Today, travel assistants will guide you through countries to the ‘not to be missed’ destinations. You will be guaranteed a bed for the night and reassured that previous visitors have enjoyed their stay with no nasty surprises. All can easily be booked in advance along with accommodation, so people often plan their route even before arriving.
Travel has become easier, safer and less stressful but, to what expense? Perhaps we have lost one of the most exciting elements of travel, ‘chance’ and with it, the sense of discovery, stepping into the unknown with unexpected encounters. Continue reading
A place full of trees and kind people. I may be a little biased because my girlfriend is Finnish… But, I truly love this country, its language, the fact the floor is covered in mushrooms and blue berries and they know how to cook the best chicken wings!
Lisbon, in my view the food capital of the world. Eat at as many restaurants as you can, sample their wines and don’t forget their custard tarts since this is where they were invented – Pasteis de Belem.
Like most things, I did the Camino de Santiago a little differently from others. I went from Tui, on the border of Portugal straight up North to Santiago. I arrived only to find the scale of my map was not going to help me find the trail.
The next day, with a little help from the local people, I found where it began. Rather disappointingly the first part was pretty drab and industrial, but then it passed through small towns, quiet countryside and interesting tracks. I stayed in Albergues where many locals get up early wearing head torches due to lack of street lighting. It was pretty unpleasant having these shone directly into my face, but seeing the sun rise made my early start worthwhile. Since nobody spoke English and my Spanish was not up to conversation levels, it was just me, Nelson Mandella and the Long Road to Freedom, which seemed appropriate.
I have been to Turkey a few times but never for an activity holiday. The southern coastline is beautiful, spotted with historical sites and lined with mountains that drop straight into the sea.
If you see mountainous landscapes and green valleys on Instagram, more often than not the picture would have been of Switzerland. The walks between green hills are almost too perfect and are accompanied by a soundtrack of cowbells ringing in the distance. Visit intimate Art galleries housing private collections of works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Giacometti to name just a few. I recommend:
Sammlung Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur
Each of the larger Cantons also has their own Museum of Modern Arts. Bern’s has the best Picasso gallery I have ever been to, with hundreds of paintings. Although I was more impressed by Giacometti’s work housed downstairs in the same gallery. Zurich’s Kunst House also has a fine and varied collection with many very familiar works that I have only seen before through reproductions. It was exciting to stand in front of so many famous works without the queues of people that we experience in the UK.
During the winter, the skiing and views are incredible. Skiing was not my parent’s thing so we went mountain walking and then single ski sledged all the way down, brilliant!
Croatia has a huge stretch of coastline dotted with hundreds of islands that have little traffic, local vineyards and some of the best seafood. Head inland to the forested national parks with turquoise pools and spend your evenings exploring local towns, hidden lanes, restaurants and bars.