A couple of years ago, I went on holiday to Sharm el Sheikh. The plan was to have a nice, relaxing time in the winter sun, doing some good lounging and some excellent snorkelling.
It did not go well.
Part of that, admittedly, was due to the fact that I was in the middle of some kind of anxiety-disorder meltdown which made me irritable, worried, and generally unpleasant to be around.
I hated being in the sea because I couldn’t put my face in the water without almost having a panic attack. I hated relaxing because I couldn’t do it; I just sat there thinking about all the horrible, horrible things that were going wrong in the world and my life. I hated going out, because I hated people, and music, and dancing, and fun.
It was bad.
But even if I hadn’t been in the middle of an unpleasant bout of mental illness, it still wouldn’t have been that great. Because I am not built for relaxing sunshine holidays. They do not work for me. I am too ginger for the sun, and too impatient for sitting around, and too body-conscious to spend my whole time in a bikini. So I am not about the sunloungers. I am about the city break.
City breaks, you see, are marvellous things. You get to keep all of your clothes on, and you get to wander around and see all sorts of exciting and important things. You can go to museums. You can go to parks. You can do some shopping, or just amble through the streets gawping at stuff. You can sit and have a cup of tea and watch people wander past and judge them silently. And you can still do some lying down and relaxing; you just do it in a hotel room, where there’s no chance of getting sunburnt. It is a plan which is definitely, definitely better all round.
So ever since the complete failure of my trip to Sharm el Sheikh, I’ve been all about the city break. Except for that bit where I went on safari, but in my brain that was just like a giant zoo and therefore still fell into the “seeing things and learning” category, which it turns out is what I want from my holiday. I don’t want to turn my brain off, I just want to point it at something else entirely.
And over the past weekend, I’ve been pointing my brain at everything in Berlin. Which turned out to be an even better place than I’d dared to expect. Yes, it had the history and the museums and the parks and the architecture, and yes, I drove my Farthing Wood Friend mad dragging him round things and going “CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED HERE?!”. And that was all good. But really, Berlin was all about the apple strudel.
So that maybe gives me one more thing to add to my list of requirements for the perfect holiday; I need things to point my brain at, a hotel to have a nap in, and a foodstuff to become unhealthily obsessed with. And then I’m entirely sorted.