Holidays

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Portugal: Sunshine with all the home comforts

By Mitchell Symons, January 14, 2009

This was my first visit to the Algarve and my initial impression lingered for the whole of my stay: that the Algarve is abroad for people who’d rather not be abroad.

They go because they want the sun — not because they’re interested in exploring another country’s culture.

And that’s absolutely fine in the Algarve: there’s sun, sea, sand and golf (of which more later) but you can eat familiar food and have your Daily Mail delivered to your room in the morning. It’s even in the same time zone as the UK.

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Australia: Flights, camera, action

By Anthea Gerrie, January 8, 2009

Far more potently than any travel brochure, the vast sweeping landscapes of Baz Luhrmann’s new movie, Australia, are bound to fuel mid-winter dreams of a trip to that majestic land Down Under.

Bush fever, rather than a longing to see Sydney’s iconic skyline, is what this epic inspires, and who can blame the director for making his country’s rugged and dramatic open spaces the stars of this homage to his homeland?

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Colombia’s addictive charm

By Daralyn Danns, December 30, 2008

Colombia has to be South America’s best-kept secret. To me it instantly conjured up coffee and emeralds; for my friends, kidnappings and cocaine spring to mind. The country used to have a reputation for violence and drugs, but when Álvaro Uribe became president in 2002, he cracked down on the drug traffickers and armed gangs. 

Now Colombia is mainly safe for tourists, although it is best to avoid areas around the borders with Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru.

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