Holidays

Enjoy a festive city break in Alfama, Lisbon

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

From atop their pillar, the Marqués de Pombal and his pet lion survey the preparations taking place for the night’s festivities. It is the eve of the Feast of St Anthony, patron saint of Lisbon, on June 12, and along Liberty Avenue, beer stalls, barriers and spectator stands have been put up for the parade.

More..

New Orleans: All that, and there’s jazz, too

By Anthea Gerrie, February 26, 2009

This week I have missed one of the world’s greatest parties when New Orleans celebrated its 152nd mardi gras — but for once I don’t feel too deprived. It’s not just because I’ve experienced this sensational float-fest twice, rather that there’s so much more to this fascinating city than mardi gras and its gaudy green, gold and purple glitter.

More..

It’s back to business as usual in Mumbai

By Sharron Livingston, February 26, 2009

Very good price, very good price said the bright-eyed boy in the yellow T-shirt, who might have been an extra from multi-Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. He poked his head through the car window and spoke quickly, offering Lord Shiva statuettes that dangled around his neck, arms and even from his finger tips.

More..

Turkey: Enjoy a bazaar experience

By Jenni Frazer, February 18, 2009

How far would you go for a bath? A Turkish bath, that is. If you’re John Travolta, the answer is pretty far. The Hollywood A-lister flew all the way to Istanbul for the opportunity of a shvitz in the Galatasaray Hamam, the city’s oldest Turkish bath, dating from 1481.

More..

Dublin: Enjoy the Wilde life in the Irish capital

By Andy Mossack, February 12, 2009

I have the simplest of tastes; always satisfied with the best.” So said Oscar Wilde, one of Dublin’s most famous residents and an inspired way of encapsulating just what Dublin can offer.

This is, after all, a city where history, culture and partying collide and manage to co-exist in a glorious partnership.

More..

Canada: Whistler is seriously cool

By Jan Shure, February 12, 2009

An official sign in Whistler Village reads “Whistler: Cultural Capital of Canada.”

Now Whistler — located 75 miles north of Vancouver, and Canada’s premier ski resort — has many fine attributes: it offers winter visitors an endless menu of activities that include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog-sledding, heli-skiing, ice-climbing, sleigh- and sno-limo rides, snowcat skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, zip-lining and tubing.

More..

Sicily: Flying tonight at Club Med

By Simon Rocker, February 5, 2009

A small boy is climbing a ladder into the hot sun. Twenty feet up, he steps on to a narrow platform, from where he can see his parents, struggling with the zoom of their new digital camera in the amphitheatre below.

He draws a breath, grips the bar tightly, then he is away, slicing through the air like a pint-sized Tarzan. Ladies and gentleman, I bring you Joshua Rocker on the flying trapeze…

I had never expected to see my son in circus flight (and I certainly never would have tried it at his age — safety harness and net notwithstanding) but that was part of the fun at Club Med.

More..

England: Postcards from the North

By Anthea Gerrie, January 29, 2009

Given that Morecambe has the ring of a seaside postcard about it, the image of a forlorn British resort that has seen better days, it is the last place you would expect millions to have been invested in a spectacular hotel aimed squarely at sophisticates.

Yet against all odds, the Midland, which once played host to the cream of British entertainers and socialites, has been restored from derelict shell to its former art deco splendour, and is pulling houses as full as those George Formby, Joe Loss and Alma Cogan once played to in the town’s Winter Gardens.

More..

Santa Monica: Welcome to the playground

By Anthea Gerrie, January 22, 2009

Just 40 years ago it was a rather dull suburb of Los Angeles where the main attractions were the beach, a British pub and a shop selling Marmite to homesick expats.

But as LA’s creative types began moving in, in the 1970s — to join the Brits who always knew they were on to a good thing — Santa Monica’s shopping, dining and entertainment offerings improved dramatically.

More..

Thailand: The pavilion comes with crickets

By John Nathan, January 14, 2009

The mangrove forest of southern Thailand’s Thalen Bay is a strange place, and a place for the strange. The flora stands on spidery mud-sucking fronds. The fauna is just as eerie: grey Macau monkeys sit in tangled branches like primitive people, directing contemptuous stares at occasional intruders.

We were in kayaks, paddling through a tidal world overlooked by cliffs on whose sheer faces clumps of tropical forest cling. From a rocky ledge a snake, the colour of wet slate, lowers itself into the water and s-bends its way round a crag.

More..