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Home & Away with Robert Walshe The Seychelles have been selected by Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, as a recipient of its first-ever Active Travel Awards. Outside tapped a global network of correspondents to showcase a definitive roundup of the best new adventures, exotic retreats, beaches, local food, bars with a view, on-time airlines, screaming deals, gorgeous islands, and more. The awards reflect more than just a collection of unforgettable trips—it’s a road map to life-changing experiences. Seychelles is the land of perpetual summer, blessed with world-beating beaches and awesome diversity where a people with multi-ethnic roots continue to live in enviable harmony. The Seychelles islands also host a broad choice of international events that includes the annual Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria in March, SUBIOS - the Seychelles Festival of the Sea in November, Festival Kreol in October, plus the Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon, Seychelles Regatta, the Seychelles Ball and the Miss Seychelles contest. www.seychelles.travel

Weekend Hotspot – Schloss Elmau, Bavaria, Germany. Schloss Elmau is a castle hotel between the towns of Garmisch and Mittenwald 100 km from Munich perched perfectly at an elevation of 1060 meters. I visited for St Patrick’s weekend and the bright sunshine and alpine snow was the prefect tonic for my weekend of sheer bliss & relaxation. Here, you can ski in summer, sunbathe in winter, ride horses, swim in lakes, rivers and infinity pools, ride great slopes on a mountainbike, or scale them by hand as you try rock-climbing. Schloss Elmau was founded by the philosopher Johannes Müller whose family still runs

the establishment. He had become quite well known for his novel teachings on Christian philosophy, and in 1902 a friend bought him a castle near Schweinfurt called Schloss Mainberg to serve as a community for nurturing spiritual and physical health. Johannes Muller’s philosophy appears to lie somewhere between Christianity and Zen. His grandson Dietmar MüllerElmau, together with his cousin have now re-defined its purpose into “The Schloss Elmau Experience”, giving the Schloss freedom to express itself as a modern interpretation of classical architecture. The result is a true life-style experience for spa aficionados, those who appreciate the delights of gourmet cuisine and lovers of architecture, culture and nature. Schloss Elmau is designed for longer visits – indeed my stay of two days was far too short. There are 130 rooms including five family suites with two bedrooms and the rooms in general are family friendly; some even come with sofa beds and kitchenettes. All the luxuriously designed rooms & suites revolve around space and privacy while the bathrooms are lined with ancient stone, bedroom floors made of polished oak or teak and walls covered with pure silk. The room was equipped with a Loewe flatscreen television, a Bose radio with iPod dock, and a minibar that offered juice and snacks at no charge. I was lucky enough to get one of the fower suites, which meant that I had majestic views to the south, west, and east. Everything in the room was about the view. Aside from the many terraces, there are clusters of private loungers, lavender-covered terraces and picnic spots. Inside, clever layouts mean you can always find somewhere to make a noise or be alone. Unlimited Internet access is included and I settled into my comfortable desk and chair

Pet’s Corner...

This is an important story for people to read. It has many lessons in it and may help people to understand what life is like for a dog when their owner dies. Jess is five-years old and was raised on a farm. She is a Collie and is a working sheepdog. She worked on the farm in the daytime and was a much-valued pet in the evening. Jess and her threeyear old pup worked together and lived together all day everyday and life was good. They got their dinners every evening, a walk at 7pm, some fun time with their owners and two digestive biscuits as a treat at bedtime every night. They were much-loved dogs and very well taken care of. One day, out of the blue, tragedy struck. The farmer was working with bales of hay and fell from

the top of them to the ground. Tragically, he died. Jess and the pup were with him at the time and saw it all happen. As it is the lambing season the ewe’s were all giving birth. The farmer’s wife worked away from home but in the evenings she helped on the farm. When she came home from work that evening she got changed and went out to find her husband to give him a hand. She got a terrible shock when she discovered him lying on the ground with the two dogs lying beside him. The dogs stayed with him out of loyalty to their master and also to keep him warm with their body heat. Unfortunately, it was too late for help. As Jess was the first dog she was more closely bonded to her owner. The farmers wife thought

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Concert Halls

at the library to enjoy my new ipad! Since 1916, Schloss Elmau has been a cultural melting pot for great artists and authors with two concert halls, five Steinway pianos, several rehearsal rooms, two libraries with English, Jewish and German literature as well as a vast bookstore. The calendar this year alone includes more than 170 concerts with several festivals, for classical music, chamber music, jazz, world music & literature. Four unique spa areas are at your fingertips, including a 16,100 sq. ft. family spa so your kids can enjoy treatments, too. Swim in indoor, outdoor, pools, or just watch the steam come off the warm water while sunbathing in the relaxation room. Uniquely Schloss Elmau is the only 5* resort to offer separate spas for adults as well as families. I found my way to the” Hammam” the largest west of Istanbul to experience the “Orient Express “a treatment especially suited for new­comers to Oriental bath culture. Following a warm-up phase in the steam room, each ritual begins with a basic treatment consisting of a full-body exfoliation and soapy rubdown along with a soothing hair wash. Afterwards, depending on the ritual you choose, you are given either a short or a thorough massage with soapy lather or with oil completed with

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traditional Hamam-style refreshment: Kolonya, aromatic Turkish lemon water. To relax afterwards I ended up at the Badehaus Spa enjoying the open-air rooftop pool & restaurant entranced by spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps. A passion for the art of cuisine is more than apparent in Schloss Elmau’s six restaurants. Here I experienced “La Salle” with live cooking and a tremendous international breakfast buffet. The” Luce d’Oro “gourmet offering on the second night was incredible combining a refined food art matched with specialty wines from the talented chief sommelière Marie-Helen Krebs.Schloss Elmau and its surrounding areas are home to some of the best summer and winter sports in the Alps. There are Ski Schools for cross-country and downhill alpine Skiing, plus daily Ski Safaris to some of the best pistes available on the

Living

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nearby Innsbruck and Seefeld slopes, just over the border in Austria. Schloss Elmau is a five star superior member of Leading Hotels of the World and one of the most discerning and imaginative lifestyle resorts anywhere and I will be back. www.schloss-elmau. de/english Aer Lingus operate daily flights from Dublin to Munich. Fares start from €55.99. For more information, please visit www.aerlingus. com

Weekly Best Buy

To celebrate the 2012 Red Sea golf tournament hosted by Cascades Golf Club in late June the luxurious Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay is offering a new tournament package for amateur and seasoned golfers to play the spectacular course designed by international golfer, Gary Player. The Kempinski Soma Bay Golf Package

includes: accommodation in a Lagoon View room on a half board basis including airport transfers, green fees, and an electric cart during tournament days, 50 balls per day on driving range. The Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay offers accommodation for players and their families within putting distance from the golf course. The five-star resort boasts expansive beachfront and mountain-range views, over 400 metres of private sandy beach and unrivalled access to world-class scuba diving, kite-surfing and a premier thalassotherapy spa www. kempinski.com/somabay Robert Walshe is a freelance contributor / broadcaster and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. www.robertwalshe.com

Home and Away Extra Old Jameson Distillery Dublin, one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions, has announced a 10.7% growth in visitor figures for 2011. Last year 207,830 visitors passed through the doors, compared to 187,715 in 2010. The distillery which is famous for its Jameson guided tour and Irish ‘Shindig Nights’, is particularly popular as a tourist

destination, with 33% of the total visitors for the year coming from the USA. The Old Jameson Distillery is also popular among British, Scandinavian, French and German tourists. The Old Jameson Distillery is open seven days a week, all year from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays. : www.tours.jamesonwhiskey.com

with Kathleen Murray

Jess’s story – a thought provoking read

that it was better for the dogs if they were not around for the wake so she let them go to her brother-in-law’s farm. Jess refused to go. She would not leave. She stayed at home and was there for everything that happened. As dogs mourn the same as us for their losses it was a hard time for Jess. She had lost one of her owners, she had lost her pup and her remaining owner was in deep mourning so it was a very sad time all round. During the quiet days after the funeral Jess and her owner started their new life alone together. Things were very different for both of them and both of them were feeling a big sense of loss. Her owner was still in shock and not sure what to feel and Jess was out in the

fields looking for her owner and her pup. Everyone felt the loss. As the weeks went by Jess had to learn to get used to a lead and get into a car, lots of new experiences. She had never been on a lead before as she was a working farm dog and there was no need for a lead. Her owner found that Jess was not taking this well and was not eating properly so she was worried. When I met them both for the first time I felt the sense of loss for both of them. It was easy to see that there was still shock and tragedy. The owner wanted help with Jess as Jess was all she had left that was close to her husband. They had been married 23 years and there were no children. Just them and the dogs. I decided to keep Jess for a

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bit to help her to readjust to a new life and give her owner a chance to readjust to her new life. Together they were keep-

ing each other back because the tragedy was all they had. Jess has now adjusted to being a full-time pet. She’s walking on a lead, travels well in the car, is not afraid to jump in or out and is eating better. She is coming out of her mourning and will be now able to help her owner to do the same in time. Dogs normally mourn for a couple of weeks and then they pick up and move on but it was difficult for Jess as she was dealing with too much at the same time. She had become the centre of the mourning as her owner depended on her company to help her so she couldn’t get back to normality again. Her owner is doing really well now, coming to terms with all that has happened and is braving a new life with the help of Jess.


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