The sixth episode of Challenge Accepted is all about escaping the hustle, bustle and noise of a hectic city. For Topjaw, this proved a welcome change and challenge after their busy adventures in Rome. Their next destination: the buzzing Spanish capital, Madrid.
Since Madrid regularly ranks among the world’s 10 loudest cities, they knew they had their work cut out for them. Yet people are making efforts to tone it down, a. o. with the 100 % electric fleet of car2go whisper-quiet vehicles. It’s a vital step – or drive – in the right direction considering the sizeable contribution traffic makes to Madrid’s overall noise level.
To find out just how well Topjaw did in escaping the noise – and which of their experiments proved most effective – watch the latest episode of Challenge Accepted!
Whether at home or abroad: A few simple tricks and tweaks can help you find moments of quiet and tranquility in any bustling metropolis. To get you started, we’ve compiled a few easy-to-follow recommendations:
Set an early alarm and explore the city on foot.
This goes out to all the night owls among you: Getting up early can be really worth it – even on holiday! Cities often have a very different flair and feel in the very early morning hours, compared to lunchtime or afternoon. Loud and bustling cities, especially, can be mysteriously tranquil and quiet while their residents sleep or slowly wake to start the day. For a precious few hours, the city becomes an entirely different world. Exploring this magical realm on foot adds to the peaceful appeal and lends itself to spontaneous detours: Walking makes it much easier to discover quiet spaces and calm alleyways. So, put on some comfy footwear and dial up that inner Zen mode!
Avoid crowded places, especially for lunch.
Tourist attractions are popular by nature and tend to be noisy and overcrowded. What’s more, they won’t let you experience the true life of a local, but an artificial setting created for the benefit of tourists. So, if you’re not a fan of mainstream explorations, but prefer to get to know the real spirit of the city, you’re better off checking out little cafes, side-street stores or small weekly markets. To get away from all the noise, take your lunch break in a quiet, unassuming place like a small neighbourhood eatery away from the main thoroughfares. Obviously, this also makes sense in your own city and not just on holiday. Take your time – you deserve it.
Change your perspective.
Vistas high above the city – think lofty roof terrace, towering hill or even a cable car, as Topjaw did in Madrid – offer brand-new perspectives. Removed from the action, they provide pleasant breathing space and an unusual view. So, get exploring and change your perspective!
Chase the sun.
Capturing a few rays is a great way to boost your mood and vitamin levels, especially during the dark and chilly season. For an extra-special experience, try to catch a glorious sunrise or sunset – just find a rooftop, nearby hill or viewpoint for a moment or two of stress-busting bliss. It’s just as stunning as watching the sun set or rise on a beach or in the mountains.
Ask locals for hidden gems.
Inspired by his success in episode #4 and #5, Jesse once again went straight to the source and asked locals for advice. After all, most people are happy to help, and residents know all those hidden spots you’ll never find by yourself – or only after plenty of research. In Madrid, Jesse simply stopped a passer-by for recommendations. And discovered an urban oasis just a few steps away, right in the heart of the city.
Seek and find the silence.
The local’s tip? To rent a row boat on an inner-city lake. Such places of calm in-midst the city are often easier to find than we think. Once we stop following the crowds or getting distracted by loud and expressive markers that clamour for our attention, such quiet or even silent spots are never too far away, even in large & loud metropolises. Where local lakes are few and far between, it’s worth looking for libraries, cemeteries, churches, parks or small alleyways: Places well worth discovering since they reflect the real life of the residents, far from busy routes and the maddening crowds.
Join the relaxed.
A bench for leisurely people watching. An outdoor chess game that doesn’t mind an audience. Or an artist who is up for a chat, like the one Jesse meets in our episode. There are many laid-back ways to while away the hours. And often enough, the calm exuded by others can help us to shift down a gear and find our inner peace and quiet.
Watch all six episodes of Challenge Accepted in our playlist on the smart YouTube channel.