Last week City Zapper interviewed me about Holiday Dilemmas. In this themed interview I answer a number of tricky questions about dilemmas that travel enthusiasts face. Do I prefer sun or snow? Within or outside Europe? Dubai or New York? This is an English translation of the interview that was originally done and published in Dutch on the website of City Zapper.
In daily life, Elisa is marketing manager in veterinary medicine, in her spare time travel blogger for her own website Flitter Fever. This name stands for the way Elisa loves to flitter from place to place (like a bird). And as a travel addict, she soon gets a restless, almost feverish feeling after returning home, the urge to travel again soon.
If she would not travel for a year, she still would have enough material to publish a new article on a weekly basis. However, that is not reality; she has got already trips planned to Egypt, Georgia, Ukraine, Iceland and Nicaragua for this year.
Summer or winter city trip?
“Difficult choice. Actually, I usually do city trips in the spring and autumn. In terms of costs, winter is often more favorable, but the temperature less; in summer it is too hot in many places and often much more expensive. You do get to enjoy blue skies more often in summer, which results in prettier pictures. If I really had to choose, I think I would go for a city trip in the summer. Or to a Northern European city where it is not too hot, like Tallinn.”
Within or outside Europe?
“Outside of Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I love Europe, Europe is beautiful. And this year again there are quite a few European destinations on my to-do-list. But that is actually more due to my boyfriend who doesn’t want to get too far away too often. Because if you travel outside of Europe, I prefer to go at least 2-3 weeks because of the travel distance. Outside Europe it feels more adventurous, really different cultures, landscapes, warm weather when back home in The Netherlands it is chilly and rainy… I love that! I am fine with having to spend hours on the plane for that.”
Dubai or New York?
“New York, absolutely. I have been to Dubai twice and five times to New York City. Dubai certainly has its pros, but New York has stolen my heart forever. Yes, it is crowded and dirty, but so great to be there! A powerful feeling that is difficult to describe. I used to want to live in the US and I did that for a while during my studies, but to be honest I wouldn’t want to do that anymore. I think that in the Netherlands we have a much better work-life balance. Nowadays I prefer to go to NYC in combination with another US destination, for example first to Florida or California. By the time you arrive in New York City, you have more or less already dealt with your jet lag, so you can fully enjoy everything that this fantastic city has to offer.”
Want to enjoy the nightlife or get up early to discover the city?
“Wake up early to discover the city. Especially when I travel alone. But from time to time also when we travel together. In Thailand, for example, I got up twice around 5 am to visit the temples in Chiang Mai and Bangkok early, when it is still nice and quiet, a bit cooler and you can see the sunrise and the monks. My boyfriend preferred to stay in bed in our hotel room, while I have got already half a day of adventure in my pocket! We meet again at breakfast or lunch, happily ever after. Every now and then that should be possible too, when traveling around together. Last year my boyfriend and I also travelled to Ibiza; there we obviously did enjoy the nightlife and went partying together.”
Explore the city on foot or by public transport?
“On foot. Of course it depends a bit on the city where you are, but in general I walk a lot during city trips. One day you can easily make 20 kilometers on foot. Walking around in a beautiful city with the sun high up the sky, isn’t it wonderful?”
Planning your entire schedule in advance or figuring everything out on the spot?
“I always prepare a mobile map in My Google Maps in advance, so that I know already where the most interesting spots are and can spend my time there sightseeing and enjoy the beautiful things. Not that I necessarily have to tick off all boxes in terms of sightseeing in a certain city, but in that way you have at least an idea of the things that you can do and see there, instead of having to find that out on the spot. To me, that would feel like a waste of my valuable time there. I prefer to sort that out at home on a rainy evening behind the laptop. Part of the pre-travel fun!”
Active holiday or lazy holiday?
“Preferably a combination of both. I like walking but I do not feel the urge to climb the Himalaya, so to say, it must be fun. I know my physical limits. A nice walk for a few hours and then some food and drinks. During a round trip I do like including a few days at the beach to relax a bit. Several years ago we went to Curaçao for 8 days, where we mainly relaxed on our beach towels. It felt like a honeymoon, but not so good for your waist line. Besides, in that way you do not get to see so much either. So after a few days, maximum one week at the beach, I think it is time to be more active again.”
Luxury or budget accommodation?
“Luxury. I always try to find accommodation with the best price-quality ratio, the best value for money. Good location, comfy beds, nice view, not too unattractive interior, friendly staff. Before booking any accommodation, I always read many reviews and post them myself afterwards. In Germany or Austria, the checkered curtains are part of the charm. But then I might go out and dine at a Michelin star restaurant down the street. I like a bit of luxury. Flitter also rhymes with glitter! Even better when the boss takes care of the bill. For example, I have been able to sleep at very nice upscale hotels for work, such as The Langham Xintiandi in Shanghai, with lots in pink, a 24/7 wine machine and pre-heated toilet seat, fantastic!”
Do you visit the highlights or rather the unknown places?
“Combination of both. In any case, I don’t like crowds, so I would rather get up early to visit a temple peacefully, than having to trudge between the crowds in the afternoon, having other people rub their sweaty skin against you while standing in line somewhere. Highlights are highlights for a reason; as a first-timer, usually you simply want to see those too. Before my trips I always do a lot of research and asking around with locals often also gathers interesting insiders’ tips, which can make you end up at amazing hidden gems. I love that feeling. A piece of paradise just for you.”
Never fly any more or never take the train again?
“Then I would choose to never take the train again. Flying is of course not so climate-friendly, but flying gets you much further much faster. Traveling by train can be fun, but never flying again would be a real disaster. I still want to see so much of the world… To Papua New Guinea by boat would become a very long journey. I don’t have enough vacation days for that!”
Skyscrapers or statues?
“I take pictures of statues more often than of skyscrapers, but that doesn’t say everything of course. Skyscrapers are often impressive, especially to us Dutch people, because we do not have so many in The Netherlands. But statues certainly have something fascinating, an artist worked hard on it, sometimes they are controversial. In Prague, for example, several creative, sometimes provocative statues by Czech artist David Černý can be found throughout the city, super cool.
For example the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro are of course very impressive, already by their gigantic size. Well, if I really had to choose, I would go for statues. I think it is a great honor to be immortalized as a statue. And skyscrapers are usually not really authentic. In China, for example, nowadays many old houses in villages have to make space for new skyscrapers, quite sad.”
Never going back to your favorite city or never discovering a new city again?
“Never back to my favorite city. I like discovering new places. Of course I have favorites but I don’t really have one favorite city. Many cities have their own charm. I have visited New York five times, so that is definitely a winner, but when I cycle around my home town Alkmaar, I keep falling in love again and again. Prague is also a city that I like to visit on a regular basis. Tokyo, London, Berlin, Seville, Saint Petersburg… all not a punishment to visit. But nothing feels as good as discovering a new city!”
Thank you Glenda Kregel of City Zapper for this lovely interview!
The original, Dutch version of this interview can be read on the website of City Zapper.