Ever been to a place for less than 24 hours but there’s LOADS you want to do there? This happens to us all the time. Sometimes we’ve got an international layover with just a few hours, sometimes we’ve got an event for our book To Timbuktu in a new city with only an afternoon free. No matter what it is, we often find ourselves trying to make the most of some seriously limited time.
How exactly do we do this? A good old fashioned Venn Diagram! We combine what the city is famous for, what our favorite things are and see where they overlap. That’s how we’ve wound up spending our layover in Madrid tapas-bar-hopping stuffing ourselves silly with ham and tiny beers, our evening in Nashville honky-tonk’ing with friends we hadn’t seen in ages, our night in Baltimore over crab cakes, and our afternoon in Medellin at the Contemporary Art Museum.
When in doubt, we pick the most walkable neighborhood in the city and hit the pavement. We almost always find ourselves having a beverage—local micro brew we’ve never tried before, freshly roasted coffee—and getting advice about where to head to next from the kind folks serving us. Because it turns out, most people love their town and have LOTS to recommend about it. Or they totally hate it but can still direct you to that one Mexican restaurant/letterpress print shop/super tiny and super cool concert venue that’s the only thing they find tolerable about home. (Poor them, right? Why don’t they just move?)
So don’t give up on a place just because you only have four hours to give it a go. If it’s anything like our New Years Day morning in Madrid last year, it just might be some of the most memorable four hours of all of your travels.
Casey and Steven are the author and illustrator of To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story. When they’re not on the road, they’re here in Brooklyn, bouldering at BKB or drinking beer.