I would like to introduce to all my friends and acquaintances our Summer Digest, a short pictorial update on what we are doing, and what people think and write about how we are doing it. http://bit.ly/1nj500D (click on the link to open the Digest).
Hippo Point Wildlife Sanctuary on Lake Naivasha in Kenya is the ultimate resort for Hippo Watching. Read the rest of this entry »
IF you’ve ever dreamed of seeing a quirky stamp in your passport – say a cartoon pirate turtle … now you can.
You certainly wouldn’t get this on Alitalia.! But it certainly makes you stop and listen. Perhaps it is the answer to how to get all boring/repetitive/have to listen but heard it all before type of information across.
Continuing the 2012 Travel Calendar as suggested by Tom Hall from Lonely Planets for the Observer Part 1 was published in yesterday’s Blog
Discover Ukraine’s coastline this summer. Photograph: Alamy
Europe’s football championships finish with fireworks in Kiev on 1 July, leaving the rest of the summer to discover Europe’s largest country. Apart from the big-city delights of the capital there’s Lviv, a central European stunner that’s been turning heads for a few years, and all the fun of the seaside in the Crimea. Ukraine remains an inexpensive destination – especially away from Kiev – but book ahead if you want to be by the coast in the high summer.
• Ukraine Travel (ukraine.co.uk), specialists in the country, offers direct flights to Kiev from Manchester for £225 including taxes, and can also help with rail tickets and hotels
August: New York City
Such is the pace of change that, like Paris and London, New York is somewhere best visited regularly. If you haven’t been in the past year you won’t have had the chance to admire the new 9/11 memorial, explore the latest section of the High Line or take a superhero walking tour (viator.com). The Big Apple bakes in summer, but you can at least stay in a cool spot at the new Bowery House. Many of the cabin-style rooms are small with funky shared bathrooms, making this a great deal in a hip part of New York.
• Bunks in shared rooms start at £31 with single cabin rooms from £51 (theboweryhouse.com)
It’s a good year for getting to Iceland without breaking the bank. EasyJet (easyjet.co.uk) will start flying from Luton to Reykjavik from £59 return at the end of March. In addition to this and established airlines such as Iceland Express, a new carrier, Wow Air (wowair.is), is advertising flights from the Icelandic capital to Stansted.
October: Milan and the Lakes
Milan’s delights for a city break need little introduction, but a shake-up of any big city’s hotel scene is a welcome thing. Self-styled “eco-chic” hotel E.c.ho wears its green credentials on its sleeve. Look for 125m of solar panelling, sustainably sourced decor materials and a seasonally focused menu. The courtyard garden is home to a Renaissance chapel by Donato Bramante, who designed St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Rooms at E.c.ho start at £163 per night (starhotels.com). Flights to Milan are available from around the UK – see skyscanner.net
Whilst in Milan take the time to visit the Lakes. A mere one hour’s drive from Milan, 30km from Malpensa airport (BA, EasyJet, Alitalia flights from UK). October is usually mild, autumnal and full of colour. Visit the Borromeo Islands, do some great winter shopping, enjoy some splendid Piemontese food.
Stay at #Castello Dal Pozzo, Oleggio Castello, at the southern end of Lake Maggiore.
A Romantic Escape for 2 starts from 244€ in a double deluxe with candlelit dinner, breakfast and bottle of bubbly in your room.
Keep your fingers crossed for a clear night … Photograph: Alamy
This is predicted to be the best year yet for spotting the northern lights, so if you’ve been promising yourself a trip, then this is the time to do it. November is as good as any other part of winter to go: all you need to do is keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and a light show. There’s nothing to stop you making your own way via Bodo in Norway or beyond on a flight with Norwegian (norwegian.no).
• The Aurora Zone (theaurorazone.com) has four-night trips from £1,445 using snowmobiles, huskies and local guides
Cambodia is so much more than the magnificent temples at Angkor, as a bunch of funky new openings is busy proving. As well as luxury resorts, such as Shinta Mani and Song Saa, The Plantation (theplantation.asia, rooms from £41) has just opened in Phnom Penh in 1940s colonial-style buildings set in tropical gardens. About Asia Travel (aboutasiatravel.com) can arrange cross-country packages, including private-jet transfers and sightseeing tours.
The 2012 travel calendar
Every destination has its best time of year. So, to help you plan your trip, Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall has put together a calendar of countries best seen in 2012
So cool: September in Iceland. Photograph: Alamy
Winter sports fans and city breakers looking for somewhere new should try Georgia. The country is attracting a growing number of independent travellers who are exploring mountains dotted with historic castles and churches, beautiful towns such as Svaneti and Kazbegi, and the Europe-meets-Asia capital Tbilisi. It won’t be warm in January but skiers won’t mind: the country’s main resort, Gudaur, is a good bet for reliable snow and can be reached by road from the capital in two to three hours.
• bmi (flybmi.com) flies from Heathrow to Tbilisi with returns from £364 including taxes
This year looks set to be a great one for Oman, the fastest-growing destination in the Middle East, according to several tour operators. The beach resorts of the Musandam Peninsula are an increasingly popular combination with Dubai, while Muscat’s star as an alternative Arabian city destination is rising.
• Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) has a seven-night Classic Oman itinerary costing around £2,395 per person
Panama City’s old town is one of Central America’s finest historic areas. Photograph: Alamy
Central America’s star turn over the past few years has been Costa Rica, but Panama has all the qualities to rival it. The country boasts brilliant beaches, the world’s most famous canal and unspoilt rainforest. Best of all, the continuing renovation of Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old town, is boosting the profile of one of the region’s finest historic areas.
• Journey Latin America’s 12-day Panama trip starts at £2,470 per person (journeylatinamerica.co.uk)
April: Titanic tours
The centenary of the sinking of the Titanic is big news for cruise operators capitalising on interest in the doomed liner. While there are cruises recreating the exact voyage (but with a happier ending), there are other Titanic-themed voyages taking place to coincide with the anniversary in April. Landlubbers can overdose on Titanic heritage in Belfast, the city where it was built, and Southampton, from where it set sail.
• Cruise & Maritime Voyages (cruiseandmaritime.com) has a seven-night “British Maritime Heritage” cruise, departing on 10 April from Tilbury and visiting Cherbourg, Cobh, Belfast and Liverpool. Prices from £499pp
The birthdates of saints aren’t normally a good reason for a holiday, but following Joan of Arc around France, 600 years on from her arrival into the world, is just that. Joan blazed a trail across France from her birthplace in Domrémy-la-Pucelle to Rouen, where she was burnt at the stake aged 19. Orléans, the site of her most famous victory, stages a week-long series of festivities in her honour (orleans.fr/fetes-de-jeanne-darc-2011/).
• The January 2012 edition of France magazine (£3.99; francemag.com) has a guide to Joan’s France written by Sophie Jackson
Germany remains Europe’s most underrated destination, and its cities are at their best in the early summer sunshine. Art fans should head to Nuremberg for the Early Dürer exhibition (der-fruehe-duerer.gnm.de), the largest collection of works by the German Renaissance artist for 40 years. You can even bring the kids back a Playmobil model of Dürer.
• Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays.com) offers a four-night escorted trip to Nuremberg to see the exhibition, including a visit to Dürer’s house and a guided city tour, from £998pp
Article taken from The Observer, Sunday 1 January 2012 written by Tom Hall