Standing in front of the squalid exterior of the Tacheles building in the heart of Berlin's Mitte district, I pause to ponder the existential question posed on the building's side. "How long is now" the giant mural asks passers-by, while the severe, stylised face spray-painted below suggests the answer is anything but frivolous.
With so many millionaires crammed into its 0.78 square miles, its awesome architecture, improbable number of spotlessly-lush parks and one of the smallest royals-to-commoners ratios in the world, you'd be forgiven for thinking Monaco is something dreamt up as a vehicle for a Grace Kelly film.
There is no more spectacular image than a parade of elephants on a mission to find a watering hole within a seemingly infinite landscape. Almost as impressive is the sight of giraffes around acacia trees reaching for the highest, freshest twigs and leaves to snack on.
Two hundred and twenty seven banks, countless skyscrapers and Europe’s third biggest airport. And it is the birthplace of Goethe, Anne Frank and Yiddishe sex therapist Ruth Westheimer. It is also the first German city to have a Jewish mayor.
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.