Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vacation Time Concepts


Recently, I asked a Chicago-based friend who went to Iceland on her honeymoon, how long they were there.

"10 days," said my friend. "It was amazing to have such a long vacation. We toured the whole country."

Compare this to last year, when a German colleague asked about my upcoming vacation:

"I see you're away next week. Where are you going?"

"Spain," I answered. "Madrid, Granada, and Seville."

She looked at me in horror. "Three cities? In only ten days?" She scratched her head. "Why would you do that? Why do you not take three weeks?"

"Because I'm an American," I replied.

She didn't get it.


12 comments:

Kate said...

When I lived in London I'm afraid we always used to smirk at the American tourists whizzing through the capital at breakneck speed, cameras clicking furiously and no idea what they were looking at. But then if you get such meagre holiday entitlements, I guess you have to make the most of it! Was in your neck of the woods last week - stuck at Zurich airport!

Chantal said...

I smirk at American tourists now too, but with an understanding of their horrible vacation-time situation. My current minimum is 3 nights in a place, but I know compared to European standards, that's still rushing things. But that's the thing. When your company gives you only 10 vacation days a year (and sometimes makes you feel guilty for even using them) that's what you resort to. Running around Europe like a crazy person, trying to see so much, that actually, you end up seeing nothing.

Lori said...

I get it. Totally. The British say of us: If it's Wednesday, it must be London. :)

We like to spend two weeks in one area. We'll get a B&B and then tour within driving distance. We "tour" pubs, restaurants, dance halls, etc. You can't get the flavor of a place by going to museums. We're prone to immersing ourselves and hoping no one notices. :)

Lori said...

In fact, one of my most memorable experiences was attending Mass in Heiligenblut, Austria. You can't get more authentic than that!

Stephersplatz said...

Since moving to Zurich I've become a fan of the longer vacations as well. I also now really like taking long weekends in one city.

In May a few of my friends from the US were in Europe and I wanted to see all of them. I took a week off work and spent 2 days in Italy, 2 days in France, and 4 days in Dublin. My coworkers thought I was absolutely crazy...

Chantal said...

Longer vacations are ideal, if you can get it.

I think that's why so many American expats never want to go back home.

Elisa said...

LOL - that's really funny. A few months ago a fellow NY-based blogger told me about his mom going on a European cruise where she would see 15 cities in 20 days or something. And that was with the other 5 days accounted for, as traveling time. She was going to spend one day in Rome, one day in Venice, one day somewhere in Spain, one day somewhere in Greece, and so on. I thought it was ridiculous. Why not see 1/3 of the cities, but spend at least a few days in each? he said "visiting for one day is better than nothing".

I don't know, I'm not really with the fast-food school of travel. When I went to San Francisco for the first time last year I felt bad that we only had 9 days to see the city, and I knew there was lots I didn't get to see and enjoy. I'm guessing it's a European thing :-)

Chantal said...

I am guilty of once doing a European tour that covered 4 countries in 12 days. It was insanity, but as an American who had never gone to Europe and didn't know any better, somehow, I didn't notice. But after living in Europe, I don't think I could do something like that on that pace again. Never say never though. I am an American, after all...

Traveler For Good said...

Until I get the European 5-6 weeks of vacation, I will strive to maximize my traveling within my meager 3 weeks of vacation. For this vacation year it's a week to 10 days in three different countries on three different continents (spread over the course of the year). Oh, the joy I will have in September 2010 when I earn my 4 weeks of vacation!

Chantal said...

So I assume it took you 10 years to get 4 weeks of vacation? At least you'll have it in September!

Hattie said...

We took those long vacations with the kids when we lived in Swizerland. Now we live in Hawaii. We had a simply marvelous time last summer, spending one week in Rome and one week in Paris and felt that was long enough!
Funny how our perspective has changed.

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