INSPIRED TRAVEL MAGAZINE
OCEAN VIEW 3
2 w ww.inspire d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Welcome to our winter edition of Inspired Travel – in this issue, we cover a range of destinations, holiday types and lifestyle inspiration to suit all travellers. This time of year brings with it plans upon plans for the new year; whether that’s holiday plans or plans for redecorating the home; plans to get fit or new recipes. With uncertainty in the air across the UK, our passion for travel seems to be one area that hasn’t been stifled; a holiday on the horizon lifts the spirits and provides that much-needed escape from political hardship. Ski holidays are top of the list for many travellers this time of year, with the season just getting started. We take a look at Austria as a top destination for both skiing for all the family and simply for a fantastic winter break. A beautiful destination whatever the time of year, Canada, in all its vastness, creates the ideal destination for the more adventurous type, as well as those who like to holiday in luxury. Jenny Ardagh takes us on a journey through the Rocky Mountains, describing her amazing trip and recommending the sights through words and pictures. With photography a skill now accessible to all, we also take a look at the importance of preserving memories and the danger of relying solely on mobile devices.
Tranquil Tenerife - Page 42
If you’re not such a fan of the cold weather, MD, Lee Mansfield also reviews his experience on a cruise around the Greek islands with Variety Cruises, plus we inspire you with destinations such as Tenerife, Barbados and Dubai (our cover for this issue). See also our recipes section and some motoring madness alongside much much more! Enjoy your read and be inspired. www.inspiredtravelmag.com
The Scenic City of Seattle - Page 70
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 3
ISSUE 02, VOLUME 16 2016
INSPIRED TRAVEL MAGAZINE
06 OCEAN VIEW 3
Cover Image: Dubai Cruise Tourism www.visitdubai.com
ENJOY A WINTER HOLIDAY IN AUSTRIA
CORNWALL: THE FAL RIVER FESTIVAL
CEWE: MAKING MEMORIES
Inspired Travel Magazine Managing Director/Publisher: Lee Mansfield email@example.com Group Director/Editor: Simon Skinner firstname.lastname@example.org Operations Director Clare Fermor email@example.com Deputy Editor: Jenny Ardagh firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editor: Jess Saunders email@example.com Sales: Geoff Diamond firstname.lastname@example.org Production Manager: Harriet Weston email@example.com Production Designer Amy Watson firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts: Anne Greenwood email@example.com Subscriptions: Linda Grace firstname.lastname@example.org Published by: LMG SE LTD Unit 1, Swan Barn Business Centre Swan Barn Road, Hailsham, BN27 2BY 01323 819 007
CANADIAN ROCKIES ADVENTURE
THE DESIRES OF DUBAI
A TASTE OF BARBADOS
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INSURANCE
A GREEK ADVENTURE
Printed by: Gemini Print Unit A1, Dolphin Way, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6NZ 01273 464884 www.gemini-print.co.uk
All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Inspired Travel Magazine do not necessarily represent the view of Life Media Group LTD. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publishers of Inspired Travel Magazine assume no reponsibilty for any damage, loss or injury arising from the participation in any offers, competitions or advertisment contained within Inspired Travel Magazine. All prices featured in Inspired Travel Magazine are correct at the time of going to press. Copyright Life Media Group 2016 Â©
THE SCENIC CITY OF SEATTLE
4 w ww.ins pired tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
Just Some Of The Wonderful Things To Do On Sark
r puffins Look out fo
Explore the magical Seigneurie Gardens
Watch do lphins foll owing the ferry
k cream tea Savour a Sar
Put your feet up & admire the view
Explore th e island by pedal pow er
e island ge tour of th Take a carria
Discover sea life in the rock pools
wTwakw . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 5 e the plung e with coas teering
Ocean View ad 2.indd 1
ENJOY A WINTER HOLIDAY IN
What better way to celebrate the winter season than to immerse yourself in a real-life winter wonderland with 6 www.ins tr a ve lm a Inspired g.co.u k a holiday topired Austria? Travel takes a look at the beautiful country and all that it has to offer this winter
inter trips away are becoming more and more common for British holidaymakers. Most people will still jump at the chance of sizzling in the heat, booking a relaxing trip to enjoy the Caribbean sun. However, why not make the most of the colder season? Inspired Travel questions the relevance of weather-escaping holidays and focuses on the benefits of a mountainous and scenic Austrian holiday, whether you’re looking for an action-packed weekend away or a twoweek long celebration. Austria is a German-speaking country (although other local official languages include Hungrarian and Solvene) situated in Central Europe and is the home of approximately 8.66 million people – almost the same as the UK’s capital city of London alone, proving that Austria makes for an intimate and cosy family holiday destination. Bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Austria is best known for it’s mountainous villages and alpine terrain, covering almost 84,000 square kilometres. The capital city, Vienna is home to the Schonbrunn and Hofburg Palaces, which, along with other landmarks and attractions, make Austria a historically and culturally-heavy country. Austria is approximately 758 miles away from the UK and, although that sounds like a pretty fair distance, the many ways of travelling to and from the beautiful country makes the journey process a whole lot easier, and the destination more accessible than the average person assumes. Speaking from personal experience, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a 20-hour coach journey to what feels like half way across the world, it is probably the most suitable means of travel for larger groups of people who might not have the funds to supply the whole family with plane tickets, and it’s reassuring to know that this means of travel is always available if all else fails. Additionally, with several airports, easy access is granted to visitors with all kinds of holiday plans, however Salzburg Airport is well-known for serving the city and ski resorts in particular.
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 7
Anyone avoiding booking a holiday to Austria because they desire ‘hot weather’ should do their research first. With regards to climate and weather, Austria presents visitors with the best of both worlds; being located in a temperate climatic zone means that Austria lies between both the polar and tropical regions, causing a slight contrast in climate behaviour. The lowland regions of Austria in the north and east have more continental-influenced conditions, with hotter summers and colder winters. Meanwhile, the southeastern areas of the scenic country have long, warm summers – similar to those of Mediterranean countries. On the other hand, in Austria’s western areas, the Atlantic climate is felt more – mild winters and relatively warm summers. Unlike in the UK, rain is quite evenly distributed across the duration of the year, however April and November are usually the wettest months while 8 w ww.inspire d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
September and early October tend to be the driest. With regards to snowfall, snow cover usually lasts from the end of December through to March in Austria’s valleys. From November through to May, at an altitude of around 1,800m and in some areas above 2,500m, snow cover is permanent. Although a rough guide to the expected weather forecast can be given, at a high altitude, weather conditions and temperatures can change very drastically, so it’s always good to be prepared. Whether you’re visiting Austria for an action-packed weekend away or a relaxing time under the Austrian sun, one thing that is sure to impress visitors, regardless of plans and desires, is the stunning scenery. Massive altitudes means you can see the true beauty of the mountains from ground level, taking in the paper-white snow and bright blue skies. The many different areas of this
outstanding country means that snow isn’t the only terrain you see – vibrant green grass is also sat at the bottom of the mountains, giving visitors a break from the bright and sometimes overbearing snow when needed. Additionally, tiny, rustic-style villages and calm, blue lakes make for intimate and soothing walks and the lack of street commotion gives visitors a reasonable amount of space and freedom to do as they please. When thinking of a winter trip to countries such as snowy Austria and Switzerland, skiing is the first activity that comes to mind, and large amounts of people see these locations just as ski resorts. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the fact that there are ski resorts scattered all over the place, as a cultural and historic country, Austria has so much more to offer: from sleighing and ice skating to spa facilities and Austrian boutiques.
Cruising in 2016 Because of Austria’s close proximity to other cities such as Prague and Budapest, there will never be a dull moment during your trip. Why not take a coach tour through the landscape of western Hungary through to the captivating city of Budapest, where you’ll be given the chance to enjoy a delectable lunch whilst admiring the main sights of the city – including the Vajdahunyad castle, Opera house or the Citadel? Or if sightseeing doesn’t tickle your fancy, take a day out in the Austrian countryside for a wine tasting tour where you can satisfy your cravings with a delicious lunch at a traditional wine tavern whilst trying out all the weird and wonderful reds, whites and rosés. You are then given the opportunity to end your day with an hourlong, picturesque river cruise between the remote villages of Spitz and Melk. If wine is your area of interest but, not so much boats, then you could always try the wine tasting bike tour through the Wachau Valley. For those of you who are seeking a more action-packed and adventurous break, the Vienna City Segway Day Tour is also available, allowing people in attendance to explore the city at their own pace. Also departing from Vienna, the tour allows guests to cruise effortlessly through the city, morning, afternoon or evening, making pit stops at beautiful parks and cafés while learning fun facts For those about Vienna’s deep history. of you who are In addition, Schonbrunn Zoo seeking a more actionor ‘Vienna Zoo’ is located packed and adventurous around the grounds of the break, the Vienna City Schonbrunn Palace, just Segway Day Tour is waiting for the animal lovers out there to learn about also available, allowing the 4000 animals it is home people in attendance to. Founded in 1752, it is to explore the city at one of the oldest zoos in the their own world and focuses on nature pace conservation as well as educating visitors on the many different, wonderful species of animals. It’s clear to see that, with exceptional views, interesting history and an array of fun activities, Austria makes for a flawless holiday destination this winter season for people from all walks of life, so get booking! w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 9
An Austrian Skiing Holiday For those daring individuals out there who actually are considering booking a skiing trip, Austria is unquestionably the place to come! As the home of hundreds of ski resorts and the host of beautiful, thick snow, it’s no wonder why Austria attracts so many skiers and snowboarders every year. Whether you’re an experienced skier or just going along for the first-time experience, Austria has a wide range of resorts to suit people with all abilities. This country is renowned for its ski schools and experienced instructors, making the learning process a whole lot easier for the young ones. Runs for every level of skier are available on Austria’s slopes, along with the constant availability of skiing and snowboarding equipment, meaning you can rest easy without the worry of purchasing beforehand. Accommodation in Austria, just like everything else the desirable destination offers, ranges to suit all kinds of holiday plans. There are many four and five star hotels located around the country, meaning first class accommodation is always available for those of you who seek a luxury lifestyle. After all, what sounds more appealing than enjoying a cosy night in your hotel room after a long day on the slopes? On the other hand, those of you who want to fully immerse yourself into the interesting culture and enjoy a comfortable stay while living a true Austrian lifestyle, rooms in guest houses and lodges, alongside villas (for a more private stay) located in the calm villages and snowy hills are also on offer.
10 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Inspired’s Top 3 Austrian Ski Resorts Innsbruck To experienced skiers, what usually matters the most is an adrenaline-fueling vertical drop – the height difference between the highest lift-served point and the end of the run. This is something Innsbruck resort has down to a T. Although practically all of Austria’s ski runs incorporate this important element, Innsbruck resort is the host of one of the highest altitude runs, with a vertical drop of 5,547ft or 1680m. Innsbruck’s eight ski areas – scattered at distances from 15 to 45 minutes travel time from the city centre – are all open to visitors, meaning boredom is never an option. Free scheduled ski buses pick up at
points convenient to the main hotels and proceed via a central transfer point to all the ski areas. Also, a single lift pass, valid for all ski areas, means you can explore the length of the resort at your own pace. The Grand Hotel Europa is just one of the many hotels located in Innsbruck, and definitely portrays what it says on the tin: grand! Although maybe suitable for guests with a more lenient budget, this lavish hotel offers 24-hour front desk service, laundry services, currency exchange and allows pets, as well as the use of a casino, fitness room and sauna. With rooms from €114, the Grand Hotel Europa presents a luxurious stay. Similarly, positioned just over 1km away from the city centre, Hotel Alpinpark is another favourite and, as a family-run hotel, here the important elements of a family
Austria range from €30 for children and €55 for adults, which are perfectly reasonable prices when considering how much you’re guaranteed to get out of it. There are numerous hotels situated within this resort, including hotel Maiensee and Arlberghöhe, right on the slopes’ doorstep, as well as Arlberg Hospiz Hotel and Hotel Schwarzer Adler, located within 200m of the resort. Almost all of these hotels offer both luxury and necessity, with lovely rooms, unique and enjoyable food, spa treatments and activities and classes such as yoga – something for everyone, whether you’re travelling alone or with the whole family.
holiday are recognised. Numerous single and double rooms equipped with all facilities are provided, as well as spacious family rooms. Hotel Alpinpark is the host of a restaurant with a garden terrace and large bar, as well as a café with an open fireplace for the nippy winter evenings.
The resort is the host of over 300km of slopes and 200km of ski routes for the skiers and snowboarders out there. 85 lifts transport guests to and from various areas around the resort, meaning the journey up to the slopes and villages is a lot less daunting. St Anton is popular among young partygoers, while Lech has a calmer atmosphere, suited to families and less experienced skiers. St Anton resort is open from early December until late April – the perfect time to book your winter getaway. Day ticket prices
St Anton is popular among young partygoers, while Lech has a calmer atmosphere, suited to families and less experienced skiers
Arlberg Part of the Arlberg region, this ski resort – which runs from St Anton in Tyrol all the way to Warth – is one of Austria’s most popular, earning itself a 5 star rating on popular online information sites.
Katschberg Katschberg ski resort is located in Carinthia, the Lungau region. There are 70km of slopes to endure for both skiers and snowboarders, located between the elevations of 1,066m and 2,220m. 16 modern ski lifts allow for easy transportation while cosy ski huts and typical Austrian food awaits you at the top. With 10km of ‘easy slopes’, 50km of ‘intermediate’ slopes and 10km of ‘difficult’ slopes available at the Katschberg resort, it is a suitable destination for beginners and experienced skiers alike. Katschberg resort is open from late November until mid April, and asks for daily ticket prices of €22 for children and €45 for adults. Nearby hotels include the Landal Katschberg and Das Alpenhaus Katschberg, situated within 100m of the slopes, guaranteeing an easy and tranquil voyage. But if you desire a more quiet stay, away from the chaos of the slopes, the JUFA Lungau sits 6km away. With an included restaurant and bar, the JUFA Lungau is the perfect hotel for a family stay. Enjoy a refreshing, seasonal drink in the lounge area while the kids go wild at the close-by play park or in the pool table area. w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 11
keep ow, teâ&#x201E;¢ d ght cellent son.
m r a W
ashion oking f r lo t s il h winte old w ut the c e slopes this o p e e K on th 6 4
12 w ww.inspire d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
20 19 1. Kamik Harper Boots, £129.50, kamik.com 2. People Tree Hat, £28.00, peopletree.co.uk 3. Picture Organic Clothing, Hoppy Jacket, £249.99, picture-organic-clothing.com 4. The Snowboard Asylum, Snowboard, £540, snowboard-asylum.com 5. Bare Republic Lip Balm, £9.49, barerepublicnaturals.com 6. Roxy Neck Warmer, £25.00, roxy-uk.co.uk 7. Sportviz Goggles, from £25, sportviz.co.uk 8. Eider, beard friendly ski jacket, £400, eider.com 9. JetForce Avalanche Airbag Kit, £880, blackdiamondequipment.com 10. Black Diamond, Helio 105 Carbon Ski, £700, blackdiamondequipment.com 11. Quiksilver Backpack, £85.00, quiksilver.co.uk 12. Weird Fish Tassle Scarf, £28, weirdfish.co.uk 13. TK Maxx Pink Insulated Gloves, £29.99, tkmaxx.com w wVersace w . i n spi rSunglasses, edtravelmag . co . uk 13 14. Bench Deck Pants, £100.00, bench.co.uk 15. Thermos Brand Stainless King™ Flask, £24.99, thermos.co.uk 16. £131.00, sunglasses-shop.co.uk 17. Black Diamond Razor Carbon Pro Poles, £100, blackdiamondequipment.com 18. Superdry North Headband, £19.99, superdry.com 19. Stance Ski Socks, £14.99, freezeproshop.com 20. Wigwam Ski Socks, £22, www.wigwam.com
The Fal River Festival
Inspired Travel’s Editor in Chief, Simon Skinner, heads to Cornwall’s most popular visitor destination, the Fal River in the West Country of the UK for it’s annual celebration of life on the river. Here, Simon spends the week touring the river and sampling some of the delights that the area has to offer
14 www.inspire d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
he South Coast of England is blessed with more than its fair share of stunning locations. The rolling South Downs and the South Downs Way, The Jurassic Coast through Dorset and the rolling hills of Somerset are all incredibly beautiful and draw crowds, year in and year out, who travel to marvel at the spectacle of the Great British coastline. It is my personal opinion, though, that the real Jewel in the crown can’t be witnessed until you travel further West and into the depths of Cornwall and, in particular, one of my favourite places on earth; Falmouth. Everyone has their own favourite part of Cornwall, usually dictated by family summer holidays and nostalgic memories of tatty camping sites and long salty days on the vast sandy beaches. The location itself is reminiscent of much farther flung destinations; squint your eyes on a good day and you could be sitting on a beach in the Costa Blanca. Open them and there’s just enough British essence; fish and chips, lilos, sandcastles and deckchairs to remind you of where you are. There’s a palpable shift of pace that becomes apparent as you head into Cornwall; the A30 seems to invite you into the county via the rolling countryside and dramatic landscape and on a good day, when the traffic allows, the highway offers you the sensation of gliding through the terrain with the promise of a slower pace waiting to greet you once you arrive. That’s the romantic description of the journal into the Cornish countryside, although some might argue that the stretch from Exeter to Falmouth is a real slog, and all too often (roughly) 100 miles of hell. This all depends, of course, upon what time of day or night, or indeed the time of year you choose to travel. I have been the victim of coastal journeys as an unwilling customer of National Express coaches during the summer holiday traffic, where the journey from Brighton to Falmouth could take anywhere upwards of 12 hours. Regardless of this, it’s a place that I’ve
been fascinated by since I was a relatively small boy, and it’s a fascination that stays with me to this day. The River Fal Festival has been a regular feature for the town, with 2016 offering up a 7-day long, packed schedule of activities for the 11th year running. The festival, brilliantly organised by Fal River Cornwall and supported by a whole host of local companies, such as principle sponsor, Falmouth University, Skinners Brewery, (sadly no relation), Enterprise Leisure boats and the King Harry ferry. The event is a true celebration of life around the river. The programme for 2016 included a staggering 150 events ranging from cinema on the water with the King Harry Ferry, lots of open studios, a circus camp and a whole host of engaging events at the National Maritime Museum. Within the programme, you’ll also find an array of river cruises, all at varying times of day and taking in different routes and stops around the river. My favourite, and the cruise that I booked onto, was the ‘Celebration of the Truro River Cruise, which meanders down the river and
takes in the beautiful creeks of Cowlands and Coombe and includes, not only an incredible pasty, but enough Skinners ale to sink the proverbial ship! This cruise took the jolly party the full length and breadth of the river in two of Falmouth’s finest Enterprise Leisure boats, heading firstly to the harbour, where we managed to witness some of the incredible super-yachts that were docked for maintenance. Surely a sign that the services and facilities in Falmouth rate amongst the best in the world? Then across in the general direction of St Mawes, where those of a certain age can enjoy a prime view of the
beautiful cove and also, the lighthouse that featured in the opening credits of (the original) Fraggle Rock. A highlight for me, at least. After a fresh stint on the water and plenty of Skinners ale being enjoyed, we pulled up against the jetty that leads directly into Trelissick Gardens, where the party continued with hot pasties, live music and a spot of archery within the Victorian brick-walled garden in the grounds. Trelissick Gardens are, in themselves, reason enough to venture to this part of the UK. A hidden woodland garden, Trelissick enjoys far-reaching views across
w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 15
Somehow the current owners have managed to retain the allure of the building’s heritage, whilst offering a level of luxury that’s rare in any venue
the water and offers canopies of Beech, sweet Chestnut, and specimen conifers, which date roughly from 1870. The main plant collections found in this stunning location range from Magnolias, Camellias, Rhododendrons to Hydrangeas with formal lawns sweeping to the unique estuary views. The bulk of the plant collection dates from the 1930’s to the present day so it maintains a relatively modern atmosphere with references to the past reflected in the fabric of the garden. Current landowners, the National Trust have added to the impressive collection, making the gardens a rich, fascinating and essential place to explore. Other Festival activities that we enjoyed during our week-long stay, largely centered around the children. Aged 8 months and 7 years, we took full advantage of the programme, which was packed with activities for the little ones. The National Maritime museum certainly featured heavily in the listings, offering a wealth of fun and interactive events through the week, including ‘Thorsday’, which extended beyond the River Fal Festival programme, taking place on each and every Thursday of the school holidays and offering a chance for little (and big) people to explore the Norse men and women from the Viking Voyagers exhibition and to experience living history with Morvleydh, the Sea Wolves. Even with our visit taking place through a week of early summertime, there’s just so much to do in and around Falmouth. 16 w ww.inspire d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
Even outside from the busy timetable of events laid on by the Festival organisers, there are the incredible beaches, Pendennis Castle, which has a heritage of some 450 years, stretching from its origins as one of Henry VIII’s coastal strongholds to its last military role as a secret Second World War base. You have the Cornish Diving School, golf clubs, art galleries, the Ships & Castles swimming pool (adjacent to Pendennis), bowling, watersports, cinema, sailing, and live music to name a few… There’s simply too much to enjoy in a single week and so many reasons to visit Falmouth at any time of year. We will be back!
Days 1-3: Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth What better start to our River Fal Festival experience, than a three-night stop in
Falmouth’s Greenbank Hotel? During my brief residence in Cornwall I had initially resided in the sleepy fishing village of Flushing. A quaint, quiet and extremely hilly village with a couple of decent pubs, an excellent restaurant on the quay and its very own beach adjacent to the harbour. The village itself, sits almost precisely opposite the Greenbank Hotel and I have vivid memories of watching weekend revelers enjoying their Saturday evenings at the venue, with twinkling lights and music drifting across the estuary, where I would sit with a glass or two of my own. Dating back as a private residence to (at least) 1640, the venue has a rich and varied past. Some claims to fame include the fact that in 1907, Florence Nightingale stayed at the hotel and her name can still be seen in the guest book, which is on permanent display by the main reception. In addition to this and ranking
highly, Kenneth Grahame also stayed at the hotel between the spring and autumn of the same year. It was at this time that he wrote various letters to his son, which later formed the basis for the stories that later became the ‘Wind in the Willows’. This vast history is apparent within every nook and cranny in the hotel. Doorways, steps and rooms all vary in height, width and scale, giving a real sense of the lives that have been lead by the former occupants and owners over its many years. One such reminder of the past in this historic building is the fact that on many bedroom doors, you’ll find a plaque of the Packet ship captain who will have been assigned that room in days gone by. Our three nights at the Greenbank entirely followed suit with these first impressions. Welcomed by the longserving staff, we felt immediately at ease and, although it was a little of a struggle
to maneuver our modern-day suitcases through the aged corridors, I had extra hands on deck from the hotel’s porter. With the four of us staying in a single room, we were given a long room with a huge double bed, a travel cot for the little one and a double/sofa-bed at the far end of the room. At the very far end of the room, we were treated to a stunning view across the entire estuary, which provided a rare spectacle each morning whilst getting ready for breakfast. The food at the Greenbank ranges from fine, yet relaxed, dining in the main restaurant area, which has an entirely glass fronted (water-facing) side and boasts what must be one of the best views in the town, to a more standard ‘pub’ menu, which can be found in the Working Boat; the Greenbank’s very own pub. This resides on the waterfront quay, which doubles as a unique car park and offers fifteen beers and ciders on tap including their very own Working Boat brew. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to our trip; from the welcome to the food, service and comfort. If you’re
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 17
working in Truro, in a shop above the (then) greengrocers next to the cathedral. It’s a charming place filled with stunning architecture. Aside from the cathedral, there are many other impressive buildings Days 4-5: The Alverton, Truro to admire, including the Assembly Rooms, the Crown Courts, and Town The second stint of our River Fal Festival and Coinage Halls, all demonstrating the experience took us into the very heart of City as Cornwall’s main retail and centre West Cornwall and into the City of Truro. for administration. I’ve always been No exception to a fan of Truro and The two AA Rosette this impressive although it enjoys City status, it’s quite classic-contemporary architecture is the possibly one of the Bar & Brasserie offers Alverton Hotel, the stop for our smallest cities in the a relaxing setting for its second Cornish adventure; UK, and I know from guests and the fayre a gorgeous Grade experience that it’s on offer comprises of II listed hotel dating possible to complete a wide range of British back to 1830. a lap of the centre, Our experience shops included, in just and internationally upon arrival was a couple of hours. influenced dishes exceptional, Truro doesn’t personable and enjoy the same, clear connections to the water that you’ll find in our room, situated at the far-end of the Alverton, has to be awarded top marks Falmouth, as it’s to be found at the nook for our entire trip. of the river. That said, and although not As it was, the room was separated instantly apparent, the meaning of the into two sections by a stud wall, with our name ‘Truro’ means ‘Three Rivers’, and mega-bed and travel cot on one side, it’s entirely possible to travel to and from and a double sofa/bed on the other. the city by water. The bathroom was equally impressive, My connections to Truro run beyond with a walk-in shower at one end, a my childhood visits and again, during my brief Cornish residency, I spent some time regal roll-top bath at the other and twin passing through and want to treat yourselves, you could do a lot worse that the experience you’ll find here.
18 www.inspire d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
sinks in the centre, all beautifully finished and perfectly presented with impressive finishing touches. The Alverton has just 50 residential rooms and, although it’s a huge place, each room offers plenty of space to breathe. 15 of the 50 rooms have only recently been completed after an impressive renovation of the onsite outbuildings, which offer an incredible and unique option for groups or wedding parties to stay in relative privacy in highend accommodation, all within a hallway or two from each other. The real jewel in the Alverton crown is the dining experience. It’s the calling card of the hotel and a trump card that keeps its visitors returning time and again. The two AA Rosette classic-contemporary Bar & Brasserie offers a relaxing setting
for its guests and the fayre on offer comprises of a wide range of British and internationally influenced dishes. Aside from the excellent, awardwinning breakfast, which is served in the same part of the hotel as evening dinner, we were presented with some sumptuous delights, including tempura monkfish tails, which came close to standing as the ultimate plate of fish & chips and were served with crushed minted peas. Elsewhere on the constantly changing menu, we ordered a noodle dish, served with red mullet, lemongrass, spring onions and lime and our 7 year old enjoyed a great plate of cottage pie with fries. All of this topped off with a Cornish cheese board, made up from locally produced Brie, Blue and other cheeses.
Really top notch stuff and a strong dining recommendation all round. The Alverton is a very special place. It seems that the current owners have managed to strike the perfect balance between a corporate venue and a welcoming, warm residential hotel with lots to offer. Perhaps not the most cost effective hotel in Truro, but surely the best.
Days 6-7: St Mawes Hotel, St Mawes The final stopover of our trip. St Mawes is a picture-postcard fishing village located opposite Falmouth at the wider end of the estuary in the Roseland Peninsula. A hotspot for holidaymakers and with plenty of moorings and anchorages in
the bay, it’s a mecca for the boating and yachting community. St Mawes offers a quiet, private bolt-hole with stunning landscapes at every angle and vantage point, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular destination for so many summer travellers. Our accommodation for two nights was the historic St Mawes Hotel. Located directly across the road from the main quayside, where the ferries and leisure boats pull up through the day, you’ll find plenty of people ‘crabbing’ in the summer months but more importantly, where the St Mawes bakery/pasty shop resides, the hotel sits proudly over three stories in the heart of the village. The ground level hosts the bar area of the hotel; open to all, it serves food including specialty stone-baked pizzas, w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 19
St Mawes Hotel
St Mawes Hotel
a fabulous array of drinks and also puts on regular live music on certain days of the week. During the summer months the front doors are always wide open onto the street, encouraging passers-by into the informal bar and restaurant. Above this, you’ll find the main lounge and dining area, which enjoys breathtaking panoramic views of the bay. Here we were treated to a delectable continental breakfast, made up from delicious produce, including local treats, whilst in the evening, we were presented with some of the most incredible food from the week in the most relaxed surroundings. A recent addition to the hotel has been the in-house cinema room. A luxurious 25 seater, bespoke built room with a 160” screen, complete with HD projection and a powerful 3D sound system built in. Unfortunately for us, the room was unfinished during our visit, but we managed to take a look at the proposed space and now that it’s finished, the space is available for private hire as well as regular dining and movie nights, organised by the team at the St Mawes Hotel. Beyond this, across the top floor and to the rear of the building lies the residential space along with an impressive private dining room and it was here that we were invited to enjoy the space that we’d call 20 w ww.ins pi r e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
St Mawes Hotel St Mawes Hotel
home for the next couple of days. And what a space it was. Greeted by a nice cold bottle of Cornish sparkling wine, we settled into the sumptuous surroundings. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to get a room with a sea view but in all honesty, it wouldn’t have made a huge difference as the furnishing and general décor was of the highest order. Top marks were awarded by my eldest who decided that the elevated bed that she got to occupy was quite simply, the ‘best thing ever’. The renovation of the St Mawes Hotel has been expertly undertaken by David and Karen Richards, a husband and wife team that sees Karen’s finishing touches and styling throughout the building. The result of this is a warm, welcoming environment with a relaxed, homely atmosphere. So homely in fact, that they even have a handful of dog-friendly rooms for those who can’t bear to travel without their hounds. All in all, we were extremely fortunate with the three hotels that we’ve stayed at throughout the River Fal Festival week. Three stunning examples of modern, classic and luxurious residence and just a taste of the joys that can be found around the Falmouth Estuary.
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 21
Photobooks are something that many consider to be a thing of the past. Inspired Travelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Simon Skinner takes a look at todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photobook technology and questions why more people arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t making the most of it to preserve their precious memories
22 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
In the most basic of terms, photography is something that means different things to different people. Some are enthusiasts, who spend a staggering amount of their time (and money) on their hobby, keeping up with the latest imaging technologies, accessories and apparel. Many others have varying experiences with cameras, with analogue/film cameras often sitting, gathering dust whilst newer, compact cameras have been largely replaced by the mass camera of choice; the smartphone. The imaging market has experienced a seismic shift in technologies over the last couple of decades. The first digital imaging sensor was first invented by
Why are we intent on burrowing these pictures away from sight in the first place? Why aren’t we celebrating them and displaying them for all to see?
Eastman Kodak even further back than this but the company, in their wisdom, decided to sit on it as it represented such a threat to their hugely successful film business. They were right and when digital cameras and digital ‘film’ memory hit the consumer market, the whole world dropped their film cameras like hot potatoes. The result of this is a modern imaging landscape that exists in a truly precarious manner. In a recent feature, Imaging Industry Bible, Pixel Magazine published a statement made by Google’s VicePresident, Vint Cerf, which warned that all digitally stored information could be wiped out by actions as simple as tech upgrades, consequentially putting the w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 23
Cruising in 2016
sum total of human knowledge under real threat. We are all familiar with the vulnerability of our digital data and I would imagine that most, if not all reading this, will have suffered the losses of precious photographs as we authorise the software upgrade of our favourite mobile device. Even enthusiast photographers will tell you that they don’t rely on singular digital storage devices, opting to ‘back up’ their pictures on at least three devices, whilst also leaning on cloud storage services for reassurance. Now all of this is very well and good, but what’s the real likelihood of the majority, spending the time, syncing multiple devices to store our data? Our memories? And surely the bigger question to ask is, why are we intent
24 www.inspire d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
stands as convenience and offers ease on burrowing these pictures away from of access to ‘virtual’ picture libraries. I sight in the first place? Why aren’t we know all of these things, but I believe celebrating them and displaying them that people are selling themselves short for all to see? I remember a time when it – in photographic terms, at least. was the norm, to print every photograph Most people would accept that the taken, excitedly rushing to grab the one photobook latest album when that has survived friends or relatives pop round for a visit Most people would accept through all of this global digitisation and displaying them that the one photobook around the house. that has survived through is the wedding Whilst I’m aware of all of this global digitisation photo-album. This single the sheer explosion is the wedding photocollection of of photography as album. This single collection pictures typifies a past-time or even of pictures typifies the the importance of a fleeting hobby for printed image and most people in the importance of printed I cannot imagine advent of ‘smart’ image a single bride or technology; the groom who would content created be content with being handed a memory has become almost disposable by stick as an alternative. The photography nature and at best, perilously (and resulting book) has always been, ephemeral. Every second, and remains, an integral and hugely tens of thousands of pictures important part of the wedding day are uploaded to the many process. Wedding photography is and various social media primarily viewed as the domain of the platforms; the majority professional photographer, but many are of them being uploaded unaware of the fact that the photobooks from digital cameras and that are subsequently produced, are smartphones, with the image widely available, extremely simple to never existing as a physical produce and with a wide range of artefact. I know that this
options for all budgets, from the low, to the high end wedding and coffee-table book products. These books have been easily accessible via web platforms and even mobile applications for some years now, and in certain parts of the world, have been adopted with open arms as people accept the importance of archiving physical images. A major player in this market is CEWE Photobook. A German company and Europe’s leading online printing experts, CEWE have been producing premium quality, personalised print products for many years and having trialed their free software solution, we can vouch for the fact that it’s much simpler than picking through 6x4” prints and sticking them into a default order in a traditional, unavoidably bulky photo album. One of the real benefits of reproducing your beloved images into a CEWE Photobook, is that they arrive expertly printed onto the page, no loose adhesives and no chance of pictures fading or falling out after years of sharing. The ultimate treat though, has to be the fact that you get to view your pictures in physical print, instead of from a glaring screen; a much more satisfying experience.
Using the latest version of the software, I was surprised at the ease of which you can upload your pictures. The drag-anddrop function makes the process quite painless and scaling up or down as well as adding text, are all simple and intuitive functions built in to the software. The CEWE Photobook software is completely free to download and offers the luxury of ‘picking up’ and ‘putting down’ a book project to fit with the time that you have available. It offers a greater variety of tools than their online ‘book-building’ solution
and if you’re short on time or want to run your photobook project in the simplest possible way, you can use an auto-fill function, or better still, CEWE Photobook offer a complete design service! You can compare modern photography with modern music in the means of which we used to consume them. Where it was normal practice to visit a record shop to buy a physical record or tape (remember them?), most people now have Spotify or Deezer accounts; web-based platforms that allow the user to stream a seemingly
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 25
infinite archive of music directly via their mobiles. This convenience holds direct comparisons with photography but we have been experiencing a resurgence of independent record shops in the UK, and it’s my belief that it’s due to a population who are becoming increasingly desensitised to the virtual, non-physical formats that spew from these devices. Sure, it is convenient but you can’t touch it. You can’t admire the cover art and you certainly can’t hear the soulwarming pops and crackles as the needle
reverberates through the vinyl, giving a physical, human experience that’s hard to beat. These comparisons are real and the sheer joy that can be seen on peoples faces when you hand them a CEWE Photobook is also very real and wholeheartedly satisfying. One such instance of this was the time that, after testing the CEWE Photobook software, I handed a small book to my fatherin-law which contained pictures of a recent family holiday to the Isle of Wight.
Although he had already seen the pictures on the screen of my laptop on more than one occasion, his reaction was as unexpected as it was special. The reason, I believe, for this reaction was due to the fact that he had taken ownership of the pictures. They were now his; real photographs that he could keep, share and reference in a human sense that simply isn’t possible with digital files. It’s my hope, as a fan of photography and more specifically, the printed image, that more begin to rediscover the format. It is growing and, as with other European countries, the UK are starting to awaken to the fact that these precious memories can’t be left to chance on hard drives. Certainly, readers of this, our travel title, should consider collating and archiving the pictures and memories from travels. It may seem old fashioned, but I can assure you that you won’t look at your pictures in the same way and these books are certain to bring you pleasure for many years to come. cewe-photoworld.com
26 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
INSPIRED TRAVEL MAGAZINE
VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
Inspiredtravelmag.com w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . uk 527 OCEAN. co VIEW
Facebook Page: Inspiredtravelmag
Jenny Ardagh shares her journey through the Canadian Rockies, from Calgary right across to Vancouver, telling the story of natural beauty at its best; both in words and pictures
28 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
hen travelling in the second largest country in the world, you have to be a bit fussy about what you want to see. Most of us don’t have the luxury of an unlimited time option and you simply cannot underestimate the size of this place; it’s huge! My own adventure began in Calgary and ended in Vancouver, taking me across one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world: the Canadian Rockies. These mountains stretch across the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, with ice-capped peaks, dramatic wilderness, glacier-fed lakes, beautiful National Parks and a diverse range of wildlife that you can’t see anywhere else. Knowing that Canada had more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined, and some of the most majestic waterfalls known to the Earth, I knew I was in for a treat. As soon as I stepped foot out of the city and into the vast wilderness
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 29
of the Canadian Rockies’ National Parks, I couldn’t help but be amazed by everything I saw. From every angle and with each blink, there was something new to ogle at, be it colossal mountains, crystal clear lakes, waterfalls, Elk grazing on the side of the road, or even the occasional black bear; my immediate thought was, how can you not fall in love with Canada? I was lucky enough to be in what was turning out to be one of the most spectacular sceneries in the world, and no less with a new camera that promised me spectacular shots. I had organised to review the Fujifilm X-E2S, an X Series great that had made its name in the photography industry, both for professional and amateur use from its release in January 2016. Although slightly overshadowed by the release of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (their newest flagship model), this retro style mirrorless camera was marketed as a durable, compact and lightweight answer to travel photography – a welcome solution to having to lug around a heavy digital SLR, whilst still maintaining high quality images. Most people’s go-to travel cameras are very compact, light and easy to use, but unfortunately, these often result in 30 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
My first stop was Banff National Park, photographs that leave you feeling a Alberta, situated just outside of Calgary bit disappointed. I am usually the other itself. This was Canada’s first National extreme from this point of view, having Park, established in 1885, giving birth to taken my Nikon DSLR everywhere with Canada’s vast national parks system and me since I was a teenager, including an area that covers over 6,000 square across Asia, Europe, the USA and the kilometres with more than 1,000 miles of Caribbean. So, it was a big step for me hiking trails to choose from. The town of to switch to the X-E2s. Having said that, Banff itself is the highest I immediately saw town in Canada, at an the benefits of such “Lake Louise is a elevation of 4,537 feet, a light body and lens world famous area of but a treeline of around combination – it fit Banff National Park 7,500 feet, leading to nicely in my daypack a magnificent sight of and produced no strain with jaw-droppingly alpine forests. at all when carrying beautiful turqouise This National Park is it around my neck. I lakes, the Victoria now one of the most was looking forward Glacier and some popular in Canada, to discovering more incredible hiking” with approximately 4 about what this little million visitors per year camera could do and to make the most of the sights of the knew some of its features would become World Heritage Site, including the Bow very useful with such wonderful scenery River, vast meadows and the 45 – 120 surrounding me. million year old mountains. However, this The Rocky Mountains are over 70 wasn’t always the case – when the park million years old with a peak height first opened, there was a large push for of 14,440 feet, providing some pretty tourists and their most successful ploy to beautiful geological sights for those that lure visitors in was to build the Fairmont are interested. The higher you go, the Banff Springs Hotel. You can see this more the peaks protrude into jagged colossal mansion and luxury resort from edges with thick folds of snow covering miles around, especially when hiking the their steep inclines.
surrounding mountain range. You may think it a blot on the landscape, but in fact I found it a rather grand landmark, aptly reflecting the grandiose nature of the National Park itself. Once opened in 1888, visitors flocked to stay in the hotel, and the town of Banff was born. Having had a wonder around the hotel, I would highly recommend staying here for phenomenal views and first class accommodation. The fascinating thing about all areas of Canada was just how recent all its history is. The united country of Canada was only formed in 1867, making everything to British eyes seem so new, when locals view the same aspects as almost ancient. When combined with the relatively miniscule population (compared to the sheer landmass of the country), you can see how this is a fairly unique place. Lake Louise is a world famous area of Banff National Park with jaw-droppingly beautiful turqouise lakes, the Victoria Glacier and some incredible hiking. The hamlet of Lake Louise itself is smaller and more quiet than Banff, but is an ideal base for those who wish to explore the lakes or take part in some water activities. Starting beside another majestic hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the
A QUICK GUIDE TO CANADA: WEST VS. EAST
To the East of Canada you have the towns and cities with a heavily European influence, including Celtic, Scandinavian and, of course French. Here you will also find a colder climate, often with heavy winds, snow and glacier temperatures reigning strong over fairly short summers. Temperatures can get so cold nearer the coast (sometimes down to a blood curdling â&#x20AC;&#x201C;30 degrees Celsius or colder) that the Atlantic freezes over, allowing locals to even play ice hockey on the frozen water!
In contrast, the West coast has a strong Native American Indian culture, with British Columbia a particularly culturally diverse and historically significant province. Here you will experience a generally warmer climate, longer summers, but much more rain than elsewhere. Expect summer time here to be very similar to an English Spring/Summer, with a vast array of microclimates shifting the weather constantly and with temperatures ranging from around 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 25 degrees Celcius (give or take 2 or 3 degrees).
w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 3 1
in the view wherever possible. You may vibrant glacier-fed lake I was faced with even be brave enough to have a dip in was more than a nice view to wake up the bitingly cold – but oh so refreshing – to in the morning. As such, I felt a pang waters. of jealousy at those who were staying On the journey up to Lake Agnes, you in the hotel itself; I wanted to stay here will come across Mirror Lake (named forever and just look on at the water and after its magnificent reflections) and a its reflections of the mountains and trees. waterfall that cascades from Lake Agnes As I watched, in the distance I caught itself. These created a glimpse of a snow some fantastic photo avalanche cascading “Over the last 125 years, opportunities, and I over the jagged ridges the glacier had lost half very much enjoyed – this was quite a its volume and retreated testing out my shutter dramatic spectacle! more than 1.5 kilometres speed options, The only thing I could from where it was, but allowing the water to have wished for was in just a year, more than cascade whilst the rest a zoom lens for my of the scenery stayed camera, but even then 10 metres of the ice has still and perfectly this natural occurrence been lost, and the melting in focus. It worked would have felt just as process is accelerating” remarkably well given distant and eerie. that I had no tripod! The hiking trail The family-run Tea House at Lake around Lake Louise is a fairly long Agnes offers hot drinks and baked one, only arduous from the length of goods, so once you’re at the top, take a the walk up a gradual slope. My group while to just sit and enjoy the 385 metreand I braved the 6.8 kilometre return deep view with some refreshments in hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse from the hand. Alternatively you can continue up Chateau Lake Louise trailhead. I would on the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House recommend setting aside at least 3 hours hike, making a total of 5.3 kilometres for this trail as, even if it takes you only 2 one way, or you can connect the two hours to go up and down, you will want Tea Houses via the Highline trail to form to stop off at the various lakes you come a 14.6 kilometre loop. Be warned, this is across on your travels and simply take
32 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
not an easy hike and will take a minimum of 5 hours even for the most experienced. This would, however give you a fantastic chance to see the Lower Victoria Glacier. Glaciers in The Rockies are by no means few and far between though, and one of the most famous of these is Athabasca Glacier in Alberta, which I had the privilege of hiking on, following in the footsteps of the million or more tourists who do the same every year. The glacier is situated in the Columbia Icefield and is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies. The Athabasca Glacier itself was simply beautiful to see from the bottom, where the oldest part of the glacier resides alongside the visitors centre. With my spikes on, winter coat, gloves and hat at the ready, I headed up with my guide, who showed the group where to walk, where not to walk, what to look out for and also told us a bit of about the glaciers past, present and
Jenny Ardagh Photography ©
Jenny Ardagh Photography ©
future. About half way up the flowing valley glacier, I learned that where I was standing was transient ground. This glacier was constantly shifting, moving and changing – a perfectly natural phenomenon for such a feature, but there was also something more sinister in play: global warming. Staring at a large pole protruding from the ice itself, I was transfixed by the lines painted on it, signifying the height of the glacier this time last year and even just 2 weeks ago. Over the last 125 years, the glacier had lost half its volume and retreated more than 1.5 kilometres from where it was, but in just a year, more than 10 metres of the ice has been lost, and the melting process is accelerating. We stopped in our tracks to appreciate something that simply wouldn’t be around within 100 years. Here, you feel like you’re treading on lost history. If you’re not much of a hiker, or simply w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 3 3
Waterfalls filled me with excitement didn’t come prepared for the ice (although they do offer all the necessary equipment) throughout my entire journey. Some of the most impressive waterfalls in this area you might just want to look on and enjoy of the world include Takakkaw waterfall the view. In which case, just down the in Yoho National Park, road from the glacier dropping a sheer ‘entrace’ is the Glacier “My favourite place 302m (the third highest Skywalk, offering a in Canada), and perfect balance of on the island was Helmecken waterfall in breathtaking views, Tofino – a place Wells Grey Park, which adrenaline-pumped where rain is almost isn’t technically in the excitement and feet a constant, but the Rockies. Laughing firmly on the ground. beaches and fishing Falls, Twin Falls and The cliff-edge walkway Wapta Falls are also is filled with naturevillage atmosphere is must-sees whilst in inspired interpretive incredible” the area, each with exhibits, focused on their own characters one of the most unique and distinctive beauty. Between these ecosystems in the world. The main event attractions though is the divide between is the glass-floored observation platform, the provinces of Alberta and British which pretrudes from the cliff edge at Columbia, and residing almost exactly 280 metres above ground level, over the on the divide is Jasper National Park. glacier-formed valleys and waterfalls.
34 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Established in 1907, this is not the oldest but is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spreading itself over 10,878 square kilometres. It is most famous for the Columbia Icefields, as I have mentioned, but is also a fantastic place for hiking, skiing and wildlife viewing – it’s home to a healthy population of grizzly bears, caribou (deer) and wolves. Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake are considered to be the most interesting sights and trails in Jasper National Park, once again a perfect opportunity to really appreciate the natural beauty all around you. Moving further on, into British Columbia territory, you won’t notice much of a difference in terms of the landscape, however once you are past Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) you are now no longer in the Rockies themselves. Onward, past Wells Grey, towards Whistler, the environment becomes much more desert-like, flat and arid – quite a shock to the system after the varied heights and impressive appearance of the Rocky Mountains. I would recommend journeying from the Rockies towards the far West coast, visiting the city of Vancouver and Vancouver island. Namely, my favourite place on the island was Tofino – a place where rain is almost a constant, but the beaches and fishing village atmosphere is incredible. Equally, here is where you’ll get some of the best opportunities for whale watching, so don’t miss out! With less people in the whole of the country than Tokyo’s Metropolitan area, you will never find stifling crowds, horrendous traffic and long queues in Canada. There’s certainly more than enough room for the 35 million inhabitants, and there’s an entire world of things to do and see. Of course, I have only described a pin-drop area in relation to the rest of the country, but from what I have seen, the rest is certainly worth exploring too! I will be back.
FUJIFILM X-E2S: A BIT ABOUT THE CAMERA... The X-E2S is an upgrade from the X-E1 and the subsequent X-E2. The upgrades include: a new ‘Full Auto mode’ button, an updated Auto Focus (AF) system with phase detection focus, and extended ISO range, and eletronic shutter and an improved design. The nitty-gritty facts: • 16.3-million-pixel, APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor • ISO 200-6,400 (raw), 100-51,200 (JPEG) • 7fps continuous shooting • 3in, 1.04-million-dot tilt LCD touchscreen • 0.5in, 2.36 million dot viewfinder • 1/32,000sec max shutter speed (electronic shutter) • 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor • EXR Processor II engine • 3inch screen, 1040K dots • 0.5-inch 2.36M-dot OLED Viewfinder (EVF) • Full Auto mode • FullHD Video • SO100 to ISO51200 • 7fps continuous shooting • Wi-Fi • Panoramic shooting • Available in black or two-tone silver and black • Price: £779 (RRP)
WHAT DID I THINK? The Fujifilm X-E2S was a fantastic alternative to a DSLR. It maintained very high quality photography whilst providing a compact and easily navigable design. The battery life, according to Fujifilm is rated at 350 shots, and I can certainly vouch for
this being correct, if not a bit of an understatement. I did, of course take extra batteries with me – I was camping with very little access to plugs, so I had to be sure! Having said that, I took 3 batteries with me over the course of a 2-week trip, and although I had a need for all 3, there was never any point where I felt I needed more juice. The 3 batteries suited the 2 weeks just right, and that was with absolutely constant use. Now, my DSLR lasts for around 5 days on one battery. This wasn’t as successful as that, but you must consider the difference between a DSLR and a CSC (Compact System Camera) such as this. The LCD screen was clear, with a very true field of view. I was most amazed by the colours! On some cameras, you take an image whilst looking at the extraordinary colours in front of you and are often disappointed by the results. I can safely say I was never disappointed and consequently found hardly any need for editing my images once I was home. Yes, some of the images you see alongside this article are a little ‘touched-
up’ but the contrast and saturation, I assure you, had no need to be adjusted. The shooting options are great for an enthusiast, or someone who perhaps doesn’t know their way around a camera so well; it does all the settings for you! I found myself becoming very lazy with this camera, almost always shooting in auto mode as the device would intuitively sense what I was taking a picture of, changing itself to ‘landscape’ mode if I were shooting landscapes, and ‘macro’ mode if I had a close-up shot. Overall, this camera is highly intelligent, making it extremely easy to use for any photography ability. It is light and simple to carry around with you and strikes that ideal balance between SLR and point-and-shoot cameras. I would highly recommend it.
w w w . i n spi r edtr av el m ag. co . uk 3 5
36 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
THE DESIRES OF
Inspired Travel takes a look at what the beautiful Arabic citystate of Dubai has to offer its potential luxury-seeking visitors for the 2017 season, with a special focus on how this location caters to the increasing demand for cruising
ubai is the host of rich culture and history as well as exquisite views and attractions, and Inspired Travel thinks this is the perfect destination for luxury-seeking holidaymakers to spend their next vacation. It is clear to see that Dubai is becoming an increasingly popular location for British holidaymakers looking for a luxurious break and, with its exceptional landmarks, scenery and lavish lifestyle, it’s clear to see why. Although it has always been a desired location for many holidaymakers, Dubai has become more and more popular overtime. It’s unusual and, quite frankly, very difficult to find a destination that hosts the best of both worlds, yet Dubai seems to have this down to a T with its fascinating desert and highly developed city overflowing with modern architecture immediately adjacent to each other – quite possibly the main reason as to why Dubai has become such a soughtafter location for visitors with interests in all aspects of travelling. The city is one of the seven United Arab Emirates and is well served by airlines, with direct flights from London taking under 7 hours, making the travelling experience a whole lot less daunting. As with any holiday location, Dubai has its best and worst times of the year to visit, although this depends on what you’re looking for during your trip. One of the best times to visit with regards to getting the most out of your money is during the months of June to August, as Dubai’s hotels and general facilities tend to offer a wider range of deals and discounts
on accommodation and promotions on dining and attractions. For those seeking the perfect holiday heat, you might assume that the best time of year to visit Dubai is during the hottest months; typically between April and October. However, during this time of the year, highs are in the 100s and, although rainfall is scarce, humidity levels rest around 90% or higher. Although weather like this might seem like somewhat of a privilege in comparison to the miserable British rain, it makes any outdoor activity – including even a relaxing day at the beach – almost unbearable. The best time of year to take a trip to Dubai, in terms of sensibility, is between the months of November and March. Although these are Dubai’s winter months, daily highs range from the upper 70s to the low 80s (around 20-30 degrees celsius), making it the perfect time to sprawl out along the Persian Gulf’s white sands. You can also expect a few raindrops here and there, although this is almost always short lived. As with most areas in the Middle East, Dubai – branded as the ‘city that never stops’ – is the host of a rich culture and colourful way of living, with endless amounts of attractions and landmarks to visit, as well as outstanding sights to see all year round. Even though the nation is steeped in Islamic traditions, Dubai showcases an international lifestyle and people from all over the globe wish to live in Dubai, resulting in it being one of the top real estate hubs in w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 3 7 the world. When visiting Dubai, foreigners
often surround themselves with concern or confusion around what they should be wearing. For visitors, there is no strict dress code, although typically you will see most men wearing long white robes, while women’s fashion varies; some wear western clothing and some wear robes and veils. Let’s not forget, Dubai is a Muslim country and you may hear the call to prayer over loudspeakers throughout the days, so be sure to respect segregated prayer rooms in public places too. Visitors can get to grips with the local culture in Dubai just by simply being there. Explore past architecture as you walk through the Bedouin village, sit outside one of the cafes and even inhale some of the flavoured tobacco smoke drifting through the calm air from shishas. But Dubai is a whole lot more than culture; there are many unique and
exciting attractions in the city, as well as a huge amount of high-class hotels. No matter what your desires for a trip away, Dubai promises to find something that’ll thrill you! The Burj Khalifa is probably Dubai’s most famous landmark, and is currently the tallest building in the world at over 800 metres tall with more than 160 floors and 26,000 glass panels. The Burj Khalifa isn’t the only spectacularly over-the-top attraction, as Dubai now prides itself on its outstanding array of architecture in the form of the most modern-looking buildings on the globe. Taking a look at Dubai now, it’s hard to believe that, until oil was discovered in the Arabian desert back in the 1960s, it was only a small fishing village and was home to around 6,000 people. Today, the population is 2.6 million and it has become a home-from-home for the rich and famous.
No matter what your desires for a trip away, Dubai promises to find something that’ll thrill you!
38 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
The seawater Dubai Creek, flowing between Deira and Bur Dubai in the historic centre of the city is another of Dubai’s renowned attractions and is the reason for the city’s very existence. Since being used to develop a commercial seaport, when trade with the outside world began, the Dubai Creek has been widened and is now often busy with water taxis ferrying passengers between the north eastern and south western banks. These water taxis are now often used as a practical way of seeing the sights around the city, providing guests with views of palaces, mosques and other Dubai landmarks. If sport is something you enjoy and you are seeking an action packed vacation, then you couldn’t choose a better destination in the Middle East. Claiming to be the sports capital of this region of the world, Dubai hosts world-class golf, horse and camel racing, tennis, boating, sailing and rugby. The colossal Mall of Emirates is the host of indoor snow skiing, so there really is something for everyone, and you can experience the wonders of the world’s different climates right in the heart of the city. In addition to
this, why not enjoy a day at the Wild Wadi outdoor water park or push yourself out of your comfort zone and parachute at the Palm Jumeirah? Or for those of you that would rather surround yourself with the safety of Dubai’s sandy beaches, simply enjoy your days basking in the sun on fine white sand, taking shade under the palm trees. Additionally, if splashing the cash on shopping sprees is more your thing, then fear not, as Dubai is the home of a number of excessive malls and shops, where you can live a life of true royalty. Whether you’re looking for an exotic honeymoon location, shopping heaven or just to simply laze around in the lap of luxury for a week or two, you should really consider visiting Dubai.
Cruising in Dubai
Dubai’s growing popularity as a luxury destination is underpinned by the diversity of its attractions as well as its accessibility, with such a broad market of visitors choosing The Emirates. Cruising offers travellers an experience of the city from a different perspective. Dubai Cruise Tourism is working in collaboration with
Emirates Airlines, DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Immigration and other relevant partners in order to provide comprehensive support to increase flexibility for the cruise lines and travellers. October 2016 marked the official start of the 2016/2017 season with Dubai Cruise Tourism. As travellers around the globe look to escape the winter cold for sun-filled holidays, Dubai Cruise has increased options since the 2015/2016 season, which saw passenger numbers grow by 19% and ship calls increase by 24% in comparison to the previous year.
For this season, two new lines – Norwegian Cruise Line and Thomson Cruises – are making their debut in the region with their maiden call to Dubai, offering cruise visitors even more options. Thomson Cruises will be the first ever UK-based cruise line to home port in Dubai, contributing to over 12 calls and more than 25,000 cruise tourists in Dubai this season. Celestyal Cruise Lines, from Greece, will also be home porting in Dubai for the 2017/2018 season and the leading operator for the Greek Islands and Turkey will be the first to offer three to four night cruises in the w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 3 9
The Desires of Dubai
Dubai has the most modern and the largest dedicated port facility in the Middle East for cruise operations, spanning over 36,500 square metres on a pier stretch of 2200 metres
region. The addition of Celestyal Cruise Lines will attract the Mediterranean source markets, further expanding the entire region’s appeal as a destination of choice for the global traveller. The new season is expected to record a further 18% increase in ship calls, leading to 157 ship calls and an estimated 600,000 cruise tourists arriving in the city. The purpose-built cruise terminals ensure that international visitors arriving in Dubai are well catered to and are offered worldclass service based on a strong sense of Arabian hospitality. Dubai has the most modern and the largest dedicated port facility in the Middle East for cruise operations, spanning over 36,500 square metres on a pier stretch of 2200 metres. The facility enables Dubai to comfortably handle complete passenger turnaround of five cruise ships simultaneously, and helps to cement Dubai’s place as leading cruise hub of the region. The terminal
is equipped with plenty of facilities for passengers and crew, including Dubai Tourism helpdesk with complementary maps in multiple languages, money exchange and ATM services, a post office, duty free and retail outlets, a café, restaurant and mini-mart, aerial and coach tour operator outlets, complementary Wi-Fi, a dedicated taxi rank as well as complementary shuttle bus services to selected shopping malls across Dubai and Paid Shuttle buses to Dubai Airport and Dubai Mall, prayer rooms and streamlined check-in facilities for passengers. With over 23 of the world’s leading cruise operators – including six homeporting lines – anchoring in Dubai for an overnight stay or passenger turn-around and an estimated ten maiden ship calls, the 2016/2017 season is expected
to continue the upward trajectory, contributing to Dubai’s strategic goal of achieving 20 million visitors per year by 2020. The Cruise Arabia alliance, formed between Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, The Oman Ministry of Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Qatar Tourism Authority, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority and Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority is designed to enhance cruise line and cruise visitors’ experiences in the region. As a result of the Cruise Arabia alliance, Dubai has been positioned as a winter destination for the European and Mediterranean markets. Celestyal Cruise Lines choosing Dubai as its home port in the region is yet another instance of the collective approach of tourism, airlines and port authority leading to a compelling tourist proposition. The Arabian Gulf is among the world’s top winter sun cruise destinations, where guaranteed sunshine, majestic desert landscapes and futuristic cityscapes meet. It offers a must-experience cruise and tourism destination with great air connectivity that is only eight hours flight from two thirds of the world’s population. The five destinations bring together the best of what the gulf has to offer – from world-class attractions, hotels, retail and culture, all the way to authentic Arabian experiences. visitdubai.com
40 w ww.ins pi r e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
CRUISE HUB OF THE REGION
Dubai Cruise Tourism +971 4 301 9300
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 41
42 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Continuing with Inspired Travel’s ‘luxury destination’ focus, in this issue, we take a look at the beautiful Canary Island of Tenerife, and what Tenerife Select – Tenerife Tourism Corporation’s luxury brand – has to offer its potential guests for 2017
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 43
Cruising in 2016
enerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands, and is the ideal luxury holiday destination to take a break and unwind. As the most popular Spanish island, and with a land area of more than 780 square miles, Tenerife makes up 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. More than five million tourists visit Tenerife every year – the most of any of the Canary Islands – proving that it is a much-desired location for holidaymakers from all across the globe, and it’s clear to see why. Its diversity of landscapes, all-yearround spring-like weather and proximity to Europe make Tenerife the perfect getaway for an unforgettable and frankly, flawless holiday experience. The weather in Tenerife is a safe bet, and with an average annual temperature of 22 degrees centigrade and a stream of breathtaking sights to see, it is the ideal location for any holidaymaker wanting a break from the – usually – dismal British 44 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
weather. Many people assume that, to find the most exotic, volcanic destination with sizzling heat, you need to take long and tiresome journeys or leave Europe, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tenerife is a three to four hour flight from most European cities, and with two serving airports – Tenerife North Airport and Tenerife South Airport – visitors can expect nothing less than a stress-free journey to this lavish location. No other destination in Europe hosts a fuller or better quality infrastructure than Tenerife. Of course, there are the magnificent four and five star luxury resorts that make Tenerife the dreamedof location that it is, but there is also so much more. The island boasts a
generally modern and fully-equipped hotel industry alongside a wide range of firstclass entertainment and leisure options; exceptional hotels with attention to detail, restaurants with extraordinary cuisine and atmosphere, a wide array of golf courses, spa centres and much more, making it the perfect destination for couples, lone travellers and families alike. Alongside huge, exotic resorts, you will see that there are charming little boutique hotels, some in lovely historical villages, and country houses surrounded by spectacular scenery. For those holidaymakers who are looking for more privacy, there are fabulous villas scattered around the island, offering up the chance to live the lavish lifestyle of a true royal. They
No other destination in Europe hosts a fuller or better quality infrastructure than Tenerife
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 45
are all very exclusive; with everything down to the smallest detail, and a large amount have a la carte services that might even include your very own butler, cook, massages at home and more! Does it really get much better than that? Yes it does… You can order a bath to your liking with the scent you prefer, and afterwards have a relaxing massage on the terrace while you gaze at the sea next to your private pool. The villas are always in places of privilege – most of them on the coast – in quiet settings surrounded by gardens, allowing you to feel like you’re in your own personal paradise and we can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll find it very difficult to leave! A trip to Tenerife will provide you with a thousand unique experiences. Alongside the expected beautiful 46 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
beaches that boast fine volcanic sand the highest peak in Spain, Mount Teide and clear blue waters, water parks and reaches a height of 3,718 metres and has animal conservation centres, as well as an impressive crater – a sight definitely water sports such worth seeing. If being as jet skiing and at sea is more your parasailing, the thing, then you can The island is the host island is the host sail the Atlantic in an of a spectrum of of a spectrum of elegant yacht. You interesting and could be watching interesting and fun fun landscapes whales and dolphins landscapes to witness while sipping cocktails to witness and activities to immerse and enjoying some and activities to yourself in. In Teide sun on deck, or immerse yourself in National Park, you’ll walking historic trails feel like you’re on to get to know the another planet island’s volcanoes. with monstrous The possibilities volcanoes and exceptional views. Why the beautiful Canary Island of Tenerife not travel around it in a rented four-wheel presents are endless. drive or a convertible sports car? As Tenerife Select, the luxury brand of the
Tenerife in unique areas of the island. As well as offering the highest levels of both quality and service, the accommodation options included in Tenerife Select have been carefully selected based on outstanding ratings and feedback among its customers. The hotels are exclusively located on the seafront, in city centres or in places with surprising environmental richness, meaning Tenerife Select is on hand to find elements of a trip to suit visitors with all kinds of needs and desires. Tenerife Select also offers health and beauty treatments, amazing excursions, tailored trips and mini cruises on luxury yachts, alongside its wide variety of four and five star hotels, top-ofthe-range car rental and theme parks that promise to provide the whole family with days worth of fun. Tenerife Select also provides the best restaurants and leisure companies that promise to serve up high-class food, attractions, shows and activities. Tenerife offers guests the opportunity to eat as they like, with fabulous traditional cuisine – simple yet delectable dishes served on every street of the towns. As
a fussy and not very experimental eater myself, eating abroad is always a small concern of mine, but good restaurants with talented chefs and varied menus means Tenerife boasts a huge variety of foods, from fish and shellfish to rabbit and homemade desserts. A large amount of visitors tend to stick to the food served to them in the comfort of their hotel or resort, however there are restaurants in surprising places, including traditional wine cellars, at the harbour or on the mountain – forget India and Italy, Tenerife could well be a foodie’s paradise! Similarly for the wine lovers out there, Tenerife’s volcanic earth lends unique nuances and character to Tenerife wines, which you can get to know amongst the vines at the island’s many vineyards and wineries. You could book a lunch or dinner there, or just take part in a real wine-tasting – what better way to learn about the weird and wonderful nature of Tenerife? Tenerife’s wellness centres, providing guests with various different luxurious treatments, are the latest thing. You can find spas anywhere in the world, but
Tenerife Tourism Corporation, features the island’s most exclusive tourist attractions, was designed to inform potential visitors about all the beautiful island of Tenerife has to offer and aims to inform travellers that Tenerife is the perfect location for people seeking a luxury-filled holiday during any time of the year. It offers year-round escapes for those seeking outstanding quality and first class service, and the brand offers a wide variety of possibilities to make the most of a few days away from work, daily routine, stress or undesirable seasons, ranging from accommodation, first-class cuisine, activities and excursions, along with general advice and information on how to make the most of a trip to the island. With Tenerife Select, you will find special deals with hotels and villas w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 47
Tenerife treatments with Tenerife’s volcanic rocks make for a unique experience. However, there are many more options to choose from in Tenerife’s wellness centres, such as seaweed wraps, oriental massages, beauty services with the best professional care and products or rituals with wine, chocolate or gold! The thalassotherapy circuits, all with very relaxing and exclusive surroundings, are also ideal. Many of them are in tropical gardens and have open-air facilities, while some provide even more private spas, for one or two people – highly recommended for getting away from all of the chaos and emerging as new. Travelling to Tenerife is 100% safe and health and wellbeing concerns should be the last thing on any holidaymaker’s mind. The island’s health system is outstanding and, furthermore, there is an exceptional private network with the most advanced medical centres, with specialists in all fields. Tenerife’s cultural and leisure calendar is full all year round, and you’ll find something to do every day of the year. You can explore the island by yourself or – for a more lavish experience – hire a guide or driver to take you comfortably around by car or limousine while you discover some incredible places! Very near to buildings like the Adán Martín Tenerife Auditorium, you can still see the most traditional scenes, especially
48 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
during local festivities. If you come face to face with one, just join in; the people are charming and they will encourage you to take part. The historic quarters of La Laguna and of La Orotava await you. La Laguna, a UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage Site, is full of palace-houses, typical restaurants and cultural activity, while in La Orotava you will witness 500 years of culture in
churches, convents, rows of balconies and gardens – offering up the full extent of Tenerife’s history. Every day, there are music shows, plays, opera, ballet or exhibitions, as well as the island’s museum network for oenology, history, nature, ethnography and so on, for the culture-hungry tourists out there. Aside from this, Tenerife is the host of your average, expected excursions for any foreign holiday. However, as much more than your regular zoo, Loro Parque is a must-see for Tenerife’s visitors – a beautiful place where you will discover many different kinds of exotic animals in their natural habitats. You can enjoy the dolphins, the friendly sea lions and witness the largest penguinarium in Europe, with over 250 specimens. Walk through the impressive aquarium tunnel and glide amongst the world’s scariest creatures – sharks! Anteaters, gorillas, white Bengal tigers, flamencos, alligators and much more are all home to the Loro Parque, which guarantees you an experience like no other. You can also take a day out at the Siam
Tenerife Park (considered the best water park in the world, according to TripAdvisor), watch the sun go down in a cable car, witness an exciting show or just relax at Papagayo Beach Club. While shopping might be seen as a prime activity in destinations such as Dubai, Tenerife also hosts a large amount of shopping centres for the big spender in you. El Corte Inglés is one of the largest department store chains in the world and the most prestigious in Spain, where you will find the best international names in fashion, jewellery, accessories, toiletries, books and music. Have an extraordinary shopping experience and enjoy the exclusive services provided by the centre, including a personal shopper, shopping menu, interpreters, national and international deliveries, and tailoring. El Corte Inglés also invites visitors to discover their restaurant area, where you will find the best gourmet foods, ideal for making a stop during your day of spending. Similarly, Parque Santiago 6 has one of the most exclusive shopping offerings in the south of the island. Situated in a privileged location, the centre also boasts a wide variety of establishments specialising in all areas of shopping needs. If you go by car, you can park in one of the two car parks available, or if you cycle, there is also a car park specifically for the more sporty guests. Have a wonderful day with your family in the children’s play area and the pleasant outdoor area, and share your best moments thanks to the free WiFi service. It’s clear to see that Tenerife, supported by the luxury brand, Tenerife Select, can host holidays of all kinds with an extensive list of impressive sights, fun and exciting excursions, luxury hotels and boutiques and insanely picturesque beaches. Tenerife is the perfect location for a Select 2017 holiday! www.webtenerife.co.uk w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 49
A Taste of
Those considering taking time out in the new year have been spoilt for choice when it comes to locations in this issue, and to add to the list, we take a look at the Caribbean island of Barbados and all that it has to offer its potential 2017 visitors
5 0 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
ith a population of approximately 275,000 people and an official language of English, Barbados could just be the perfect destination for an intimate yet somewhat familiar holiday – of course with a hint of Caribbean luxury. To give you all a bit of background, the island – with a capital of Bridgetown – is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence, as up until 1966, Barbados was a British Colony. Regardless of this, and despite the fact that it takes an approximate nine hour plane journey to get to Barbados, many British holidaymakers are enticed by the familiarity of the English-speaking destination. Barbadians are typically friendly people, and welcome tourists onto the island with open arms – 39% of visitors claim that the friendliness of Barbadians is their reason for repeated visits. Getting far away from the typically miserable British weather is appealing to anyone, and although Barbados can’t guarantee sizzling heat all year round, you’ll never experience daytime temperatures below 21 degrees. The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the ‘wet season’, this period runs from June to November, while the ‘dry season’ runs from December to May. Annual precipitation ranges between 40 and 90 inches and from December to May, the average temperature ranges from 21 to 31 degrees, while between June and November, it floats somewhere between 23 and 31 degrees. The Barbados climate includes pleasant and revitalising north-east tradewinds almost every day, and ocean temperatures are wonderfully warm all year round. Speaking of oceans, Barbados is the home of some of the most
glorious beaches in the Caribbean, and Crane Beach, in the parish of St. Phillip, has consistently been recognised as one of the top ten beaches in the world. The island is 21 miles by 14 miles and is surrounded by the beautiful Atlantic Ocean the whole way around. Fine white sand and clear blue sea causes thousands of luxury-hungry holidaymakers to vacate to the island all year round. All beaches in Barbados are open to the public and access to them is considered a right of way. Not only are Barbados’ beaches perfect for basking in the sun all day long, they also host an array of sights for the wildlife and animal lovers out there. Two of the world’s rarest sea creatures make their nests on the beaches of Barbados; the Hawksbill and the
Leatherback Turtles. The Hawksbill nests between April and November, mainly on the west and south coasts of the island, whilst the mighty Leatherback, the largest of all turtle species, nests between February and July on the windswept beaches of the cast and southcast coasts. A long history of hunting these animals for their meat, eggs and shells has reduced Caribbean populations to fragments of their former size. As such there is currently a ban on turtle hunting in Barbados to allow population recovery of these endangered species. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project personnel carefully monitor the number of turtles making their nests on the island. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is based at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The Project provides a
Fine white sand and clear blue sea causes thousands of luxury-hungry holidaymakers to vacate to the island all year round
w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 51
For those who aspire for more than just a day spent upon flawless white beaches and beneath perfect blue skies, Barbados offers a number of exciting excursions to satisfy even the most adventurous soul
24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline year round, which the public and visitors can use to call in information on turtles nesting, hatching of eggs, or lost or injured turtles. Project staff are called on to relocate nests made too close to the high tide line, to rescue hatchlings disoriented by hotel lights, and to rehabilitate turtles that have been accidentally hooked or partially drowned in fishing nets. In addition, Project staff patrol high-density nesting beaches nightly during the height of the nesting season, measuring and tagging nesting females and recording nest locations, showing that the preservation of the island and its natural inhabitants is incredibly important to Barbados’ residents. Barbados is the home of over 39 diving sights, as well as some of the oldest diving wrecks, making it the perfect location for the more adventurehungry visitors out there. For those who aspire for more than just a day
spent upon flawless white beaches and beneath perfect blue skies, Barbados offers a number of exciting excursions to satisfy even the most adventurous soul. Offshore, the ocean beckons with the call of a deep sea fishing excursion or diving expedition to explore the shipwreck capital of the Caribbean. Closer in, the “white horses” provide ample surfing opportunities, including kite surfing and wind surfing along the southern coast, plus board surfing at Soup Bowl in Bathsheba and all along the eastern
shore. Inland, the diverse terrain of the island offers a number of activities to enjoy, including biking through the tropical forest, discovering the water-carved caverns of Harrison’s Cave or hiking among the flora and fauna of Welchman Hall Gully, Flower Forest or the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Not forgetting the foodies out there, as the “culinary capital of the Caribbean”, Barbados is especially appealing to a vast array of food lovers, and with a multicultural society, feasting and dining in Barbados’ many first-class restaurants promises to, alone, be a sufficient reason to visit the island. Also, with the introduction of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival held in November, Barbados is fast becoming known for its appeal to the most seasoned foodies who continue to flock here to feast on fine food and beverages all year round. Barbados has all this to offer and more, but don’t just take our word for it, go and taste for yourself! www.visitbarbados.org
5 2 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 53
Travelling the UK and Europe with your Hoomans Globe-trotting hound, Tobia the Beagle, tells Inspire Travel how the Bauwow mobile app has allowed him and his owner to experience the many different regions of the world
rom Positano to Loch Lomond, Rovinj to Barcelona, Paris to Geneva, me and my hoomans have been lucky to stay at some incredible properties as well as visit loads of stunning attractions, historical sites and pristine beaches. You are probably thinking travelling with your dog limits your possibilities and range of options for luxury. As a spoilt pooch that has stayed all over Europe and the UK, I am here to tell you, that it absolutely doesn’t. Whether you are travelling by car, train, plane or boat throughout Europe, us four-legged foes find favour pretty much wherever we go. The difficulty for my hoomans has been finding these places without needing months of research and stress. They do it though, by using Bauwow, a curated portal and phone app for finding everything you need for your pooch and you to enjoy the very best getaways, walks, beaches and hotels.
5 4 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Check out their website and download the app to your phone, so it’s always right there available in the palm of your hand. Check out the range of 5 star glamping sites, scattered across the UK. If you have ever wanted to stay in a traditional Scottish croft, a Mongolian yurt, a traditional Victorian home on the shores of Loch Lomond or even a teepee with views of Loch Craignish, you need to get this app right now! The best part is that it’s not only accommodation; the Bauwow team have pulled together the best dogfriendly beaches and attractions, and have even started finding shops that let me go in whilst my dad searches for a souvenir or two. Travel information on the easiest way to cross to the continent, recommended vet services to get the necessary treatments and checks for our pet passports in France before returning home, and even off-lead dog walks all over Europe can
be found using Bauwow. Download it from your app store, build a profile for your pooch and enjoy. Everything is completely dog-centric, and even the reviews are written by the pooches! If you need specific travel tips you can always message me on Bauwow – just search for “Tobia the Beagle”, I would love to share my travel secrets. As a globe-trotting hound, I will be sharing stories of skiing in Switzerland, cruising the Venetian lagoon, enjoying linguine alla vongole at Chez Black in Positano, drinking margaritas in Sitges, watching the sunset in Ibiza, wandering the streets of Paris, paying respect at the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, exploring lost art colonies of the Istrian Peninsula and hours of pleasure free running the thousands of dog-friendly walks across the UK and Ireland. Join me and my hoomans on the adventures… Arroooo – Tobia the Beagle.
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 55
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY
New research has exposed restrictions on insuring children depending on their relationship with the insured adults, so Inspired Travel urges families planning holidays in the upcoming months to choose their travel insurance wisely
lanning a holiday is a very exciting process, which means certain important elements can sometimes be dismissed, but insurance is something you cannot risk overlooking. There are many different travel insurance policies out there, all of which entitle you to different allowances. It’s crucial that you understand the terms of your insurance and whether or not it suitably covers you and your family before agreeing to it. Travel insurance is wide-ranging, designed to provide cover for different circumstances and situations while the insurance holder is on a leisure holiday or away on a business trip. Travel insurance covers a trip being cancelled, a trip being cut short, medical expenses and loss or theft of luggage, money or personal belongings. Travel insurance can cover both worldwide travel, or it can be limited to within the UK or another specific area. A large amount of the time, but not always, travel insurance is sold alongside the booking of a holiday and, when there’s so many elements to think about, it can sometimes be overlooked, causing problems for you and your family
in the future. Like every form of insurance business, travel insurance companies will try and get as much out of you as possible, which is why it’s incredibly important to read in detail the factors and elements you are entitled to and what your insurance policy covers. In the event of a serious illness or injury when abroad, travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds worth of payouts, so the benefits of taking the extra time to arrange a policy to suit you, should scream out. However, a large amount of people out there assume that the most expensive insurance policy is likely to be the best one to choose, so they go ahead and book it without much of a thought, but this isn’t always the case. High prices doesn’t always mean the best coverage and not all policies take into account what kind of trip you’re planning. The best way to get around issues surrounding travel insurance is to list all of the elements that are important to you as a holidaymaker. For example, it’s pointless paying for a policy which entitles you to a reduced cost in car rentals if you are unable to drive, or a policy covering
High prices doesn’t always mean the best coverage and not all policies take into account what kind of trip you’re planning
5 6 www.ins pi r e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Travel insurance shouldn’t be left until the last minute as, a lot of the time, it covers unanticipated events causing your trip to be postponed or cancelled
your luggage if you’re backpacking with just one bag of belongings. By removing unwanted elements, not only are you saving yourself the time of deciding which policy best suits you, you’re also often reducing the premium you pay. Although the summer holidays and the peak time of year for trips abroad is officially over, a large amount of families out there are preparing for their next trip away, whether they are planning a last minute Christmas or New Year getaway, a trip during the upcoming Easter holidays or are just arranging next summer’s vacation – after all, there is no such thing as over-planning! And making sure you actually have suitable travel insurance shouldn’t be left until the last minute as, a lot of the time, it covers unanticipated events causing your trip to be postponed or cancelled, and some insurance companies will pay out for this kind of last-minute problem - the kind of problem that is more likely to occur when travelling with other people. Gocompare, one of the world’s leading travel insurance companies is pushing families to pay more attention to the type of insurance policy they will be choosing. Gocompare’s Alex Edwards commented: “Travel insurance is a must for any trip abroad. Without cover, you could be left picking up the bill for expensive medical treatment. As well as medical cover, travel insurance provides a financial buffer against unforeseen
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 57
La Coupee - Sark
ope pub CSA Com is a ad
events such as lost or stolen baggage, passports or other belongings.” New research has revealed certain restrictions on insuring children based on their relationship and living arrangements with the adult. Additionally, this research found that a large amount of policies restrict an individual holidaymaker’s ability to travel independent of their family members. This research compared over 750 annual insurance policies (just to give you an idea of how many different types
5 8 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
of policy are out there) by Gocompare and revealed some questionable statistics unbeknown to a very large amount of customers. With regards to children who do not live with the insured adult, only 65% of policies actually cover them, meaning 35% of policies exclude children of this status. Similarly to this, just 61% of travel insurance policies cover stepchildren whether they live with the insured adult or not, while 34% only provide this kind of cover if the step-child does in fact live with the adult. This means that 6% of policies exclude cover for stepchildren altogether. Although these numbers don’t sound particularly high, when compared with the fact that there are more than 500,000 stepfamilies in the UK, it’s quite a shocking figure. Stepfamilies in the
UK are becoming increasingly frequent and have become normality in this day and age, so it is questionable as to why insurance policies are different for circumstances of this kind. Alex continued: “Not all policies will cover your children if they don’t normally live with you and there can also be restrictions on cover for stepchildren. However, some insurers who don’t automatically provide cover for stepchildren may allow you to add them, although you may have to pay extra to do so.” Gocompare’s study also revealed that only 60% of policies cover all insured family members to travel independent of each other. This equates to 36% of policies restricting cover for independent travel to the insured adult and 4% of policies completely excluding all independent travel. Although the majority of families will travel together, it’s not great for the minority who have no choice but to travel out later due to prior commitments. The importance of travel insurance is overwhelming and unfortunately, a huge amount of people don’t read in detail what their policy covers, so if you’re planning a holiday, do your research and make sure you fully understand what you’re entitled to before booking! Alex concludes: “When buying cover for your family holiday, it’s essential that you check the policy wording to make sure it suits your personal family circumstances and plans. If you are in any doubt about whether a policy covers your family holiday plans, pick up the phone and chat it through with the travel insurer.”
With regards to children who do not live with the insured adult, only 65% of policies actually cover them
The Big Interview:
Tony Mason Inspired Travel caught up with Tony Mason, who has recently been appointed as CEO for the Latin American Travel Association (LATA), a membership organisation that aims to promote travel to Latin America as a tourist destination and stimulate growth in the region What is the reason for this change in your job role? (From Falklands to LATA) I’ve been working with the Falkland Islands for the past five years and we have had great success with our programmes. I am making this change at a time where LATA, as a growing organisation, is looking to expand its reach and enhance programmes to promote tourism to the entire Latin America region, as well as providing strong support for our members. The opportunity is huge and unique, I am really looking forward to leading the organisation through the next stages of growth. LATA, as an organisation, does great work not only for tourism, but also for the local Latin American community through programmes like the LATA Foundation. The LATA Foundation, LATA’s charitable arm, works to support social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. Their projects are helping to transform lives, providing clean water, dental or medical support and practical training to provide people with new skills in Mexico, Central and South America. What is first on your agenda? I will just need to settle in and see
What will you take from your role as CEO for the Falkland Islands? My role in the Falklands was unique. I had control of an entire country where tourism was concerned, it was a great opportunity and experience. Living in an island community was a new experience for me, but a good one. There’s a perfect work-life balance in the Falklands and there’s a major focus on family and friends. I enjoyed working at a Government level with members of the Legislative Assembly and enjoyed the many social events with the Governor at Government House and members of the community.
where we are now and map a plan for the future. We will build on what’s working well and look at other programmes to enhance our offering to the membership. Most important is developing programmes that build strong relationships with key partners. Our programmes offer an intimate setting where our members do business together, we want to make sure we don’t lose this aspect of the organisation.
Under your administration, the Falkland Islands received 3 tourism industry awards. How will you continue with these kinds of achievements? It’s all about strong relationships and staying in touch with the industry. I will always strive to provide excellent leadership and strategic programmes that drive growth and recognition in the tourism industry. Partnerships with both industry and media outlets are imperative to reaching these goals. We will work closely with our members to achieve as many awards for the region as possible. w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 59
Inspired Travel doesn’t just report on destinations suitable for a relaxing holiday sizzling in the Caribbean sun, or action-packed weekends away in the heart of Europe. In an Inspired first, Managing Director, Lee Mansfield embarked upon a Greek adventure, reviewing his stay at the magnificent Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, ahead of his weeklong cruise around the Greek islands
ocated right in the heart of the Greek capital since 1874, landmark Hotel Grande Bretagne makes for a luxurious overnight stay, with suites and services fit for a royal. Although it only takes around 3-4 hours to fly from London to Athens, this journey seemed to be particularly grueling and it’s safe to say that, after arriving in beautiful Athens, I could hardly wait to explore the grounds of the lavish hotel. With breathtaking views of the magical Acropolis, lush Lycabettus Hill and the original Olympic Stadium, it was clear to see that the multi-awarded, 5-star Hotel Grande Bretagne offered everything you could wish for and more; an unrivalled 60 www.ins p ir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
perspective of Athens’ mythical history and deep culture. The hotel’s extensive infrastructure includes 15 meeting rooms, with the ability to host anything from 6 to 800 attendees. In addition to this, and with meticulous attention to detail, the hotel’s 320 rooms and suites link together charming old-world elegance with state-of-the-art facilities, providing its guests with the best of both worlds, and promising to suit the desires of every traveller. Due to its prime location, the hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums
and the majority of the city’s other main attractions, although unfortunately, this time around, I wasn’t able to enjoy these as such, being scheduled to set off on my weeklong cruise first thing in the morning. The Acropolis and the milestone of Parthenon are situated within close distance of the hotel, and Plaka – the old historical neighbourhood of Athens – is clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. Monastiraki Flea Market is also close by, and is ‘the’ place to go for unique antiques and gifts, as well as a selection of hand-made souvenirs. Over the last 11 years, Hotel Grande Bretagne has been recognised
internationally and has been rewarded with an extensive list of rewards, emphasising just how top-of-the-range the hotel is. Back in 2006 and 2007, Hotel Grande Bretagne was awarded with a stream of Philoxenia Awards, including Most Luxurious Hotel in Greece, Best Historical Hotel in Greece, Best Traditional Hotel, Most Luxurious Hotel Property, Best Hotel Restaurant and Best City Hotel, as well as numerous other achievements from bodies such as Travel & Leisure Magazine, Forbes and Expedia. As we well know, the reputation of a hotel or any property, for that matter, can change drastically, and experiences are subjective, but Hotel Grande Bretagne has strived to remain one of the world’s most prestigious venues. In 2015 alone,
The perfect venue for couples, lone travellers, families and businessmen and women alike
the hotel received further recognitions such as The Top 100 Hotels 2015: Europe, The Tripadvisor Hall of Fame Award 2015, and Gold Standard Award, whilst ranking among the world’s most elegant hotels list. Does it really get much better than that? We took a tour of the hotel’s grounds, which was plentiful with outstanding facilities, such as a full-to-the-brim bar in the foyer, an outstanding rooftop restaurant and swimming pool, as well as gym and spa facilities, while their other amenities include butler services, 24 hour concierge services, children’s amenities, in-room dining, internet access and a gift shop – the perfect venue for couples, lone travellers, families and businessmen and women alike. Right in the heart of the hotel, the GB Spa offers guests
a fresh, innovative approach to total wellbeing, with various different therapies from ancient holistic rituals to the finest modern skin care, promising to soothe and transform even the most discerning of visitors. Although it wasn’t actually the room I slept in during my overnight stay, we were shown the hotel’s highest-ranked suite, which was what can only be described as
unreal. Larger than most people’s houses, this suite was the host of just about everything you could imagine – fit for a royal and nothing less. With a bed bigger than my living room and its own personal gym, you wouldn’t even need to leave your room to experience a truly lavish Greek lifestyle – it’s all within those four walls. The suite also hosts its own dining room, kitchen, separate bedroom, sauna w w w . i n spi r edtravelmag . co . uk 6 1
and steam room, all while overlooking the beauty that is the Greek coast. Not bad if you can spare £14,000 a night, right? My own suite though, was almost as fabulous and was the perfect setting to start my Greek adventure. Spending the next week sleeping on a boat – although exciting – caused somewhat of a concern surrounding the possibility of sleepless nights, but I could rest assure that I would have a sound night in the comfort of my hotel suite. Overlooking the Cinema Square, my room was quite exquisite, although as the most elite hotel in Athens, I didn’t expect anything less. I also had the opportunity to experience Greece’s fine dining in the hotel’s rooftop restaurant. I was seated in the corner
of the venue, with a perfect view of the Acropolis, one of the country’s most famous ancient buildings, which was quite spectacular to witness. The lighting was intimate and set an ideal mood for late night dining. I was presented with a fantastic bottle of wine, recommended by the restaurant staff, which perfectly complemented the delights I was about to devour. For my starting course, I opted for the grilled calamari, served with roasted new potatoes, olive oil and fleur de del, cherry tomatoes, caper, olives and basil. Although calamari is a frequent selection for me, this particular dish went above and beyond what I expected or had ever eaten before. This left me with high standards for my main course, which
also didn’t disappoint. Although already satisfied, I was presented with my medium Rib-Eye steak, which was steaming from the centre and accompanied by fine steamed vegetables with extra virgin olive oil. The steak was of an outstanding cut, was cooked to absolute perfection and I left the hotel’s rooftop restaurant without a single complaint. The hotel’s team of staff were just as delightful as everything else I encountered during my overnight stay. Knowing I was in very capable hands with the friendly and informative staff in the foyer who were available to cater to my every need, as well as the pleasant and knowledgeable waiting staff, made the whole experience a lot more relaxing and gave me time to unwind before setting sail around the surrounding islands. If anything, I was disappointed that I hadn’t flown out earlier and didn’t have the chance to use the hotel to its full potential. Until next time, Hotel Grande Bretagne, because I’ll definitely be back soon! Address: 1 Vasileos Georgiou Aâ€™ str., Athens 10564, Greece Phone: +30 21 0333 0000
62 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
H o t e l s t H at d e f i n e t H e d e s t i n at i o n â&#x201E;˘
explore the destination at GrandeBretaGne.Gr
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 6 3
With breathtaking views of the famed Acropolis and Parthenon, lush Lycabettus Hill or the original Olympic Stadium, the multi awarded Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens, offers unrivaled perspectives of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mythical history. Explore Unrivaled Treasures. Sense Indigenous Experiences. Capture Timeless Moments.
64 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
ADVENTURE CONTINUED... Lee Mansfield continues along his adventure, giving you the details of his cruising experience around the beautiful Greek islands with Variety Cruises loungers. The swimming platform on the As well as an overnight stay in Athens’ Harmony V stern allows for easy access most elite hotel, Lee had the luxury of to the ship and for a wide range of seasetting sail on one of Variety Cruise’s related activities. very own cruise ships – the newly rebuilt Lee took the pleasure of lapping up Mega-Yacht, the Harmony V. This cruise all that the country and its surrounding ship is a modern, elegant yacht with islands had to offer… a sleek high-tech look, very similar to “My adventure started on August 18th the private yachts to be found in many when I flew from famous ports of the the UK to Athens. world. The 56 metre long, This cruise boat is a I’d been to Athens 8.4 metre wide Megamodern, elegant yacht before, but knowing I Yacht was launched with a sleek high-tech was about to embark back in June 2009 and upon a completely complies with Eurosolas look, very similar to the new experience made safety regulations while private yachts to be the whole process a its powerful engines, found in the famous lot more exciting. In generators and state of usual circumstances, I the art twin stabilisers ports of the world would have flown out allow for safe and on the Friday, being comfortable cruising. transferred to Marina Zea by direct road Onboard, a spacious lounge with classy transfer. However, I decided that I was seating and an American Bar leads into going to take full advantage of the trip by a dining area, decorated with warm staying at one of Athens’ most impressive colours. Both areas offer large windows, hotels; Hotel Grande Bretagne, where I providing the most beautiful views of rested up on the Thursday night. Friday all destinations the ship cruises to. The morning came around very quickly 200m-squared sundeck offers a shaded and, after a sound night’s sleep, I was outdoor area for all day dining, and an prepared to embark on my week-long additional bar as well as sun chairs and
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 6 5
adventure. I made my way to Marina Zea – admiring the beautiful Greek views along the way – where I was to board the luxury yacht and start my adventure in the afternoon. There wasn’t a huge amount of people on board, making the experience all the more intimate and, knowing everyone was in the same boat (no pun intended) it was easy to make friends with my fellow cruisers. “On board the ship was Joseph Serafimidis, Director of Operations, who I became very fond of throughout the week. When on a small ship like this, or on any cruise for that matter, everyone on
66 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
I must say, the whole boarding and board is given a daily briefing, informing setting off process was quick, efficient the passengers of the schedule and what and frankly, stress-free, leaving me with to expect from each destination. Joseph nothing but faith in Variety Cruises for was incredibly humorous and lightened the remainder of the week. On our way the mood during these briefings, making to the island, I spent my time admiring it a lot easier for everyone to take in the the beautiful views that surround Greece; information. Joseph was also a talented calm blue waters, the man, speaking in blinding sun blurring English, Spanish and Mykonos was my view of the horizon, Greek, showing the true versatility of the one of my favourite and everyone on board taking pictures of the Variety Cruises staff islands to visit landscapes with their and how they adapt to during the cruise – smartphones and digital cater to the needs of cameras. their passengers. The closely followed “I arrived at the staff on board were by Santorini island of Kea at around incredibly attentive dinnertime, where I throughout the week. was given leisure time With trips like this, and to investigate the different areas of the cruising in particular, it’s expected that island. I decided to end the day with a things might go wrong. For example, few drinks, so off I went to a nearby bar, sometimes the weather prevents you spending the remainder of the evening from certain stops or activities, yet the sipping champagne and admiring the Variety Cruise employees almost always breathtaking views from the harbour found ways around these issues to terrace in which I was seated. Others ensure everyone on board had a great spread to close by restaurants to devour time regardless. typical Greek meals and get a feel of the “So we set off on our journey to the island’s culture. Of course, lunches and island of Kea, departing via Cape Sounio.
dinners were sometimes provided on the cruise ship, however, this depended on what time of day we were docking. We departed Kea in the early hours and sailed to the next island overnight. “We continued along to Mykonos. Excursions were available to us at the different islands throughout our cruise, although you do have to pay for these independently. I think this all depends on what kind of traveller you are; some like to experience every single excursion there is, and some don’t. I personally would rather enjoy destinations at my own pace, which lead me to walk around the island for the day, experiencing the many different little shops, bars and restaurants. Mykonos was one of my favourite islands to visit during the cruise, closely followed by Santorini, with beautiful streets and white washed buildings; it’s a very liberal and exciting place. Santorini is just as beautiful a place, and the approach to the island is even more stunning. As you pull in to the huge bay, the island towers over you. It was like something
from a romance novel – like nothing I had ever seen-before and posed the perfect photo opportunity. “From Santorini, we sailed overnight to Crete, arriving in the morning and from here, to Kithira and Monemvasia. By Thursday, we had reached Hydra, which was to be our final stop before setting off back to Marina Zea in Athens. I explored each island on foot, spending my days strolling in front of the sizzling Greek sun and touring the old cobbled lanes. Some of the evenings we had back on the ship were filled with celebration. The final evening, which was by far the best, was
a typical Greek party with an outstanding seafood spread. Local university students also joined us, providing us with entertainment for the evening in the form of traditional Greek dancing. It was a great way to end a fabulous week. “As well as making good friends with the on-board staff members, I became very close with one of the couples I met during the trip. A German couple; he was a plastic surgeon and she was a dentist, which I found to be fascinating and we had a lot to talk about all week long. When in such confined spaces, you get to know people’s personalities, likes and dislikes very quickly. I’m still in contact with this couple now, months after my trip and have likely made friends for life. Lee concluded: “My cruise around the Greek islands has to be one of the best travel experiences I’ve had to date. With what can only be described as outstanding service from the attentive staff, experiences of the beauty hosted on each of the islands, a ship full of interesting and friendly fellow cruisers and an overall relaxing and comfortable trip on the calm, blue waters. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough!” w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 67
Inspired Travel caught up with Director of Operations, Joseph Serafimidis, to find out more about Variety Cruises… “This is my seventh season with Variety Cruises. I’ve only ever done the Greek cruises, but I like them so I don’t feel like it’s a job. I begin with the offseason Greek cruises, for instance the themed cruises, which are quite popular with British tourists. We start at the beginning of May, sometimes mid April; it depends. Last year, for example, it was mid April till mid November. As Cruise Coordinators, our job most of the time is to stick to a specific ship but we do change over. For example, this season I have been on all the boats: including the three small yachts, we have twelve ships in total. Eight of them are around 50 metres, which has a capacity of around 49 passengers. Our flagship, The Voyager can hold 76 passengers (she is considerably bigger), and we have the three smaller ones, which are for 9 to 10 people with a 3-member crew. “Our demographic mostly depends on the passengers’ economic status. The majority are aged 50 plus, so it’s a 68 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
combination of both. At the beginning of the season people of an older age tend to cruise because they don’t tend to like the heat that comes in the summer months, plus they have the luxury of not working around that time of year if they are retired. Mid summer season is when we tend to get the younger demographic. We get a lot of passengers from the US and, in particular over the last couple of years, Australians and New Zealanders. For the last couple of years, Europeans haven’t tended to come on the cruises a lot, which may well be because of the economic problems hitting that region of the world. “Variety Cruises are a family-run company, which has its advantages and its disadvantages. There are so many more advantages though. For instance, it’s very laid back; there’s not much hierarchy in that the way we treat our guests is also how we treat our staff. We want our staff to be as much a part of the cruise as our guests, so it’s not like the larger cruise ships with hundreds of crew members. Being on a small boat you cannot do it any other way. We all live and work together in a small space, so if you added the extra pressure of a bossemployee hierarchy, it would become impossible. “This is a very niche market, which
Joseph Serafimidis, Director of Operations
is becoming more and more popular. When I started 7 years ago, it was going very well; tourist-wise, these were better times, but against the logic, the company is expanding. There’s really no competition. In Greece, and even across the world, there isn’t a single small cruise line that’s got our style. The only comparison you can make is when hiring a yacht yourself, making us a very unique experience. People who choose to travel on a small vessel need to be flexible, and come expecting a laid back but professional experience.”
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 6 9
70 w ww.ins pi r e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
THE SCENIC CITY OF SEATTLE The city of Seattle is set to become one of the hottest and fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers in 2017, but what does it have to offer its visitors?
hen thinking of your dream holiday, I’m sure a trip to the Caribbean or a relaxing South Pacific cruise comes to mind, yet studies have shown that Washington’s city of Seattle is expected to be one of the most popular travel destinations for British holidaymakers in 2017. Seattle, nicknamed the Emerald City due to all of the vibrant greenery, secured a place in the top 20 US cities in July’s Travel and Leisure 2016 World’s Best Awards. It is a city where art and nature meet and a foodie’s fantasies come true.
Recent statistics show that 2015 saw a record number of visitors in Seattle – a figure that has been increasing through the course of this current year and is set to soar during 2017. A total of 38.1 million people visited Seattle during 2015, equating to an increase of 2.6% from the previous year. Overnight visits also increased by 2.3% to 19.7 million, helping toward an overall expenditure of 6.8 billion in the city over the course of a year – a very impressive 5.8% increase from 2015, proving that Seattle makes just as great a holiday destination as the next city.
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 7 1
72 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park (Photo/John Froschauer) Smart Destinations
Obviously, tourism is a large part of are the type of elements most enjoy. Seattle’s recent success rates, helping The San Juan Islands offer a day trip the economy by causing a 3.4% increase and are full of opportunities for all kinds in travel related jobs – there were over of visitors. With guided tours available, 73,000 jobs of this kind back in 2015; a wildlife spotting, whale watching and sea figure that is still on the up and these jobs kayaking are just some of the possibilities represent almost 6% of all employment in these islands have to offer. Also, the the country (1 in 17 jobs). Although this views from the top and bottom of the 270 may not sound like a striking figure and foot Snoqualmie Falls are striking and despite the fact that Seattle is the largest the nearby Salish Lodge and Spa, which city in Washington, these statistics really overlooks the falls, is the perfect place are quite remarkable to get a pampering or when considering the grab a gourmet bite. “Tourism is a large size of the US as a Seattle really does whole and how many have something for part of Seattle’s states are within it. everyone, whether recent success rates, So what is it that’s you’re going it alone helping the economy pushing Seattle further or with your family. by causing a 3.4% and further up the Vertical World allows ‘hot-spot’ ladder? the kids to show off increase in travel Well first of all, their wall-climbing skills related jobs” beautiful scenery is on a low-elevation always a bonus and see-through wall, so although Seattle is situated in a partly why not leave the kids to get on with it built-up environment, its close proximity while you enjoy one of their relaxing yoga to the North Pacific Ocean means there classes? Or if wildlife is more your thing are plenty of beautiful sights to see. Don’t you can get up close and personal with get me wrong; urban environments can the inhabitants of the Tropical Rain Forest be scenic too – especially at sunset with at Woodland Park Zoo, allowing you to the modernised skyscrapers sat just in reconnect with nature and visit beautiful front of the horizon, or just the general Malayan tigers, colourful tropical birds hustle and bustle of happiness on the and cuddly-looking sloth bears – whether streets. However, the beauty of historic they are actually cuddly or not, we can’t landmarks such as Mount Rainier or the be too sure! relaxation of ferry trips across the calm For the foodies out there, Seattle also waters for a day trip to Bainbridge Island hosts a number of food and drink related
tours across the city. Savor Seattle Food Tours allows you to travel and eat your way through Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle, offering up all of the weird and wonderful ingredients to try. Brewery and coffee house tours are also available – something I would definitely recommend. Seattle’s orginal brewery tour company, Road Dog Tours, which also ranked #1 on TripAdvisor’s beverage tour operator invites visitors to experience the Emerald City like never before. The latest tourist attraction has also recently opened the huge three-acre, £16 million Pavilion at the Museum of Flight. The museum is a private air and space museum located in the city of Tukwila, just south of Seattle, and features 160
historically significant spacecrafts and aircrafts, allowing spectators to lap up historic American culture. Established back in 1965, the Museum of Flight is the largest private air and space museum in the world, attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, and if it’s this big of a deal already, think how many people will be fighting to visit once they catch wind of the new addition! It seems to me that Seattle never sleeps, with festivals and events taking place during every month of the year – from flower and boat shows to music and film festivals. Perhaps a bit late for this year, but, Christmas is definitely the most active time of year, with the annual Argosy Christmas Ship Festival, Garden d’Lights, Urban Craft Uprising and Winterfest at Seattle Centre taking place throughout December. As well as a wide range of already existing natural and man-made features, Seattle is set to introduce a number of new, fascinating and practical attractions to the city. A Virgin Atlantic direct daily flight will be launching in March 2017 as a replacement of the Delta Airlines flight, offering guests a non-stop and stressfree journey. Anyone who has been to America will know the overwhelming level of jetlag that follows, often with the ability to bring down the first few days of your trip, but with the new flight system, guests will no longer have to worry. Additionally, 2017 will see major
new hotel openings; including a 245 room W Hotel and a 184 room SLS Hotel in a 600 ft Skyscraper, to accompany their new and improved transportation service, equating to more than 700 new hotel rooms to be incorporated into the city before 2018. In addition to this, the Stadium Place Project, just north of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field will see renovations, where there will be a new 282-guest room Embassy Suites Hotel – ideal for sports and cultural visitors. Future innovations like this have already started to cause chaos among the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,
with a 10% increase in the number of passengers travelling through this landing field. This has already pushed this statistic up to 12 million people during the second quarter of this year, causing it to become busier than London Gatwick, which takes 41 million passengers to over 200 destinations every year. It is clear to see that Seattle is home to a variety of attractions and excursions and excitingly, has a huge amount of great things to come. So here at Inspired, we say forget the Caribbean and the Maldives for next year’s holiday and take a trip to scintillating Seattle instead!
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 7 3
VINTAGE SCALES Enjoy a more accurate style of cooking with our Vintage Shop Scales. With its stainless steel removable bowl, this retroinspired scale will look great on your countertop and is ideal for measuring out ingredients. £49.95. dotcomgiftshop.com
COFFEE MACHINE The De’Longhi “LatteCrema” System combines stylish design and technical expertise to create the perfect creamy cappuccino with dense milk foam at the ideal temperature. £899.00. johnlewis.com
KNIFE SET These Robert Welch Signature all-purpose knives have a curved blade that enables a rocking action for optimum chopping and dicing. The blade edge has been hand applied by master craftsmen to give superior sharpness. £280.00. robertwelch.com/signature
NATIONAL TRUST APRON Exclusive to the National Trust this apron captures the beauty, folklore and mystery of the UK’s historic landscapes. Designed in Britain in Dee Hardwicke’s artisan studio, this high quality essential kitchen item will complement any kitchen. £15.00. nationaltrust.org.uk 74 w ww.inspir e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
HARLEQUIN MUG A stunning fine bone china mug featuring the gorgeous Cranes in Flight design from the Palmetto collection by Harlequin. This mug will give an angelic lift to your kitchen cupboards. £12.00. brewershome.co.uk
WINE RACK Drawing its inspiration from the geometric beauty of honeycombs, this wine rack holds six bottles for practical and neat storage. £15.00. johnlewis.com
MARY BERRY STORAGE TINS CARRARA TEAPOT Inspired by Italian architecture and Scandinavian tableware, our Carrara teapot fuses both concepts with masculine shapes and feminine colours. £30. oliverbonas.com
These three tins are a stylish way to store your kitchen essentials. The mixture of designs will look lovely on your counter, and coordinate perfectly with the rest of the range. £32.00. meldhome.co.uk
Bring YOUR KITCHEN TO Life We bring you some fresh ideas for your kitchen TOAST N’ EGG The Toast N’ Egg combines a toaster and egg cooker in one. It can either poach muffin-sized eggs on the poaching tray or hard boil them in the steamer tray. The ingenious Toast N’ Egg also features a warming tray for heating pre-cooked meats. £39.96. asda.com
KITCHEN CLOCK ENAMEL KETTLE Add a splash of the seaside to your kitchen with this beautiful enamel kettle featuring the iconic Whitby design by Mini Moderns. £24.95. brewershome.co.uk
The Wesco Classic Kitchen Clock is a perfectly practical kitchen accessory with an easy to read dial and an integrated kitchen timer. £74.95 www.wesco-shop.co.uk w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 7 5
BASQUE In Basque, José Pizarro will take readers on a journey around this magical place, taking inspiration from traditional dishes and local ingredients, and adding his own unique twist.
RABBIT WITH WHITE BEANS & CHORIZO On our way back from meeting Kepa, the cheese producer, we met the most amazing family: Marcial, Matias, Mari Angeles and Marisol. They are retired and now spend their time growing and looking after vegetables. They were not very happy with the local rabbits, which were causing them big problems in the vegetable garden. I love to eat rabbit and I will pass this recipe onto them as it’s a very good way to make use of their plentiful supply! Serves 6 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) dried judion beans (or dried butter beans) olive oil 2 rabbits, jointed (ask your butcher) sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 200 g (7 oz) baby cooking chorizo 1 onion, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced 2 bay leaves 4–5 juniper berries, lightly crushed 500 ml (17 fl oz) dry cider 750 ml (25 fl oz) fresh, light chicken stock
76 www.inspir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and put into a pan of clean cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a frying pan. Season the rabbit pieces and fry all over until golden. Transfer to a casserole dish. Add the chorizo to the frying pan and cook for a few minutes until golden all over. Tip into the casserole with the rabbit. Add the vegetables to the pan with the chorizo oil and fry for 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic for the last minute. Scoop out with a slotted spoon (discard the rest of the oil) and add to the casserole dish. Add the bay leaves, juniper berries and cider to the casserole, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2Â˝ hours. Drain the almost cooked beans and add to the casserole for the last half an hour of cooking. Check the seasoning and serve with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. .
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 7 7
BONITO BELLY WITH GARLIC There’s no such thing as getting to a fish market too early – you get the pick of the produce, and of course the exciting buzz of the catch coming in. I arrived at Hondarribia at 5 am once, and there waiting for me was something extremely special – one of the big fishing boats had brought in 15 tonnes of bonito. Bonito is similar to tuna but smaller, and the meat is much paler. It’s so tasty though, and really sustainable too, so if you have the chance, do buy it. If you have a local fishmonger, ask for bonito belly. If you can’t get it, then mackerel is a great alternative, just ask the fishmonger to butterfly it for you.
Serves 4 1 whole belly of bonito tuna sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 100 ml (3. fl oz) olive oil plus extra for rubbing 3 garlic cloves,sliced 1 whole dried guindilla chilli (or other dried chilli) 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar finely chopped parsley to serve
Season the tuna belly and rub with a little oil. Heat a large heavybased pan or chargrill pan over a high heat and sear the tuna for a couple of minutes on each side until just cooked but still a bit pink. Set aside. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and whole chilli and fry gently until just golden. Add the red wine vinegar and bubble together, then add the parsley. Pour the garlic oil over the tuna and serve immediately with sauteed potatoes. 78 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 7 9
CUA JA D A WITH H O NEY & WA L NUTS Cuajada is like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it! Well, I love both! Cuajada, or as it’s called in the Basque Country, mamia, is a type of cheese that is very popular in the north of Spain. Traditionally, it was made with sheep’s milk but is now normally made with raw cow’s milk. Like fromage frais, it’s a smooth cheese with a really creamy and delicate texture. You can serve it on its own with some fresh walnuts and honey as I have here; I really enjoy it for breakfast. The recipe works with raw milk, which is not difficult to find these days –either online or perhaps at your local market.
Serves 4–6 1 litre (34 fl oz) raw milk 25 g (1 oz) rennet honey to drizzle roughly chopped walnuts to serve Bring the milk to the boil. Pour into a jug and leave to cool until it reaches 37°C (99°F) on a digital thermometer, then sprinkle the rennet evenly over the top. Stir gently to dissolve, then pour into four or six individual pots and leave to set and chill for about 4 hours without stirring. Once set, drizzle with honey, scatter with walnuts and serve.
Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood (Quadrille £20) Photography: David Loftus
80 w ww.ins pi r e d tr a ve lm a g.co.u k
w w w . i n spi r edtr avelmag . co . uk 81
CUPID COPPER TABLE £159 WWW.CUCKOOLAND.COM
LUXURY SOFT FAUX FUR THROW IN BROWN STRIPE, £239 WWW.THEFARTHING.CO.UK
82 OCEAN VIEW
MOROCCAN COPPER STRING LIGHTS, £12.50 WWW.JOYTHESTORE.COM
FLOWER POP POPPIES’ LARGE SQUARE CUSHION £40 WWW. SALLYMACKNESS.CO.UK
WINTER HOME TRENDS
KUBU ROUND RATTAN LOUNGE CHAIR, £229 WWW.CUCKOOLAND.COM
AVA GOLD MIRROR , £175 WWW.MIAFLEUR.COM
COPPER AND MARBLE PENDANT LIGHT , £135 WWW.MIAFLEUR.COM
TESCO BRASS PENTAGONAL TEALIGHT HOLDER, £12
SMOKE & MUSK CANDLE, £16 WWW.MUSEUMOF LONDONSHOP.CO.UK
SHEEPSKIN BEANBAGS £650 WWW. THESWEDISHWOODENHORSE.COM
WOODLAND WALL HANGING REINDEER HEAD - LARGE, £60 WWW.TCH.NET
FREE SPIRIT STAG CUSHION, £20 WWW.GRAHAMBROWN. COM
ORIENTAL SPICE AND CHERRY BLOSSOM SOY WAX CANDLE, £9.95
ANTLER CHANDELIER, £798 WWW.SWEETPEAANDWILLOW. COM
MASSIF RED CHALET CUSHION, £45 ULSTERWEAVERS.COM
ALISON CORK 180CM GLITTER WILLOW TREE, £60 WWW.QVCUK.COM.
SHERIDAN CORRIGIN THROW, OCEAN VIEW MIDNIGHT, £109 83
84 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
TEST DRIVE Inspired Travel’s Motoring Correspondent Simon Skinner takes to the wheel of the latest Maserati Quattroporte
amount of gadgetery and finery he last Maserati that graced the as standard, including full leather Inspired car park was the (then) upholstery that extends to the dash all-new Ghibli: the first diesel and beyond, an 8.4in touchscreen car from the brand. At the time, interface, xenon lights, a rear-view there were big statements and even camera and adaptive dampers (in the bigger promises coming from Maserati, form of Maserati’s suggesting a Porsche‘Skyhook’ system). esque expansion of possibly models. The Quattroporte has oneIt’sofquite the most Since then, we’ve an impressive amount comfortable cars seen some evidence you’ll ever travel in, of that expansion, with of gadgetery and with a wheelbase the announcement of finery as standard, that stretches the Levanti 4x4 and including full leather even beyond the we hear that there’s Jaguar XJ’s. In more to follow. upholstery that fact, the Maserati For now though, extends to the dash Quattroporte S we’re quite happy would stand as to take the keys of and beyond direct competition this sixth-generation to the XJ, (certainly Quattroporte - a car with their respective price tags) and that heralds a new era for Maserati whilst the Jag is a great car, there’s as it rings the changes heading into something a bit special about Maserati, 2017, with substantial leaps in sales and this car is no exception. targets. Perhaps the least sexy fact The petrol engine delivers an about the Quattroporte is its name. It incredible no-eye-watering performance translates from Italian as ‘four door’, and absolutely rivals the Mercedes which perhaps, was necessary to clear AMG S-Class. There’s a diesel option up for Maserati fans when the first for 2016, which offers a financial benefit Quattroporte limo was introduced back for the more sensible amongst us, but in 1963. it doesn’t have quite the same magic The Quattroporte has an impressive
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 85
as the V8 petrol, or its performance. To gearshift speeds up and the exhaust me, at least, it’s a no-brainer. valves open up. Acceleration from Whilst the drive is good, as you’d 0-62mph takes just 4.7 seconds and expect with such a high-class motor, there’s huge amounts of torque from the limit of the car’s grip can catch you under 2,000 rpm all the way up to off guard, appearing 7,500 rpm. The suddenly and without alleged top speed Whilst the drive is warning. On the rough is 190 mph, and a surfaces that we enjoy good, as you’d expect deep growl from on many of the roads with such a high-class the exhaust means connecting Inspired people will definitely motor, the limit of the Travel Towers to the hear you coming car’s grip can catch you long before they see outside world, the chassis tended to you. off guard, appearing snake around on the It really is suddenly and without road, feeling slightly something rather warning unsettled. That said, special. with the amount of grunt that the car delivers, especially when it’s firmly planted into sport Economy: 16/23 mpg mode, any car would struggle not to Tansmission: 8-speed auto snake around a little. Engine: Petrol Sport mode makes a lot of difference Cylinders: V6 Price: £90 445 to the Quattroporte. The suspension www.maserati.co.uk stiffens, the throttle sharpens, the
86 www.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
w w w . i n spi r edtr a velmag . co . uk 87
TE FOR US VO AWARDS
88 w ww.ins pir e d tr a ve lma g.co.u k
1134 FITB (Tom Mason) Inspired Travel Ad.indd 1