That Sunday afternoon before you head back to the airport

Paris Travel Blog

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Although I love city breaks there is one aspect of them which has always presented me with a problem – it’s that last afternoon before you go back to the airport.  Once you’ve ticked off most main attractions, with the clock ticking until your flight back, how do you make the most of those last few hours?
  The Friday (assuming you’ve managed to take that much time off) is usually spent getting there and finding your bearings.  You’ve got your city guide and you’re finding what is what and where it is.  Hopefully, you’ve got an mp3cityguides audio guide to Rome, guide to Florence, guide to Berlin or guide to Paris which has helped you get orientated and get under the skin of the city much faster.  
  Either way, the first morning or afternoon of your city break usually has a sense of purpose.  You’re also probably trying to switch off from work.  Did I send that email?  Have I got everything for that meeting next week?  Oh, look there’s a nice cafĂ©, shall we stop there?  Was that report I finished at 10 O’clock last night OK?
  After that – usually the Saturday - you get into your stride and you really begin to feel you’re on holiday.  Museums, art galleries, churches, shops and beautiful squares manage to edge work out of your brain and your only concern is which restaurant to go tonight and whether to have an ice cream now or wait until later.  (Sod it!  Let’s do it now and later…)
  You’ve usually got something planned for Sunday morning and then there’s the question of where to have lunch but already you’re counting back from your flight home’s departure time.  You don’t want to be late but considering that you’ve looked forward to and saved up for this weekend, just killing time seems like a crime.
  My advice is to decide even before you go on the one thing that you’re going to save for the Sunday afternoon.  A small museum is a good idea.  In Paris the Nissim de Camondo (63 Rue de Monceau, 8ieme) and the Cognacq-Jay (HĂ´tel Donon, 8 Rue ElzĂ©vir, 3ieme) are beautiful town houses that take about an hour to an hour and a half to cover.  In Rome the Museum of the Baths (Via Viminale) has pieces from the great baths of Diocletian amongst others plus a pleasant garden.  It’s just by the Termini station for trains back to Fiumicino Airport or a taxi or bus to Ciampino.
  Strolling around and sitting quietly in a church is often a nice way to enjoy some calm before the stress of travel.  The Church of Santa Maria Novella (Piazza Santa Maria Novella) in Florence is beautiful and it’s just five minutes away from the station where you can get trains to the Pisa Airport as well as buses and taxis.  Around the corner is the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella (16 Via della Scala) which sells beautifully decorated fragrances and cosmetics - so much better than the overpriced tat you’ll find at the airport.  It’s open until 6pm on Sundays.
  Another option is to take a walk and get some fresh air.  In Barcelona have lunch in Barceloneta or one of the restaurants by the Museu d'historia de Catalunya Museum of the Catalonia and then walk along the beach.  
  One final thought – if Sunday afternoon isn’t the end of your trip and you’re staying until Monday give even more thought to what you’ll do then.  In many cities museums and galleries are closed on Mondays.  So, be prepared!

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photo by: Sweetski