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METRO WORLD NEWS

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Monday, 28 March 2011 www.metrotravel.com

TRAVEL

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we live where you’re going

SLEEPING WITH ROYALTY: TOP 5 CASTLE HOTELS IN BRITAIN {page 05}

Enjoy a

brew on the road

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{page 06}

What’s inside

Marathon trips

www.metrotravel.com MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

Exotic Marathon Trips {page 03}

The hipster’s guide to the best of Athens

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Top castle hotels in Britain {page 05}

Brew your tea on the road {page 06}

EMMA CRAIG

The singer-songerwriter’s guide to Athens {page 02} + Gourmet guide to Portugal {page 04} EMMA CRAIG


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www.metrotravel.com MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

GET INTO MY CITY: ATHENS Our guide to Athens is hot new alternative singer-songwriter Monika Christodoulou A major talk of the town, even before she released her first album “Avatar” in 2008, she debuted her second album, Exit, last year She plays the guitar, piano, saxophone, bouzouki and harmonica She originally came to Athens to study maths, and stayed because she loves the city so much MONIKA CHRISTODOULOU TRAVEL@METRO.LU EUROKINISSI

The inspirational

Greek capital View over Athens

I

love the energetic citizens of Athens, the breathless rhythms of everyday life, the sea, the healthy climate and its strong light from the bright Athenian sun that makes people smile. After a seven-

year love affair with this city, it still inspires me and I cant help but keep praising it through my songs. For more information check out visitgreece.gr METRO GREECE

Plaka

First time? Visitors should definitely go for a walk to the old neighborhood of Plaka and visit the Acropolis. I would recommend walking up Lycabettus hill to enjoy the breathtaking view from above. The drive from

Been there before? Visit the suburbs, to get a more complete idea of the capital. In Kifissia you can have a nice coffee in the

Athens to the southern suburbs, such as Voula and Varkiza, is one of the most unforgettable seaside routes. One can stop to swim or relax on one of the numerous beaches on the way to Sounio, the temple of Poseidon, the ancient god of the sea. fresh air, and the port of Piraeus has lots of fish taverns and spots for long walks or bicycle rides. And walking around Exarhia, especially along Kallidromiou street is as good.

Go out Six D.O.G.S. is one of the best multi-spaces you can have a drink in. The back garden is like an urban oasis, inside there’s gigs and art shows (sixdogs.gr). Booze (boozecooperativa.com), TORA K44 (k44.gr) or Gazarte (gazarte.gr) are also cool places to listen to good indie music. Giasemi, in Plaka is my favorite place; time stands still as you sit by the fireplace with a glass of wine, or a delicious dessert made by the owner, Mariza. On Sundays there’s live music (Mnisikleous 23, Plaka).

Eat I feel like taking you somewhere with traditional and typical Greek cuisine rather than gourmet restaurants. Therapeftirio (which means physical therapy) is one of the best choices for someone to

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EUROKINISSI

Kolonaki

Shopping! The most comprehensive shopping area is Kolonaki in central Athens. It combines designer brands with small alternative fashion shops, as well as interesting art galleries and gift shops. For handmade or vintage try Monastiraki.

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taste traditional Greek food in a cosy environment with quick, amiable service (Kydantinon 41, Ano Petralona). Kimatothrafstis (means breakwater) is good for authentic homemade food served as an all-yourplate-can-hold buffet (49 Charilaou Trikoupi Valtet-

siou). Bliss is a very enjoyable place to eat as it serves only organic dishes in a colorful and youthful environment (Romvis 24A, Athens). For a more chic choice try one of the numerous restaurants in Kolonaki, like Prytaneion (prytaneion.gr).

Stay in Avoid downtown areas like Patision or Omonoia. A high-quality and reasonably priced hotels is Golden Age in Vasillisis Sofias Avenue, just 10 minutes’ walk from the centre. (From €58, goldenage.gr)


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MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

TRAVEL WITH A TWIST: RACING EMMA CRAIG

Marathon holidays Want to stay fit while on vacation? Incorporate a marathon into your travels Will Hide heads to Kenya to race in one of the world's most unusual trials — hoping the lions don't get him before the finish

Keeping an eye out for lions on the Lewa marathon

WILL HIDE

METRO WORLD NEWS TRAVEL@METRO.LU

“Travelling to take part in marathons is a fun way of experiencing a country” Was it a sign? The pilot of my tiny plane from Nairobi handed me a business card for his other job after we touched down at Lewa, an hour north of the Kenyan capital. “Matumshi Humphrey Nguma: Rainbow Faith Ministries” it read. “Preparing you in difficult times on earth for settlement in God's kingdom”. Hopefully I wouldn’t be needing his help any time soon, but I was just about to run a marathon which is famous for runners having to shoo rhinos, lions and elephants off the course. I’m a veteran of marathons worldwide, but what better incentive to run your ‘personal best’ time than having a large angry lion careering behind you?

The Lewa marathon, which takes place several degrees north of the equator at an elevation of 1,700m, was first run ten years ago to raise money for, and highlight the plight of, East Africa’s rhinos. In the early 1980s Kenya’s black rhino population had declined from more than 20,000 to just 230 – killed by poachers for their horns for Arabian dagger handles and Chinese medicine. Today thankfully their numbers are on the rise. The starter’s gun fired soon after sunrise so I and the other thousand or so runners could avoid the heat that builds fiercely later in the day. We pounded the dirt tracks over the 42km course, a helicopter hovering overhead to keep an eye out for errant wildlife – I saw elephants at around the 15km mark but they seemed uninterested in the strange band of humans snaking across their territory. Four hours later I crossed the finish line, tired but elated. I enjoyed the finish party, with its leaping Masai warriors, live music and chilled Tusker beer. No need yet to call the number on Mr Nguma’s business card.

Lewa Marathon This year’s Lewa marathon is on June 25th. Entries close on May 20.

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OTHER RACES TO CONSIDER RUNNING IN 2011

Quick tips EAT If you can, try some local food. Githeri, for example, is a mix of boiled maize and beans; on the coast, wali is rice cooked in coconut milk.

MARATHON DU MEDOC

MARATHON DU MEDOC France A marathon where most runners are in fancy dress and stop every 2km for a glug of wine or a freshly chucked oyster is a lot of fun. More than 8,500 people take part in this jaunt around vineyards north of Bordeaux every September. Details: 10 September. marathondumedoc.com If it’s full, consider the Marathon du Vin in Pic St Loup, France, on October 21st, www.209events.com

STAY Book a place in a tent near the marathon for $35 per night, and you’ll have to self cater, in which case you bring all food with you from Nairobi. Or for $95 per night you can do full board (not

ITROMSÕ

TROMSO MIDNIGHT SUN MARATHON Norway This marathon in north Norway is run at night – in broad daylight, 350km north of the Arctic Circle. If you don’t want to do the whole course there is a half marathon, even a 4.2km fun run. The pretty town itself is very lively, with a large student population and fun pubs and restaurants to celebrate in afterwards. Details: 25 June. msm.no

including drinks); see lewa.org. After your race, head to the coast to laze on the beach. Kizingo is a great place to chill out at the southern tip of Lamu island on a 12km-long beach. There are just eight eco lodges. From $340 for two, full board; see kizingo.com

NEW YORK ROAD RUNNERS

NEW YORK CITY MARATHON USA What better way to see all five of ‘the Big Apple’s’ boroughs than from street level, being cheered on by the city’s inhabitants? Held each year on the first Sunday in November it attracts more than 35,000 runners and has an amazing atmosphere. Getting a place can be tough so if you don’t succeed this year, start planning for 2012. Details: 6 November. ingnycmarathon.org

HEALTH Don't forget malaria pills wherever you are planning to travel in the country. For more information check out : www.lewa.org


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MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

GOURMET TRAVELLER: PORTUGAL

Welcome to salt cod country Between the fish and the pork specialities, it's easy to find a classic, simple meal in Portugal Prices are affordable even in Lisbon Look for clams and other shellfish in the Algarve. And great cakes are everywhere!

CÉLIA PEDROSO

Quick tips

TRAVEL@METRO.LU

EAT

METRO WORLD NEWS

Best known in Spain, the black pig lives also in Alentejo, in the south. It's a free-range animal that only eats acorns, which give a special flavour to the cured ham. The ‘pata negra’ festival is between 25 and 27 March in Ourique, Alentejo. Seafood lovers should visit the August seafood festival in Olhão, Algarve.

“Fish is a speciality in Portugal, from salt cod to grilled sardines” Half of Portugal is on the coast, which is why our cuisine is so heavily influenced by our love of fish. It’s a tradition that dates back to our sea-faring days. Salting cod, or ‘bacalhau’, was an easy and tasty way to preserve fish in the ships that sailed to discover new routes across the world. Nowadays the speciality is such a Portuguese staple that we have 365 recipes, one for each day of the year. No wonder we call bacalhau the ‘faithful friend’. By the seaside, either on the west coast or in the Algarve, grilled fish is easy to find in restaurants; in the South coast you'll find the best shellfish and prawns and also cataplana - a fish and seafood dish made in a special copper pot. Lisbon, the capital, is still one of the inexpensive cities in Europe for dining out, but in the countryside, in the North or in Porto, eating out is even cheaper, with generous portions that can be divided without a restaurant drama. Cozido à Portuguesa, a

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DISHES TO TRY... WHEN YOU’RE EATING IN PORTUGAL

STAY Portugal is a big wine producer, and you can stay on a vineyard at hotel Quinta Nova N. S. do Carmo. It offers an affordable wine experience, with stunning views over the Douro river, and great, traditional home-cooking. In the harvest season you can join the grape picking. From €123, quintanova.com

SHOP Salt cod CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

rich dish with pork, chouriço sausage and vegetables, is a good dish to share, as is feijoada, a bean stew with pork. Pork is a speciality of the interior regions of Portugal—the mountains of Beiras and Trás-os-Montes in the North or the plaines of Alentejo in the South. Dishes use every bit of the pig, from the snout and ears to tail and trotters. But relax, there are many simple dishes, too, like the famous Carne de porco à

alentejana, loin in pieces with clams. Families also love grilled chicken, a simple but tasty speciality; adults choose the piri-piri version with a hot and spicy sauce. Finally, dessert time is looked forward to at Portuguese dinner tables. The cakes might not look exciting, but they taste delicious, with almondy flavor.

CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

BACALHAU À BRÁS

PASTÉIS DE BELÉM

Portuguese are the biggest consumers of salt cod in the world and import it mainly from Norway. Bacalhau à Brás is a popular recipe: shredded and fried cod, with garlic and onions, then mixed with eggs and thin chips, seasoned with pepper and parsley.

A Lisbon speciality: warm custard tarts with a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon. You can find pastéis de nata everywhere in Portugal but the best ones have been sold in Belém since 1837. About 20,000 tarts are sold each day. Our tip: sit inside rather than queueing outside.

For more information check out www.visitportugal.com

Don't miss Ribeira market in central Lisbon, where you can find the best fruit, vegetables and fish. Very popular among chefs and foodies is also the place to buy some hard-to-find items like piri-piri strings or laurel. CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

Ribeira Eating in the harbour in Lisbon

CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

TORTAS DE AZEITÃO Desserts are rich, most made with egg yolks, almonds and lots of sugar. Many recipes originate in convents, with names like Barriga de Freira Nun's tummy. Just outside Lisbon you can find the famous Tortas de Azeitão, a soft cake with egg cream.

CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

CELIA PEDROSO/MWN

SARDINES

BIFE À CAFÉ

Grilled sardines are a favourite dish in spring and summer when families gather round a barbecue. They’re traditionally eaten on a slice of bread, with a tomato, pepper and cucumber salad as a side dish. The bread absorbs all the grease from the fish and gets very tasty.

This is a traditional dish from cervejarias, or beer houses, that specialize in seafood and steak. This dish is a steak with a cream sauce, that sometimes includes coffee, and you can choose to have an egg on top of the steak. It’s always served with lots of chips.


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MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

TOP 5: CASTLES TO STAY IN

Sleeping with the royals You don’t have to get lucky with Prince Harry or Princess Eugenie to spend the night in a royal residence in Britain Plenty of castles are happy to open their portcullis to guests Get a feel for royal life behind the moat

EMMA E. FORREST

METRO WORLD NEWS EMMA.FORREST@METRO.LU

CONTRIBUTED

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GLENGORM CASTLE Mull, Scotland

“More dramatic than a regular hotel, staying in a British castle gives you a glimpse into this country’s rich history” Not as wealthy as royalty? Not a problem. You can still stay in a castle; while some are now luxury havens, others are more modest B&Bs or offer self-catering. Spend an atmospheric night in a four-poster bed, and you’ll feel like a queen or king, especially if you’re protected by castle walls, a moat with the drawbridge pulled up and the heavy metal portcullis slammed down.

This 19th century castle is set in one of the most picturesque places in the British Isles. Its location on the north of the Isle of Mull offers dramatic coastline, forests and lochs, gives spectacular views over the Atlantic. This island is magical, with a rugged landscape populated with more sheep than people, and the town of Tobermory, which is so colourful and picturesque that it’s the set of a children’s TV show. Guests can stay B&B in the castle or rent the flat on the ground floor where you can cook in a kitchen that was once the castle’s vault, complete with solid steel door, using produce from the estate’s market garden and farm, including Highland beef, wild venison and vegetables. From €138 per night B&B, glengormcastle.co.uk

Glengorm Castle on the Isle of Mull

KEITH HUNTER

What’s a moat? The castle glossary

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AMBERLEY CASTLE Sussex, England

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SADDELL CASTLE

Mull of Kintyre, Scotland This castle dating back to 1508 has a picturesque setting on the edge of Saddell Bay, with views over to the Isle of Arran. Once the home of the majestic and fearful Campbell clan, it’s

now owned by the Landmark Trust, a charity that preserves and rents out unique historic houses across the UK. You can rent the castle, as well as the neighbouring mansion and three cute cottages on the shore. There is definitely a ghost in the photo I took here – for other unwelcome guests, remove the floor inside the front door so they drop into the pit below. From €487 for 4 nights midweek, landmarktrust.org.uk

This modest-sized, 900year-old castle offers up alpretty much everything you could ask for from a medieval royal fortress – 18m walls with crenellated turrets, a twin-tower gatehouse, four-poster beds, tapestries and heavy antique furniture in the 19 rooms, coats of armour throughout, beautiful landscaped gardens inlcuding a golf course and a wooden treehouse. It even a hugemetal portcullis that is lowered at midnight every night to keep guests safe and the riff raff out. From €264, amberleycastle.co.uk

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THORNBURY CASTLE Gloucestershire, England

The famous king Henry VIII and one of his many wives, Anne Boleyn, were once house-guests at Thornbury, and nowadays plebians can pay to stay at the only Tudor-age castle in England that’s now a hotel. Set in the pretty Cotswolds area, this 500-year-old castle features roaring fires, suits of armour, and even arrow-slit windows in the bedrooms and the oldest Tudor gardens in England outside. The castle even has its own vineyard from which it has produced wine for the last 500 years. From €219, thornburycastle.co.uk

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RUTHIN CASTLE Wales

With a history that dates back to 1277, Ruthin Castle was owned by King Edward I then Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and then Charles I. Part of the castle was destroyed in the 17th century but different parts have been added since 1826, and it is now an atmospheric and luxurious hotel. The castle is based in the pretty market town of Ruthin in North Wales, and it’s a great place to set out from for walks along the River Clwyd, treks up the Snowdonia mountains and visits to the North Welsh Coast. From €74, ruthincastle.co.uk

Moat: a protective, deep ditch of water round the base of the castle walls. Drawbridge: the bridge over the moat, that can be raised to thwart attackers. Portcullis: the medieval answer to the garage door, a giant metal gate that is lowered overnight or to keep attackers at bay. Machicolation: protected gaps at the top of a castle wall that allowed inhabitants to throw boiling oil and stones at potential invaders. Arrowslit: skinny windows through which archers could send arrows while protected. Battlements: the top of castle wall with indentations to allow defenders to fire out arrows protected. The keep: the castle’s ultrafortified answer to the ‘panic room’. Crenellation: the indentations at the top of a castle wall. Turret: a round defensive tower that projects above a castle’s walls. For more information check out www.visitbritain.com


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MONDAY, 28 MARCH 2011

GADGETS: TEA ACCESSORIES

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ENJOY A BREW, ALL OVER THE WORLD

1 THERMOS VACUUM FLASK

This light, compact Thermos flask in stainless steel is an absolute classic, and will serve you a cuppa up to 24 hours after you filled it up with boiling water. $24.99/€29.99 – 39.99, Thermos.com

2 JING FLOWERING TEA

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On holiday you deserve a tea-time treat, like these delicious and exquisite Flowering Jasmine Arch green tea bulbs, which unfurl to reveal an arch of jasmine blossoms. From €2.32/$3.23 for two 2 bulbs. jingtea.com

3 TOVOLO TEAGO This convenient contraption is one for tea connoisseurs; fill it with your favourite loose-leaf tea and you can infuse a tasty cup for one. €11/$16, www.firebox.com METRO WORLD NEWS

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