If there could be a greater treat for the spirit than swinging gently in a hammock taking in the fragrant scents and exotic sounds of a warm Balinese night, it could only be having a clutch of wellness gurus waiting in the wings to tend to mind and body when a new day dawns.
Rural Bali is a healer’s dream of peace, stillness and beauty — think shimmering rice paddies, silent stone temples and exquisite little offerings of carved fruit and flowers set in trays outside every doorway.
Lower Slaughter Manor, in the Cotswolds village of Lower Slaughter, is described on its website as displaying “regal luxury”. Not just any old luxury; “regal luxury”. The village so perfectly fulfils the imagined idea we all have of the Cotswolds that it might have been created by Disney. It wasn’t; it’s real. And the drive through the Cotswolds to reach Lower Slaughter is as beautiful a drive as England has to offer.
The first sight of the hotel is imposing and tantalising.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.