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TRAVEL

Home & Away with Robert Walshe Tourism has a new frontier: the site of the world’s biggest civilian nuclear disaster. From later this year the heavily contaminated area around the Chernobyl power plant will be officially open to tourists with an interest in post-apocalyptic vistas, late-period Soviet history, or both. Ukraine’s emergency situations ministry has said that visitors would be offered tours inside the 30mile exclusion zone set up after reactor four at the plant exploded on 26 April 1986, showering northern Europe in radioactive fallout. The disaster killed an unknown number of people – estimates for deaths from radiation exposure range from dozens to thousands – and forced around 350,000 people to leave their homes forever. While the area remains contaminated, a ministry spokeswoman said, tourism routes had been drawn up which would cover the main sights while steering clear of the dangerous spots. The recent re-brand of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Galway to become the Pillo Hotel & Spa has secured the jobs of up to 55 staff at the four star hotel The recent re-brand of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Galway to become the Pillo Hotel & Spa has secured the jobs of up to 55 staff at the four star hotel and has given a major vote of confidence to the Galway tourist sector. Pillo Hotels is a new Irish hotel brand backed by leading private equity investor Ion Equity. To mark the launch of the first Pillo Hotel in Ireland, special room rates from €59 are on offer for February. To find out more visit: www.pillohotelgalway.com

Holiday Hotspot

The ancient capital of Peru’s once mighty Inca Empire, Cusco is a must see Peru travel destination, drawing thousands of visitors each month to marvel at the cities endless list of architectural and archaeological gems. This Unesco World Heritage Site has a population of about 300,000. and lies around 3,500 m above sea level so getting used to the thin air takes time. Cusco’s highlights include both Inca ruins—such as Sacsayhuamán, a fortress on a hill overlooking the city, and Qoricancha, the Temple of

the Sun— and colonial-era baroque and Renaissance mansions. In the square stands the splendid La Catedral, this took 94 years to build. Next to this are the chapels n Peruvian children Capilla de la Sagrada Familia, recently restored, and the Capilla Del Triunfo whose walls are adorned with masterpieces from the Cusco School, include works by Peruvian artists Many perfectly constructed Inca stone walls, examples of local stonemasonry still stand. After a devastating earthquake in 1650, Cusco became a largely baroque city and the heart of the historic centre has suffered few modern intrusions despite the staggering number of souvenir shops, travel agencies, hotels, and restaurants overflowing with visitors. In fact Cusco is the handicrafts centre of Peru, and its streets and markets teem with merchants and their extraordinary textiles, many handwoven using the exact techniques of their ancestors. Cusco, as the top tourist destination in Peru, where virtually every visitor seems to pass and stay a few days, has developed a remarkable collection of lodgings, with hundreds of hotels, inns, and hostels. Leading the way Hotel Libertador is located within the historical centre of the city, occupying the fabulous “Casa de los Cuatro Bustos”, where Francisco Pizarro, first Spanish governor of Peru, used to live. It was built on the foundations of the “Aclla Huasi”, where the chosen virgins of the Inca lived. In keeping with the city’s aesthetics, the five-star Libertador mixes the splendid furnishings with its own Inca wall (in the Rumi Bar). Even the new building, which contains the lobby, reception and exclusive

Pet’s Corner...

Living

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shops, maintains an air of sophistication with elegant sofas and rich oil paintings under a glass pyramid roof. Guest rooms are spacious and refined; furnishings have rustic con Libertador Palacio del Inka Hotel Cusco lonial touches, and the marble bathrooms are large and well equipped. Many rooms have small terraces. Weekly Best Buy But the Libertador perhaps most The boom in cruises has been distinguishes itself with extremely a worldwide phenomenon, with attentive and professional serv- Irish holidaymakers playing their ice. The house restored in 1976 part. Thomas Cook Cruises has just is located only 10 minutes from launched a selection of MediterraCusco’s “Velasco Astete” Interna- nean cruises from Dublin for 2011, tional airport. To assist with my offering all the convenience of a Peru planning I used Cultural Im- package holiday, but with the allure mersion a specialist tour company of a luxury cruise. based in Cusco. They provided There are three exciting Mediterquality travel services and tour ranean programmes to choose from, guides throughout Peru, including featuring direct flights from Dublin Machu Picchu,Sacred Valley, Lake to Palma or Malaga with transfer to Titicaca, the Peruvian Amazon, cruise ship, and the option of adding Lima and other main attractions. a week’s sunshine stay in Majorca The company also help with the or the Costa del Sol, again including development of the poor villages of transfers. Prices start from €985 pps the Andes working on many devel- for a 7 night stay in an interior State opment projects so you know you room, and cover all food and enterare helping the indigenous popula- tainment. An additional 7 night’s stay tions by working with Eduardo and in a 4-star hotel on a half board basis his team. LAN airlines operate an can be bolted on for as little as €399 excellent domestic service to local per person. The fully bonded cruise airport Cusco from Lima. The best programme including charter flights, websites for further details are which eliminates the risks attached www.liberatdor.com www.cultur- with booking separate flights and alimmersion.org www.visitperu. transfers, commences in May. To com www.lan.com book visit your local travel agent.

Home and Away Extra American Holidays has recently partnered with Eagle Rider and are offering you the chance of an adventure & experience of a lifetime. Offering a vast range of self guided trips through some of America’s most scenic and iconic landscapes, you can choose from Harley Davidson, Triumph, Honda or BMW starting at €94/£80 per rental per day including taxes. With locations from California to South California and Seattle to Florida there are 1000’s of vacations to choose from. www.americanholidays.ie . One of my favourite Irish country houses Longueville House & Restaurant near Mallow in Co Cork will remain open during the winter weekend months of February & March 2011. The hotel & restaurant will open from 12 noon on Fridays & close after lunch Sunday evenings. It really is the ideal time to use up those Christmas gift vouchers, pack your wellies, stay, explore, relax and dine royally in Longueville. www.longuevillehouse.ie Robert Walshe is a freelance contributor / broadcaster and is guest travel writer for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland

with Kathleen Murray

Who protects cats? You do with Kathleen Murray: Animal Behavioural Therapist

More and more animals are being protected by people who think enough of them to care about their welfare. Animal welfare in Donegal is way ahead of other counties and that’s because all the animal welfare organisations, departments and agencies work together. This reduces the amount of time, energy and money that needs to be spent in these hard times and makes for a more efficient working arrangement. As animal welfare agencies are always busy they need all the help they can get. Some people will say “I rang animal welfare people to ask them to take away a plague of cats that are coming into my garden, and they didn’t

do anything about them.” These problems are not that straightforward to sort out as the problem often lies with the original owners of the cats. There are people that say they don’t believe in neutering and allow their cats to breed non stop in built up areas. This is irresponsible ownership but there are no laws relating to the control of cats the way there is with dogs. This makes life difficult for neighbours and animal welfare people alike. Sometimes an older person has not been able to care for their cats they way they used to due to failing health, and the build up of cats gets out of control. There is no sanctuary for cats in the county and all the other coun-

ties that have facilities are packed to the rafters with cats so they can’t take any more in. Facilities don’t get rid of the problem they just create a bottomless pit for cash because they never empty and the problem is still as big on the outside. The answer lies with owners. Owners need to take responsibility for their cats. Get them neutered and stop taking the goodwill of neighbours for granted. Cats will wander... so one or two cats is plenty for anyone. People generally don’t mind a cat passing through their garden keeping mice at bay on their way but 25 cats passing through, sitting on their walls, coming in taheir windows and crapping in their children’s play areas

or garden is a very different matter. None of this is the cats fault but the cat is the one getting the “boot on the back of the neck”. This is wrong. The owner is the one who should be repremanded. This is neglect. Cats need to be looked after, neutered, fed, watered and wormed for starters. Anyone that has a cat has a responsibility to the community to make sure that their cat does not produce 30 more cats in a very short space of time. Cats can come in season four times a year. If you can’t watch the cat then get it neutered. Animals can not look after themselves in this day and age. There are more people, more houses, more cars, more dangers everywhere. Animals need people

to watch out for them and report any cruelty against them, or neglect. Reports can be made to the ISPCA (1890515515) and at your local Garda station. Have all your details and evidence ready. Keep it short, simple and accurate and check later to see what the outcome was. You can ask to have your name kept confidential but it may be needed for directions to the “scene of the crime” and for more information if needed

Home & Away Travel Page Feb 14th 2011  

Cusco , Travel Page Peru

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