Ah…March, the sometimes strange transition time between two seasons when spring hasn’t quite sprung and old man winter is still hanging around like an overstayed guest. It can make for a tricky time to make travel plans to colder climate areas like the Northeast Coast of U.S., many parts of Europe & Asia if what you long for are brighter and warmer days. Even warmer climate places may be experiencing a bit more of a rainy season. It can all be very “off- putting” BUT, it may also be the most perfect time to get away! I know it all sounds convoluted but stay with me on this one.
In my most recent Travel Log, we explored many of the top reasons people that wish to travel talk themselves into delaying it. This time around I’ll do you one better and share one of the biggest reasons some people have NO desire to travel even if they dream of visiting a place, ( and it’s a big one) – THEY HATE CROWDS. I get it and can concur! Believe me, I’m no fan of being elbowed in the head while trying to get a 30 second glimpse of a statue in a hot ancient pyramid, nor getting trampled to get a divine moment in the Sistine Chapel (both of which happened and will be travel logs for another day!) Just the thought of things like these happening is the deal breaker for anyone just contemplating a jaunt. However, choosing this seemingly “in between seasons” period that is the case in many places, may just be worth dusting off luggage (after all, you’re probably in the middle of spring cleaning anyway), packing (which I’ll be sharing tips down the road that will make it far less daunting), and taking yourself on what can be a perfect getaway. So what place might you ask? Barcelona Spain: my trip there was during this very time and serves as a perfect example.
Panoramic View of Port Vell and Rambla del Mar from atop El Mirador de Colom Monument – Barcelona, Spain
Palau Reial de Pedralbes “Pedralbes Royal Palace” – Barcelona, Spain
Spain is one of the few European countries that enjoys a milder climate due to its location on the Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean sea. This means light coats or jackets in March and far more room to enjoy strolls along the famed Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, and maybe even quieter moments of reflection inside the masterpiece structure that is the Basilica, Sagrada Familia by one of Spain’s most gifted and beloved sons, Antoni Gaudi. Sure, the beach of Barceloneta will not be warm enough to swim in and the flowers of Parc Güell (featured in the main picture), may not all be fully in bloom but if you’re ok with the less spectacular weather than that of midsummer, a place like Barcelona is a great destination to consider during the transitional month of March. Again, it can be iffy but it may still be milder than your local weather. However, if you’re currently in a Shangri La weather kind of place, what I can offer is the thought of “less crowds” and likelihood of cheaper travel packages due to the season. A note on the “less crowd” bit: Barcelona as a travel destination in peak season has become so overwhelming for the country, there have been some government initiatives put forth to try and limit travel during peak “Late spring/summer/Early Fall” and this may serve as more of an incentive for traveling there in Early March.
Now mi gente, if you’re like me and not traveling while awaiting official Primavera this year, I’ll share what often serves as our marker here in the Northeast USA and celebratory catalyst for blooming days: St. Paddy’s Day! No matter what ethnicity you are, everyone joins in! Boston in particular, so steeped in Irish history and culture dating back about 300 years is a perfect place to enjoy the feast of St. Patrick and do some local “exploring” during the tricky month of March.
Until just a few years ago I never realized that the celebration of St.Paddy’s Day was not as big in Ireland itself as it is here in the States. Many of my Irish friends have explained that it’s only been in more recent years that the holiday, which was mostly of religious significance, has become a more secular celebration as it is here in the States, particularly in New York City, Boston and Chicago (just to name a few) where the celebrations are massive. Here in Boston, I’ve discovered some hidden gems that will not only make St. Paddy’s more fun but can be enjoyed throughout all Spring or any time of year! Sure, I can tell you all about the traditional Irish Pubs that are worth a visit like The Black Rose on State Street which has a great atmosphere and live music or my fave, Solas in the Back bay which I describe as Celtic Chic Fun but there are more places and ways to enjoy this “prelude-to-spring” holiday.
Massachusetts State House – Boston, Massachusetts
Ted Williams Statue, Fenway Park- Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) provides walking Tours of the IRISH Heritage Trail but has also created a self guided tour of these rich landmarks and points of interest throughout the city. You can visit their website and download the trail map from a link. If you’re not able to make all the stops on the trail, there are some notable ones that are top on Boston visitor’s lists and that many folks may not realize are rich in Irish history. For instance, the Massachusetts State House with its iconic Gold Dome houses many tributes to prominent Irish Americans most importantly, the statue of a most beloved President, John F. Kennedy. And there’s also Fenway Park, one of the most famous venues in American sports and one of the last “original” baseball grounds. It was built by Irish immigrant Charles Logue who hailed from Derry Ireland and founded the construction company that built the Home of the Boston Braves, now known as the celebrated Red Sox. And in these parts, nothing says Spring quite like the start of Baseball so that’s sure to put a pep in your Springtime Step!
Fenway Park – Boston Massachusetts