Timing is Everything
The amount of time allocated to a stay in any particular place, irrespective of where it is, is absolutely crucial to the lingering reminiscence of the location. It is better to have too little time than too much time in a place.If you stay too long it will erode much (if not all) of the positive side of any stay. The tricky thing is to work out, in advance, how long is not too long.
To leave wanting more is so much better than not being able to wait to leave. If you over do a stay it will degrade almost everything that you have seen and done.In my younger days (and pre discount Internet bookings) I used to travel without any hard and fast plans about how long I would stay in any particular place. I had researched the places I wanted to go to and worked out how long I thought I might like to stay but had the flexibility of leaving earlier or staying longer.
These days everything is pre booked, to take advantage of significant discounts, and the ability to leave early (or stay longer) without financial loss or disadvantage is no longer there. Whether you get it wrong or right may not become obvious until you leave.
As an example of when I got it right …..
I recently went to Barcelos in northern Portugal to see the Thursday Market. I arrived at around midday on the Wednesday and checked into the Hotel do Terco (very nice hotel and only 45 Euro). I had enough time to casually stroll around the small town and take in the major sights. Dinner was in a great BBQ chicken restaurant and off to bed for an early night.Up bright and early the next day to take in the very busy and colourful market. About 2 1/2 hours in the market was enough, any more and it might have become at risk of loosing some of it’s charm. I left the hotel at 1200 midday and caught the train to Porto.
This timing was perfect, I left Barcelos with very pleasant memories (that linger clearly) of the sights, sounds and culinary delights that I discovered in this little town.Another hour at the market or another night in town would have run the risk of me feeling eager to leave and having the feeling of just wanting to go as the lingering recollection of Barcelos.
As an example of when I got it wrong …..
Coimbra, also in northern Portugal, was great for the first day and a half. Unfortunately I had decided it was worth a 3 day stay and now my clearest recollection (from October 2009) is of being glad to leave.