Subject: RE: tour free time
Joan and Gail,

I have to agree. Although, my required amount of free time depends on how I'm touring. If I've got lots of stuff to see then I don't want or need free time - and I run on adrenaline. I had 5 days in Paris for my first ever visit and I didn't slow down once - up at 7am, bed at midnight (and I'm usually early to bed!). Walking the streets I wanted to visit, climbing the attractions. Sitting down on my second Seine cruise felt like I should be racing up and down the deck doing another couple of things at once. Free time can sometimes be relaxed time in a museum though - the Orsay felt like free time with no other agenda than to absorb.

In other cities/towns however when I don't have so many things to occupy myself with, I get myself into the mindset where it *is* OK to sit at a cafe and drink hot chocolate and write in my travel journal or read a book without feeling like I'm wasting precious time. Shopping is something else I do when I travel (not for clothes though - I hate doing that anywhere in the world!) - I love my souvenirs and they give me countless wonderful memories when I bring them home and give them pride of place. Some people see it as a waste of time but it helps make my trip - as long as I don't have a situation where I fail to find my must-have item!

I don't necessarily want to climb every mountain or step - but I am the kind who wants to see all the talked about things no matter how inconsequential they may be to the city or its history and culture i.e. Spanish Steps in Rome etc

Usually if I get my 7-8 hours sleep per night on holidays I'm up for most things!

But you do make the most pertinent point - let your travel buddies know your style at the outset so that when you want to drop out of a scheduled event for some quality sanity-check me-time then no one is surprised and you're all better off! :) Megan Brisbane, Australia