THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE
Do the locomotive NORTHERN SPAIN, AS SEEN BY TRAIN
Inside Indonesia’s swankiest suite CHAOS THEORY Produced in International Media Production Zone
HOW TO PREPARE FOR ASH CLOUDS, AIR STRIKES AND OTHER HOLIDAY SPOILERS EXPLORE IN STYLE
Spice it up in Tangier
FROM AWESOME ADVENTURES TO LUXURY ECO RETREATS, WE’VE GOT IT COVERED
Shop in Milan
Cruise the Nile
Epic expanses in Picardy; yacht-speckled St Tropez seas; wild horses roaming Beauduc… Welcome to the most stunning shores in France
WIN! A five-star stay at the Address Dubai Mall plus an exquisite dinner for two... KWT
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Search for polar bears, p22
MAY 2010 KANOO WORLD TRAVELLER
CONTENTS 7 16 19 30 80
AGENDA The hottest destinations and most exciting events in the world of travel BE PREPARED Ash cloud? No problem, with our guide to disaster avoidance ESSENTIAL SELECTION Perfect honeymoons for every type of love bird PICTURE THIS Three incredible travel shots to ﬁre up your imagination SUITE DREAMS The most wonderful accommodation in Indonesia, revealed
14 DRIVE TIME
63 GOING LOCO
An epic Alaskan road trip is yours for the driving
Spain’s awe-inspiring north coast, by luxury train
37 SEASIDE FRANCE
It’s one of the most beautiful (and most varied) coastlines in the world – and the comprehensive lowdown is here
Immerse yourself in the land of spices, haggling and mint tea
It’s not all hard work and high heels in this friendly, foodie city
72 THE NILE
Escape Cairo’s frenetic streets and take in Egypt from the water
Escape to the Maldives, p20
Produced by: HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC Managing Director: Victoria Hazell-Thatcher Publishing Director: John Thatcher Advertisement Director: Chris Capstick Editor: Ele Cooper Art Editor: Jenni Dennis Junior Designer: Matthew McBriar
Advertising enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 369 0917 Editorial enquiries email@example.com +971 4 375 7617 Cover courtesy of Getty Images. Additional images from Design Hotels, Getty Images, iStockphoto, Jane Feldman and Photolibrary
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in Kanoo World Traveller. ‘Tangier’, ‘The Nile’, ‘Milan’, ‘Going loco’ and ‘Seaside France’ features reprinted with the kind permission of Sunday Times Travel magazine.
Jun-Dec 2009 22,620 BPA Consumer Audit
14 DRIVE TIME 16 HOW TO... BE PREPARED 19 HONEYMOONS 30 PICTURE THIS
SEE THE LIGHT A former military base and long-time bomb zone might not sound like the most obvious location for a luxury hotel – but ironically, Vieques Island’s turbulent past has resulted in it being one of the Caribbean’s best-protected destinations, and the newly opened W Hotel makes a stunning spot from which to appreciate that. The property nestles on two private beaches and each of its 157 bedrooms is decorated in W’s hip signature style. Insider tip: take a nighttime stroll to the bioluminescent bay, where an eerie blue-green light is cast by seadwelling micro-organisms… www.wvieques.com KWT
FISHY BUSINESS Fish fans are in for a double-whammy of treats if they visit Dubai this summer: Wild Wadi (www.wildwadi.com) has just started offering FISHO, a pedicure which uses toothless garra rufa ﬁsh to gently nibble away at the dead skin on customers’ feet – the frisky mites also provide a ‘micro massage’ which apparently improves blood circulation. A more mainstream way of getting up-close and personal with marine life is available at Atlantis The Palm (www. atlantisthepalm.com), which has just launched a ﬁve-star PADI dive centre providing courses for everyone from complete novices to aspiring professionals.
Sleep easy Do you dread the lack of sleep that comes from being booked into noisy hotel rooms on work trips? Well Crowne Plaza has come to the rescue with its Sleep Advantage programme, designed for business travellers who crave a decent night’s shut-eye. Book into a Quiet Zone room and you’ll be as far from the lifts and ice machines as possible, with a noise ban between 9pm and 10am; you’ll also be treated to a ThisWorks aromatherapy kit containing Deep Calm products and, if your wake-up call doesn’t come within ﬁve minutes of the requested time, you’ll be given your stay for free – dreamy! www.crowneplaza.com
DRESS CODE BLUES
Loving luxury doesn’t necessarily mean loving strict dining room dress codes – and, in a somewhat historic move, the Ritz Hotel in London has ﬁnally recognised that by relaxing their no-jeans rule in the restaurant. But this only applies at breakfast and is restricted to ‘very, very smart’ jeans – so leave your distressed denim at home. www.theritzlondon.com
In the short time it’s been open, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa (www.emirateshotelsresorts. com) has fast become one of our favourite nature-break destinations. As winter descends upon the area, guests can curl up next to their own roaring log ﬁre before getting stuck into the resort’s exquisite yet unpretentious tucker – and from May 1 to August 31, the resort is looking even more appealing, with special package prices starting from $1,135 per person. For that, you get two nights’ accommodation in a suite, all your meals, a cheese-tasting evening and two nature-based activities per day. Sounds pretty perfect to us.
A WINNING COMBINATION During a Dubai shopping weekend, the Address Dubai Mall (www.theaddress. com) is the perfect place to rest your weary head after a hard day’s credit card-ﬂexing. As well as enjoying a direct connection to the enormous emporium, it has 244 chicly decorated rooms, a fabulous spa and, should the mall’s 1,200 shops prove a little overwhelming, a personal fashion advisor service – and we’ve got a night’s stay for two plus dinner at signature restaurant Ember to give away. To enter, just tell us how many bedrooms there are at the Address Dubai Mall, emailing your name, phone number and answer to easywin@ hotmediapublishing.com by May 31.
Booking a trip Beautiful new coffee-table book Travelling Embers chronicles the anecdotes and philosophies that its author, Debbie Nicol, has collected during her extensive globe-trotting. It’s the ﬁrst in a seven-book ‘Embers of the World’ series, which aims to provoke and inspire people who like to delve a little deeper, and it’s available in all good bookshops now.
Happy holidays Stuck for inspiration on where to go for your summer holiday? Check out www. hilton.com, where you’ll ﬁnd an irresistible array of special money-saving offers on Hilton hotels around the world.
One of the ﬁrst places we ﬂee to when seeking to escape the summer heat is the Hotel Eden Roc. Atmospherically located in the Swiss Alps, with a swimming pool overlooking Lake Maggiore, it has everything we look for in a luxury bolthole: chic style, topnotch service and, now, a revamped spa. With a water world featuring a hydropool, circulation-stimulating Kneipp path and whirlpool recliners, the spa also offers mind-blowing treatments and, thanks to interior designer Carlo Rampazzi, looks absolutely stunning. www.edenroc.ch
At the top of our must-visit list this month is the newly opened Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles. Occupying the 22nd to 26th ﬂoors of a striking 54-storey tower, the high-end hideaway affords residents awesome views of downtown LA and sunsoaked southern California beyond. The rooftop pool comes complete with private cabanas and, to up the luxury factor, after dining at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s excellent Asian-inﬂuenced restaurant WP24, you can take advantage of the bath butler service to ensure your bubbles are just rose-scented enough. www.ritzcarlton.com
FLIGHTS WE FANCY Low-cost airline ﬂydubai (www.ﬂydubai. com) is really taking off at the minute: passengers can now travel to Kabul in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Istanbul and the Egyptian cities of Luxor and Assiut direct from Dubai. Emirates (www.emirates.com), meanwhile, is launching a direct ﬂight from Dubai to Amsterdam this month – what better excuse for a mini-break?
A POETIC LOCATION
Fans of the famous poet (and Pulitzer prize winner) Edna St Vincent Millay will be excited to hear that her home, in the New York town of Austerlitz, will ďŹ nally be open for tours as of May 28. Her grave, which sits in a small forest clearing, has been open to the public since 2003, but now visitors can see inside the white farmhouse where she and her husband lived for 25 years. Millay was inspired by the beautiful views to be had from Steepleton, the 700-acre estate where she lived, and threw many a garden party for her bohemian friends in the stunning grounds â€“ and now you can get a real feel for her celebrity existence. www.millay.org
Green giant The biggest ever JW Marriott has recently opened in Texas â€“ and, despite its considerable amenities (more on that later) and the fact that itâ€™s in the oil capital of America, itâ€™s been LEED-certiďŹ ed as being environmentally friendly. Granted, it does have 1,002 luxury rooms complete with iHome players and HDTVs, a six-acre â€˜riverâ€™ with waterfalls and interconnecting pools, two PGAapproved golf courses and a 30-room spa. However, the management has also made 100 acres of the site into a bird sanctuary, 70 per cent of the resortâ€™s power comes from â€˜windtricityâ€™, and local products have been used as much as possible, from the restaurantsâ€™ ingredients to the materials used in the construction of the building itself. www.jwsanantonio.com
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The month ahead… Read on for the lowdown on the most interesting events around the world this May.
The Wichita River Festival, Kansas, USA May 7-15 Fireworks provide a feisty start to this week of concerts, parades, hot air balloons and open-air markets – foodies will also take delight in the Cajun food festival and ice-cream socials – while Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, performed by the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, will bring proceedings to a rousing close. www.gowichita.com
Carnival of Culture, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany May 21-24 Carnival-goers ﬂock here in their millions – and with good reason. Designed to celebrate the cultural diversity of Berlin, it features a colourful parade on May 23, music, dance and art. A whopping 70 countries were represented in last year’s procession, and this year’s looks set to be even bigger. www.karneval-berlin.de
Reykjavik Arts Festival, Iceland May 12-June 5 The 40th installment of this annual culture fest is jam-packed with theatre events, dance shows, music concerts and art exhibitions. As well as a humorously interpreted production of Romeo and Juliet, the Icelandic Opera is a particular highlight, with their performance on May 30 combining ﬂamenco dance with Moroccan music. www.listahatid.is/en
Bath International Music Festival, UK May 26-June 6 With something for everyone, this celebration of classical, world, folk, contemporary and jazz music is held in the beautiful British city of Bath. Highlights include a collaboration between the English National Ballet and jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen, and Motown divas Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. www.bathmusicfest.org
Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid May 14-23 On May 15, locals kit themselves out in traditional garb and head to the city centre for dancing and concerts, with rock gigs happening in Casa de Campo, a large park to the southwest of the city. Our favourite part of the ﬁesta, though, has got to be the ﬁnal day, when an enormous Cocido Madrileño – chickpea-based stew – is cooked up for all to enjoy. www.gomadrid.com
Bergen International Festival, Norway May 26-June 10 Artistic types will be in their element at this extravaganza of literature, visual arts, drama, dance and opera. Check out Gabriela Montero, who performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony and whose trademark is inviting members of the audience to challenge her impressive improvisational skills. www.ﬁb.no
Seattle International Film Festival, Washington State, USA May 20-June 13 America’s most highly attended ﬁlm festival sees over 550 screenings, which take place all over the city. The opening night gala, which showcases Katie Holmes and Kevin Kline’s new comedy The Extra Man, is at Benaroya Hall, but the full line-up (and where to see each ﬁlm) is not being disclosed until May 6… www.siff.net
International Mount Everest Day, Nepal May 29 Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the ﬁrst pair ever to successfully reach the summit of the world’s tallest mountain all the way back in 1953. Join the commemorative celebrations, which include a mountain ﬁlm festival, stunning photography exhibition and cultural programmes aplenty. www.tourism.gov.np
AGENDA DRIVE TIME
A FIVE-DAY ROAD TRIP OF A LIFETIME THROUGH ALASKA, USA Glaciers slicing a jagged line across the horizon, moose herds plodding determinedly across the windswept landscape, postcard-perfect log cabins braving the elements alongside expansive lakes – scenery this epic has to be seen to be believed. With the sparsely populated town of Tok as your starting point, hit the Taylor Highway due north, making sure to stop for a spot of canoeing at the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Progress north on the Alaska Highway to the city of Fairbanks, where bling lovers will take a greater than average interest in the operating gold mine. At the end of a jaw-dropping drive 200km down the Parks Highway lies Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak. Time to spare? Spend a few days here at the Denali National Park and hike, ice climb and white water raft to your heart’s adrenaline-pumped content, taking care not to get too close to the bears and hungry wolves that prowl the land.
Next, drive south through the interconnecting lakes of Wasilla into Hatcher Pass, an other-worldly channel through the surrounding snow-capped mountains. Then it’s onto the Glenn Highway, through the city of Anchorage and further south on the Seward Highway. Stop at the Beluga Point Interpretive Site in the dazzling Kenai region and you might even spot a whale – but if you don’t, you’ll immediately forget your woes on sight of the Exit Glacier, a literal manifestation of ice blue, in Kenai Fjords National Park. On the home stretch, you’ll drive through the Copper River Valley – home to insane amounts of tasty king salmon, a 90,000-acre bison sanctuary and the US’s biggest national park, Wrangell-St Elias – and, ﬁnally, the spectacular Keystone Canyon, a deep gorge carved into the mountains by the Lowe River. You’ll have covered a heck of a lot of tarmac by the time you return to Tok, but this is one road trip that’s worth every one of its 2,500 kilometres.
Laugh in the faces of ash clouds, thunderstorms and cancelled ﬂights...
hen booking a holiday, few of us think to ask what happens if a cloud of volcano ash prevents us reaching our destination – but with increasing amounts of climate-related incidents wreaking havoc with international travel, it’s worth considering. And even if your trip is unaffected by natural disasters, things can go wrong: lost luggage and cancelled ﬂights affect hundreds of people every day. While there’s no way of avoiding Mother Nature’s wrath or the political wranglings of certain airlines, there are things you can do to take the edge off unfortunate eventualities.
Before you book Let’s start with the basics: research weather conditions before you book a holiday. Avoiding hurricane season might be a nobrainer, but it’s amazing how many people seem surprised when their idyllic beach villa becomes rather too windswept for comfort. Booking ﬂights online? We all know how tempting it is to tick the box agreeing to the terms and conditions without actually reading them, but it’s worth checking to see whether you’re covered in the event of a natural disaster – several companies will exempt themselves from such circumstances. Delays or changed times are a much greyer area – your airline might decide to move the ﬂight forward or back by six hours, and in that situation, it’s really a case of checking the terms and conditions and then, if a refund isn’t guaranteed, calling
their service centre and making the best use of your negotiating skills. The failsafe way to avoid lost luggage nightmares is not to check a bag in (this will save you money, as well as time, with some airlines). The maximum hand luggage size is normally pretty generous – certainly large enough to hold a weekend’s worth of belongings – and it’s worth packing a little less to avoid that glum realisation at the baggage carousel that your suitcase is a no-show. If you are checking in hold luggage, pack spare underwear and a toothbrush just in case…
event’ – far more commonly covered by policies – because it was the wind that made it interfere with airspace. This meant that most people were covered. However, as the crisis drew on, time ran out for some: while most insurers allow you to extend your policy during the trip, some impose an extension limit (often seven days) on this. Another important thing to note is that if you buy insurance once the problem has already been deemed a ‘foreseen event’ (eg once a hurricane has been named, or a volcano been recognised as potentially causing travel disruption), you won’t be covered.
Covering all bases
The end destination
Travelling without insurance is a huge risk, and one we’d strongly advise against. But don’t fall into the trap of just going with the cheapest quote you ﬁnd: cover for all eventualities, from medical care to lost luggage, differs hugely. While your airline may refund your ticket if a ﬂight gets cancelled, they will never cover the subsequent problems (eg a missed cruise) and associated costs caused to you. Insurers, meanwhile, should generally take care of this, as well as covering expenses such as food, drink and accommodation until the problem is fully resolved. A select few insurers (including Axa Gulf; www.axa-gulf.com) will cover you against natural disasters, although this is very much the exception rather than the rule, and it will cost you. Luckily, many insurers classed the volcano ash ﬁasco as an ‘adverse weather
Throughout the volcano debacle, hotels and tour operators remained pretty tight-lipped about how – and indeed whether – they were planning to compensate their illfated customers. There are far fewer laws surrounding this area, and while many companies say that they will ‘try’ to offer an alternative date for your stay, this is another instance when your insurer should be your ﬁrst port of call. What if, however, your journey goes ahead smoothly but you arrive to ﬁnd your hotel has burned to the ground? Luckily, most insurance policies cover this type of situation – but again, check those terms and conditions. Remember, insurance companies are businesses – they only cover situations speciﬁcally mentioned in the policy, and will be very reluctant to pay out for anything they haven’t promised.
If all else fails… If your ﬂight has been cancelled but you’ve got to get there no matter what, there is often a solution: ferry and rail companies have made an absolute fortune out of the volcano crisis, and while commercial carriers imposed total ﬂight bans, private jet companies were still operating throughout most of the chaos. In the future, should you ﬁnd yourself unable to ﬂy due to a pesky volcano or cancelled ﬂight, it’s worth investigating this option through a reputable company such as Dana Jets (www.danajets.com). It will often cost little more than a ﬁrst-class ﬂight and certainly takes the headache out of a missed business deal.
COME. SEE THE WHITE LIONS. NOW AT THE AL AIN WILDLIFE PARK & RESORT. Home to Big Cat conservation.
The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort, home to big cat conservation, proudly welcomes the famous White lions of Sanbona. These extraordinary animals are a colour form of the wild African lion and are extinct in the wild. Together with our partners the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort is working to conserve big cats for future generations. Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort â€“ In Touch With Nature. For more information call 800 AWPR or visit www.awpr.ae
M Y DR EAM AD V ENTURE PLAYGROUN D…
F O R AN E X C I TI N G SUM M E R G E TAW AY .
STAY AT THE AD D RES S HOTELS + R E SO RTS AN D E N J O Y C O M P L I M E N TAR Y AC C E SS TO THE D UBAI MAL L ’ S C O O L E ST ATTR AC TI O N S.
This summer, discover all that Downtown Dubai has to offer, surround yourself with stunning views
of the world’s tallest tower, the 150 metre dancing fountain, and shop at over 1,200 stores at the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, The Dubai Mall. When you stay at any of our five Address Hotels in Dubai discover complimentary fast-track passes to a choice of the coolest attractions, including Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Sega Republic, Kidzania, Dubai Ice Rink and At The Top, the longer you stay the more you receive. So whether you have a passion for fashion, fine dining, exotic spas or entertainment our hotels are just where you want to be. Book now to enjoy amazing summer rates. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT, CALL +971 4 423 8888, EMAIL STAY@THEADDRESS.COM OR VISIT WWW.THEADDRESS.COM
Offer Valid from 10 May – 09 September 2010. Terms and Conditions apply.
AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
The ideal honeymoon comes in many different guises, which can make planning one tricky – but fear not: from Arctic expeditions to luxury beach retreats, we’ve got an option for every type of love bird.
For… BEACH LOVERS
SUN IN... SRI LANKA Reason to go: Even if you cast aside its rich history, hospitable people and delectable food, it would be tough to describe Sri Lanka as anything other than stunning – the perfect honeymoon setting. Stay: The Fortress (www.thefortress.lk), a luxury development on the golden sands of the Indian Ocean and close to Galle (arguably the island’s most exciting city), combines Dutch, Portuguese and local styles to achieve an inimitable blend of comfort and luxury. There’s a range of accommodation but our pick has got to be the Fortress Residences, which are on the upper ﬂoor of the property and feature outdoor dining decks, 24-hour butlers and cantilevered inﬁnity pools overlooking the sea. Play: There’s so much to see and do here that you could last the whole trip without remembering to actually hit the beach – take your pick from a river boat ride, elephant orphanage, turtle hatchery, white-water rafting, whalewatching, national parks and rainforests, and amazing water sports. Pinch-yourself moment: Spotting a dolphin frolicking in the sea from your daybed’s vantage point in The Fortress’s verdant gardens. 20
RELAXING IN... THE MALDIVES Reason to go: The Maldives are almost synonymous with beach honeymoons – and for good reason. With endless stretches of ﬂawless white sand and palm trees draping themselves lazily over hammocks and azure waters, the scenery could have been taken straight from a Bounty advert. Stay: It doesn’t get much more luxurious than the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa (www. shangri-la.com, also pictured on previous page), a boutique-style property surrounded by over 17,000 coconut trees and hugged by pure white beaches. Accommodation ranges from tropical tree house settings to the magniﬁcent water villas, which stand on stilts above the tranquil sea – heavenly. Play: The resort offers a wealth of water sports, including surﬁng, kayaking, sailing and deep-sea ﬁshing. There are 25 dive sites close by, including the 140-metre British Loyalty shipwreck, which is positively teeming with marine life. Also on offer are guided cycling tours, yoga, tennis and jogging trails. Pinch-yourself moment: Weighing up whether you can be bothered to drag yourself from your private inﬁnity pool to the Jacuzzi – and then realising that this is the most taxing decision you’ll make all day.
AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
For… CULTURE LOVERS
FRESCO-SPOTTING IN... FLORENCE Reason to go: Viewing some of the most incredible pieces of art in the world with your loved one is not to be underestimated in the romance stakes – and Tuscan food is second to none. Must-see: Checking out the Ufﬁzi is a no-brainer – it’s the city’s most famous art gallery and is home to masterpieces by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael – but make sure you book your tickets well in advance as the queues can be monstrous. For a more low-key afternoon, take a stroll in the grounds of one of the famous Medici family homes: the Villa del Poggio Imperiale is particularly impressive. Stay: The Castello Del Nero (www.castellodelnero.com) is possibly one of the most striking properties in the region. Set a little outside the city itself in the picturesque Tuscan hills, the restored 12th-century castle has a range of rooms and suites, each individually decorated and some boasting original frescoes and vaulted ceilings. Pinch-yourself moment: Enjoying a lazy Italian breakfast with your partner as you survey the emerald Tuscan hills rolling into the horizon.
REVELLING IN... ISTANBUL Reason to go: Istanbul isn’t just the home of countless stunning Ottoman mosques, 12.8 million people and some insanely pretty river views – it’s also one of the hippest cities on the planet, as attested to by its status as the 2010 European Capital of Culture. Must-see: The Blue Mosque is renowned for its six minarets and eye-catching cascading domes as well as the 20,000 blue interior tiles responsible for its name, while the Grand Bazaar, a covered market selling all manner of Turkish wares, is a shopper’s dream. Stay: Funky boutique hotel The Sofa (www.thesofahotel. com) is situated in the hip Nisantasi district, and was designed by renowned Turkish architect Sinan Kafadar. Unsurprisingly, all rooms come with a sofa, as well as rain shower, and Umar’s Suite also comes equipped with a hammam, perfect for private indulgence. Whichever room you opt for, though, you can rest assured it will be a minimalist, chic escape from the insanity of the city outside. Pinch-yourself moment: Watching the sun set over the sparkling river and higgledy-piggledy city rooftops from the perspective of a boat (charter your own for the ultimate honeymoon experience).
‘Umar’s Suite comes equipped with a hammam, perfect for private indulgence’ KWT
AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
For… WILDLIFE LOVERS
MONKEY BUSINESS IN...
Reason to go: For starters, Borneo and Sumatra are the only places where orangutans still exist in the wild – and unfortunately the rust-coloured creatures look set to become extinct in the next few decades, so you should grab the opportunity to see them while you can. The wildlife: As well as orangutans, the dense tropical rainforest of Borneo plays host to elephants, proboscis monkeys, macaques, crocodiles, rhinos and sea eagles – visitors to the region frequently report witnessing entire families of monkeys crashing through the trees and into the water in search of dinner. Stay: Guestrooms at the eco-friendly Sukau Rainforest Lodge (www.sukau. com) have just been refurbished and there are four wildlife viewing decks as well as two elephant passes. It’s also in one of the most popular areas for orangutan in Borneo. Pinch-yourself moment: Clandestinely observing as an orangutan scrambles up a tree and sways hypnotically for a few minutes before hurling itself onto a neighbouring branch. 22
POLAR BEARS IN... NORWAY Reason to go: Its majestic fjords, towering glaciers and Arctic climes make Spitsbergen one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sure, it’s pretty cold, but this once-in-alifetime trip is worth a blue nose – besides, you’re on your honeymoon, so cuddle up and prepare to have your breath taken away. The wildlife: Spitsbergen is the chilly habitat of a whole host of cold-loving animals: seals, walruses and whales cavort in the water, polar bears romp over the land, and an array of birds so astonishing that even the most blasé ornithologist would be gob-smacked, rule the skies. Stay: On a boat – namely the MS Fram (www. mvfram.blogspot.com), an expedition ship which will take you up the beautiful westerly coast over the course of eight unforgettable days, with the itinerary depending on how much ice the boat has to plow through. Pinch-yourself moment: Peeking at a pair of polar bear cubs play-ﬁghting as their mother lumbers around with all the grace of a spent boxer.
AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
For… ECO LOVERS
TREE-PLANTING IN... COSTA RICA Reason to go: The blissful slice of Central America that is Arenas Del Mar (www. arenasdelmar.com) is ﬂanked by two glorious beaches, and the property borders Manuel Antonio National Park, a lush paradise housing monkeys, sloths and thousands of rare forest creatures. The owners are heavily involved with the extensive local reforestation programme, having planted over 7,000 native plants on their land. The eco bit: Only electric cars are used onsite, and the electricity system operates underground so as not to interfere with the wildlife. Solar power and recycling are both par for the course and even the roof tiles are made from discarded plastic bags. Get involved: Plant a tree (especially symbolic for newlyweds), cooperate with the resort’s reﬁllable water bottle policy and ﬁnd out how it all works with a sustainability tour. Pinch-yourself moment: Looking down on the verdant jungle from high above the tree tops during your canopy tour and knowing that choosing to honeymoon here has beneﬁted, rather than damaged, this beautiful landscape. 24
PARADISE IN... AUSTRALIA Reason to go: Paradise Bay (www. paradisebay.com.au), approximately halfway down the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays, has been an established eco-resort for 13 years, so the owners are experts in allowing you to experience the utmost luxury but not at the environment’s expense. The eco bit: Paradise Bay runs on solar power, natural gas and collected rainwater and the menu, which changes daily and can be served as a private dinner à deux on the beach, is created using local, seasonal ingredients. There are only 16 guest accommodations on the 3.2-hectare site, with the majority of the land being left in its natural state, and staff recycling everything they possibly can. Get involved: When you’re not enjoying the free land and waterbased trips – during which you’ll likely see an array of wildlife, including whales, tropical ﬁsh and birds, turtles and wallabies – you are welcome (though not pressured) to take a behind-thescenes tour to witness the resort’s eco efforts. Pinch-yourself moment: Waking to the sound (and view) of the ocean lapping gently at the shore just outside your private bungalow.
AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
For… ADVENTURE LOVERS
‘New Zealand is the most adrenalinejunkie-friendly country on the planet’ EXTREME SPORT IN... NEW ZEALAND Reason to go: New Zealand is the most adrenalinejunkie-friendly country on the planet. It’s not the easiest place to get to but you only have one honeymoon and the scenery, made famous by The Lord Of The Rings, will stay with you for the rest of your life. The adventure: This epic country is a white-knuckled traveller’s dream: sea-kayaking, glacier-walking, whitewater rafting, sailing, tubing through underground rivers and hiking are just a few of the options available for your action-packed agenda. Your days off: Take it easy with a sailing tour around Auckland – it’s the best way to see the city. If you’re moving around the country during your adventure, it’s worth also checking out Queenstown, Wellington and Christchurch before the end of the honeymoon. Pinch-yourself moment: Peering into the crater lake of a steaming live volcano, having hiked to its peak.
TREKKING IN... NEPAL Reason to go: Home to Mount Everest, Nepal is a trekker’s paradise, full of sky-piercing snowy peaks and dense green foliage. Plus the people – and you will need a guide, so this is important – are some of the friendliest on earth. The adventure: Sure, walking Everest’s Base Camp is pretty cool, but Nepal has plenty more awe-inspiring hikes to offer besides. We suggest a 17-day trek to Gokyo, which culminates in a steep climb to the top of the 5,483m Gokyo Ri. From its peak you can see unequalled views of the magniﬁcent Ngozumpa Glacier and the Himalayas – including, of course, Everest itself. Your days off: Before getting down to the serious business of trekking, you should spend a full day sightseeing in the Kathmandu valley, returning at the end of your trek to spend a leisurely day in the city itself before heading home. Pinch-yourself moment: Watching as the sun rises over the glittering Gokyo lakes with nothing but your own heartbeat breaking the silence. 26
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AGENDA ESSENTIAL SELECTION
‘‘Watching the For… sun set over LEARNING the sparkling LOVERS river’’
SURFING IN... HAWAII
Reason to go: Hawaii is the historic home of surﬁng and the sport – or art, as some see it – remains central to the local culture to this day. The beaches are some of the most romantic in the world and you’ll remember the scorching orange sunsets long after the honeymoon is over. The course: Shun the crowds of Oahu’s Waikiki and head north to learn under Sunset Suzy’s (www.sunsetsuzy.com) easygoing watch. Though the waves on this coast can be big, Suzy (whose skills can be seen in the ﬁlm Blue Crush) takes beginners to a small cove, packed with Hawaiian sea turtles, for their lessons. Surﬁng is pretty exhausting, so instruction is generally limited to two or three hours per day, although should you want to surf for longer, Suzy’s game if you are. Stay: As well as being less touristy than Waikiki, the north coast of Oahu is home to long white beaches, coconut palms and warm turquoise waters – and the luxurious Turtle Bay Resort (www.turtlebayresort.com) has an 8km slice of this coastline, as well as two golf courses and a spa which makes excellent use of local ingredients. Opt for an Ocean Villa for absolute privacy. Pinch-yourself moment: The ﬁrst time you make it to the shore without falling off your board, a family of curious turtles swimming alongside you. 28
COOKING IN... OXFORDSHIRE Reason to go: If you’ve always wanted to learn to cook (or think it’s high time your new spouse did), go to the top: with two Michelin stars, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons (www.manoir.com) is one of the UK’s best restaurants and its onsite cookery school allows guests to learn from owner Raymond Blanc’s ﬁnest chefs. The course: Opt for the four-day residential option and you’ll emerge superbly versed in the selection, preparation and presentation of meat, seafood, starters and desserts. The package also includes all meals, which are made using organic ingredients from the two-acre kitchen garden, so you will dine like royalty for the entire duration of your honeymoon. Stay: In Le Manoir’s sumptuous accommodation. Each room has been individually decorated – we can highly recommend the Lemongrass Suite, which is all lime green silks, dark Asian-inspired bamboo furnishings, enormous walk-in shower and heavenly garden vistas. Pinch-yourself moment: When you and your partner feast on a gastronomical sensation which you created together – without the aid of a microwave or your local takeout delivery man.
PIENINY MOUNTAINS, POLAND At just 35km, Poland’s Pieniny range is something of a mini-me when it comes to mountainscapes – but it’s no less jaw-dropping for it. The southerly Pieniny National Park is the playground of a bountiful lynx population – just one of the 15,000 species believed to inhabit the mountains which also, bizarrely, house 640 varieties of mushroom… An alternative – but equally mesmerising – perspective is to be gained by rafting through the Dunajek River gorge. (It’s also worth exploring the ruins and dungeon at the fairytale Niedzica castle, which perches primly above the river.) Shun the hotels and camp – or make nice with local farmers and hole up in a ﬁttingly rustic abode. KWT
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PHRAYA NAKHON CAVE, THAILAND A cave might not be an obvious choice when deciding where to build a monument, but there’s no denying that, as they go, this one is pretty fantastic. Known as the Kuha Karuhas Pavilion, it was constructed in honour of King Chulalongkom’s 1890 visit to the area, but in fact the cave (or, more accurately, adjoining chambers with collapsed roofs) has a long The hauntingly beautiful Lofoten which include King Mongkut brought history of royal inspection: theIslands, astronomy-obsessed Mortsund, homehere to many placid lagoons aand islets Europeanare guests in 1868 to observe total solar eclipse, though scattered brightly-painted stilt-houses known as malaria ‘rorbus’.while there. More disasterwith struck when he contracted a fatal case of The water dances through thefrom powerful uplights atwho Dubai Fountain, letting out They are used bythe cod ﬁshers across Norway occupy successfully, awesome space has also hosted the country’s current a sound like ﬁreworks going off as it shoots into the night sky. Choreographed them for three months at a time, duringVisits the high winter season monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. aren’t restricted to royalty aquatic shows happen everySea twenty minutes, set to aNowadays spread of different songs when cod from the Barents ﬂood in to the area. though: head to the small village of Bang Pu, on the east coast of Thailand’s (including a stirring of ‘Por Ti Volare’), charming onlookers who ring the they are also rented version by and tourists looking for a tranquil break southern peninsula, it’s open to anyone who can handle the steep, waterfront at Dubai Mall and the excellent restaurants at Souk with the snow-capped back and nothing but Al Bahar (the hour-long trek up tomountains the mouthat oftheir the cave. newly opened Bice Mare is a particularly ﬁne viewing spot). the occasional ﬁshing boat to break up the views.
DUBAI FOUNTAIN, MEXICO, NORWAY UNITED ARAB EMIRATES KWT
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BAMBOO FOREST, HAWAIIFOUNTAIN, DUBAI MEXICO, NORWAY UNITED ARAB EMIRATES The xylophonic sound of bamboo trees knocking against each The hauntingly Lofoten Islands, which include other, Maui’sbeautiful island breeze playing puppeteer, has to be heard Mortsund, are home to many placid lagoons islets to be believed. A red dirt hike in the forestand by the Hana road scattered withyou brightly-painted stilt-houses known ‘rorbus’. transports to this particular spot, which liesas beyond rocky The water dances through thefrom powerful uplights atwho Dubai Fountain, They are used cod ﬁshers across Norway occupy inclines andby show-off waterfalls, eventually ejecting you onto a letting out a sound like ﬁreworks going off as it shoots into the night sky. them for three months at athrough time, during winter season raised wooden pathway whatthe is, high essentially, a veryChoreographed surreal aquatic shows happen every twenty minutes, set to a spread of tropical different songs when cod from the Barents Sea ﬂood in to the area. Nowadays green tunnel. The hollow bamboo shoots thrive in Hawaii’s (including aand stirring version of ‘Por Ti Volare’), charming onlookers they are also rented by tourists looking forat a tranquil break climate the sun’s patchy attempts sneaking through the who ring the waterfront at Dubai Mall and the excellent restaurants at Souk Al with the treetop snow-capped their backofand nothingcalm. but Bahar (the ﬂuffy canopymountains only add toatthe sense mystical newly opened Bice Mare is a particularly ﬁne viewing spot). the occasional ﬁshing boat to break up the views.
The coast is clear for your perfect Gallic getaway – from beaches to bouillabaisse. 38 Côte de roam: The Riviera has a secret side – ready to take a hike? 44 Ville appeal: The living is breezy in these fab four ports. 48 Plat du jour: Foodie heaven lies along the beautiful Basque coast. 54 Beach to their own: Secret cove? Family-friendly bay? Remote sands? We’ve found a shore thing for everyone.
Côte de roam While millionaires pose on their mega-yachts, Vincent Crump lords it over them, swapping deck shoes for hiking boots – and unrivalled views of the Riviera.
n the time-battered village of Gorbio, I shrug off my rucksack for a rest. Ordering a drink outside the Café BeauSejour, I examine a handful of sepia postcards featuring local recipes (‘First, take your tripe…’), and watch as a bent-up old lady shufﬂes out of a cottage in her slippers, crosses the square and pummels her laundry in the fountain.
Gorbio crumbles picturesquely on its hilltop behind the Côte d’Azur, and as I walk along the old mule-track into the village, I feel as though I’ve stumbled into Jean de Florette. And yet this vignette of Medieval France is unfolding just ﬁve kilometres inland from the Riviera – an easy stroll from the richest strip of real estate in Europe. This afternoon, I intend to walk down to Monte Carlo from here – a plunge to the coast that will squeeze 500 years of Provençal history into three breathtaking hours. From mules to megayachts in one short stride. The contrast is irresistible. Less than 24 hours ago I was swooping into Nice airport, the plane skimming the heads of windsurfers and buzzing the millionaires’ boats in the marina at St-Laurent-du-Var. It’s a fantastically glossy descent – just right for the most wham-bam-glam destination on the Med. I took a cab to the Promenade des Anglais, and felt the warmth of summer roll off the ocean and soak me through. But I’d arrived wearing hiking boots, not ﬂip-ﬂops, with plans to spend several days taking different walks around the alternative Riviera – the bucolic hinterland behind the beach. Here, the blinding-white limestone foothills of the Alpes-Maritimes charge right down to the shore, pimpled with forgotten forts and fairytale villages teetering on cones of rock. A gorgeous network of footpaths squiggles 38
up and down between them, offering a bird’seye view of the jet set. Napoleon built a road on this crest (the Grande Corniche), Caesar Augustus constructed a monument (the Trophée des Alpes) – and walkers get to look down on both, not to mention Prince Rainier’s palace at Monaco. I began my adventure this morning by catching a bus from the coast to Ste-Agnès, a hopelessly romantic village just north of Gorbio, which clings to a crag 600m above the sea. And as soon as I clapped eyes on the place, I knew my walk would have to wait. Until 1933, when a road ﬁnally arrived, the only way to reach Ste-Agnès was by donkey – and despite access being better these days, it still feels cut off from the modern world. I spend a magic hour losing myself in its Escher-like tangle of cobbled alleys, mottledstone walls and helter-skelter stairways, marvelling at the wide-angle views of the Mediterranean that spring open at the top of every lane. Signs of tourist life are scarce. There are only a handful of restaurants; the best is Le Saint-Yves, where the signature dish is wild-boar broth and you can buy a bag of home-grown lemons to take away. I scramble up to the tumbledown castle at the very top of the mountain, where wisps of cloud snag on rocky pinnacles and steam up my glasses. Eventually, I tear myself away, crunching down from Ste-Agnès on a bouldery donkey path between overgrown terraces of abandoned olive trees and fragrant pines. Wild lavender twinkles like fairylights beside the path, and my footsteps release the scent of rosemary, mint and thyme. I’m in Gorbio within the hour, tunnelling through grotto-like streets of ancient houses seemingly held together by moss and prayer. I make a mental note to return
Sunsets like these do nothing to detract from the glitz of the Negresco hotel, on NIce’s Promenade des Anglais.
here in June for the annual festival which sees hooded villagers parading through the alleyways carrying candles in snail-shells – it must be France’s most enchanting night out. Then I ﬁll my water-bottle from the fountain, tip my cap to the matron dunking her bloomers, and head out onto a road known locally as the ‘Balcony de Provence’. This snakes up past the cemetery, with that big blue Riviera view getting wider with every twist in the trail. Beneath my feet, a glinting mosaic of terracotta rooftops and olive-green hills spills down into the sea. I can see cruise ships in Monte Carlo harbour, a limo swerving through the car-chase curves of the Grande Corniche, and the palatial mansions piled behind the seafront at Cap Martin. At the Col de la Coupière, I fork left onto a spur of scrubby summits that arrows straight into the ocean between Menton and Monaco. Suddenly, I ﬁnd myself striding out to sea. The sun is on full beam now, spearing off every boulder, and I pause to picnic on the chèvre-stuffed baguette in my rucksack. It feels like my walk has gathered up the whole of the Côte d’Azur in a single, scintillating scoop – and I’ve had it all to myself. In another 15 minutes I will be down on Roquebrune beach for a reviving splash in the sea. But from up here, even the most bling yachts look very insigniﬁcant indeed. Next morning, I dip my toe into a more familiar Riviera landscape, on an easy-going amble around Cap Ferrat, the movie-star peninsula just east of Nice. The train from town drops me behind Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and I stroll the pink-ﬂagged promenade to St-Jean for a little yacht-spotting. From a perch above the harbour, I watch the taxiboats buzz back and forth, decanting chic, Chanel-clad couples into the marina. Some are dolled up in blazers and shirtwaister dresses – bearing more than a passing resemblance to Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. Then I’m off again, along the sun-spangled seaside walkway that circles the cape. It 40
Clockwise from here: The spectacular Gorges du Verdon; Terrace at Hotel la Perouse; Sénanque Abbey; Riviera cottage; Restaurant Soir.
‘Wild lavender twinkles like fairylights beside the path, and my footsteps release the scent of rosemary, mint and thyme.’
tiptoes behind the back gardens of some of the ritziest addresses on the Riviera, and proves to be as much catwalk as coast-path, offering lots of mileage for giggling at supersleek joggers. Route-ﬁnding couldn’t be easier – just keep the sea on your left. The path runs for eight easy kilometres in all, and en route I climb to Cap Ferrat lighthouse for a peek into the interior. The best stretch, though, is around Pointe de St-Hospice, where the breakers splash my bootcaps and I gaze shoreward across the silvery hills I walked yesterday. Day three brings another click of the scenic kaleidoscope. I catch a ride with Europe’s luckiest train driver on the Train des Pignes, a century-old scenic railway that clanks trolley-bus style through suburban Nice, before navigating the photo-opp-heavy basin of the River Var. I alight at Annot, for a stroll in Flintstones country. The ﬁve-kilometre Circuit des Grès d’Annot loops out from town into a sandstone chaos of totem-like towers and arches, with yawning views of the Vaire valley. I follow its zigzagging trail down among ogreish rocks inscribed with mythic names by the trekkers who came before. The highlight is the Chambre du Roi, an enchanted gorge where sunlight dances down through the chestnut trees. I picnic on a bench made of boulders, then squash myself through a crack to discover a troglodyte palace of immense stone chambers. A hiking holiday this good deserves a cracking climax. On my ﬁnal morning, I make
the short train hop from Nice to Eze-Bord-deMer, and huff and puff my way up the kneetrembling Sentier Frédéric-Nietzsche to the cliffhanging village of Eze. The philosopher holidayed in these parts in the 1880s, and it’s said he jogged up this bonkers-steep mountain path every morning. As I pause for the umpteenth time to check that my lungs haven’t exploded, I begin to realise why he was such a misery-guts. Fortunately, the outlook back over Nice and Cap Ferrat provides plenty of excuses to stop and take pictures. And what’s the hurry? I emerge an hour later, feeling very sweaty and somewhat sun-burnished, under the charismatic ﬂanks of Eze. Among the superstar villages of the Côte d’Azur, Eze is Elvis – unmistakably glorious, but a victim of its own fame. A little overexposed; a little too glitzy around the edges. Like Ste-Agnès, its houses are honeycombed into a hilltop, all mazy and Medieval, but there’s nothing rustic about the prices at the Fragonard Perfumery, or the lunch menu at the Château de la Chèvre d’Or (beluga caviar, $24 per gram). The village is more than worth working up a sweat for, nonetheless – and if anything, I feel an extra buzz of self-satisfaction from being the only visitor who hasn’t arrived here in an air-conditioned coach. My big reward comes later: the delicious walk back to the beach, unstoppably downhill, with the palm trees parting to reveal that glittery mosaic of red-roofed mansions, and the sunset scattering sequins over the sea.
WHERE TO STAY Hôtel La Pérouse (www.hotel-la-perouse. com; from $249) is an elegant four-star in Vieux-Nice. Or try Citadines Nice Buffa (www.citadines.com; from $90).
catch a train to Menton and then the No 10 bus from Esplanade de Carei (see www.menton.fr). The Train des Pignes, for Annot, runs from Rue Alfred Binet in Nice (see www.trainprovence.com).
GETTING AROUND The beauty of the Côte d’Azur for walkers is that you don’t need a car. The main coastal train line runs frequent services from Nice to Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Eze (see www.ter-sncf.com); for Ste-Agnès,
WALKING MAPS France’s IGN Top 25 maps are excellent. You’ll need number 3742OT for walks near Nice and map 3541OT for the Grès d’Annot route. Order from The Map Shop (www.themapshop.co.uk).
Monte Carlo: a far cry from the Medieval villages that perch above it.
Clockwise from here: Classic Deauville house; The port of Nice; Bouillabaisse â€“ a classic French dish; Horsing around in 44 KWT Marseille; Glorious Nice beach.
Ville appeals From the faded splendour of Marseille to the sophisticated streets of Deauville – these four Gallic port towns serve up sun, sea and city.
La Rochelle In a nutshell: A whisper of salty naughtiness still glints behind the limestone façades – a reminder of La Rochelle’s 17th-century past as one of France’s key seaports. Today, it’s winningly old-fashioned and virtually tourist-free. What to do: Savour the spirit of the French seaside. Vieux Port is an almost unbroken circle of chic shops and cafés, peering over a boat-heavy Atlantic from behind nautical blue awnings, and bookended by two solid old towers. When hunger bites, pause at popular André (7 Rue St Jean; 00 33 546 412824) – its higgledy-piggledy dining rooms tumble out onto the pavement; try the shellﬁsh platter ($45), straight from the harbour’s ﬁshing ﬂeet. If the sun’s shining post-lunch, catch the waterbus to Les Minimes (from Vieux Port; $2), a newish district built on reclaimed land, with a long strip of sand and a constant promenade of windsurfers just offshore. Round the corner from the beach, Port des Minimes is a 3,500-berth marina that’s deﬁnitely worth an envious mooch, and kids will love the nearby aquarium (Quai Louis Prunier; $18), with its scary shark tank and Dark Room glowing with neon show-offs. If it’s cold, shop on Rue du Palais, where old, half-timbered merchants’ houses and grand stone mansions now sell designer labels and posh kitchen utensils; or pay tribute to the city’s seafaring history at the Museum of the New World (10 Rue Fleuriau; $10). Where to stay: Hotels here can be surprisingly stuffy. Try Masqhotel (www. masqhotel.com; from $170, room only) for a boutiquey breath of fresh, sea air.
Nice In a nutshell: You come to Nice expecting it to spangle superﬁcially, like the name, yet the city is more gritty than glittery: you’ll realise this as you pace the pebbly-grey Baie des Anges, lined with grand but faded hotels; or in the shady streets of Vieux Nice, the old town, which smells of rotisseried chicken, spices and soaps. All this, more than the glamorous old-poster image, is Nice’s real appeal. What to do: Wander the Promenade des Anglais, legacy of Nice’s Victorian English community, dodging skaters as you pick a suitable stretch of sand: Castel Plage (8 Quai des Anglais; www.castelplage.com) is a ﬁne place to slow to weekend pace – behind sunglasses – before decamping to a lounger ($18 a day) for a sea dip. Late-pm, the knotted alleys of Vieux Nice beckon, their saffron façades highly evocative of Italy, which once owned the city. The best ice-cream pitstop is Fenocchio (2 Place Rossetti) – and the fountained square is a stunner, dominated by the Baroque Cathédrale Ste Réparate. For a maritime dinner, locate the port – and a table outside Les Pêcheurs (18 Quai des Docks; 00 33 493 895961): the bouillabaisse ($31) blows socks off. And if you wake next day to clouds, two galleries will compensate: the Chagall Museum (Avenue Docteur Ménard; www. musee-chagall.fr; $9) houses the Russian artist’s startling imaginings of historic tales. The Matisse Museum (64 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez; www.musee-matisse-nice.org; $6) details the diverse output of Nice’s most celebrated painter. All in all, lots of colour until the sun comes out again. KWT
‘The shady streets of Vieux Nice smell of rotisseried chicken, spices and soaps.’ Where to stay: Hôtel Windsor (www. hotelwindsornice.com; from $157, room only) is an artist-designed novelty behind the Promenade des Anglais. Deauville In a nutshell: Fringed by miles of pale, pristine plage, Deauville, on the blustery Normandy coast, oozes seaside elegance – yet remains surprisingly unstuffy. Wellheeled Parisian weekenders have been ﬂocking here for decades, to stroll the sands, shop in fashionable boutiques along the cobbled streets, and take in the horse races. But you don’t need limitless funds to enjoy it all. What to do: Sleek thoroughbreds pound the beach at sunrise, training for the horse races at the famous Deauville-La Touques Racecourse – but you’ll have to be up early to spot them (you can, however, admire horsepower in the form of vintage Bentleys purring past at all hours). Take a dip in the Baie de la Seine, then wander down the beach with an ice-cream from the Princess Sophie boardwalk gelaterie. Shell-collect, people-watch, but whatever you do, don’t rush: the sand here is so beautifully soft and ﬁne it demands an amble. Head back along the Promenade Michel d’Ornano, which is lined with bathing huts named and built for every Hollywood big-shot to visit Deauville. Pick up a newspaper and peruse the day’s races over coffee at chandeliered Patisserie Dupont (20 Place Morny; 00 33 231 882079). Races start at 2pm most days in July and August, with the jetsetters whiling away the 46
This image: The stunning Calanques (lakes) in Marseille; Opposite: Nice’s streets are rich with the scent of rotisserie chicken.
afternoon to a permanent soundtrack of horse-hoof beats. Check www.deauville.org for racing schedules before you visit. Across the square (and on the way to the racecourses) there’s a market selling Panama hats, fruit, honey, soap and olive oil (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings). Also en route is Florence de la Peschardière (66 Désiré le Hoc), which sells gorgeous semi-precious handmade jewellery, and Christiane Novarin Antiquités (1 Désiré le Hoc), a bric-a-brac shop ﬁlled with ceramics, trinkets and vintage postcards. Time for food? Le Ciro’s (Promenade des Planches; 00 33 231 143131; mains from $21) is where the celebrities go; and you’ll get a dazzling beach sunset with your seafood platter. More low-key is Le Drakkar (77 Rue Eugène Colas; www.restaurant-ledrakkar.com; mains from $14), a favourite with the horse-breeders, serving equally delicious seafood. Where to stay: Turreted and luxurious, the striking Normandy Barrière (www. lucienbarriere.com; from $212, B&B) dominates the seafront. Marseille In a nutshell: Bold, boisterous and utterly unpretentious – but southern France’s edgiest city has gone some way towards tidying up its rafﬁsh image: galleries, museums and boutique hotels are mushrooming by the minute, restaurants serve the best bouillabaisse in the world and there are splendid beaches to rival the Rivieria’s, just a stroll from the centre.
What to do: The Vieux Port is the city’s hub, humming with eateries that occupy old merchants’ houses. Just along from here is the Plage des Catalans, where local lads leap from quays; further round the magniﬁcent corniche, the huge Prado beach area was created from what they dug out for the city’s metro system. It’s a great grassy-then-sandy breathing space, doubtless the only thing that stops Marseille from imploding. You can do pretty much anything, active or inactive, before retiring to the fashionable Escale Borély district, with its cluster of restaurants. The real jewels, though, are further on, where the coastline rises white and rocky to headlands and cliffs cut by Calanques – some of the most stunning deep-blue creeks in Europe. To get there, hop on a bus (direction: Callelongue), but roads run out short of the best of them – you must earn the beauty by foot or boat. It feels a million miles from downtown yet, weirdly, you’re still within the city limits. Returning, you might stop in Les Goudes, a ramshackle ﬁshing enclave, or make for the centre of town. For ﬁshy treats, take a table at Le Miramar (12 Quai du Port; 00 33 491 911040). It’s not cheap but the bouillabaisse ($60) is the best in town. Then watch the sun set, chilled drink in hand, on the terrace of portside La Marine (15 Quai de Rive Neuve). Where to stay: Marseille is making efforts to go groovy. The New Hotel (www.newhotel.com; from $285, room only) is one example, with design features including a triptych of Twiggy grafted onto its 19thcentury structure. KWT
Plat du jour After decades on the back burner, the Basque coast is again on the menu for discerning foodies. Anthony Peregrine dines out.
he French Basque country affects women in strange ways. Some take to rugby, some to folk dancing and others, like my wife, take to eating. Generally, she has the appetite of a chafﬁnch. But, once happily ensconced on the furthest, ﬁnest southwest coast of France, she set about the specialities like a famished sea lion. Peppery stews (pipérade), cod, ewe’s milk cheese and chocolate (oh, the chocolate!) – she baulked at nothing, forking furiously. This had never happened anywhere else. ‘At last, I have found my gastronomic home,’ she sighed. The Basques accept such testimony as their due. Even more than other French people, they are frightfully wrapped up in their region. They will go on (and on) about their unfathomable origins and folklore, their landscape, language, table linen, singing and manifold ways with wood pigeon until you slip into a coma. At the extreme end, as we all know, this can spill over into unpleasantness. I have myself courted trouble with Basque separatists in cafés (‘You people live in paradise. What are you complaining about?’), but mainly it is menace-free and disarming. We started out in Hendaye. The resort sprawls from the river estuary, via a port, round to a long beach dotted with people doing tiring things on sand-yachts and surfboards. It is magniﬁcent. There’s a sense of oceanic power that renders the Mediterranean idle by comparison. Across the way, the hills of Spanish Basque country fringe the bay. Behind, the Pyrenees start their ﬁnal descent. To the north, the PointeSte-Anne headland announces the rocky corniche to come. ‘Did you know that Hendaye was where French and Spanish kings signed most of their treaties and-’
‘Fascinating,’ the wife said. ‘When do we eat?’ The cheese shops were already turning her into a talking tastebud on legs. Over the axoa (veal stew), I distracted her, ﬂeetingly, with tales of Hitler and Franco’s tête-à-tête in Hendaye in 1940. But as soon as the chocolate pudding arrived she was lost to me once more. Later, we yomped (the coastal yomping is terriﬁc) along the cliffs to Pointe-SteAnne before curling round the corniche. From headland to promontory and out to the ocean, this is among the most stirring seascapes in France. One feels both kingof-the-coast and insigniﬁcant. Then one dips down to the storybook bay of St Jean-de-Luz. During our visit, the place was under assault from groups of Spanish teenagers on a school trip. The little port-resort (population 14,000) had not heard such a racket since, I’d say, the Peninsular War back in 1807. Shopkeepers rushed to their doors to shush the spotty hordes, to no effect. One could understand their concern. St Jean has a long history of being wrecked by the Spanish. It is also the discerning person’s Basque coastal hideaway – it doesn’t favour pandemonium. Behind the vast, perfectly curved bay, a commerce-free seafront cedes nothing to seaside cliché. It’s as if they’ve never heard of buckets, spades and blowup crocodiles, even though in summer the sands are full. Minds are ﬁrmly on ﬁshing (the port is right by the main square), festivals and colourful dignity. They have been since 1660, when Sun King Louis XIV married the Spanish Infant, Maria-Teresa. After a brief stop for coffee (me) and hot chocolate and two slices of gâteau Basque (her), we were swallowed up by St Jean-de-Luz’s sinuous surrounding streets. They spat us out onto the beach and then onto the road to Guéthary. These coastal roads are truly
KWT beef 49 ямБllet, Crusted a classic Basque dish.
‘There’s a sense of oceanic power here that renders the Mediterranean idle by comparison.’ splendid – not just for rugged, rolling natural scenery, but also for the way the Basques have made that scenery their own. You know the moment you’re in Basque country, for the houses go bright white, trimmed with oxblood-red timberwork and red roofs. They say, very clearly: ‘Here lives a family that merits respect.’ There is, in short, no doubt to whom this land has belonged for a very long time. There’s a consequent sense of a separate culture. ‘Of course there is,’ said my wife. ‘Who else has a language that’s nothing but “x”s and “k”s?’ ‘A linguist once claimed that it could be used to communicate with deep-sea ﬁsh, though this seems unl-’ ‘Did you say ﬁsh?’ So we checked into a hotel in the clifftop village of Guéthary and went for dinner. My wife had a millefeuille of some Basque ﬁsh I’d never heard of. Presumably they’d talked it into the net. She shared her enthusiasm with the waiter, who launched into the (now expected) auto-celebratory riff on the wonderfulness of all things Basque. Charming chap, but I wondered: ‘Do these people not notice anything that happens beyond their little corner of the continent?’ ‘You’ve never heard of Che Guevara, then?’ my wife challenged me. She was right. Tough living has forced Basque peasants and ﬁshermen to fan out across the world, notably to the Americas. Usually, they made a mark. Guevara was of Basque stock. So was Simón Bolívar. Looking at the old blokes in berets in Guéthary, you’d say they had no interest beyond the next village market. Somewhere in the family tree, though, there’ll be a whaling captain and a president of Paraguay. The following morning, we walked past the fronton (a type of ball game) wall by the town hall. A cluster of kids were already smashing a little pelota ball against the wall, as youngsters and not-so-youngsters do in every Basque village. Beyond, the streets wound white and substantial, before dropping off a cliff to port and shore. 50
This image: Waves smash against the rocks in Biarritz; Above: Basque chicken is anything other than ordinary.
Clockwise from here: St Jean-deLuz; The Hôtel Du Palais pool; Dining at the Palais; Postcard-perfect Hôtel La Devinière; Tea time at the Palais.
Distant wetsuited surfers were being ﬂipped about by ﬁerce rollers, like incompetent young seals. The two cabin restaurants were shut. A group of men hung about a port so tiny that you had to doubt the whaling tales. Children played on sands punctuated by rocks. I’d have stayed forever, but it was nearly lunchtime, my wife’s eyes were narrowing and we were due in Biarritz. We ate (more ﬁsh, pipérade, etc) in a little street by Biarritz market. Then we walked the town’s coastline, another glorious stretch. From the cliffs, we surveyed the Côte-desBasques beach where, in 1957, Hollywood scriptwriter Peter Viertel (Mr Deborah Kerr) steered a plank of wood out to sea and taught Europe to surf. Locals took to it with gusto – Biarritz’s junior population can even do a surﬁng option at school. A creek, a promontory and a rocky outcrop further on, the Grande Plage was where fancy people gathered during Biarritz’s halcyon days. At the bidding of his empress, Eugénie, Napoleon III built an enormous palace at the top end of the beach. A little ﬁshing port suddenly became the 19th-century summer capital of Europe. The Prince of Wales was a regular, while Bismarck almost drowned on one of his visits. He granted a pension for life to the Basque ﬁsherman who saved him. Subsequently, the summer action moved to the Côte d’Azur, giving Biarritz the chance to chuck up some spectacularly clueless development when nobody was looking.
No matter. There’s still old money about, notably in the Hôtel du Palais, which stands where Napoleon’s palace once stood. It dominates the coast in imperial fashion and is now the sort of hotel where commoners feel like crowned heads, and crowned heads feel at ease. The Duke of Windsor was a favourite guest. ‘You’ll not hear a word against him in Biarritz,’ veteran manager Jean-Louis Leimbacher once told me. ‘Although I’m less sure about his wife.’ Recently, brighter French celebs (Jean Paul Gaultier, tennis player Guy Forget) have been leading a move back to Biarritz precisely because it’s not the Côte d’Azur. It’s pleasingly blingless, and – the key point to remember – its tone remains resolutely Basque. In the Red Café on Avenue Foch, the young men couldn’t care less who had just arrived in town, even if it was Gwyneth Paltrow. The upcoming rugby derby with Bayonne demanded their total, unerring concentration. And for every Hermès-style outlet, there were three selling chocolate, six ﬂogging cheese and too many to count offering cured meats. You may imagine the effect on an impressionable wife. ‘What is it about Basque food?’ I asked, ﬁnally giving in to my curiosity. ‘It’s honest and tastes of what it’s supposed to taste of and there’s nothing disgusting or wriggly in it.’ A couple of days later, I brought her home. In a wheelbarrow.
WHERE TO STAY In Guéthary, plump for the retroelegance of the Villa Catarie (www. villa-catarie.com; from $200, room only); it’s ‘decanter-n-chandelier’ swish in a village handy for all of the Basque coast. More expansive budgets might join the old-money elite at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz (www.hotel-du-palais.com; from $495, room only). In St Jean-de-Luz, check in to Hôtel La Devinière (www. hotel-la-deviniere.com; from $240, room only), a graceful spot of old-world style. WHERE TO EAT In Guéthary, try Le Madrid (www. lemadrid.com), a buzzing brasserie with sea-view terrace and mains from $21. In Biarritz, the Baleak (www.baleak.fr) is a new addition to the town’s clutch of modern eateries; hake à la plancha costs $22. But the hot address in town is Les Rosiers (www.restaurant-lesrosiers.fr). ‘Contemporary in a trad Basque setting’ describes both the place and the cooking – it bagged its ﬁrst Michelin star this year. Mains from $34. FURTHER INFORMATION Basque Tourism: www.tourisme64.com.
Beach to their own Sporty, serene or celeb-filled – Anthony Peregrine knows a strip of Gallic sand for every beach lover’s taste.
BEST FOR ADVENTURERS: Camargue coast The roads through the Rhône delta tend to channel crowds to the bouncy seaside resort of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. But resist. Drive instead to the east of the delta, across the marshland, round lagoons and through salt ﬂats, to a place that feels beyond the edge of the known world. And on the edge of the edge lie the huge unkempt beaches where modern France really runs out. On the more accessible Piémanson, camping is illegal but tolerated (authority is far, far away), so the sands teem with tents and French people inviting one another for barbecues. It’s like a cross between a rock festival and the Final Frontier holiday camp, all dwarfed by the vastness of sea, scrub and sky. Beauduc is tougher to get to and wilder still (the 16km dyke track dodges dunes, lagoons and potholes the size of trucks). Much of the outlaw shanty settlement which once colonised the beach – self-crafted holiday ‘homes’ for workers from Provençal towns – has been cleared. A pity; the wellordered anarchy ﬁtted the wilderness frame brilliantly. But white horses still wander at will, distant folk windsurf or net for tiny tellines (shellﬁsh). And the mistral still blows an unbridled breeze of freedom. Where to stay: Neither beach has any amenities, so you’ll need some luxury to escape to. Just back from the coast in Sambuc, Le Mas de Peint (www.masdepeint. com; from $300, room only) is a classic 17thcentury farmstead. 54
BEST FOR SOLITUDE-SEEKERS: Corniche de l’Esterel, Côte d’Azur Received wisdom suggests that the Côte d’Azur is now concrete from end to end – and development has gone bonkers in places. But, in fact, some stretches remain pristine – dramatic reminders of what the côte looked like before it came over all d’Azur. And the ﬁnest of these is the Corniche de l’Esterel, from St Raphäel to Cannes. The red igneous rocks of the Esterel massif drop directly to the sea. Hither and yon, nature has granted creeks and little beaches; pine trees, the road and humanity itself hang on where they can. Overdevelopment here would be laughable – you’d have to move mountains – and some of the ﬁnest spots include Cap-du-Dramont to the east and, a few hairpin plunges westwards, the towering Pointe-du-CapRoux headland. It’s a stiff walk up for king-ofthe-seas views. Close at hand, the Calanquede-Maubois is our favourite creek – and will be yours, too, as long as you don’t take an accidental nosedive off the vertiginous steps that lead down. Red rocks all around, warm sand, deep-blue briny stretching off to meet perfect blue sky – and not a Cornetto in sight. (Keep it to yourself.) Where to stay: At the start of the corniche, Agay sits unpretentiously on its U-shaped bay. Equally unassuming is the warmly welcoming two-star Relais d’Agay (www. relaisdagay.com; from $108, room only).
‘White horses wander at will, distant folk windsurf and the mistral blows an unbridled breeze of freedom.’
BEST FOR SHOW-OFFS: Pampelonne beach, St Tropez Despite annual obituaries, Pampelonne still attracts the beautiful, the famous and the immodestly rich. A member of staff at the beach’s Club 55 reported having served Elton John, Hugh Grant and Beyoncé (friendliest of all was, apparently, U2’s Bono). So, if your holiday needs a decent ‘you’ll-never-guess-who-I-saw’ story, head across the sands to the 55, Nikki Beach or Voile Rouge clubs. Then you might move on to one of the more muted, affordable beach establishments. Our choice would be the Key West (www.key-westbeach.com), with its comfy loungers, teak decks and superb sushi, where in-the-know locals mix with a more discreet international clientele. And then there’s the beach itself: three kilometres long and the reason why everybody is here in the ﬁrst place. Most people are just like you – here with friends and family for a hot day at the seaside. If they manage to spot Joan Collins, they’ll be ﬂeetingly gratiﬁed. If they don’t, they’ll still have a lovely time. Where to stay: It might be pricey (this is St Tropez after all), but La Ponche (www.laponche. com, from $408, room only) has discreet Provençal class.
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BEST FOR SPORTY TYPES: Les Landes, Aquitaine Land on the Landes coast and you’ve arrived at a place where space – upwards, outwards, all ways – isn’t so much a luxury as a birthright. The beaches here are ﬂat, endless and pounded by France’s ﬁnest rollers; dunes line up like coastal defences, and the vast pine forests behind contain an inﬁnity of secrets. Three resorts – the old ﬁshing port of Capbreton, Hossegor with its inland lake, and the more modern Seignosse – collide in their enthusiasm to welcome the world’s pro surfers. But these beaches have waves for all the family, and the ample sands could accommodate most of the population of western Europe, never mind your towel. Should that pall, cycle tracks meander through the pines, and good golf is a mere chip-shot away (www.bluegreen.com; from $96 a round). When the sun goes down, the heat stays up in the bustling cafés and restaurants round the port in Capbreton (try Les Copains d’Abord, Quai Mille Sabords; 00 33 558 721414). Where to stay: Hôtel de la Villa de l’Etang Blanc (www.villaetangblanc.fr; from $91, room only) is a homely little haven set amid parkland and gardens on an inland lagoon (‘étang’).
This image: Chantilly Castle in Picardy; Opposite: Family camping at ArgelĂ¨s-sur-Mer.
BEST FOR NATURE-LOVERS: The Somme, Picardy Bad luck on this region to be lumbered with a name that instantly evokes mad-scale slaughter. But that’s inland to the east. To the west, farmland cedes to a coast where sea, sands and milky sky compete to see who’s biggest, and sand yachts frolic free. From the Baie de l’Authie, dune-backed beaches unravel south. Rare visitors gallop on horses, ﬂy kites, swim or simply stroll, feeling at once very small and rather vibrant. Nicely faded resorts – such as Fort-Mahon, Quend-Plage and Mers-les-Bains with its pastel-painted seafront – lie at the edges, then you’re at the magniﬁcent Baie-de-Somme, where the elements assemble in mighty form. On the fringes, the marshes and meres of the Marquenterre Ornithological Park are a transport hub for every bird on the move: there’s grand walking here, whether or not you can tell a goldﬁnch from a godwit. Next door, Le Crotoy is a base for ﬁshermen and seal-spotting trips. A steam train will trundle you round the bay to St Valéry-sur-Somme, from where William set out to become the Conqueror. He’d still recognise much of it – nature on this scale deﬁes change. Where to stay: On the Baie-de-Somme at Le Crotoy, the brick-red Les Tourelles (www. lestourelles.com; from $88, room only) looks
like a funfair castle. Within, though, it’s simple boathouse chic, all wood, windows and kids running in with sand on their feet.
BEST FOR FAMILIES: Argelès-sur-Mer, Languedoc-Roussillon The Languedoc-Roussillon coast throbs with resorts laying on popular, and populous, Med seaside holidays – the ones where you’re never short of volleyball opponents. Argelès is the ﬁnest: its beaches are safe, immense and pleasantly sprinkled with camping Eurofamilies. Activities run from sea-kayaking, via paragliding, to jet-skiing. The village itself has a long promenade, some woodland, an old port and seaside commerce (inﬂatable turtles, candyﬂoss, pizza-by-the-metre) to please the kids. But then a coast which has been ﬂat all the way from the Rhône delta suddenly sprouts cliffs, hills and coves – the dying sighs of the Pyrenees – to become the Côte Vermeille. If you require a break from your break, then you may go up, down and along to more venerable spots such as Collioure and Banyuls – or into the mountains behind. Where to stay: A good camping bet is La Sirène: old favourite Eurocamp (www. eurocamp.co.uk) has 10 cosy nights in a six-sleeper mobile home from $2,175. Or try Auberge du Roua (www.aubergeduroua.com; from $127, room only). KWT
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Want to experience Spainâ€™s most heart-stopping views, juiciest seafood and friendliest shepherds? Try a coastal train journey, says Nick Haslam.
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t ﬁve-thirty precisely, on a muggy Saturday afternoon, the stationmaster blew a shrill blast on his whistle and the Transcantábrico pulled out of the old station at Ferrol. The long train of gleaming Pullman coaches, some more than 60 years old but restored to mint condition, had begun its 650km chug to Bilbao, along one of the most beautiful lines in Europe. In my panelled compartment I unpacked, marvelling at how much could be squeezed into a space barely two metres by four. Out in the corridor, Walter Schmidt, a tall, laconic Swiss gentleman, was locking his door. ‘It is just as well I sleep with my knees folded,’ he said. ‘If I stretched out in bed my feet would be through the window!’ For a quarter of a century, the Transcantábrico has spent the summer months pootling back and forth across the rim of Spain, on twisting narrow-gauge tracks built more than 100 years ago to bring coal and freight to the Atlantic ports along the coast. Two trains, each a skein of 14 luxury carriages, set out weekly from either end, both carrying 52 passengers in small, but elegant, double en-suite compartments. The line is still busy with commercial trafﬁc, so the train threads its indolent way between
It’s no surprise that this region is known as España Verde – or ‘Green Spain’.
commuter and freight wagons. At 8am daily, passengers are woken by a handbell for breakfast in the restaurant car. Then the train begins its day’s journey, stopping at major towns and minuscule villages, amid some of the most spectacular scenery in northern Spain – the whole country, for that matter. I’m no trainspotter, but since going to school every day by steam train in Cornwall, I’ve carried a torch for rail travel. Now, with nothing more to worry about than a week of rolling down the narrow gauge ahead – that and the chance to explore the hidden corners of the region they call España Verde (Green Spain) – I was brimming with eager anticipation. As the suburbs of Ferrol dropped away, an expanse of water, dotted with small ﬁshing boats, sped past the windows of the refreshments coach: this ‘carriage café’ is where I most liked to settle, admiring the plush armchairs and the speed with which the stewardess brought me chilled drinks and fresh olives. There is much to be said for travelling by luxury train in a capsule of comfort, insulated from the troubles of the ‘normal’ world. Walter, mobile in hand, brow furrowed, sat down beside me. ‘The world’s markets crash, and I am here, on a train, in remote Green Spain.’ Eventually he broke into an ironic smile: ‘I suppose it could be worse…’
It certainly could. At 8pm we reached the tiny whitewashed station of Ribadeo to ﬁnd the waiting courtesy bus, painted the dark blue of the Transcantábrico, that would meet us at every stop. Each day we were to lunch and dine at some of the best restaurants along the coast (northern Spain is famous for the quality of its cuisine – and all meals are included in the ticket price). Tonight, we were bound for the Parador Nacional de Ribadeo, set in a Galician manor house overlooking the estuary, and arrived to ﬁnd the tables laid for a sumptuous four-course dinner, with starters of berberechos (cockles) cooked in a delicate sauce, and marvellous brochettes of grilled octopus. After dinner I went onto the terrace, where Suso Martinez, visiting from the city of La Coruña, was musing over an espresso. He dreamt of doing the trip one day and was full of questions. ‘Tomorrow you leave Galicia and cross to Asturias,’ he said, wistfully, nodding across the bay. ‘Here we say Galicia is rich in bread and water – meaning we have good land and plenty of rain. It still rains in Asturias, but far less than here.’ All was cosy that ﬁrst night, with the Transcantábrico parked in a secluded siding. I spent a while mastering the intricacies of the shower, which had enough buttons to keep a 747 pilot busy, then slept the sleep of the just. Next morning, after the bell and breakfast (croissants from the local bakery), we drove to Ribadeo’s old port, a place with a curious British link: in the Middle Ages, travellers from England disembarked here to begin the last stage of their march to Santiago de Compostela. A boat was waiting to take us for a cruise on the estuary, where brawny men grappled with some of the 5,000 kilos of oysters and mussels prised weekly from the clear waters. As the train swept on over the bridge into Asturias, the sun shone down from a blameless sky. In my compartment, windows open and curtains ﬂapping, I tried to read but the view was irresistible, the track KWT
swinging by empty beaches where a crisp surf broke onto the sands. We reached the tiny ﬁshing port of Luarca in time for lunch. Brightly painted houses lined steep streets down to the sea, and at the harbour’s edge, the catch of the day had been spread out, glinting in the light: large ray, gaping monkﬁsh and sea bass, all up for noisy auction in an echoing hall. Mesmerised, I almost couldn’t tear myself away to the cool, airy Restaurante Villa Blanca. But I was glad I did – it was the best seafood restaurant in town. Over langostinos in crab sauce, the owner recounted how many Asturianos had made their fortunes in Latin America in the 20th century. On their return to Spain, they built ﬁne houses, painting them in garish colours as a nod to the country that had made them rich. Outside in the sun, Walter looked up from the latest SMS from his banker in Geneva and did a quick tally. The vivid-blue Argentinians, he told us, were clearly the most prosperous people in town – closely followed by bloodred Cubans. The landscape was slowly changing now as the Transcantábrico rattled east at a leisurely 60kph, maize ﬁelds giving way to rolling pastureland dotted with stone-walled farmhouses. Misty hills – the Cordillera Cantábrica – drew closer to the train, then, abruptly, the rural scene was obliterated by the outskirts of Oviedo, where smokebelching factory chimneys brought us abruptly back to the real world. Five hectic minutes later the city was behind us, and we were soon winding through woods seawards to the day’s end in Gijón – once the biggest coal port in northern Spain. That evening I wandered through the buzzy city centre, where cafés were packed with families, for supper in the Cimadevilla, the ‘top of the town’, perched on a promontory. This is the joy of long train journeys: they offer the keys to several cities, while offering the security of (what now felt like) home. Better still, there was none of the hassle of repacking a suitcase every day. 66
‘We arrived at the Galician manor house to find cockles cooked in a delicate sauce and marvellous brochettes of grilled octopus.’
Clockwise from here: Party time onboard the Transcantábrico; Seafood features heavily in this region; Beaches are of the sparsely populated variety; The journey features some spectacular bridges; The train passes through dozens of ﬁshing villages.
We had been warned about an early start, and I awoke to the hoot from the locomotive at 6am before drifting back to sleep to the soothing clickety-clack of the wheels as the train retraced its route to Oviedo. As breakfast was served, the Transcantábrico, for the ﬁrst time, shared a platform with a modern commuter train. It seemed dwarfed by its newer, brasher cousin, but I resisted the urge to give the old Pullman carriages a reassuring pat. Despite the slightly forbidding brush with industrial Oviedo the night before, the Asturian capital proved to be an elegant mix of leafy modern avenues around a core of narrow cobbled streets and squares. It was just the way Woody Allen described it, arriving in 2002 to be awarded Spain’s prestigious Príncipe of Asturias Award for Arts: ‘Delicious, exotic… and pedestrianised. Like a fairytale.’ A few hours later, the train shunted into a country siding and we drove up a narrow road of hairpin bends into the rugged Picos de Europa, where snow lay on the distant summits. I walked for half an hour above a calm lake, to a viewing point where two shepherds with a massive sheepdog were watching their ﬂock grazing on the steep hillside. One of them, Pepito Fernandez, offered me a chunk of his smoked Gamonedo cheese, made of milk from his sheep, goats and cows, and talked of the wolf packs that roam these remote mountains. ‘A few years ago I lost 75 per cent of my sheep to them,’ he said. ‘Now we have to put the ﬂock in stockades at night.’ He and his mate Xuarku had been here for ﬁve months and would
soon bring the animals down for winter. ‘It isn’t lonely,’ he assured me. ‘Besides, I could never live down there in that crowded city.’ As dusk fell, the train trundled through the valley of the Sella river, among woods where deer kept a watchful eye; and at sunset we pulled into the summer resort and ﬁshing port of Llanes. Supper in the San Pelayo restaurant – asparagus and sea-urchin caviar, then red mullet – was the ﬁnest so far. Outside, by the sea wall, two ﬁshermen were loading their van with percebes, the prehistoric-looking barnacles that grow on rocks pounded by breakers. Harvesting them is not for the fainthearted, but percebes are a delicacy: ‘We’ll take them to Madrid and get €30 [$40] a kilo,’ one of the men explained. ‘You won’t go hungry here if the weather’s good and you can go ﬁshing.’ The train entered Cantabria on a rainy day – a sympathetic background for a journey nearly at its end. A short bus ride through plump hills, from the country station at Cabezón de la Sal, took us to the museum of Altamira and its exact recreation – down to the last fossil tooth – of Palaeolithic caves, with vivid paintings of bison and galloping horses. Close by, the real caves, discovered in 1875, are now sealed to preserve their treasures. There was time, of course, for a lengthy lunch – in the Parador Gil Blas, a former palace in the restored village of Santillana del Mar. Back at the station, I found our train driver, Alberto Pérez, standing beside his cab, a gaggle of respectful passengers gathered round him. He had been on the narrow gauge all his working life and was full of praise for his faithful, elderly workhorse: ‘The line is quite full of bends. I have to drive the train really gently to make life easier for everyone on it.’ He regales us with the tale of two loved-up Japanese honeymooners who, marooned in a world of their own, got left behind in a backwater station one summer. ‘Luckily they caught up with us later,’ he added, ‘on a local train.’ KWT
The signal changed to green. Alberto climbed back into the cab for the last spurt to the Art Deco station of the Basque capital, Bilbao, our journey’s end. I spent the evening by the Nervión river, admiring the sunset on the titanium hull of the Guggenheim Museum, before joining other passengers for pintxos (Basque tapas) in the massed eateries of the old town. The tight streets were still packed with revellers at 1am, as Walter and I wandered back to the station. He contemplated the Transcantábrico with what I assumed was a fond nostalgia. ‘You know,’ he said, climbing aboard for the last time, ‘if they put the beds the other way round, they’d get much more legroom. Good night!’ Travel brief El Transcantábrico (www.transcantabrico. feve.es) runs the seven-night, allinclusive rail journey between Santiago de Compostela and León. It costs from $3,447 (two sharing) and the 2010 season runs until October.
Dramatic scenery in España Verde.
The rail thing For more indulgence of the authentic kind, try one of these deluxe trains. Transylvanian Danube Express Peer out at the land of the legendary Count Dracula from the safety of this ﬁve-star ‘hotel on wheels’. The 11-day Transylvanian trip starts with three nights in Istanbul, then three on the train, travelling through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, and ends with four nights in Budapest. From $4,485 per person (www. danube-express.co.uk). Venice Simplon-Orient-Express The smooth ’20s train (top right) makes its slow, stately process from London Victoria, under the Channel, over the Alps and Dolomites, to Venice. Baby grand piano, cocktails and black-tie dominate for two days of utter unreality. From $3,487 per person (www.orientexpress.com).
Polish Explorer Danube Express Gliding from the Baltic to the Tatras in four days, the Polish Explorer sets out from Berlin, travelling past turreted castles, Gothic cathedrals and hidden valleys in Germany, Poland and Slovakia, with a ﬁnal stretch over the Great Hungarian Plain into Budapest. From $1,875 per person (www.danubeexpress.co.uk). Northern Belle Gallivant off on this classic ’30s train (bottom right) to castles, festivals and historic cities all over Scotland and the North of England. Lounge in an armchair drinking Bellinis, then amble around at stopovers before relishing a ﬁve-course dinner on the way home. Day trips from $240 per person (www. orient-express.com).
THE MIDDLE EAST’S FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL MAGAZINE
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2008
IS AL E IN R S AZ UT TAIL AG E DE M N R IS N 5 FO TH BOAGE R EP CA SE
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THE MIDDLE EAST’S BIGGEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE
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A FA OFFE BULOUS INSID FOR R E EV READ ERY ER
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CONCIERGE ST PETERSBURG
CONCIERGE ST PETERSBURG
THE 30-SECOND CONCIERGE
GRAND HOTEL EUROPE, ST PETERSBURG Why should I stay here? As well as being ultra-luxurious, we’re one of the most historically signiﬁcant hotels in the city: Tchaikovsky had his honeymoon here and we also hosted George Bernard Shaw’s dinner with Maxim Gorky, although that was a little before my time… Furthermore, our location is second to none, with an enviable spot on Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s most splendid avenue.
What’s there to do round there? There’s the Russian Museum – which hosts a wealth of artistic treasures – and the Mikhailovsky Theatre, one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful opera and ballet houses. We’re also a stone’s throw from the monumental Palace Square, where you can see the Tsars’ former Winter Palace – a sight so impressive you’ll never forget it. Where’s the best place to eat? Not to blow our own trumpet but the French and European cuisine served at our art nouveau restaurant, L’Europe, has earned it the accolade of being St Petersburg’s ﬁnest dining establishment. It’s not to be missed. www.grandhoteleurope.com
Feluccas on the Nile at Aswan. Opposite: Egyptian monument in Luxor.
Visit The Nile
Touring Egypt’s ancient landmarks is no sweat – if you know how to go with the flow, says Anthony Sattin. It is tempting but wrong to think that nothing ever changes in Egypt. The modern world has grown over the ancient like moss, breeding chain restaurants, shanty towns and modern mansions; the trafﬁc in Cairo blows smoke over thousands of years of history, sometimes shrouding the pyramids in a haze of 21st-century pollution. But there is still plenty to absorb history lovers, and just as much to tantalise pleasure seekers. Luxor and Aswan are smaller than Cairo and, to many visitors, more charming 72
and enjoyable. In between, there are tiny villages, remote tombs and lush ﬁelds backed with mango trees. Everything is strung together like precious pearls by the slow, threading Nile, every bit as irresistible now as it was 2,000 years ago. HISTORY LOVERS The Egyptian Museum in Cairo (Midan El Tahrir; www. egyptianmuseum.gov.eg) is riveting: mummies, the treasures of Tutankhamun and more bring the world of the Pharaohs back to life. Sunset in Aswan
is colourful and immensely stirring. Appreciate the spectacle from the terrace of the Soﬁtel Old Cataract Aswan (Sharia Abtal El Tahrir, Aswan; www. soﬁtel.com; from $155, B&B). The old-fashioned veranda boasts views over the river to the ruins of the ancient town of Abu. Just outside town, Ramses II’s great temple at Abu Simbel was intended to strike fear into Nubians coming from the south, but these days it wows crowds from all over. While most visitors see Gebel Silsila from the deck of a boat, you
can spend the night camping at this littlevisited site if you travel by felucca (traditional sail boat) or dahabiya (twin-masted sailing cruiser). It’s home to the sandstone quarries that provided the material for many of Luxor’s ﬁnest monuments. Wake to an empty site and wander the ruins before the cruise ships dock, then set sail on an open sea. PLEASURE SEEKERS Eschew the usual bus or taxi jaunt from Luxor in favour of horse-riding through the ﬁelds and into the Theban hills
for the best view of the Valley of the Kings. Take a ferry across the Nile, then look for Nobi Arabian Horse Stable (Geziret El Bairat, West Bank, Luxor; www.nobi. co.uk) – it’s the only one with insurance and riding hats. Drift over the Theban Necropolis near Luxor in a hot-air balloon to see the sun rise above the hidden tombs and temples. On a clear day, the views are unforgettable – a puzzle of golden stone and green ﬁelds. Try Magic Horizon Balloons (Ohed Street, off TV Street, Luxor; www.magic-
CONCIERGE THE NILE
Clockwise from here: Poolside at the Four Seasons; Egyptian steam boat; Sailing the Nile; Ballooning over the desert; Four Seasons suite.
WATCHING THE DETECTIVE: Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile was inspired by a winter she spent there with her mother and trips she took to Cairo with her husband – we’re guessing the holidays didn’t go too well then... SAY WHAT? Local saying ‘Ibn al-wizz awwam’ means, ‘The son of a goose is a swimmer’. Useful. $15 BUYS: 17 plates of national dish koshari – rice, macaroni, onion and tomato sauce. horizon.com) – a ﬂight costs from $60pp. The Nile is especially fabulous when forced between the rocks in Aswan. Sail around its islands at sunset on a felucca, as you drift off to the sound of sails ﬂapping and the songs of the teenage crew. Rent feluccas from beside the Soﬁtel Old Cataract Aswan, or from Gelal (00 20 12 415 4902), who sails his family’s boat and arranges tours including lunch. WHERE TO STAY NO EXPENSE SPARED Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza,
1089 Corniche El Nil, Garden City, Cairo (www. fourseasons.com; from $225, room only) – it shook up Egypt’s hotel industry so much that most of the places to stay are now almost in line with international standards... MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Al Moudira Daba’iyya (www.moudira. com; from $175, B&B). Luxor’s ﬁrst boutique hotel is in a village south of the West Bank monuments. Moorishstyle rooms grouped around courtyards are pretty and, although service can be slow and
surly, nowhere else comes close to this combination of style and character. WHERE TO EAT NO EXPENSE SPARED 1886 Restaurant Old Winter Palace Hotel (00 20 95 238 0422; dinner only). An unusually formal restaurant for Luxor and a good one, too. The 1886 serves inventive Mediterranean-French food and a few Egyptian dishes in a grand dining room. Guests need to dress the part (that means jacket and tie for the gents). Set menu from $20.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Oasis Café Sharia Dr Labib Habashi, Luxor (00 20 1 2336 7121). The Oasis lives up to its name. Retreat to its cool, high-ceilinged rooms in the centre of Luxor for jazz, coffee, pasta, sandwiches and grills. Mains from $6. SHOPPING Aswan’s colourful souk is good for African amulets, sandalwood, hibiscus ﬂowers, colourful baskets and Sudanese swords. Nagada (13 Sharia Refa’a, Dokki, Cairo (www.nagada.net).
Nagada is a village famous for its weavers and their 1,000-year-old looms. This store of the same name sells the ﬁnest Egyptian crafts, including handwoven silks, linens and remarkable pottery. Habiba Sharia Sidi Mahmoud, Luxor (www. habiba-gallery.com). Habiba sells Bedouin embroidery, scarves from Siwa Oasis and Egyptian cotton towels. Hanaﬁ Bazaar Corniche El Nil, Aswan (00 20 97 231 4083). Dig around the best and dustiest shop in Aswan for old Nubian swords and amulets. KWT
Tangier at dusk. Right: Travel the city outskirts in style.
Souks and the city combine to give you a trad-mod weekend whirl – so spice up your life, writes Mike North. The ﬁlm Casablanca was based loosely on Tangier, which swarmed with spies in WWII, and plenty of the movie’s wheelerdealing is still in evidence. But don’t expect to hang around in glam venues, à la Bogart. To savour modern Tangier, you need to be outside, going with the ﬂow. It’s an exotic circus: burdened donkeys barge past gnarled Berber women laying out their wares; clapped-out cars have horns permanently blaring. One minute the air is ﬁlled with perfume, the next it smells of dung and spices. The hubbub never stops – but 74
there’s always a quiet corner to be found. Calm descends in the nouvelle ville, where a corniche hugs a safe, sandy beach. Eat dinner somewhere sultry, high above the sea. The edgy Tangier of legend might have faded, but the passion and romance remain. Here’s looking at you, kid. GREAT INDOORS Ravishing Islamic decoration, lustrous ceramics and tiles glimmering across every surface – the Dar el Makhzen, once a 17th-century sultan’s palace, now houses the Museum of Antiquities (Place de la Kasbah; www. maroc.net/museums).
The inner courtyard – a leafy urban oasis – is surrounded by rooms with intricate cedar-wood ceilings, showcasing treasures of the past. Here’s a surprise: Morocco was the ﬁrst country to recognise US independence, and the American Legation Museum (8 Rue Amerique; www.maroc. net/museums; free) was its ﬁrst diplomatic outpost. Its fascinating collection includes letters between George Washington and the former Sultan. For a hammam experience, try El Minzah Wellness (85 Rue de la Liberté; 00 212 39 333444, www. elminzah.com; from
$18): sophisticated but authentic, it has spotless, extravagantly tiled rooms. Steam up, get soapy, scrub down, submit to a massage, wash off, plunge, relax. Ruthless haggling in the medina isn’t the only way to pick up a bargain. Head for the Governmentapproved Ensemble Artisanal (Rue de Belgique) – it might sound characterless, but it isn’t: here, skilled ﬁngers craft intricate slippers and book covers, while textiles and rugs are expertly woven. Prices are ﬁxed – and you’re helping cottage industries. GREAT OUTDOORS On Blvd Pasteur,
you’ll ﬁnd six huge 17th-century cannons lined up, with port and sea ﬁercely in their sights. Tangier was fought over for centuries by Britain, Spain, Portugal and France, and this panoramic spot has become a popular meeting place. The English translation is ‘Idlers’ Terrace’ – so take that as your cue.. With their buzzing café culture, Tanjareens know how best to pass the day. Join them for a mint tea at Café Tingis (Rue as-Siaghin, Petit Socco). Dissolute authors, including Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac and Orton, often used to meet here. Or try Café Hafa
Clockwise from here: Saratoga Hotel Clockwise from here: Poolside at Villa Josephine; suite; Cuban spirit istagine; alive and well; Dining at the Mövenpick; The perfect Classic Havana centre; Colour features heavily on Moroccan design; Villa Josephine’s blissful views. the streets; Dining at the Saratoga Hotel.
MWAH! Locals greet each other with a kiss on one cheek, two on the other. You don’t, until invited. HONEST, MUM: Regardless of subject matter, everyone swears on their mum’s head. WATCH THIS SPACE: If you’re meeting up with locals, be prepared for their ‘relaxed’ time-keeping. (Rue Hafa, La Marshan), with its pretty terraces of wonky tables, mangy cats and ocean views. Chellah Beach is jumping in summer with ball games, camel rides, windsurﬁng and touts. At night the crowd shifts to Chellah-Beach Club (Ave Mohammed VI; 00 212 39 225068, www. chellahbeachclub.com; free), for live jazz-fusion and ﬂamenco. Grab a cab from Grand Socco and head for the austere beauty of Cap Spartel, a windy promontory with a lighthouse, 10km west (return fare $45). Nearby is the Grotto of Hercules ($3), a massive, eerie cavern sculpted by crashing waves. People once inhabited it – among them, legend has
it, the Greek hero himself. (You’ll need superhuman strength, too, to ﬁght off the souvenir sellers.) A clapped-out movie house has been sympathetically transformed into the Cinémathèque de Tanger (Place 9 Avril, Grand Socco; 00 212 39 934683), which houses studios, cafés and two theatres. But there’s sometimes a screen in the square as well, where thousands sit enraptured, whistling and clapping at every plot twist in the Moroccan ﬁlms shown. WHERE TO STAY NO EXPENSE SPARED Villa Josephine 231 Rue de la Montagne, Sidi Masmoudi (www. villajosephine-tanger. com). This 11-room
colonial villa, once the summer home of the Pasha of Marrakech, is a peach. It’s set in tropical gardens with a pool, looking out over the Straits of Gibraltar. About 10 minutes from town, it combines the mood of an English country house and old Maroc. Dine informally but impeccably at a communal table. From $415, room only. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Mövenpick Hotel Route de Malabata, Baie de Tanger (00 212 39 329300, www. moevenpick-hotels.com). Large resort-comebusiness hotels sound dull – but this one works, with Swiss precision and pleasant, efﬁcient staff. Rooms are big and balconied, facing a pool and spa,
with the sea beyond. From $200, B&B. WHERE TO EAT NO EXPENSE SPARED Hammadi 2 Rue de la Kasbah (00 212 39 934514). Musicians in traditional garb swirling around diners accompany the trad food. This includes piquant harira (chickpea soup), grilled ﬁsh and meats, and couscous topped with lamb and roast veg. Order it in advance if possible. Mains from $14. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Riad Tanja Rue du Portugal, Nr Escaliers Américains (00 212 39 333538, www.riadtanja.com). Atmospherically located with terrace views overlooking the Bay of Tangier, Tanja serves
new-wave Moroccan cuisine: that might mean pastilla stuffed with creamy monkﬁsh, or a spicy tagine. Dine in one of two rugstrewn, candlelit salons after dark – or outside, under the stars. Mains from $11. SHOPPING Kasbah 70 Rue de la Marine, Petit Socco. This place is packed with glittering rings, bracelets and geegaws. Amber or jade necklaces from $120. Laure Welﬂing 3 Place de la Kasbah. Pick up a fabulous array of handcrafted items: eye-catching ‘Matisse’ ceramic plates cost from $36; intricate velour bags $100; and couture bejewelled gowns $1,090. KWT
This image: Piazza del Duomo galleria; Opposite: Bice’s legendary grilled ﬁsh.
All work and no play? Come the weekend, Italy’s industrious fashion city is anything but, says Sally Howard. Most think that Latin spirit is thin on the ground in Milan, the place that invented the espresso and the Marlboro mealreplacement plan. Come Friday, even the suits skip off to Rome or Florence in pursuit of the dolce vita they don’t believe exists in Italy’s commercial capital. Yet by rejecting the biggest city in Lombardy, they are missing out – because, for all its lightning-speed lunches and northern European work ethic, Milan is a red-blooded Italian at heart. Treat the city like a tiramisu (another Milanese invention): spoon through the layers 76
and you’ll ﬁnd it’s all there – verdant corners of Parco Sempione crackling with courting duos; 80-something latte lovers twinkling as if auditioning for one of those healthymargarine TV ads. Milan was made for slow Saturdays and Sundays, and it can be transcendentally beautiful. Behind groaning wooden doors and up worn stairs, your eyes are drawn to the dark stone beauty of the Duomo (cathedral), to Baroque palazzos and to Da Vinci frescoes so transporting they’ll make your knees knock. Regain your Milanese poise in the city of 10,000 chefs with
a saffron-spiked risotto alla Milanese, or baked polenta with veal and mushrooms, and settle back – Monday is light years away. PERFECT LAZY SATURDAY Hop in the elevator to the roof of Milan’s brooding Duomo (Piazza Duomo; www. cenacolovinciano.org; $8) as the morning light illuminates one of Europe’s best city views, bordered by a fairytale froth of pinnacles and ﬂying buttresses. The interior is equally fabulous: 40 terriﬁc columns reaching to a faraway roof; stained-glass rippling and refracting like
spent sweet wrappers; everywhere the organic scent of incense and human ambition. Pick a tram, ideally the number one route, featuring the iconic orange Carelli coaches with their brass ﬁttings and seen-a-thing-ortwo teak seats. You can spend a long morning winding through the Centro Historico. Stamp your ticket and sit back for a bird’s-eye ride along Via Settembrini and Manzoni, through Piazza Cordusio, and back up towards the moody mass of Sforzesco Castle. Tick off the obligatory Milanese fashionshopping haunts, starting with the
boutiques of Milan’s Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quad) shopping district. If you tire of struggling into frocks, head to the surprisingly easygoing Casa Armani (Via Manzoni), a mirrorand-steel-clad ode to the super-brand, with a home store, café and ﬁne chocolatier. Or try 10 Corso Como (www.3rooms10corsocomo.com), a bohemian department store that overﬂows with designer one-offs and objets d’art. Tortona, which lies southwest of the city, is a top spot for dinner. Amble along the Naviglio Grande, littered with pop-up art spaces, second-hand
Clockwise from here: The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele; Suite at the Carlton Baglioni; More luxury living at the Baglioni; La Scala Opera House; Those iconic orange trams.
YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN MILAN WHEN: You’re ﬂattened by a Vespa driver, reversing at speed, lips pursed around a Marlboro Red. DON’T SAY: ‘Accessories – what’s the point?’ LOCAL JOKE: Berlusconi arrives in America for an ofﬁcial visit. ‘Do you have anything to declare?’ asks the customs ofﬁcer. ‘Yes,’ says Berlusconi, ‘but where are the television cameras?’ bookshops, bohemian bars and movie-star Latin lookers. You’ll ﬁnd some excellent peoplewatching from the plant-festooned terrace of Café Homemade Delicate (Via Tortona 12; www.home-made.it). PERFECT LAZY SUNDAY Museo Bagatti Valsecchi (Via Santo Spirito 10; www. museobagattivalsecchi. org; $12) showcases the lifestyle of brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, Milanese gentlemen whose whimsies ranged from tandemcycling to hot-air ballooning. This, their 19th-century palazzo,
is an ab-fab replica of a 16th-century Milanese nobleman’s abode, complete with ivory sundials and a plenitude of marble. Anchoring Parco Sempione, Sforzesco Castle (Piazza Castello; www.milanocastello. it; free) has lost little of its sky-darkening punch, despite a post-war rebuild. The exhibits within it sprawl, so cherrypick your favourites. The Pinacoteca museum (entry $3) is a highlight, along with Michelangelo’s last sculpture. In the honeyed afternoon sunshine, make for Como – ‘the Lake’ – Milan’s
celebrated weekend getaway, an easy hour or so on the Ferrovia Nord Milano trainline from Cadoma station (www.lenord. it; $15 return). Verdant Lombardy smudges by, and you’re soon staring into Como’s fathomless green-glass waters. WHERE TO STAY NO EXPENSE SPARED Carlton Hotel Baglioni Via Senato 5 (www. baglionihotels.com). There’s all the studied elegance you could want at this place: brocade tumbling onto marble, a breakfast buffet piled higher than the Pyrenees and a surplus of ferociously groomed Euro and
Russian clientele. From $600 B&B. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Antica Locanda Solferino Via Castelﬁdardo 2 (www.anticalocanda solferino.it). The fashion set gets all aﬂutter about this discreet courtyard hotel, with its antiques and its location in arty Brera. From $250 B&B. WHERE TO EAT NO EXPENSE SPARED EDA Via Filippino Lippi 7 (00 39 02 6681962). It’s an endearing habit of the Milanese to religiously designate their restaurants carne o pesci (meat or ﬁsh).
EDA is a palace to pesci, where customers scramble for a hunk of succulent timbalo (pike pie). Mains around $30. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Bice Via Borgospesso 12 (www.bicemilano.it). The boutique Bice restaurant chain now straddles the Atlantic, from Montréal to Istanbul, Orlando to Madrid. This was the original. Trading since 1926 and retaining its between-wars vibe, Bice dishes up the family favourites of its namesake Beatrice Ruggeri. Baby chicken alla diavola is a scenestealer, as is the grilled ﬁsh. Mains around $20. KWT
Feeling excited about your holiday? Check through our list of the most popular Kanoo Travel ofﬁces, ﬁnd one near you and head down or call up to turn your getaway dreams into reality... BAHRAIN Abu Obeidah Avenue Wroad No. 302 Manama Tel. 17 576950 Mahooz Tel. 17 828754 Awali Branch Sitrah Avenue Road No. 4522 Awali Tel. 17 756487 Al Moayd Tower Manama Tel. 17 220220 Kanoo Holidays Mahooz Tel.17 828802 Kanoo Travel Reﬁnery Tel. 17 755012 Airport Ofﬁce Bahrain Tel. 17 321325 Egypt Air Manama Tel. 17 220747 Lufthansa Mahooz Tel. 17 828763 Air India Manama Tel. 17 220788 Cyprus Airways Manama Tel. 17 220 849 British Airways Manama Tel. 17 220701 Qantas / Jetabout Manama Tel. 17220743 Thai International Mahooz Tel. 17 828771 Air Canada / Austrian Airlines / Polish Olympic Airways / Sudan Airways / Sas / Swiss Int’l / Tunis Mahooz Tel. 17 828770
EGYPT Alexandria Booz Allen 1 Youssef El-Shazly Street Roushdy, Alexandria Tel. 002 03 5459265
Alexandria 14 May Str, Sayadlia Building Symoha Tel. 020 03 424 1050 Aswan Abtal El-Tahrir Street Corniche El-Nil Tel. 002 097 2306983 Heliopolis Business Travel Centre 33 Nabil Elwakkad St Heliopolis Cairo Tel. 002 02 4130375/6 Cairo Halliburton C/O Halliburton Overseas Ltd Kilometer No 10 Land No 30 Ein Sokhna Road North Kattamia Cairo Tel. 002 02 27591690 Cairo 07 Dr. Kamal Hussin Heliopolis Cairo Tel. 002 02 26251307 Cairo Schlumberger C/O Schlumberger Zeiny Tower 25 Misr Helwan Road Maadi Tel. 002 02 7684700 Ext.. 1014 Cairo U.N.D.P C/O U.N.D.P., 4th Fl, World Trade Center 1191 Cornich El Nil Tel. 002 02 25804491 Cairo Kasr El Nil 15 Kasr El Nil Street Down Town Tel. 002 02 25747991 Cairo Nile Hilton Nile Hilton Hotel Down Town Tel. 002 02 25785001 Cairo 1 Wahib Doss Str. Ofﬁce No 9 Maadi Tel. 002 02 27513930 El Areesh Mfo C/O Mfo Northern Sinai Tel. 002 068 3502868 Luxor Winter Palace Hotel Tel. 002 095 2378333
FRANCE Foreign Exchange 11 Rue Scribe Paris 75009 Tel. +33 1 5300 9897 Foreign Exchange 11 Cours de I’Intendance Bordeaux 33000 Tel. +33 5 5600 6336 Bureau de Change Kanoo Printemps Dept. Store 64 Boulevard Haussmann 75009 PARIS Tel. +33 1 4282 4181
Umalquara Street Hayfer Makkah Tel. 02 544 7741 Kanoo Travel Sharaﬁya Tel. 02 643 9426 Kanoo Travel Taif Tel. 02 736 4211 Kanoo Travel Rabigh Tel. 02 423 2785
Kanoo Travel Medinah Tel. 02 263 3040
Kanoo Travel LLC PO Box 75 114 Jibroo, Muscat Tel. +968 24700249
Air India Jeddah Tel. 02 668 0303 / 669 6571
Gulf Air Jeddah Tel. 02 668 0303 / 669 6571 / 646
Old Al Hitmi Street Museum Street, Doha Tel. 04 441 3441 Conoco Phillips Salam Tower Al Corniche Street, Doha Tel. 04 443 7595
SAUDI ARABIA WESTERN PROVINCE Kanoo Centre Medina Road, Jeddah Tel. 02 661 4950 Bab Makkah Jeddah Tel. 02 644 9030 Bamaroof Centre Hail Street, Jeddah Tel. 02 653 0541
Singapore Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 657 9898 Srilankan Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2959 Air Canada Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2996, Ext. 190 Kenyan Airways Jeddah Tel.02 263 2959 Ext. 108 Philippine Airways Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2959 Ext. 100 / 122
Khamis Abha Main Road Khamis Mushayat Tel. 07 222 3624
United Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 263 3021 / 2959 Ext. 196 / 197
Prince Sultan Street Gizan Tel. 07 317 4285
Aboobacker Al Siddiq Street, Medina Tel. 04 823 9120
Airline Centre King Abdul Aziz Street Al Khobar Tel. 03 882 2206
Al Nawa Commercial Centre Al Sinnaiyat, Yanbu Tel. 04 321 3607
Kanoo Holidays, Retail Airline Centre, Khobar Tel. 03 882 2206 / 2601 / 2249
Albishar Commercial Centre King Abdulaziz Street Al Bahar, Yanbu Tel. 04 322 1087
Kanoo Holidays, Wholesale Airline Centre, Khobar Tel. 03 8821626 / 1851 / 8820161
Hertz Khobar Tel. 03 882 2005 / 5597
Dhahran Street Damman Tel. 03 833 7694
Airport Ofﬁce Dammam Tel. 03 883 2660 / 2660
King Khalid Street Khobar Tel. 03 864 7471
British Airways Khobar Tel. 03 882 2000 British Airways Dammam Tel. 03 835 5714 British Airways Jubail Tel. 03 362 1069 Air India Khobar Tel. 03 882 2478 Air India Jubail Tel. 03 362 3454 Qantas Khobar Tel. 03 882 3711 / 2467 United Airlines / Air Canada / Singapore Airlines / Swissair / Austrian Airlines Tel. 03 882 1518/ 2962 / 2602 / 03 882 4477 / 4442 / 4890 / 4533 Srilankan Airlines Khobar Tel. 03 882 2789 / 2675 / 2792 Gulf Air Khobar Tel. 03 896 8496 / 9393 / 8493
47th Street Rahima Tel. 03 667 0388 Al Quds Street Qatif Tel. 03 851 5009 City Centre Al Mahoob Buidling Hufuf Tel. 03 586 3823 Kanoo Building Corniche Road Jubail Tel. 03 362 2340 Municipal Street Al Khafji Tel. 03 766 0045 CENTRAL PROVINCE Kanoo Tower King Abdul Aziz Road Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 King Faisal Foundation Al Khairia Complex Riyadh Tel. 01 463 4454 Wazir Street Al Azizea Building Riyadh Tel. 01 411 4780
Gulf Air Dammam Tel.03 835 4194 / 4917 / 4952
Batha Riyadh Tel. 01 403 0368
Gulf Air Qatif Tel. 03 852 9384 / 854 5240
Al Kubaih Street Buraidah Tel. 06 325 0888
Gulf Air Rastanura Tel. 03 667 8041/ 7972 Gulf Air Hofuf Tel. 03 585 3358 / 4080 / 2252 Gulf Air Jubail Tel. 03 363 0982/ 84 / 85 /86 Kanoo Tower King Saud Street, Damman Tel. 03 833 9793
Airport Road Hail Tel. 06 543 0430 Sharjah Street Hotat Bani Tamim Al Hotah Tel. 01 555 0304 Silsilah Road Onaiza Al Qassim Tel. 06 362 0080 Main Street Al Khamseen Wadi Ad Dawasir Tel. 01 784 6500
CONCIERGE WHERE TO BOOK
Kanoo Travel Naseem Tel. 01 232 8519
Najda Street Abu Dhabi Tel. 02 678 0400
Air India Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 295 / 296
Kanoo Holidays Dubai Tel. 04 334 1444 / 315 6624
Gulf Air Olaya, Riyadh Tel. 01 461 0589 / 462 4902 United Airlines / Air Canada Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 289, 290 Qantas Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 288, 305 Srilankan Airlines Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 292 X 293 Philippine Airlines Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 237 X 238 Air India Buraidah Tel. 06 324 6514 / 325 0888 Gulf Air Hail. Tel. 06 532 0280 Gulf Air Buraidah Tel. 06 324 6514 / 325 0888 Singapore Airlines Kanoo Tower Tel. 4734102 / 4734103
UAE Jebel Ali LOB 16, Ground Floor Jebel Ali Free Zone Tel. 04 881 5050 Karama Al Fathooi Centre Dubai Tel. 04 334 1222 Kanoo Building Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street, Bur Dubai Tel. 04 507 2242 Dubai Internet City Building 12 Tel. 04 390 1992 Deira City Centre Dubai Tel. 04 294 1481
Marine Travel Services Dubai Tel. 04 335 1314 Airport Ofﬁce Dubai Tel. 04 393 1963 Kanoo Travel Corniche, Abu Dhabi Tel. 02 631 3900 / 631 8187
UK Birmingham American Express Bank House. 8 Cherry Street Tel. 0121 644 5514 / 0121 644 5560 Bournemouth American Express 95A Old Christchurch Road Tel. 0787 260 0528 / 01202 780 752 Brighton Amex House Implant American Express Ground Floor Amex House Edward Street Tel. 01273 525 041 / 040 Bristol American Express 74 Queens Road Tel. 01179 065 107 / 105 Cardiff American Express 3 Queen Street Tel. 02920 649 305 / 02920 649 301 Coventry American Express 5 Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre Tel. 02 47 622 5511 / 0787 260 0528 Croydon American Express 2-4 High Street Tel. 0208 256 0808 / 0805 Edinburgh American Express 69 George Street 0131 718 2508 / 0131 718 2505
Kanoo Building Al Orouba Street, Sharjah Tel. 06 561 6058
Essex Lakeside Bureau American Express Lakeside Shopping Centre West Thurrock Way West Thurrock Grays Tel. 01708 890 654
Green Community Mall Jebel Ali Road Dubai Tel. 04 885 3321
Glasgow American Express 66 Gordon Street Tel. 0141 225 2905 / 0141 225 2908”
Kanoo Travel – American Express Hermitage Building Al Karama Tel. 04 334 9219
Guildford American Express 38-40 High Street Tel. 01483 551 607 / 01483 551 605
Leicester American Express 1 Horsefair Street Tel. 0116 242 1808 / 0116 242 1805
visit Disneyland, Paris this summer
London Haymarket American Express 30 – 31 Haymarket Tel. 0207 484 9674 / 0207 484 9600 London Credit Swiss First Boston American Express Travel Ofﬁce C/O Credit Suisse One Cabot Square Canary Wharf Tel. 0207 888 4196 London Holborn Bureau American Express 156a Southampton Row Tel. 0787 260 0528 / 0207 837 4416 London Kensington High St American Express 84 Kensington High Street Tel. 0207 795 6703 London Knightsbridge American Express 78 Brompton Road Tel. 0207 761 7908 / 7900, London American Express 1 Savoy Court The Strand Tel. 0207 240 1521 Milton Keynes American Express 670 Silbury Boulevard Tel. 01908 608 877 Manchester American Express 10-12 St Mary’s Gate Tel. 0161 833 7301 / 0161 833 7301 Nottingham American Express 2 Victoria Street Tel. 0115 924 7705 / 0115 924 7701 Plymouth American Express 139 Armada Tel. 01752 502 707 / 01752 502 702
Disneyland® Paris is the ideal place for everyone and for every age! With two Disney® Parks, 14 hotels, three 9 - hole golf courses and Disney® Village - a unique entertainment area filled with bars, restaurants, boutiques and a nightclub, all with the inimitable Disney touch. Come closer, take a deep breath, and see what kind of magic we're cooking up for you!
Contact your nearest Kanoo Travel or Kanoo Holidays office for reservations, information and details on exclusive package offers including airfare. Visit www.kanootravel.com to access a complete description of Disneyland Resort, Paris and all the attractions and special offers planned for this summer.
Shefﬁeld American Express 20 Charles Street, Shefﬁeld Tel. 0114 263 9308 / 0114 263 9305 Southampton American Express 99 Above Bar Tel. 02380 716 808 / 805 York American Express 6 Stonegate Tel. 01904 676 505
CONCIERGE SUITE DREAMS
SUITE DREAMS AYUNG RIVER POOL VILLA, KUPU KUPU BARONG VILLAS AND TREE SPA, BALI
Overlooking the river and lush, rice paddy-packed valleys below, this setting could soothe even the most highly strung traveller. This spacious, single-storey villa ﬂanks a private outdoor plunge pool, lounging pavilion and timber sun terrace, but if you’re in need of further pampering you could always drag your poor world-weary self to the Mango Tree Spa – or simply gorge on exquisite French-Indonesian food under the stars at La View restaurant (if you book early, you can nab the atmospheric table for two, which ﬂoats in the middle of the inﬁnity pool…). www.kupubarongubud.com
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