Since we’ve left Australia we’ve found our selves traveling in the “off season”, which has had many advantages and a few disadvantages.
None of us are really keen on loads of people and queueing for long periods of time, traveling when most tourists are at home has meant for quiet exploration of many famous spots. Yesterday we went up and explored the Acropolis for a few hours, there was hardly any body about so we could linger, taking it all in and even get a few photos without other people in them!
In Paris the weather was bitterly cold, but we steeled ourselves and took a boat trip on the Seine – the boat normally took maybe 500 people, we travelled with just 40 people – it was a much nicer although very cold experience.. Took us hours and hot chocolate all around to thaw out!
On Sebs birthday in Thailand, we went to the local theme park (Siam Park), which was awesome fun, especially because there was almost no queueing, getting a seat when we wanted one was easy and we could wonder around without bumping into other people.
If we hadn’t travelled to Paris in winter and gone up the Eiffel Tower in the cold we would never have known that you can ice skate on the Eiffel Tower for free from December to February! And again because it’s winter (off season), there aren’t too many other people skating with you. This would have to be my favourite off season experience so far.
Even booking accommodation or experiences/tours can be much cheaper in the shoulder or off peak time. In Bangkok we got a much better deal on our accommodation because we were staying in the shoulder season.
Of course there are also disadvantages of traveling in the off season, the chief one being many things that cater for tourists are closed. The island we visited (Evia) in Greece is so close to Athens that in summer many Athenians jump on the ferry for a long weekend in the sun.. The ferry town (Nea Stira) is almost a ghost town in the off season. We went there to buy groceries but most of the shops were closed – I imagine the town is really bustling in summer, which would add to the ambience.
Also many tourist attractions either don’t open or have reduced opening hours in the off season. This was something we found out in Chartres Cathedral in France. Mum really wanted to walk the cool labyrinth they have in the cathedral, so we went on the Friday when the literature told us the chairs are removed so you can do this. Unfortunately this is something that is only done in the high season (summer) and not in the dead of winter! So we missed out on that experience, but we did get to see the labyrinth just not walk it in its entirety.
As we’re doing all of our traveling in the northern hemisphere it can’t stay the off season – In fact we’re now on the slippery slope to spring and summer and therefore full on high season! Look out here come the people and the queues…
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