Europe

Doc Martin: Is it all fiction?

By Richard Burton, June 30, 2011

Doc Martin, has done for Port Isaac what Rick Stein has done for Padstow, well almost. Certainly, locals have seen more visitors on its steep winding streets since the cult TV series began. And what was once a harbour town too inaccessible for many has become a must-see on any visit to the area.

But is what they see on the small screen anything like the reality that is life in North Cornwall?

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Crete: Check-out this haven on earth

By Stephen Pollard, June 16, 2011

Can we talk about check-out? Check-in – oh yes, you'll read all sorts of stories about how long it took, messing up reservations, that sort of thing. But no one ever mentions check-out.

Not surprising, really. Who wants to remember leaving a wonderful hotel, or being stiffed with a bill which is always more than you imagined.

So let me change that.

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Cardiff: Bay city rolling

June 2, 2011

It's part of the United Kingdom but going to Caerdydd, pronounced Cayer-deeth and known as Wales to the English - feels like you should have to show your passport.

Perhaps crossing the Severn Bridge does it; like leaving one land for another - crossing a boundary - and paying a toll for the privilege to do so.

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Le Mans: do you have the stamina?

May 12, 2011

In just over four weeks, around 90,000 Britons will congregate at one of the biggest events of the UK motoring year. Just like the film Le Mans starring Steve McQueen, there's little dialogue needed because the racing drama of iconic cars whizzing around the Circuit de la Sarthe with its long straights and high-speed sections through the S-bends, says it all.

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Forget Grace Kelly. I'll have the Bardot

May 12, 2011

As Count Rudi takes my hand and brushes it with the lightest of kisses, it's impossible not to feel just a little impressed as I switch down a gear and ease into my stay at the Marbella Club Hotel.

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A rich tapestry of Norman history

April 28, 2011

Think Normandy and two things normally come to mind: D-Day Beaches and the slightly soggy part of France you pass through on your way to warmer climes in the Dordogne or Provence.

Whilst the former is richly deserved and a good reason to explore the region, the latter proves nothing but our infatuation with avoiding "British" weather when we go abroad.

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Napoli ever after

By Jennifer Lipman, April 21, 2011

Spaghetti doesn't grow on trees, but if it did, it would be at the Gragnano pasta factory. There are piles of the stuff everywhere, fresh from the mixer, hung up to dry and heaped on trays ready to be packaged and plated.

The smell of pasta - of Italy really - is in the air as chef Antonino explains in broken English the process of making the country's signature dish.

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Making the most of Greece

By Lucy Tobin, April 7, 2011

There can't be many links between Turkey Twizzlers and a dream Grecian holiday. But here's one. When Jamie Oliver condemned the Twizzler for being unhealthy during his school dinners TV series, the negative publicity sent sales soaring.

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Gone with the Wind

By Richard Burton, March 31, 2011

I'd been on board all of 50 minutes - and there I was doing the conga: like an aunt at a wedding, hands on the hips in front and filing out through doors and rocking along corridors.

We were all at it; more than a hundred of us jigging our way out on to the open deck to grab a muster moment under the lifeboats. It was a drill of course, not some welcome aboard ritual.

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A hotel that thinks it is a playground

By Simon Round, March 24, 2011

Suffolk is not as flat as you might think. From the road, the undulations seem gentle but if, for example, you should find yourself at the bottom of one of these undulations with two small children - both learning how to ride bikes - the hill can appear as daunting as the north face of Everest.

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