Few of us need a particular reason to visit Tuscany but, if you do, the Puccini Opera Festival, commemorating the 90th year since the Italian maestro died, should do the trick.
There is, certainly, nowhere better to enjoy Puccini’s soaring operatic melodies than on warm nights under a moon-lit sky at an open-air amphitheatre on the edge of Lake Massaciuccoli in Torre del Lago.
A small city has been built in the centre of Aarhus, the up-and-coming but lesser-known cultural capital of Denmark. The student population has been allowed to run riot with creativity, displaying their university art projects, elusive theatre and musical constructs for the 50th anniversary of the ten-day Aarhus Festival - one of the largest cultural events inScandinavia.
It's one thing never to have sampled an ingredient, quite another never to have even heard of it. Yet here, spread out on the chef's table among the more familiar limes and lemongrass, is something called galangal.
Friends were sceptical when I told them of my plans to visit Berlin. And it wasn't hard to understand why. Paris has Versailles and food, Rome has the Colosseum and fashion, Athens has the Acropolis and antiquity, Madrid has the Prado and flamenco.
There is a flutter of excitement by the pain au chocolat as a little blonde girl tugs her mother’s arm, “Look!” A giant duck has wandered into the breakfast room. Kiko, the mascot of the Princesa Yaiza hotel in Lanzarote, has started his morning tour, a yellow pied-piper rounding up recruits for the children’s club.