Last year we reported that Israel’s Tourism Minister, Stas Misezhnikov, was keen to improve travel to Israel. He told us at November’s World Travel Market: “We need an extra 19,000 hotel rooms to increase competition and reduce room rates.” Mr Misezhnikov insisted: “There will be no more paying five-star prices for three-star hotels.”
On the way up, all I could see were the clouds.They were blurring the view of the peak, but as we edged closer the scene began to look a little spooky as the silhouette of the mountain-top restaurant, Tête de Solaise, began to emerge through the misty white.
THE road to Bovey Castle is narrow and winding, the approach marked by unimposing iron gates. It is far from an ostentatious entrance and one you could easily miss. This place is a closely guarded secret and they’d clearly like to keep it that way.
For a place with fewer than 200,000 inhabitants Geneva punches above its weight. It produced Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose philosophy inspired the French Revolution; it was the launch pad for the Reformation which changed the course of European history; the Geneva Convention was signed here and the World Jewish Congress was founded here in 1936.
This was right up there, dare I say it, with the day I was married and the births of my two children. The glorious red sandstone canyons of Sedona (most famous being the Grand Canyon) are breathtaking any time of the day, but when you’re hurtling through them in a helicopter with no doors and just a single strap between you and fresh air, boy do they take on a whole different dimension.
Our train pulls out of La Spezia and bores straight into the mountainside and into the rugged heart of the Cinque Terre. Hurtling through the mountain’s interior, it’s not long before we burst out on the other side, a sudden blue wash of light spilling into the carriages as the Mediterranean comes into view.
‘Shalom”, boomed the dark-haired young man behind the reception desk as we checked into Armathwaite Hall.
The kind of greeting routinely proffered at a Tel Aviv sea-front hotel, perhaps? Not at all what you would expect to find on arriving at a 17th century former stately home nestling on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake.