People watching is a pastime we often don’t realise we are indulging in; switching off from our thoughts and simply observing others in their own thoughts and day-to-day activities. When planning an incentive travel trip it is always nice to leave a few hours spare. People watching can be a great way to relax, pause and understand the people and place better. Much like reading a great book, you become absorbed in the activity around you, taking in the energy without exerting too much yourself. It sounds like a good deal to us.
Here are a few of our favourite people-watching locations around the globe we have discovered when planning events and incentive travel trips. From unsuspecting hidden spots, to being a part of what you’re looking at, going with the flow, to right in the centre of the crowd.
A short walk from buildings of parliament and Tjörnin lake, Bergson Mathús is a discreet people-watching location, due to the nature of the cafe's spacious, minimalist interior. Discreetly you can sit on a chair faced inwardly towards the cafe's occupied tables, with a black coffee in front of you quite undisturbed. The perfect opportunity to sip the caffeinated goodness and feel the energetic sounds of Icelandic swoop through your ears and mind – perhaps even picking up small idioms or phrases, immersing itself into the fun and playful culture. The exterior of the cafe won't stop you dead in your tracks but the quirky staff and vegan-friendly food options will ensure you've jotted it down in your black book to return to. Recognisable from the sketch-drawing of a hen printed outside of the front and its simple milk coloured exterior walls; a symbol for an undetected afternoon in Reykjavík.
The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon Restaurant & Bar
A skyline view of Tokyo is stunning at night, the city lights illuminating as far as the eye can reach. Yet by taking a seat at 6:30am from The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon Restaurant & Bar you can watch the city brighten and awaken with nothing but the morning light and the bustling rhythm of Tokyo's step. Like small, speedy ants see commuters, school children and elderly disappear around sharp corners and flit between one another long the pavements of the city. Before you know it, it's 8am and your eyes have easily adjusted to the gentle sunrise; your stomach patient for an oozing plate of Eggs Benedict. The early bird catches the worm after all.
Piazza San Cosimato Market- Viale di Trastevere, Rome
No doubt foodie lovers enjoy nothing more than seeing how food is prepared and cooked before a meal. That is until they have experienced the vivacity, passion and wonder of those the Piazza San Cosimato Market in Trastevere. It’s a little theatrical when you’re conscious of it; some are completely lead by their senses - the sounds, scents and tastes sending them in a maze among the stalls - the squeezing tomato, thumb caressing lemon types. Some are on the phone, the infamous Italian hand-gestures helping them to indicate direction and purpose weaving through the hungry crowds. Or some, stern in the face with concentration, shopping bags hanging from 3 fingers on each hand, determined to quickly return home and cook. Watch where you’re going!
Solymar Beach Bar, Mykonos
Salty sea air, a gentle breeze and the noises of a beach bar create a setting perfect for a little solo R&R. People watching at Solymar means that not only are you mesmerised by the stunning view of the azur blue sea and fine sand, you also have the jovial mix of local Greeks and tourists flitting between the tables, chairs and sun loungers beyond. Both looking pleased with themselves for ending up on this stunning coastline, only seconds away from a cold glass of Chablis or their Passion Fruit and Mango sorbet. Both of which we recommend.
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By Anthony Kelly
Anthony began his marketing career back in 2008 after studying business management & marketing at the University of Stirling. He joined the events and incentive travel industry in 2015 after spending a number of years in the engineering, oil & gas and transport & logistics industries.More articles by Anthony Kelly