We drifted past the magnets, books and location-themed post cards in the gift shop and out into the grandiose gravel and grass courtyard of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. At our backs, the luxurious Baroque facade whispered of long ago soirees. But it was an Italian man on our right, speaking to his travel companions, that captured the feeling of moment perfectly. “I’m so tired of all of this history!”
It’s a weird feeling, but common one, to have traveled halfway across the globe in giddy excitement to see this sight or that museum only to arrive and be exhausted from seeing and experiencing all you had desperately wanted to see. In that way, historical sights and chocolate are very similar, nearly everyone likes some, but too much can make you sick.
Pairings are Key
We’ve found the best way to consume historical sights is with a heaping dose of non-historic activities. If you are headed to a museum, stop at a Christmas market on your way. Did you just finish a four-hour marathon session in the Louvre? Plan to for a trip to a cafe to get some pain au chocolat. Do you feel like you’ve become an actual prisoner in the Tower of London? Spend the evening at a pub or at one of London’s many clubs.
Seasoned Travel Tip: Check out our favorite Christmas markets.
Just like pairing chocolate with fruit can lift a heavy dessert, pairing a heavy museum with a fun activity will revitalize you and lift your travel spirits. Traveling is a great time to try something you wouldn’t normally do at home, so give yourself permission to mix it up.
Variety is the Spice of Life
I know, castles are amazing. I love a good castle, I even love bad castles. But my passion for an evocative ruin starts to fade after I’ve seen the third one in as many days. Mix up your historical sights. Start with a renaissance art museum, then a WWII exhibit, followed by a medieval armor exhibit. By mixing in a variety of historical time periods you can maintain that excitement for seeing more.
If all you eat is dark chocolate, your palette will become bored and overworked. Try mint, milk, caramel or any other flavor of travel that you can imagine.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes the best plan of action is to do nothing at all. A whole day spent relaxing at your hotel, beach or nearby park can rejuvenate your spirits. The key for me is to make sure that the time is unstructured. Don’t plan to be at the beach from 11:30 to 1:15; instead, just go when you want and come back when you want. I find that by early afternoon, boredom has started to sink in, and I’m ready to go back out into the wild and find something interesting to see or do.
If you just gorged on Halloween candy, you may need to wait a few days before eating something chocolate again. Same goes for historical sights, sometimes no amount of pairings or variation can revive you from a history coma.
What are your favorite tricks to avoid historical sight fatigue?