Olympic Secrets: Best City Break Destinations (Vol. 1)

by Travelling Peach

1. Backpacking Around Europe
Recommended by: Tucker Dupree, Team USA Swimming
Tucker says ‘After London 2012, my best friend and I went on a month-long adventure around Central Europe. We visited 9 different countries and many cities. Being 23-year-old males, we didn’t really care where we slept so we actually stayed at hostels. It was great because we could move around the countries easily and we met so many quirky and interesting people. It was a lot of fun; I’d highly recommend it.’ 

‘It’s interesting that you get such a big variety of people backpacking. My cousin does things like that too. She’s climbed Kilimanjaro, went trekking and had many more adventures around Asia and Europe using hostels so you can literally have her – she’s recently graduated from UCL - and then a Team USA swimmer. It’s really cool.’


2. Rome, Italy
Recommended by: Nathan Adrian, Team USA Swimming
Nathan says Rome’s a really fun place to visit. The atmosphere is relaxed and happy so you always have a good time there. Whilst visiting for a swim meet, we also spent time exploring the city, visiting the Vatican, castles, shopping and enjoying all the delicious food Rome has to offer.’

And fellow Team USA swimmer Tucker Dupree agrees. He saysI love Italy. Being a swimmer, I love pasta and carbs so the food there was amazing. I could enjoy it all.’


3. Prague, Czech Republic
Recommended by: Tucker Dupree, Team USA Swimming
Tucker says ‘I really enjoyed travelling around Prague. The city is full of history, fantastically gothic architecture, the food is amazing and there are so many interesting things to see. There’s even another Eiffel Tower, which I don’t think many people know about. Seeing that was quite funny because we’d recently visited Paris do it was a total case of déjà vu.’

 


4. Edinburgh, Scotland (& The UK)
Recommended by: Karen Bennett, Team GB Rowing
Karen saysI love travelling but there’s nothing like going back home to Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful city with so much to do… fantastic shopping; lots of restaurants, bars and whiskey tasting; historic castles and hiking opportunities… and it’s always nice spend time with friends and family. 
 

 

5. Barcelona, Spain
Recommended by: Nathan Adrian, Team USA Swimming
Nathan says A really fun, vibrant city, with lots of places to relax. I always have a great time there, especially sitting outside on the beachfront, relaxing and having a lazy dinner with friends – the ones that last 3 hours, when you’re having a beer, eating, hanging out and just having fun.’

And fellow swimmer and restaurateur, Team Australia’s Eamon Sullivan agrees. He says Barcelona is brilliant. One of the coolest places I’ve visited. Whether you enjoy relaxing on long sandy beaches; shopping; lazy afternoons enjoying a glass of wine with some delicious seafood and tapas; or being more active and partaking in watersports, Barcelona has it all. It’s the perfect combination between city and beach and the whole atmosphere is welcoming and lively. A really fun place to visit.’


6. Sydney, Australia
Recommended by: Kaitlin Sandeno, Team USA Swimming
Kaitlin Says ‘Swimming is such a big deal in Australia and so well respected; it was always my favourite place to compete. I also swam my first Olympics there so it’s quite special to me… the culture, the people, the beaches and the oceans are beautiful; everything about it is just so enjoyable.’

7. Monte Carlo
Recommended by: Eamon Sullivan, Team Australia Swimming
Eamon saysMonte Carlo is super cool. It has the most incredible beaches, shopping and the whole atmosphere is so glamorous and lively. Very different to what we have back home.’

8. Japan (& ‘Little USA’)
Recommended by: Tucker Dupree, Team USA Swimming
Tucker says ‘We trained there before the Beijing 2008 Olympics and I had a great time. The city is full of culture and has an incredible aquarium but my favourite thing was seeing all of the ‘global pieces.’ It’s crazy because, similarly to how we have China Towns dotted around the USA (in NYC, Chicago etc.), they have the American Village. I remember visiting it and literally seeing a Walmart, a Ferris wheel and a McDonalds. That really made me laugh because I thought ‘Oookkkk. That’s what people think of America... That’s good.’ *rolls eyes and smiles*’

... And Team GB Trampolinist Bryony Page agrees. She says I really like Japan. I always find their culture and attitudes to be so respectful and welcoming. They’re so polite and really cherish their simple, traditional values, looking after their environment and elders; but, at the same time, their cities are incredibly high tech and full of fun. I love the combination. We recently trained with the Chinese National Team, which was brilliant, and on the last night they took us to an amazing karaoke booth. They had an iPad on the all so you could choose what’ve you wanted. We stayed there for hours singing everything and anything.’


9. Singapore
Recommended by:
Nathan Adrian, Team USA Swimming
Nathan says
‘Singapore is incredible; super modern with the most luxurious hotels. I stayed at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which has an awesome rooftop pool. I spent a lot of time hanging out there but everything about Singapore fascinates me: the culture, the food, the history… The way that they were able to essentially separate themselves from the rest of the world to successfully create this incredibly powerful financial hub from nothing is amazing.’


10. Muscat, Oman & The Middle East
Recommended by:
Annamarie Phelps (CBE), Chairwoman of British Rowing; Vice President of the British Olympic- and Paralympic- Committees
Annamarie says 
‘One of my favourite things to do is going on holiday with my family to the Middle East. I especially love Oman. It’s one of the nicest parts of the Middle East and one of the only areas to retain part of its original character. The architecture is beautiful and interesting, and the people are lovely. It’s definitely got the balance between integrating with modern life whilst respecitng the importance of it’s unique culture and history. You feel like you’re in the Middle East but without bing so restricted.’

‘I love visiting Muscat too and exploring all of the souks. They have some wonderful architecture too, which is a big passion of mine. In addition to working in sport, I trained professionally in the art world, specializing in architect designed objects so I love interiors, and beautiful tiles, paintings, carpets and floors. To be able to explore some of their big historical buildings, mosques and palaces is amazing.’




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