You’re stranded in a foreign city for a day with no money and no friends. Where do you go; what do you do?
I walk and watch and walk and watch. I’ve always found this the best way to get to know a city. I’ve travelled to various countries and done different types of city break, but I’ve always found the best trips have been where I’ve looked back and realised that I haven’t spent the whole time whizzing from one tourist attraction to the next or spending ridiculous amounts of money on an open top bus tour in the rain. Instead I’ve spent hours walking around a city going with the flow of the locals and consequently finding great little places to eat, unexpected views across the city or fascinating little markets where there’s plenty of people watching opportunities. When you’re traveling on your own you always meet people who are want to show you their city, if only to have practice at speaking English with you!
The only place where I’ve found this really difficult to achieve was in Washington DC where no-one walked anywhere. I couldn’t believe that a capital city could have so few people out and about. When I went to the area around all the museums it was heaving with tourists who seemed to be on a mission to see everything and, as a result, didn’t see anything. I found it completely overwhelming and cut my time in the city short and moved on to Philadelphia where I fell in love with the old town feel and a friendly hostel and stayed a little longer.