Anyone who’s ever been on holiday would know (or maybe I am the only one who is peeved by such things) – things don’t work on Mondays. All major tourist attractions, parks and museums seem to be closed on Mondays, probably because they stay open on Saturdays and Sundays to cater to the weekend warriors. And this is especially true for smaller, less frequently visited cities (or, if you’re in Brazil/ South America, all cities). So, if you’re like me and keep forgetting this, you’ll sudden to find yourself with almost nothing to do on a Monday.
But wait! After sitting and thinking about this (on a Monday, no less), I’ve come up with a list of things you, the eternal traveller, can get done on Mondays without feeling like the entire day was wasted.
1. Send a postcard
What better way to make your friends jealous than by sending them a postcard from a wonderful tropical paradise in the middle of winter, or a delightful ski resort in the scorching summer? No, but seriously, if you’ve been away for a while, your friends would appreciate your gesture, and besides, who doesn’t love getting post that’s not a bill or a bank statement? Good for us travellers that postal services tend to be fully operational on Mondays! But be warned – lines may last hours, and your postcard may sometimes arrive after you do!
2. Get lost
Travel is about exploring new places, and some of my own best experiences have been when I took a wrong turn and inadvertently ended up at the best little restaurant with delicious homecooked food, or met a delightful stranger and chatted for hours, or just found the most perfect view. Getting lost in a place is one of the best way of discovering a city unencumbered by maps and must-see attractions. And when you have nothing better to do, why not get lost and add a little excitement to your mundane Monday?
Or write, if you so prefer. We all do this. Bring along a book (or notebook) on our trip, telling ourselves we’ll read the novel (or journal our adventures) on the plane/at the beach/before bed, only to bring the book (or notebook) back home at the end of the trip, untouched. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being somewhere new that we sometimes forget to relax and unwind. Use Mondays as a day to read, reflect and just enjoy the place you’re in.
4. Go to the beach
And what better place to do #3 than at the beach! If you happen to be near a coast, Mondays are perfect days to work on your tan while catching up on reading. With no opening (or closing) hours, beaches are perfect places to spend nothing-to-do Mondays. An added bonus – beaches are usually completely deserted, meaning you have gorgeous views and sandy expanses all to yourself, without wailing children ruining the perfect sound of waves breaking on the shore.
5. Take a long bus/train ride
Travelling across South America, I’ve taken more bus rides lasting upwards of 6hours than I care to count (as I write this, I have a 21hour bus ride lined up tomorrow). While most of these have been overnight buses (save on the cost of one night’s accommodation!), I’ve also missed out on some supposedly spectacular views. Supposedly because I didn’t see them, duh. Scheduling a long bus or train ride on a Monday will help you avoid wasting the day, and on Tuesday, you’ll be ready to explore your destination without suffering from traveller’s fatigue.
As unromantic as it sounds, it is a fact of life – laundry needs to be done. And thankfully, laundromats not being any sort of tourist attraction, tend to be closed on the weekend and (yay!) open on Mondays! Especially if it’s one of those self-service laundromats that require you to keep careful watch over your clothes and transfer them from the washing machine to the dryer, you can easily kill a few hours getting your laundry done. So get your laundry done on a Monday, and enjoy smelling like fabric softener for the rest of the week!
7. Use the Internet
Probably one of the things I’m horrible at doing is updating my blog and uploading pictures. Mondays are good days for doing this – hole yourself up with a nice cup of coffee at a cafe with decent WiFi with your laptop and spend a couple of hours organizing your virtual life. Or, if you don’t have a laptop, like me, just head to a nearby Internet cafe to sort through the million pictures you’ve taken and upload the best ones. It’s a also a good time to add some new tunes to the music machine or a download a couple of articles to entertain yourself during your super long bus or train rides. P.S. If the place you’re at has photo-printing services, take advantage of that to print some photos out to send as postcards – they’re more personal and probably cost about the same as a regular postcard!
So there you have it. Some things to get done on the worst day to be a traveller: Monday! Not everyone needs to hate Mondays!