The wise and sage scribes of Blur once told us that “Modern Life is Rubbish”. Well, I would not go that far, but there are certain aspects of the fast pace of the modern world that people have begun to react against. The Slow Food movement is one and – inspired by the same feelings of “less is more” – the slow revolution has come to travel.
Of course, what people mean by Slow Travel depends…there is no easy manifesto or set of rules. To my mind, Slow Travel means taking time: exploring places in depth, following Jim in his mission to search out the hidden corners, looking beyond the famous tourist sights, and taking the opportunity to really get a sense of the place that you are travelling in. It can also impact on the choice of transport, such as taking the train instead of flying and, even then, catching the slower local locomotive rather than the high speed express.
I can see these ideas influencing the work of the Man in Seat 61, whose website provides wonderful information about long distance train and boat travel, or in the pages of Hidden Europe magazine, which explores the corners of this great continent that you will never see on the pages of newspaper travel supplements or often, even, in the best-selling guidebooks.
Another such place is a fairly new website called Slow Travel Berlin, which has been created with this “less is more” attitude in mind, and the creators seem passionate about promoting an idea of travel to the city that embraces the best elements of the slow movement. Here’s a quote:
“We aim to facilitate any quest to get beneath the skin of the city a little, or discover it at a more leisurely pace. We offer an insider’s view that will doubtless overlap from time to time with other Berlin travel sites, but will ultimately provide a unique and above all reliable resource that gives a broader, deeper perspective. We love this city and we want you to love it too.”
They are slowly (arf!) but surely building up the website, with articles on everything from great cafes to people-watch, to walks and bike routes in the city, as well as profiles and interviews with some interesting locals. Ultimately Slow Travel Berlin looks to be developing into a place that will provide inspiration not only for travellers to the city, but also those of us that live here. Go and check it out.
The link once more, for luck: Slow Travel Berlin