Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mini-breaks or micro-breaks?

A subject that came up in both of my lessons today: is it better to take one long vacation, or many short breaks? I think the answer is one of life stage - if you have small children, the one long vacation taken during the school holidays is usually the only option. But once they've grown up and holiday independently - then what?

Another new billboard campaign (below), paid for this time from European taxpayers' money, is encouraging Varsovians to take weekend breaks in the Mazowsze province. Yes indeed, I'm all for it. Wonderful countryside just a stone's throw (dwa kroki - lit. 'two paces') from the metropolis where we work so hard. Get the batteries recharged more often, at lower cost.

But as I pointed out yesterday, you can get out into the country with bike quickly and cheaply. While the sun shines, get out there and enjoy Mazowsze. The two-billboard version, above (there's a single board version too) extols cycling in the Puszcza Kampinoska forests - 200km of cycle paths. Having passed by there in March, it is a great place for bikes, but for one minor drawback - many of the cycle paths that run through the forests are soft sand - the worst possible surface for cycling. Still, the idea's a good one. Get on your bike and head out of town - for the weekend, or just for the summer's evening.

This time last year:
Pride and anger (warning: Smolensk-related content)


Leigh Millward said...

For me, only having one big break during the year would mean that for 11 months I would be running on empty.

I prefer two or three 7-10 day holidays spread throughout the year. It helps me keep motivated in my job and there is always something relatively close in time to look forward to.

Of course, I prefer to travel outside of Poland. Probably because Poland feels like home now and I feel the need to escape it every now and again but also because it's simply cheaper to go away to Turkey, Egypt or the black sea.

However, I do appreciate that there are many free ways to relax, recoup and recharge in Poland - therefore this weekend I'll dust down the old bicycles and coerce the wife into exploring the national park which is right on our doorstep here in south western Poland.

Michael Dembinski said...

I'd plump for 10 three-dayers throughout the year, using public holidays to extend where possible.

An advantage of freelancing is being master of your own time and being able to take time off whenever you want it. There's so much to see in and around Poland!

student SGH said...

At my office there's an adage that if your boss lets you go on three-week holidays, it means the company can function without you and you're useless. ;)

Frankly - it's true that two weeks make enough time to forget about work. Even the Polish labour code recommends an employee should take once a year at least 10 days off in a row...

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Bartek

When people return from a long holiday, they're a bit dozy during their first few days. They, when they get into their stride, they tend to work more energetically for a few weeks before the effect wears off. From the employer's point of view, short breaks are better.

And a joke:

Boss: "Kowalski, do you like warm beer and sweaty women"
Kowalski: "No.
Boss: "That's handy"
Kowalski: "Why?
Boss: "Because you'll be taking your annual vacation in November."

White Horse Pilgrim said...

I like 1 x 2 weeks and 3 x 1 week breaks in the year - a good mix overall.

Poland is, as I recollect, a good place to cycle - other than the southern mountains not too hilly, and not too crowded too. I did cycle on some tracks in the Mazury once - quite sandy and rather hard work. The Bieszczady was hard work for a different reason, but the roads were quiet in 1990. I remember a whole troop of scouts cysling to the mountains too. The train journey - Warscawa to Zawada, there to Belzec then (after a fair wait for a 'runs as required' service) to Przeworsk was largely steam-hauled and quite unforgettable. So was the bizarre idea that the lavatory was a luggage store, meaning that the 'WC' was the opposite side of the train to the platform at some wayside point where the train made a longer than usual stop (i.e. the locomotive took on water whilst we passed ours!)