The Year Of The Mini-Break.

The Year Of The Mini-Break.

 

We don’t know about you but here are We Are Gntlmen HQ it’s already been a crazy busy start to the year and to be honest, we feel like we’re due a few weekends away! We’ve decided that this year we’re going to make the most of our weekends and venture to some new places. This year we’re encouraging you to discover some new places too so here are three of our top cities we have already visited and we reckon you should too…. Go on, you deserve it! 

 

ALBI, FRANCE 

 Before you ask, no, I haven’t selected this city because I share its name! This place is steeped in history and is a great place to discover some of the quieter and picturesque corners of France. Plus, it’s firmly in wine country so you’re in for a treat! 

 

Our top suggestions of activities include: 

 

Canoe down the River Tarn 

 

If you’re like me and want to get outside as much as you can, then trust me when I suggest taking a day to canoe some of the River Tarn. This river runs straight through Albi so renting a kayak with one of the local companies is easy. 

 

You will meander through some incredible scenery including some breath-taking gorges and test your skills as you go down some adventurous weirs.

 

Top tip: Take a few beers in your canoe – there are plenty of places to stop to enjoy them in the sun.

 

Museum of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec 

 

If you haven’t heard of this gent, I’ll give you a quick education. He’s a Post-Impressionist artist and is pretty famous for producing some amazing work including the Moulin Rouge poster that you’ll definitely recognise. The museum is well worth a visit and is just next to the cathedral – another favourite.

 

 

Take a Wine Flight 

 

My all time favourite place to do this is at La Table du Sommalier. This restaurant and bar is classically French and prides itself on the marriage of wine and food. If you’re a wine lover then this place couldn’t come more highly recommended.

 

 

Costs and Logistics 

 

Fly to Toulouse and jump on a train from the airport. You’ll find flights for anywhere between £50 to £75 return, depending of course on the time of year. The train costs as little as €14. If you can afford to splash out, hire a car for a day and see the surrounding countryside. 

 Hotels are easy to find and three and four-stars come in at anywhere from £45 and £75 per night, respectively. 

 

 SARAJEVO, BOSNIA 

 

So I’m not going to lie, you may need 5 days for this one as it will take you a little longer to get there, but if you’re a fan of coffee and learning about modern history, it will be worth it. The Old Town in Sarajevo is a charming and bustling town that will offer you some of the best coffee you’ve ever tried. Further out, Sarajevo has a darker past and you can still see evidence of the terrible war that took place between 1992 and 1995. This combination makes Sarajevo a really special place that offers various different activities. 

 

These are my suggestions: 

 

Drink Coffee in the Old Town 

 

Ask for a coffee in the old town and you’ll be presented with coffee in a handcrafted copper coffee pot, large sugar lumps, a cup and a piece of a Turkish delight. It’s a very complicated business over there! Whatever you do…. do not pour the coffee straight into the cup!! The coffee ground is at the bottom of the copper pot and you have to manoeuvre it careful. Spoon off some of the foam on top, gently pour the coffee out and then use the spoon to stop the coffee coming out when you get closer to the bottom. Then, if you watch the locals, they don’t put the sugar lump in the coffee, but dip the sugar into the cup and then eat the sugar separately. Finally, enjoy the Turkish delight. I told you it was complicated! As a coffee lover, I have tried coffee all over the world but this is by far the best!

 

 

Visit the Tunnel Museum 

 

History lesson alert! During the Bosnian War, the Serbians were blocking all food, arms and aid coming into Bosnia as they took control of the land between the Airport and Sarajevo City. Bosnia would have lost the war had it not been for some bright sparks building an underground tunnel between the airport and a house in Bosnia’s territory, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Without sounding like too much of a geek, this place is well worth a visit. Although it’s pretty haunting, it’s also really interesting.

 

 

Take a Walking Tour 

 

Lastly, I would recommend taking a walk around this amazing place and seeing the buildings peppered with bullet holes whilst taking in the slightly sombre atmosphere. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee!) but I would definitely recommend it if you want to go somewhere a little different and learn an awful lot.

 

 

Costs and Logistics 

 

As I mentioned before, this is going to take you a little longer to get to. At the time of writing, there are no direct flights from the UK, however you can get there with just an hour stop in either Germany or Croatia. Total flight time (including your stop time) will be around 4 hours and will cost about £200. 

 

The great thing about Sarajevo? The flights cost a lot, but the accommodation is cheap. Three and four star hotels are £40-£65 per night and £75 - £90 per night, respectively. 

 

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

Known mainly for business and banks, I can firmly say that Geneva has so much more to offer. If you're a fan of watches then you don't want to miss out on this. Trust me, you’ll love it. 

 These are my recommendations: 

 The Patek Philippe Museum 

 

As I’ve already mentioned, Geneva is the place to be if you appreciate fine watches and this museum is the icing on the cake. This museum explores the rich history of the intricate methods of watch manufacture and looks at how styles have change dramatically over time. You’ve got to love a Swiss timepiece!

 

 

Lake Geneva 

 

One of the most tranquil and stunning settings, this place is what dreams are made of. Weather permitting, speak to one of the many local water sports centres and get out on a paddle board. 

With snow topped mountains and crystal blue water as far as the eye can see, this place is bliss. Plus it's only a short journey away from the city centre so you have no excuse.

 

 

Eat a Cheese Fondue

 

Unless you're lactose intolerant, I’m afraid I can't let you visit Geneva without trying a cheese fondue. I would recommend a restaurant called Les Armures which is right next to the cathedral and a great setting in the city.

 

 

Costs and Logistics 

 

There's good news and there's bad news… 

 

The good news is the flights to Geneva are really cheap and come in at around £50 - £70 per person return from both Manchester and London. Plus, travel in the city is completely free for tourists! 

 

The bad news is that accommodation can be quite pricey. Three-star hotels and four-star hotels start from around £125 and £145 per night, respectively. Make sure you shop around though as there are always deals! The prices I’ve quoted are inclusive of some current deals. 

 

We are always updating our bucket list so please let us know if you would recommend any other great cities. We’ll keep you updated on our travels so check back for more upcoming articles! We’ve already got some great destinations in the pipeline!

 

Read our Weekend Away post to find a perfect bag to take with you. 

 

Until next time... 

Albie Monton. 

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