:48 am
Another thing to do is to meet like-minded travelers and do things together in your location. I have also talked to people on my flight or in my train compartment. More than once I was invited to dinner at home with "the family" upon arrival. On the way to Rome, my new friend's parents ran a family restaurant in their neighborhood. What a great evening!
I would do these sort of things when I was young and fearless. These days, I am afraid of scammed by "over-friendly" strangers in a foreign city. I guess I need to be more open.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by wilked » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:59 am

As others said, just live...

What would you do if you were at home? Do you enjoy walking? Then walk. Hiking, biking? Do that. Are you a foodie? Go try local cuisine, take a cooking class with local ingredients. Learn the language, try going the day with speaking as little English as you can. Make friends, it shouldn't be too hard to find expats or travelers if you work at it a little. Or even better meet someone local who has decent English, and you can help each other learn the language and cultures of each other.

In short, exit Lonely Planet and enter the real world. Just experience things, let it come to you

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by wstrdg » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:16 am

Atlas Obscura is a wiki-driven encyclopedia of quirky spots to visit, the types of things that often only the locals know about. www.atlasobscura.com/

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:20 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:55 am
I would do these sort of things when I was young and fearless. These days, I am afraid of scammed by "over-friendly" strangers in a foreign city. I guess I need to be more open.
It works both ways. They could believe you are trying to scam them.
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Lynette » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:25 am

I took a course in Italian at my community college and then spent a wonderful 10 days in Rome. I'm not Catholic but in Rome .. so I went to St. John's Lateran for mass on Christmas even. The padre asked people to turn around and greet one another. What fun - no one knew I was a foreigner. Once on my way from Naples to Sorrento, the crew on the regional line went on strike and we got dumped at a station. We all grumbled rather anxiously. Finally a train arrived to take us to Sorrento. I was highly amused by the courteous young people who stood up to give an elderly lady a seat. I'm old but quite mobile. Again - such fun. I can understand some French, Italian, Spanish and German. I'd only spend time on my own in a city where I could partially understand the language - and there was good transportation.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:56 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc.
Even if you are hopping from city to city you will quickly get your fill of seeing sites like that even if you are seeing a different city each day. More than once I have skipped things on the "best of lists" just because I had just seen something similar a few days before.

We try to travel in the shoulder season where getting advance reservations is not necessary in most places so I will usually not make my hotel reservations more than a day or two in advance unless it is some key date. This means that if we don't find some place interesting we can just move on earlier than expected, or stay longer at places we are enjoying.

As others have mentioned going for hikes or walks is often a good choice. Taking day trips from a city will also give you a lot more variety and many countries have national parks that are worth going to. We also try to plan a mix of large cities and sites in the countryside to give us more variety.

We have also scheduled "vacations from vacation" in our travel plans and spent a few days at a beach or lake where we just relaxed in the middle of a longer trip.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by THY4373 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:20 pm

wstrdg wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:16 am
Atlas Obscura is a wiki-driven encyclopedia of quirky spots to visit, the types of things that often only the locals know about. www.atlasobscura.com/
I love Atlas Obscura I have visited some very cool places I wouldn't have otherwise.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:27 pm

I walked el Camino de Santiago two times, in 2015 and again in 2016. Each time I walked 800 kilometers (500 miles) for six weeks. Both 800 km and 6 weeks look impressive until you divide the distance by the time and calculate that my average speed was only 18 km/day (12 mi/day). It was a slow but also a very stimulating and social experience.

This year I spent four weeks in the Czech Republic and plan to do it again in 2018. The first two weeks I spend in Prague taking a language course. The remainder of my trip I travel around and try to put my limited language skills to work. It helps that I have friends in many places around Czechia. But on my next trip, I will spend two weeks in Karlovy Vary where I don't know anyone. I want to experience various wellness spa treatments there after having sampled them this year in Luhacovice.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by otinkyad » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:23 pm

Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:56 am
flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc.
We have also scheduled "vacations from vacation" in our travel plans and spent a few days at a beach or lake where we just relaxed in the middle of a longer trip.
We like the vacation from vacation as well. Often you will end up where the locals have escaped to.

I second the apartment idea, grocery shopping and living more like locals. We also do home exchanges for a month. Day trips are great, and we also like weekend getaways to get a flavor of other places without traveling too much.

Location matters, too. It's impossible to exhaust Paris or Tokyo. Cambodia, maybe not so much, depending on your interests. I've been surprised, though. I thought Denmark would be more relaxing/boring than, say, London, Paris, or Italy, but it didn't turn out that way at all.

I'd actually like to find a nice but not spectacular place with not too much to do. I have lots of things I would like to do, but I need to get away from home to break out of bad habits. Being someplace foreign would add flavor, even if you mostly did your own thing.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:30 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:27 pm
I walked el Camino de Santiago two times, in 2015 and again in 2016. Each time I walked 800 kilometers (500 miles) for six weeks. Both 800 km and 6 weeks look impressive until you divide the distance by the time and calculate that my average speed was only 18 km/day (12 mi/day). It was a slow but also a very stimulating and social experience.

This year I spent four weeks in the Czech Republic and plan to do it again in 2018. The first two weeks I spend in Prague taking a language course. The remainder of my trip I travel around and try to put my limited language skills to work. It helps that I have friends in many places around Czechia. But on my next trip, I will spend two weeks in Karlovy Vary where I don't know anyone. I want to experience various wellness spa treatments there after having sampled them this year in Luhacovice.

Victoria
Those are certainly slow travels.

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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:13 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
I agree with you. A lot of places that are interesting to me to visit would be terrible places for me to live, even short-term. Like Manhattan. If I'm going to "slow travel" I'm going someplace where I can do stuff I like to do just like at home- ski, climb, bike etc. So slow travel to Switzerland sounds awesome. Slow travel to Tokyo? Not so much.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

Volkdancer
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by Volkdancer » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:12 pm

I like to do extended traveling: ten weeks driving in eastern Europe before the change; ten weeks in Meso America by bus from San Pedro Sula to San Jose; three and one half months driving from North Carolina to New Mexico, Big Bend to Santa Fe dancing, camping, hiking; two 100+ days traveling in Asia. As long as I am paying the airfare there, I am going to get my money's worth.

Once in a place or area, taking more time than the average tourist because I prefer to travel on my own: five weeks in six weeks in Thailand, five in Japan, almost four weeks by train and bus from HCMC/Saigon to Hanoi. So what if you don't know the language. That is part of the fun for me, trying to work it out. One does have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

And when I am in an area, doing a lot of walking to see what I can see between the usual tourist sites. I love to walk through neighborhoods: in Paris from Parc Montsouri to Montmartre; in Jaipur from Old Jaipur to the airport; in Tokyo from Ueno to Roppongi by way of the Imperial Palace; in New York from Central Park to the Battery by way of the Brooklyn Bridge (over and back), Chinatown etcetera. I take my time, a day pack and nibble and window shop. What fun to accidentally find a rowdy Oktoberfest in process in Tokyo: beer and edamame and fried potatoes and a live band of German immigres.

Karl V

alter
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by alter » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:24 pm

I think if you have to ask this question, then you are visiting the wrong places for you. Go visit the places where you don't run out of things to do.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:03 pm

Last year, we bought a book for hiking trails in the Cotswold area. We set out to hike every day for 2-3 miles. We also rented an apartment in a London and enjoyed shopping and cooking the local food and vegetables. The vegetables there are so delicious. We went to the same breakfast place everyday for croissant and coffee, soaked up the atmosphere, then hopped on the train to either a free museum or park. We didn't rush to go anywhere. We took our time and were enjoying life like we're at home.
Next year it will be 2-3 months overseas again. I try not to stay at a hotel unless it's free or something. Frankly there are too many things to do.

avalpert
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by avalpert » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:01 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.
Siem Reap isn't the type of city you linger in - it exists as a town solely to cater to tourists at the ruins. Phnom Penh on the other hand is a place you can explore, wander, explore markets, get to know locals and how they live, marvel at the damage the do-gooders do when they move on the next destination etc. Or you take a slow travel on the Mekong (better from Southern Laos through to Northern Cambodia) getting to know life on the river as people have lived it for centuries.

Honestly, if your inclination is to start by going to the 'major (tourist) attractions' I would say you are already on the wrong track.

avalpert
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by avalpert » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:06 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:13 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
I agree with you. A lot of places that are interesting to me to visit would be terrible places for me to live, even short-term. Like Manhattan. If I'm going to "slow travel" I'm going someplace where I can do stuff I like to do just like at home- ski, climb, bike etc. So slow travel to Switzerland sounds awesome. Slow travel to Tokyo? Not so much.
Tokyo is a great base from which to do great skiing, climbing and biking excursions around Japan - and in between you can immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

daveydoo
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by daveydoo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:25 pm

PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:53 am

Hotels are less than ideal for slow travel. You get a bed, a bathroom, and maybe a tiny balcony. If you're lucky, there might be a refrigerator and microwave, but that seems less common overseas.

You need to look at apartments and homes via sites like AirBNB or VRBO. There are weekly and monthly discounts. We took our kids to Paris and Iceland this spring, staying in AirBNB rentals in both places.
+1. Took the family to different European destinations every other year for almost the past decade. We always (always) rent through HomeAway (or similar) and stay in a flat or a home in a residential(ish) area but very close to subway (tube, metro, etc.). For the size of our group, it's actually cheaper than hotel. You get immersed immediately. Spouse insists on finding the bakeries and gelaterias and grocery stores and laundromats that first day. DD picks a running route. DS maps out the good food within walking distance (maybe in Michelin guide but not starred). We see the sights "downtown" but come home to "our" neighborhood and might dine at a local restaurant or get tapas close by. There's some work involved -- before and during -- but you really get a feel for a place and the people pretty quickly. Our best memories were some of these off-the-grid explorations or wandering around for an impromptu hike -- seeing cool cars and cool architecture. I confess I would not do this without spouse's influence.

flyingaway
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:04 am

daveydoo wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:25 pm
PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:53 am

Hotels are less than ideal for slow travel. You get a bed, a bathroom, and maybe a tiny balcony. If you're lucky, there might be a refrigerator and microwave, but that seems less common overseas.

You need to look at apartments and homes via sites like AirBNB or VRBO. There are weekly and monthly discounts. We took our kids to Paris and Iceland this spring, staying in AirBNB rentals in both places.
+1. Took the family to different European destinations every other year for almost the past decade. We always (always) rent through HomeAway (or similar) and stay in a flat or a home in a residential(ish) area but very close to subway (tube, metro, etc.). For the size of our group, it's actually cheaper than hotel. You get immersed immediately. Spouse insists on finding the bakeries and gelaterias and grocery stores and laundromats that first day. DD picks a running route. DS maps out the good food within walking distance (maybe in Michelin guide but not starred). We see the sights "downtown" but come home to "our" neighborhood and might dine at a local restaurant or get tapas close by. There's some work involved -- before and during -- but you really get a feel for a place and the people pretty quickly. Our best memories were some of these off-the-grid explorations or wandering around for an impromptu hike -- seeing cool cars and cool architecture. I confess I would not do this without spouse's influence.
For those of you who rented an apartment, house, or room, in another country, have you ever got into problems with the hosts about broken glass cups, missing items, extra cleaning bills, etc.?

curmudgeon
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by curmudgeon » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:29 am

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:04 am
daveydoo wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:25 pm
PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:53 am

Hotels are less than ideal for slow travel. You get a bed, a bathroom, and maybe a tiny balcony. If you're lucky, there might be a refrigerator and microwave, but that seems less common overseas.

You need to look at apartments and homes via sites like AirBNB or VRBO. There are weekly and monthly discounts. We took our kids to Paris and Iceland this spring, staying in AirBNB rentals in both places.
+1. Took the family to different European destinations every other year for almost the past decade. We always (always) rent through HomeAway (or similar) and stay in a flat or a home in a residential(ish) area but very close to subway (tube, metro, etc.). For the size of our group, it's actually cheaper than hotel. You get immersed immediately. Spouse insists on finding the bakeries and gelaterias and grocery stores and laundromats that first day. DD picks a running route. DS maps out the good food within walking distance (maybe in Michelin guide but not starred). We see the sights "downtown" but come home to "our" neighborhood and might dine at a local restaurant or get tapas close by. There's some work involved -- before and during -- but you really get a feel for a place and the people pretty quickly. Our best memories were some of these off-the-grid explorations or wandering around for an impromptu hike -- seeing cool cars and cool architecture. I confess I would not do this without spouse's influence.
For those of you who rented an apartment, house, or room, in another country, have you ever got into problems with the hosts about broken glass cups, missing items, extra cleaning bills, etc.?
We haven't had any issues across the five or so rentals we have done by pre-arranging. I have heard of a few cases where people arrived to find the apartment not as described, or even not available. Short term rentals are a pretty fuzzy space. Some cities there are multiple agents listing the same apartment, and I've seen a lot on VRBO that look like cut-and-past jobs. AirBNB has a review and reputation system, but it felt too intrusive to me as a renter, so we have used other sites. My strong preference is to rent from an agency with a local office, even though I often find the listings on VRBO. The local presence and some degree of reviews on travel sites gives me a higher degree of comfort that the rental is legal (and legit). It's pretty common that the booking agency takes their booking fee cut via credit card, but the actual owner/manager of the specific apartment wants cash on arrival for the rent.

A hotel is definitely a much more cut-and-dried, secure experience. Renting this way can take some folks a bit out of their comfort zone; it's not for everyone.

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midareff
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by midareff » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:37 am

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
I was in Siem Reap to see the Angkor ruins over 4 days a few years ago. It was like barely scratching the surface. Two and done certainly isn't in depth. Did you at least get to the night market? Spend any time talking with the locals? Try any local food? Many locals speak some english.

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CABob
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by CABob » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:43 pm

You might find interesting the book, A Year of Sundays, which is about a couple (and cat) spending a year in Europe at a limited number of locations.
Bob

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lthenderson
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:25 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:19 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:12 am
In a city? I try to get out. Out of the city. On a recent trip, I went canoeing, hiking, and cycling. Days on end of each. I only spent 2 nights in the same hotel and many nights in a tent.

One can only eat a few times a day and drink so much coffee and alcohol, so after museums and attractions, the "vibe" of a place is pretty much just like living at home only more expensive and harder.
So for slow travels, we need to get used to inexpensive hotels? I need to talk to my wife about that. She has been complaining about my hotel choices, not up to her standards.
One of my favorite ways to stay when traveling slow is at bed and breakfast places, especially overseas. You can negotiate large blocks of time and don't have to worry about furnishings or rental agreements. You start the day eating breakfast with the owner and a half dozen other guests and get to hear about places/ideas you might not have considered. I usually at some point ask my host for a great local restaurant (or four) off the beaten path of the tourists and have never been led wrong.

halfnine
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by halfnine » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:02 pm

As others have indicated, it's just not something you really do out of a hotel. Get an apartment or a house and live out of it. If it's for less then 2 months you will likely still want to be fairly close to the city centre or main attractions of wherever you are staying. Longer than that and you can put yourself even a further distance out which would generally be cheaper and give you more access to the local vibe and neighborhood.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:14 pm

avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:06 pm
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:13 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
I agree with you. A lot of places that are interesting to me to visit would be terrible places for me to live, even short-term. Like Manhattan. If I'm going to "slow travel" I'm going someplace where I can do stuff I like to do just like at home- ski, climb, bike etc. So slow travel to Switzerland sounds awesome. Slow travel to Tokyo? Not so much.
Tokyo is a great base from which to do great skiing, climbing and biking excursions around Japan - and in between you can immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.
Your definition of a great base and mine are very different. I think Chamonix is a great base. Tokyo is nothing like Chamonix.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

avalpert
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by avalpert » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:16 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:14 pm
avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:06 pm
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:13 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?
I agree with you. A lot of places that are interesting to me to visit would be terrible places for me to live, even short-term. Like Manhattan. If I'm going to "slow travel" I'm going someplace where I can do stuff I like to do just like at home- ski, climb, bike etc. So slow travel to Switzerland sounds awesome. Slow travel to Tokyo? Not so much.
Tokyo is a great base from which to do great skiing, climbing and biking excursions around Japan - and in between you can immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.
Your definition of a great base and mine are very different. I think Chamonix is a great base. Tokyo is nothing like Chamonix.
I liked Chamonix too

renue74
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by renue74 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:31 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:25 pm
One of my favorite ways to stay when traveling slow is at bed and breakfast places, especially overseas. You can negotiate large blocks of time and don't have to worry about furnishings or rental agreements. You start the day eating breakfast with the owner and a half dozen other guests and get to hear about places/ideas you might not have considered. I usually at some point ask my host for a great local restaurant (or four) off the beaten path of the tourists and have never been led wrong.
+1. A few years ago I did a lot more traveling (for work) and I got to the point where I would choose B&Bs. It was nice to have human interaction outside of working on a project and I would get to know the B&B owners. Many times, I would travel during non-peak vacation times and I would be the only person in a 5 bedroom huge B&B. The owner spent more time talking, would even eat breakfast with me. It was also nice to get 1st hand accounts of local attractions.

The other feature of a B&B is it feels like home...sort of. Most of the bedrooms I stayed in were huge and I had access to sitting areas, kitchens, etc.

Of course this was before AirBnB was popular...but still, I find that I could get a decent B&B at a much lower cost than hotels.

WhyNotUs
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:58 pm

I love to spend time in Maui. Fruit and cereal, beach time (swim, paddle, surf, read, snorkel, or similar), then lunch/nap, hike in the afternoon, sundowner, fresh food for dinner, read, sleep. Repeat the next day until I go home.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

seychellois_lib
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Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Post by seychellois_lib » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:58 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:26 am
flyingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 am
People are talking about slow travels in retirement, i.e., to spend a week or a month in a place in another country. I just don't know what people do in a foreign city (not speaking the local language) after they finish seeing museums, castles, churches, ruins, etc. I was in Siem Reap of Cambodia this summer and took two days to see the Angkor ruins. But after that, there seemed not many interesting things to do there. I saw many westerners just sitting at the bars in the evening on the Pub Street. Similar things can be said about Bratislava in Slovakia, a small nice city is worth one day visit. After the first day, you just sit at coffee shops watching people.

What do you do in a city in slow travels (after seeing the major attractions)?

Cook your meals. Shop for food. Daily tasks.
Meet your neighbors.

Excellent advice!! Unexpected adventures often ensue. Good, cold beer sweetens the pot.

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