I have always loved autumn for several reasons. It’s the time of the year that marks the end of a cycle and the beginning of a fresh one more intensely than any other season. Autumn comes just in time to save us from the intolerable heat of summer, and its frenetic energy which by the end has long been tiresome and monotonous. The first rains drop, washing down streets and the sultry atmosphere from the yellowness that has been building up for quite some time.
For a few days, every single thing seems to come to a halt before a sweet nostalgia creep in to kick-start the change in us too, for it doesn’t stop at anything.
During autumn, nature unleashes its powers more boldly than any other time of the year. In a spirited move, it turns the green leaves into yellow and then orange and purple before stripping off the foliage, initiating this way a period of rest and hibernation for flora and fauna.
What a time to introspect and definitely what a time to travel. For me, unless you have kids at school or any other reason to keep you home, fall is the best season to travel and not summer. Sure, I get that some people only want to lay on a beach bed for a week and do nothing but even so, this is something that you can still do in some countries well into autumn.
Zagori in Greece during Fall
So, why is autumn the Best Season to Travel?
No one likes big crowds, big queues and overflowing sights. It comes in contrast to why you go somewhere in the first place which probably is to relax and enjoy. My days of getting in a plane just to party—which is something I could had done without leaving my city— have unequivocally passed a long time ago. Nowadays, quality is my priority. If quality is not there, then I refuse to spend my precious time and money.
Everything is cheaper; accommodation, air fares, car rentals. In some occasions more than 40% cheaper and that has a massive influence on your travel budget. During my trip to Ireland—last fall, I rented a Nissan Qashqai (small SUV) for eleven days which I picked up from Cork and dropped in Dublin for €225! If I had done that in July, I would have paid 70% more.
Once a year, somewhere in October (April for southern hemisphere), the deciduous trees shed their leaves to protect themselves from the coming frost and harsh conditions of winter. Before the shedding, they start decreasing the production of chlorophyll—the substance that gives leaves their green color. Once the green pigment goes away, then the other pigments of the leaves can finally be seen for a brief time, till they finally drop. Most of the times this color is deep yellow and orange but in some cases more vivid purples and magentas or even reds can be seen. This dramatic landscape and cityscape alteration is always spectacular to witness, but not all places are made equal. North America (US and Canada), Western Europe (Slovakia is one of my favorites), Russia as well as east China are some of the regions were fall can be seen at its brightest and most spectacular colors.
This goes mostly for urban traveling. Autumn is the season when new plays are presented in theaters and new exhibitions in museums and galleries. These activities are the salt and pepper of urban travel. They give every city new breath and can be a good reason alone to go somewhere. I always try to go to as many as possible.
Some people start feeling a bit depressed or anxious as summer moves on and fall is around the corner. I can’t think of a better way to combat this than by taking a trip. Just the preparation and the fact that you have something to look forward to, can work wonders on bad psychology. As an extra bonus, you come back with your batteries recharged which will probably make waiting for Christmas a bit less strenuous.
Three weeks ago, we had a great trip to Slovakia (more about this in the near future) and its euphoria is still strong in me. The weather was beautiful, and we had an amazing time even on rainy days. One of my biggest complaints about living in Cyprus is that we don’t have proper autumn and spring. The extremely “loooong” summer (more than 6 months) is interchanged briefly by a mild winter with very short intermediate periods. So, I can really appreciate a proper autumn and some rain.
I know that English will hate me for writing this…
Kerepesi Cemetery in Budapest