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The Daily Telegraph Travel - April 7, 2018

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***
Saturday 7 April 2018 . telegraph.co.uk
VIENNESE WHIRL The art of exploring the city of emperors page 3 | RAILWAY CHILDREN A journey into the hills of Budapest page 10
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE The magical hotel retreat in Rajasthan page 14 | RUSSELL HOWARD ?I loved the Monkey Bar in Mumbai? page 25
Make the world your own
World-class experiences on your doorstep
From the night sky in Exmoor to vintage trams on the Isle of Man and French cuisine in Oxfordshire, Sarah Baxter celebrates travelling close to home
2
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
AND WE?RE OFF
Sit back and enjoy our expert tour through this week?s most exhilarating travel experiences
CITY CENTRAL VIENNA
MEET THE
EXPERTS
Plenty of spectacular culture is within easy reach in the Austrian capital
GO NOW
14
OLIVER SMITH
Oliver is assistant
head of travel.
His favourite
holiday
destinations
include
Cornwall, Greece
and Italy, and he
has written more
stories about
Ryanair than he
cares to recall.
SARAH BAXTER
COVER IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES. THIS PAGE: ALAMY
Sarah is a
travel爓riter
based in Bath.
Growing up in
Norfolk has given
her a taste for
mountains.
She?s爃appiest
outdoors with
walking boots/
running shoes on
and good food.
ADAM RUCK
Adam writes
about active
holidays ? golf,
cycling and
skiing. He takes
comfort in the
fact the average
holiday golfer is a
middle-aged male
16 handicap. ?I fit
the profile,? he
says, ?or used to.?
12
INNER
CA L M
B E AC H
IN ONE
Adam Ruck puts his
golfing skills to the
tests on the fairways
of燤auritius and the
Seychelles. Well,
someone had to?
PLUS
5 Hot list: flights to the US
5 Hot spots: where in the
world is everyone
6 Best of British: great
getaways close to home
17 Just back: in Bruges
17 People like you: acts of
kindness on the road
18 What would you do:
villas in Corfu
21 Air travel: the great
seat爏queeze
23 Travel on trial: a day
as燼 cowgirl
25 My life in travel:
Russell Howard
26 It?s a deal: hotel offers
Caroline Sylger Jones
heads to India and
stays at a retreat where
silence is golden. She
just wasn?t able to tell
anyone about it
10
E XC LU S I V E T O U R S
TOOT!
TOOT!
Olivia Greenway
rides爐he Budapest
train that is staffed
almost entirely
by燾hildren. She
has燼爃oot
Discover the true story behind the Battle of Arnhem and gain insights from military
historian and author, Sir Antony Beevor, on our four-day tour. See page 11 for details.
Vienna, Europe?s most
underrated cultural capital,
is marking the centenaries of
the deaths of two of its great
artists ? Gustav Klimt and
Egon Schiele ? and its finest
architect, the modernist Otto
Wagner. Exhibitions have
just opened: Klimt and co in
the Lower Belvedere Palace
(until Aug 26, belvedere.at/
en), Wagner in the Wien
Museum (until Oct 7,
wienmuseum.at/en), and
Schiele in the Leopold
Museum (until Nov 4,
leopoldmuseum.org/en). BA
(ba.com), easyJet (easyjet.
com), flybe (flybe.com) and
Austrian Airlines (austrian.
com) offer links from the UK.
STAY HERE
The Imperial Hotel (1)
(telegraph.co.uk/ttimperialvienna) was
originally built in 1863 as
one of the palaces lining the
new Ringstrasse for Prince
von W黵ttemberg. Doubles
from �1. Tucked away
near the Naschmarkt, Hotel
Beethoven (2) (telegraph.
co.uk/tt-hotelbeethoven) is
a good-value four-star.
Doubles from �8.
WALK HERE
Start at the Vienna Hbf
station (3) and head north-
ON THE
RADAR
Our pick of the
week?s travel stories
BEACH LOVERS URGED
TO JOIN ?BIG CLEAN?
A marine conservation
charity is calling for a
record number of
volunteers to help clean
Britain?s beaches this
month in an urgent bid to
fight plastic pollution.
Surfers Against Sewage
(SAS), organiser of the
annual Big Spring Beach
Clean, hopes to encourage
20,000 people to take part
in an ambitious campaign
west towards the Belvedere
Palace (4). You now have an
easy walk down through the
fountains and formal
gardens, with wonderful
views of the city. It takes in
the key central sites: jink left
to pass the Lower Belvedere
and Schwarzenberg palaces
and you can then cross the
Ringstrasse (5) and head
into the old town to finish at
the great 14th-century
Stephansdom (6) cathedral.
SEE THIS
The Kunsthistorisches
Museum (7), which houses
much of the Habsburg
Emperors? astonishing
collection of paintings,
rivals the Prado, the
National Gallery, the
Hermitage and the Louvre,
yet it gets barely a 10th as
many visitors. Enjoy art in
peace. (khm.at/en; ?15/�).
TRY THIS
Tour the Ringstrasse by
tram. Avoid the yellow
tourist version and combine
public trams numbers 1 and
2 for a tour of the city. Five
tickets ?12 (wienerlinien.at).
SHOP HERE
The historic old town ?
within the Ringstrasse ? is a
warren of small
independent and local
aimed at tackling ?the
scourge of ocean plastic? at
more than 550 locations
across the country.
SAS predicts that plastic
waste, estimated to have
accounted for 70 per cent
of coastal litter in 2016, may
have increased since the
charity?s autumn clean
after a series of powerful
Atlantic storms battered
Britain?s coastline last
winter. Some of Cornwall?s
best-loved beaches,
including Fistral (Newquay)
and Perranporth, were
described as a ?plastic war
zone? after Storm Eleanor
barrelled through the
county in January.
Volunteers taking part in
this year?s Big Spring Beach
Clean will be asked to
shops, so browse at your
leisure, and don?t miss
Meinl am Graben (8),
arguably Vienna?s best
delicatessen and wine shop,
and the perfect place
to buy local delicacies
(meinlamgraben.at).
DRINK HERE
Adolf Loos, a pioneer of
modern architecture in
Vienna, designed the tiny
Loos Bar (9) in 1903 after
visiting the US. Arguably
Europe?s first American bar,
it?s still going strong. Martini
cocktail, ?12 (loosbar.at).
EAT HERE
Zum Schwarzen Kameel (10)
(The Black Camel) has been
a Viennese institution since
1902 and still has a Belle
蓀oque air. Traditional
meats and stews
predominate: saddle of
venison is ?33, veal goulash
?23.50. Excellent choice of
Austrian wines (kameel.at).
OFF THE MAP
Otto Wagner?s clean-lined,
virgin-white St Leopold?s,
on the western outskirts,
was the first modernist
church in Europe. Limited
opening ? at weekends only
(vienna.info).
Nick Trend
record their findings online
as part of an ongoing drive
to convince the
Government that urgent
action is needed to tackle
the problem of so-called
single-use plastic.
The Big Spring Beach
Clean takes place from
April 7 to 15. Visit sas.org.uk
for more information and
to sign up.
CHINA TO REJECT
HANDWRITTEN VISAS
China is no longer
accepting handwritten visa
applications as the country
makes a historic switch to a
digital entry system.
Previously, nearly all
applications to visit the
Asian nation were filled in
by hand, but the Chinese
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
3
***
CHRIS MOSS
INSIDE TRAVEL
The greatest tourist attractions are also a magnet for the biggest
crowds. It?s time to discover some lesser-known wonders
government has said from
now on all submissions
must be completed online.
Mark Bloxham,
managing director of
China specialist Wendy
Wu, said the shift would be
problematic for customers,
which is why the tour
operator has developed
its爋wn pre-filled online
form to help travellers
with the change.
TAJ MAHAL IMPOSES
THREE-HOUR LIMIT
Overcrowding at famous
landmarks (see Chris Moss,
right) has spurred Indian
authorities to impose a
three-hour limit on visiting
the Taj Mahal, possibly the
world?s most famous
building. As many as
50,000 people a day,
and up to seven million
a year, can arrive at the
17th-century tomb,
according to the
Archaeological Survey of
India (ASI), which manages
the Unesco World Heritage
Site in Agra.
?[The limit] is being
implemented so that the
movement of visitors can
be regulated,? said D?N
Dimri, a spokesman for the
ASI. ?Sometimes people
end up spending a whole
day at the Taj. This creates
a situation where there are
too many people.?
CABLE CAR EUROPE?S
NEWEST ESCAPE ROOM
Europe?s highest escape
room has opened in the
MORE
ONLINE
Climbing Everest
has never been
more popular,
but is the world?s
highest mountain
able to cope?
Read more at
telegraph.co.uk/
tt-everest
French ski resort of Val
Thorens. Inspired by the
rising popularity in the
game format, where players
are required to use a series
of clues to gain freedom
from a themed scenario,
the resort?s SETAM lift
company is using its Cime
Caron cable car, which
rises to 3,200m, for the
attraction until mid-May.
It is the first time an
escape room has been
hosted in a ski lift.
Players will be taken on a
guided tour of the lift
station before being
imprisoned in the cable
car, where they will have
an hour to solve a series of
puzzles.
Edited by Hugh Morris
dirt road through the virgin
rainforest. I saw only two other
people ? locals ? at the rehab
centre for rescued, injured and
ex-zoo animals, such as a
gorgeous ocelot I visited.
Machu Picchu, another
crowd magnet, has found
ways to take pressure off the
famous Inca Trail and the
citadel itself. Limiting the
number of hikers on the trail to
500 per day is the key control.
By not building a road into
Machu Picchu, and encouraging
a range of rail options, the
Peruvian tourist board
exercises more control over its
best-loved national park than
do authorities in countries that
Why join the rat-run up to the
summit of Sugar Loaf when you
can go up one of the lesserknown granite morros in Rio
and enjoy the same view?
If I can claim special insight,
it?s down to Patagonia, a region
with no easy ?sells?. I?m talking
about the steppe, not the
turquoise lakes and the
glaciers. Inland Patagonia
has few wild animals, few
spectacular attractions. It?s
lonely and harsh yet
mesmerising. Why? Because it
compels visitors to make an
effort. Or as Paul Theroux puts
it in The Old Patagonian
Express: ?The landscape taught
patience, caution, tenacity?
Inland Patagonia
mesmerises because
it compels visitors to
make an effort
are far less reliant on the tourist
dollar. The authorities have also
promoted alternative trails and
campaigned to get people to
think about visiting the
archaeological sites at
Choquequirao and Kuelap.
My last trip to the region, in
2016, involved a stay at the
all-inclusive Explore Sacred
Valley lodge. I climbed a
mountain, visited three
lesser-known ruins, and cycled
into the valley. I ?forgot? to go
to Machu Picchu. Seriously. I
just didn?t want the crowds.
But tour operators and
boards can?t take all the blame.
We travel journalists have also
generated demand for a specific
kind of experience.
It?s urgent we now work
together to focus attention on
off-radar places and ideas.
Travel need not be a boxticking, bucket-listing exercise.
Why chase jaguars round a
boat-jammed channel in the
Pantanal when you can look for
them quietly on terra firma?
Crowd alert: Iguazu Falls in Argentina
You had to choose between the
tiny or the vast.?
One day, virtual holidays may
well replace this gas-guzzling,
laborious, environmentally
crazy pastime we call tourism.
Until then, we?ll have to find
ways to adapt to being so
numerous and free to roam. It?s
time to visit empty, difficult,
unphotogenic landscapes,
clich�-free, forgotten, remote
towns and cities and forests and
shores lacking in infrastructure
and home comforts.
It?s time to indulge in the
luxury of the less obvious ? that
is, it?s time to travel.
Chris Moss lived in Argentina
for 10 years and is an expert on
South America
GETTY IMAGES
O
n a metal
balcony
overlooking
Argentina?s
Iguazu Falls,
everyone is
leaning over
the balustrade
to get a picture. Most are bent
on getting an image of their
gurning faces in front of a
particularly voluminous fall
known as the Devil?s Throat.
Stills and film clips will be
shared with friends and family
across the world. Everybody
wants to show how special their
holiday is. Overtourism ? the
concentration of large numbers
of people at notable sights of
interest ? has always been with
us. But there?s something about
the digital age that highlights it:
an irrepressible urge to spam
the entire world with imagery,
voice messages, social media
updates and tweets.
Such herd behaviour is
manipulated by the travel
industry, which has the most to
gain by concentrating a lot of
people in limited places.
It doesn?t have to be like this.
Over two decades of travelling
around Latin America, I have
seen many examples of
responsible, thoughtful
tourism, usually as a result of
intelligent collaboration and
community cooperation.
One instance was right there
at Iguazu. I was staying at the
new Awasi lodge, a five-star,
14-villa wood-framed hotel in
dense jungle, with space for just
30 guests. The ethos of Awasi,
in Iguazu and at its properties
in Chile and the Atacama
Desert, is worth noting. ?We
want to open up the region,?
Mat韆s de Crist骲al, Awasi?s
director, told me. ?Ninety per
cent of visitors want to see the
Falls. It?s our challenge to take
them to unknown parks.?
I stumbled upon no crowds
while birding with a guide in
the Urugua-� Provincial Park. I
saw maybe three cars on the red
4
***
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
THE HOT LIST
U P A N D AWAY
T O T H E U SA
Tired of the usual Stateside hang-outs? Low-cost carriers have opened up
a plethora of interesting new destinations, says Chris Leadbeater
PITTS
AND
STARTS
WESTWARD
WINGS
***
It?s almost as if Icelanders don?t want to stay in Iceland ? because Wow
Air (wowair.co.uk), the Reykjavik budget flier, is Stars-and-Stripes-mad,
dashing to 13 US airports. This includes Pittsburgh (visitpittsburgh.com),
the less-feted Pennsylvania city whose Andy Warhol Museum (warhol.
org /museum) is superb. Flights are possible from Gatwick, Stansted and
Edinburgh. Returns from the latter start at �1.
WOW
FACTOR
Pittsburgh? Globally renowned pop-art
icons who painted tins of soup? Too
obvious for you? OK. Sure. Wow Air also
flutters into St Louis (explorestlouis.com).
Erm, sorry, where? Exactly. It?s in
Missouri. It?s on the Mississippi. It has
that huge landmark, the Gateway Arch
(gatewayarch.com). You know, that
big upturned ?U? which rises to 630ft.
OK, so Concorde may have sonicboomed off into retirement, but the
absence of that pointy-nosed pop star
of the skies aside, there has never
been an easier time to travel from
Britain to the US. Almost every week
sees the launch of a new flight route
to the land of the free refills, with
British Airways (ba.com) getting
in on the act next month ? by
launching (on May 4) the first
direct service to Nashville from
a UK airport (Heathrow, to be
specific) in 23 years. A long
weekend in the countrymusic-obsessed city
(visitmusiccity.com), which has
been the proving ground of everyone
from Johnny Cash to Dolly Parton,
pictured, to Taylor Swift? Yep, go on
then. Returns cost from �6.
THE CLEVELAND
SHOW
Icelandair (icelandair.com) serves 18 US airports, like Cleveland in Ohio
(thisiscleveland.com), home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (rockhall.com).
You go爒ia Reykjavik, but you can fly from Glasgow and Manchester ?
not just Gatwick and Heathrow. Glasgow-Cleveland returns from �5.
NORWEGIAN
WOULD
WIRE OH WIRE
FRISCO?S
FRIEND
The joy of this surge in connections to the US is that it has made unheralded cities direct-flight destinations. There are tribes in
the Amazon who have heard of Chicago, but Norwegian also wings it from Gatwick to Oakland, San Francisco?s less-loved
neighbour (visitoakland.com). Why go? Nice restaurants on Jack London Square ? and fewer Summer Of Love souvenir T-shirts.
It?s worth remembering amid this talk of
low-cost carriers that BA also serves a couple of,
er, less-adored US urban hotspots. One of them
is Baltimore ( from Heathrow; returns from
�7). This Maryland big beast is mostly
recognised as a setting for crime drama
The Wire. Ignore that. Its food scene is great
? baltimore.org /restaurants.
JOHNNY
UTAH
HIPSTER
HUB
Huh? Keanu Reeves?s character in
Nineties action movie Point Break? Erm,
yep. A pun to feed into the fact that, if you
want to see a US city that definitely isn?t
New York, you can also fly with Delta
from Heathrow (returns �5) to
Salt Lake City (visitsaltlake.com).
It?s the Utah capital. It?s a gateway to
Monument Valley. This is good.
ED SHEERAN; BEN STILLER; GWYNETH PALTROW; VICTORIA BECKHAM; NAOMI CAMPBELL/INSTAGRAM; GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY
The recent revolution in flights to the States is
not really down to the national carriers. It?s
the brainwave of ?low-cost long-haul? airlines
like Norwegian (norwegian.com).
Norwegian? Does that mean flying via Oslo?
It does not. These canny Vikings have a hub at
Gatwick and fly directly to 11 US cities from
London?s second airport. This, as of last
month, includes Chicago (choosechicago.com).
From �5 return.
It isn?t just the cheaply chic low-cost long-haulers that know
their way to less predictable spots. Last year saw Delta
(delta.com) bring in a connection (returns from �2) from
Heathrow to Portland ? the Oregon city far too cool for school;
though it has schools, obviously. It also has baristas, bars,
beers, bookshops, bicycles and beards (travelportland.com).
TAMPA
PROOF
Often overlooked on the schedules is the direct BA flight to
Tampa from Gatwick ( from �2 return). This city on the
Gulf coast of Florida is not as famous as Miami or Orlando.
Fine. This means fewer overpaid ?superstar? DJs, no talking
mice, and an increasingly vibrant craft-brewing scene
(visittampabay.com/baycrafted.html).
HOT SPOTS
Where in the world is everyone this week?
GWYNETH
PALTROW
PARIS
ED SHEERAN
NEW ZEALAND
The singersongwriter
enjoyed a sunset
coastal escape
during a break
from his sell-out
tour Down
Under. See the
world?s most
spectacular
beaches at
telegraph.co.uk/
worlds-bestbeaches
The Oscarwinning actress
donned matching
ears as she
shared a hug
with the ultimate
Easter bunny
while celebrating
the holiday in
the燙ity of
Light.燜or things
to see and do
in爐he French
capital, visit
telegraph.co.uk/
paris-travelguide
VI
VICTORIA
BECKHAM
BE
AN
AND燜AMILY
M
MIAMI
BEN STILLER
NEW YORK CITY
The Meet the Parents actor
spotted artwork of the
elusive Banksy in NYC.
Discover more amazing
street art at telegraph.
co.uk/best-street-art-tours
Th fashion
The
des
designer and
form
former Spice Girl
adm
admired the
bud
budding artist in
her daughter,
Har
Harper (right),
dur
during a family
Eas
Easter break in
Mia
Miami. For tips
on how
h
to
exp
explore the
Magic City,
Mag
see爐elegraph.
see
co.uk/miamico.u
trav
travel-guide
NAOMI CAMPBELL
LAGOS
The model explored the
streets of Nigeria on a
trip to Lagos. For more
places to visit in Africa,
see telegraph.co.uk/
africa-bucket-list
5
***
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
S
COVER STORY
Pack your bags
for adventure ?
but leave your 3
passport at home
hot tubs,
a concealed
cocktail bar and
dale views.
�Cabins
(sleeping six)
from �9 for a
three-night
weekend or
four-night
midweek break (07548 668152;
lodgebreaks.co.uk)
CANTER ACROSS
THE PLAIN
WILTSHIRE
Play cowboy closer
ser to home. Ride
across Salisbury Plain, Europe?s largest
chalk grasslands,, on horseback.
lisbury
New for 2018, Salisbury
Plain Safaris will get you in
the saddle for a quick lesson
ut on to the
before hacking out
ich is rich in
wild plateau, which
ry and natural
neolithic, military
history. Look outt for red kites,
y of wildflowers.
deer and an array
-day tours
�Saturday half-day
from � (07717 803999;
afaris.
salisburyplainsafaris.
co.uk)
You don?t have to spend a fortune or endure airport queues
to have a genuinely world-class time, insists Sarah Baxter
SEE POLAR
LAR
t seems staying close to Travellers
SOAK UP CHINESE
BEARS
home is, well, here to stay.
CULTURE
Visit Britain reported a are perhaps
CAIRNGORMS
MS
LIVERPOOL
four per cent increase in
No need to head to China. Earlier this
Scotland?s Highland
and
trips taken by Britons in nostalgic
more than 180 artefacts from the
Wildlife Park hass the
England in 2017, and bookfor family year
ings suggest that 2018 will
olar
country arrived in Liverpool ?
world?s largest polar
be another British boom holidays of
ure
appropriately enough, as the city is
bear zoo enclosure
year as travellers remain cautious with
he
home to one of Europe?s oldest
and is home to the
their cash and perhaps even nostalgic the past
Chinese communities. The World
UK?s only female
I
for the family holidays of the past.
Fortunately, that doesn?t mean denying yourself world-class experiences. You can admire rare artefacts,
go on safari,� watch a World Cup, tour
award-winning vineyards and marvel
at ancient Rome without leaving the
UK thanks to an array of excellent
home-grown attractions ? many new
for 2018.
1
Museum is showcasing an array of
objects spanning almost 1,000 years of
Chinese history, including a collection
of terracotta warriors and a life-size
terracotta horse from the burial
complex of the first emperor, Qin
Shi燞uang.
�From �.50 adult/�50 child,
under-fives free. Until Oct 28 2018
(0151 478 4393; liverpoolmuseums.
org.uk/wml)
IN A LOG CABIN
2 SLEEP
CUMBRIA
Forgo Canada for a luxe log cabin stay
in one of England?s biggest protected
places. Three new lodges at
Artlegarth, near Kirkby Stephen,
nestle into the hills of the
recently expanded Yorkshire
DINING
Dales National Park.
OUT
Sustainably built and greenLe Manoir Aux
powered, each cabin has a
Quat?Saisons; a
wood-burning fire, woollen
terracotta
rugs (courtesy of the local
warrior, right
sheep), fresh flowers, private
4
polar bear. In
January it was
announced that
en
Victoria had given
birth to the first
British-born cub for 25
years, and junior made a
arance
first public appearance
last month. Join the daily
pm) to
keeper talk (1.15pm)
learn about the park?s
oach to
pioneering approach
y.
bears in captivity.
�From �.90 adult/
r-threes
�燾hild, under-threes
270;
free�(01540 651270;
fepark.
highlandwildlifepark.
org.uk)
L AT
5BATHMARVEL
ANCIENT
T ROME
The Roman Bathss give a
he Romans
flavour of what the
did for us when they
MAJESTIC
The Lord Nelson
under full爏ail,
main; above, a
log cabin in
Artlegarth
settled Aquae Sulis around
AD 60. Explore the
museum?s pools and temple
ruins and enjoy 20-minute
Above and Below Tours,
new for 2018, which visit tunnels
under the site, revealing previously
hidden exercise areas, colonnaded
passages, doorways and culverts.
a
�From �.50/�.25 adult/child;
tours (selected Wed
Wednesdays,
11am) included iin ticket but
pre-boo
must be pre-booked
(01225
477773; romanb
romanbaths.co.uk)
RIDE V
VINTAGE
6
TRAMS
MAN
ISLE OF MA
Forget San Francisco,
tram fans,
fan and make
for the Isle of Man,
home to the world?s
oldest working tram
O
cars. Opened
in
1893, the Manx
Electr Railway
Electric
trund from
trundles
Doug to Ramsey;
Douglas
125th anniversary
celeb
celebrations
are
plan
planned for Sept
1-8 2
2018. Or take
the trip as part of
to of all the
a tour
isle?s quirky
trans
transportation:
the
Snae
Snaefell
Mountain
Railw the
Railway,
Steam
Steam燫ailway
and D
and燚ouglas
Promena
Promenade?s old
horse-dra
horse-drawn
tram.
six-n
�A six-night
Vintage Railways
of the IIsle of Man
trip costs
co
from
�5 in
including
accommod
accommodation, meals
and ferry. D
Departures
April-Octob
April-October. Great Rail
Journeys (01
(01904 521936;
greatrail.com
greatrail.com)
GAZE AT
A
7EXMOOR
THE STARS
ST
Travel to out
Travel
T
outer space from
Eur
Exmoor, Europe?s
first
GETTY IMAGES; PAUL WILKINSON; ZIYU QIU/LIVERPOOL MUSEUM
6
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
IN THE BAG
Pack to perfection for your trip
PICNIC RUG
SPLASH
SUIT
Soak up the Great
British countryside
? figuratively, not
literally ? by nibbling
pork pies while
perched on this
waterproof-backed
wool rug made in
the燯K.
�; thebritishblanket
company.com
Perfect for
(young)
family
holidays in
the rain. Zip
up and stay
dry in this
puddle suit.
�; grass
andair.com
BOOTS
BACKPACK
Danner?s boots ?
designed with a
Gore-Tex waterproof
upper, soles with
added爐raction and
bouncy suspension
cushioning ? are
the爌erfect footwear
choice for exploring
our green and
pleasant爈and
this爏ummer.
�1.13; danner.com
ESPRESSO
MAKER
Busy day trips call
for on-the-go
caffeine dosages.
Get your hit
wherever, whenever
with a Nanopresso
portable espresso
machine.
�.99; bearand
bear.com
STS Lord Nelson in July
to welcome Tenacious
back, or choose your
vessel for the Battle of
the Barques trip, when
the two ships clash in
the Channel.
�Lord Nelson St
Helier-Southampton
trip, June 30, seven
days from �0.
Battle of the Barques,
Sept�, seven days
from �5�(023 8044
9108; jst.org.uk)
International Dark Sky Reserve;
millions of stars and galaxies are
visible with the naked eye. This
spring, the park hosts a Forest Night
Walk (May 29), to look for deer, bats,
glow worms and the elusive nightjar in
the woods of Croydon Hill. Or visit on
August 12 or 13 for the peak of the
annual Perseids meteor shower, which
in 2018 coincides with an almost-new
moon, the perfect dark canvas.
�Forest Night Walk, free entry, no
need to book (017973 727469)
8
SAIL A TALL SHIP
SOUTHAMPTON
Mark the 40th anniversary of the
Jubilee Sailing Trust by taking to the
high seas aboard an accessible-to-all
tall ship. The trust?s SV Tenacious has
been away from UK shores for almost
three years. Book a berth aboard the
FIND THEME
9THRILLS
PARK
BLACKPOOL
Ditch Disneyland. Spring 2018 sees the
launch of ICON, the UK?s first doublelaunch coaster. Powerful thrusts of
acceleration at the start and midway
points of the 150-second spin give
riders two high-speed hits and the
same g-force felt by a
Formula One driver.
ICON also takes a tour
across the Pleasure
Beach, whizzing
through, under
and around the
park?s other
WILD AND
WONDERFUL
Enjoy a thrilling
rollercoaster ride in
Blackpool, left;
spot otters in
Pocklington,
Yorkshire, below
Nothing beats
heading off into
the爂reat unknown
with nothing more
than a handy
backpack. This
Tumi燽ag is labelled
with its signature
tracking system
lest爀ither you
or your gear
get lost.
�5; tumi.com
rides, reaching dizzy heights of 88ft.
�Wristbands from �.50�(0871 222
1234; blackpoolpleasurebeach.com)
MAKE A MEDIEVAL
10
PILGRIMAGE
SURREY AND KENT
Walk the UK?s answer to the Camino
de Santiago, following pilgrim
footsteps along the North Downs Way.
This 153-mile National Trail turns 40
in 2018, though its origins are far older
? it approximates the route that
medieval pilgrims took to Canterbury
before going on to Rome. Starting in
Farnham, the Way undulates across
Surrey Hills and Kent downs, passing
Canterbury?s Unesco-listed cathedral
to finish at Dover?s White燙liffs.
�An 11-night self-guided North
Downs Way via Canterbury trip
costs from �100, including B&B
accommodation (01629 821900;
contours.co.uk)
WATCH WATER
11
WILDLIFE
YORKSHIRE
Not quite the Okavango, perhaps, but
the Pocklington Canal is arguably the
country?s best waterway for wildlife.
Most of this nine-and-a-half-mile
(15km) waterway ? which celebrates its
200th anniversary in 2018 ? is a Site of
Special Scientific Interest. Towpath
strolls on the upper reaches may reveal
CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 J
7
8
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
COVER STORY
SIP WINNING
14
WINE
NORFOLK
At the last Decanter World
Wine Awards, the planet?s
best white ? besting 17,200
other entries ? wasn?t from
Burgundy or Alsace. It was
from just outside Norwich.
Winbirri Vineyard?s Bacchus
2015, heralded for its
?complex, oily nose?, was
created by head winemaker
Lee Dyer. Find out how, on a
tour and tasting with him.
Winbirri runs bespoke tours
and, new from June,爏etdate tours for individuals.
�Groups (up to 10 people)
�0, set tours � per
person (01508 538974;
winbirri.com)
ROCK
OUT
The Giant?s
Causeway, right;
Springwatch,
below
CHEER FOR A
15
TRIUMPHANT
TEAM
LONDON
kingfishers, herons and 13 dragonflies
and damselflies, while there are free
boat trips on the lower ?Pock?, home to
barn owls and curlews.
�Boat trips free. Departures
Sundays and bank holidays,
April-October (07514 978645;
pocklingtoncanalsociety.org;
canalrivertrust.org.uk)
MOUNT AN
12
EXPEDITION
BIRMINGHAM
You don?t have to get lost in Papua
New Guinea to be an explorer. This
summer, Bear Grylls Adventure
opens at the NEC, an action-packed
86,000爏q爁t space for trying indoor
skydiving, scuba diving and the
highest free-roam high ropes in
Europe. Zip-line from a Chinook
helicopter and take on a series of
physical and mental challenges in the
Basecamp zone to see if you are cut
out爐o be more Bear.
�From � (beargryllsadventure.
com)
13
RIDE A SLEEPER
TRAIN
CORNWALL
The Orient Express it isn?t, but the
Night Riviera is the most civilised
way to travel between London and
Cornwall. And it?s getting better.
Great Western Railway?s rolling
stock revamp will be complete by
spring 2018; berths have free Wi-Fi,
USB charging, wardrobes and bunks
that convert to sofas, plus there?s a
new cocktail bar in the lounge car.
Each service will also have a
wheelchair-accessible cabin.
�From � one way for sole
occupancy of a single-berth sleeper
(08457 000125; gwr.com)
Instead of hoiking to Russia
to watch our usually
underwhelming footballers,
support a successful team at
home. England is hosting
the Women?s Hockey World
Cup for the first time this
summer, and many of the
winning GB Olympic squad
will be in action. Buy tickets,
show your support at the
England Fan Zone, and, if
inspired, pick up a stick at
a燞ockeyFest event.
�Tickets from � adult/
�under-18s. July 21-Aug 5
2018 (Lee Valley Hockey
and Tennis Centre; 0844
871 8810; fih.ch).
HockeyFest starts Aug 19
(greatbritainhockey.co.uk)
which is ?only? 50
miles�(80km).
�Entry �/�9 for
50/100 miles. Sept 22
(gbultras.com)
RUN A
16
MOUNTAIN
ULTRA
TASTE THE
WALK A WORLD17
BEST FOOD
18
CLASS COAST
NORTH
NORTHERN IRELAND
YORKSHIRE
SNOWDONIA
The UTMB, the 105-mile
(170km) run around
Mont燘lanc in September, is the
daddy of ultra races. But if you didn?t
secure a place, try the Welsh version.
New for 2018, the Mt Snowdon Ultra
100-miler (160km) starts from
Betws-y-coed, wends down valleys,
climbs passes and tackles summits
such as Glyder Fawr, Carnedd Dafydd
and Snowdon itself, racking up a total
ascent of 29,200ft. If that sounds a
bit爐oo爉uch, try the sister race ?
the Black Swan?s farm and kitchen
garden into world-class dishes.
�Dinner tasting menu from
�pp; room, dinner & breakfast
from �5pp (01347 868387;
blackswanoldstead.co.uk)
The Causeway
Coast was
voted爐he
world?s爊umber
one region
The world?s best restaurant isn?t in
Paris or New York ? at least not
according to TripAdvisor, whose latest
Travellers? Choice for Fine Dining is
the Black Swan at Oldstead, on the
edge of the North York Moors National
Park. Visit the Michelin-starred yet
relaxed old country pub to taste how
chef Tommy Banks turns the spoils of
Northern Ireland?s geologist-thrilling
Causeway Coast was voted the world?s
Number One Region by Lonely Planet
in 2018. But although 790,000 visitors
a year visit the Giant?s Causeway
stones, less than one per cent know
about the foot-accessible vantages
beyond the main site. That?s according
to Away A Wee Walk, which has
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
TASTY
VIEWS
Llanrwst Tea
Rooms,
Snowdonia,
main; food at
the Swan,
Yorkshire, right
route guides available from local
information centres (01386 565373;
blossom-trail.org.uk)
GETTY; NATIONAL TRUST
TAKE A DRAMATIC
22
DRIVE
SCOTLAND
MARCH
23
WITH
PENGUINS
launched a guided
Giant?s Causeway
Clifftop Experience that
follows a five-mile
(eight-kilometre) trail
from the爎uins of
Dunseverick Castle along
the cliff to the causeway,
with spectacular views
en route.
� From � for two
(07837 703643;
awayaweewalk.com)
DUNDEE
BAG A
19
PRIVATE
BEACH
DEVON
Play desert island
outcast in an isolated
hut for two, tucked into
the rocks behind your
own stretch of sand.
New to the alwaysquirky Canopy & Stars
collection, idyllically
isolated Carswell Beach
Hut is a 15-minute walk
down a cliff path. It has
no mains power, a
composting loo and an
outdoor shower. But it also has a
wood-fired hot tub and stove, a cosy
mezzanine bed and a deck where you
can barbecue under the stars.
�From �5 per night (0117 204
7830; canopyandstars.co.uk)
VIEW CELEBRITY
20
WILDLIFE
GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Pass on the Pacific Coast Highway
and take on the North Coast 500, just
over 500 miles (800km) of inspiring
scenery, skirting the North Highlands
via Ullapool, John O?Groats, Dornoch
and Inverness. A new Rough Guide to
the route was published last
November, packed with itinerary and
detour ideas. Stop-off suggestions
include fairy-tale Dunrobin Castle, the
golden sands of Gruinard Bay and the
surf at Thurso East.
�The Rough Guide to
the North Coast
500燾osts �99
(01463�9849;
northcoast500.com)
The Penguin
Parade art trail
will have 80
statues waddling
through Dundee
Dundee is channelling
the Antarctic this
summer. The Penguin
Parade art trail will see
80 statues waddle into
town to raise money for
cancer charity the
Maggie?s Centre.
Downloadable maps and
apps encourage on-foot
exploration. Then board
the RRS Discovery, the
Dundee-built ship that
carried Scott and
Shackleton on their first
Antarctic voyage in 1901.
Reopened in 2017 after
restoration, it?s now
berthed on the
waterfront ? right by the
striking V&A Museum,
which opens in autumn.
� Discovery from
�25 adult/�50
child (01382 309060;
rrsdiscovery.com).
Penguin Parade runs
June 28-Sept 24 2018 (07825 056384;
maggiespenguinparade.com)
EAT A FRENCH
24
FEAST
OXFORDSHIRE
Granted, it might be cheaper to hop
What the BBC?s Big Cat Diary did for
the prides of the Maasai Mara,
Springwatch, Autumnwatch and
Winterwatch have done for the
wildlife of Sherborne. This National
Trust estate in the Cotswolds is home
to soaring raptors, roosting bats,
plentiful farm birds, otters, water
voles and many other species. On
selected dates you can join
Sherborne?s rangers to walk off the
normal footpaths to explore some of
the sites and species featured
on television.
�Ranger walks � Dates: April 20,
May 4 and 18 2018 (01451 844257;
nationaltrust.org.uk)
SEE SPRING
21
BLOSSOM
WORCESTERSHIRE
Japan is renowned for its cherry trees,
but a drive through bountiful
Worcestershire from March to May is a
cheaper way to see in spring. The
delicate pink and white blooms of
peach, cherry, almond, plum, apple
and orange erupt across the Vale
of燛vesham. Drive the 50-mile (80km)
AA-signposted route, via flowering
orchards and pretty villages.
Alternatively, try one of the bike trails
(ranging from 11 to 50 miles/
18 to 80km) or walking
paths (three-six miles//
five-10km).
�Blossom Trail
SPOILT
FOR CHOICE
Penguin Parade art
trail in Dundee,
second top; Tresco
in the Isles of Scilly,
above; Bear Grylls,
below; Winbirri
Vineyards,
above left
on the Eurostar to Paris than eat at Le
Manoir aux Quat?Saisons. However, if
you want a quality Gallic food fix
closer to home, book in for Le
Manoir?s 2018 Bastille Day
Celebrations. Chef Raymond Blanc is
marking the anniversary of the
French Revolution with a distinctly
un-proletarian f阾e of fine cuisine,
classic wines and Laurent-Perrier
champagne at the 13th-century
manor house. Expect accordions.
�From �0pp. July 13 (01844
278881; belmond.com)
GO ISLANDHOPPING
25
ISLES OF SCILLY
When the weather is fine ? which it
often is, in the UK?s warmest spot ?
the waters around the Isles of Scilly
look virtually Mediterranean. So
ditch Greece and plan an islandhopping break here. Water taxis
serve the five main islands, while day
trips and kayak rentals will help
connect you to the 140-odd others.
It?s not the cheapest destination, but
a new hostel opening at Longstone
Lodge on St Mary?s in May will
cut燾osts.
�Dorms from � per person, per
night, singles from � per person,
per night (01720 422410;
longstonelodge.co.uk)
9
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
RAIL TRAVEL
OFF WE GO
The guard blows
a whistle;
Budapest, right;
through the
woods, below
GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY
10
On track with the railway
children of Budapest
Hungary?s charming line
run by youngsters marks
its 70th anniversary this
year. Olivia Greenway
takes a magical journey
T
he girl in the ticket
office looked
extraordinarily young
? about 10 was my
guess. ?That will be
700 forints (�,
please,? she said in
perfect English.
My Hungarian guide confirmed she
was indeed 10. I was in the hills above
Buda and had just bought a ticket for
the Children?s Railway. Unsurprisingly,
it?s so-called because it?s largely run by
children, and has been for several
generations; in fact
next Wednesday
marks 70 years
since the start of
the construction of
the railway on
April 11 1948.
There had been
snowfall overnight
and the ground
around our starting
point, Huvosvolgy,
really was deep and
crisp and even. We
waited on the
platform for the
train to arrive,
stamping our feet
in the freezing air. Young boys in smart
navy-blue uniforms passed us on the
platform. They work on the railway one
day in 15, from 7am to around 5pm in
winter; it?s a 12-hour day in summer.
The Children?s Railway runs for
nearly seven miles (11km), climbing
high into the forest and makes six stops.
Back in the late
Forties it was
known as the
Pioneer Railway,
a project
instigated by the
Hungarian
Communist Party
as a means of
getting young
people from the
city to the camps
that they ran for
two months
every summer.
Attendance was
compulsory and
children spent
two weeks away from their families,
learning about the party.
Our narrow-gauge train arrived and
we photographed the engine. (They
have a steam engine during summer
weekends.) All the children who work
on the railway are aged between 10
and 14. (The driver is an adult and
there are a few
adult supervisors.)
Nearly everyone
wants to work on
the railway, but
only a few are
chosen. In fact,
that?s why it was
continued when
communism
ended: the
children love it.
They have to be
good at their
school studies,
reliable and
well-behaved.
They also have to
undergo training
every weekend for
four months
before they start.
Our guards
Bence (14) and
Levi (13) were
positively angelic:
moving to
secondary school
when they are 13,
not 11 as in the UK,
might be a reason
for their
seemingly
childlike demeanour. Our carriage was
spotless (?We clean the train,? Bence
told me later) with old-fashioned,
polished, wooden slatted seats and
windows that slid open. When we
travelled they were snapped shut to
keep out the cold, but mercifully the
carriage was heated and toasty warm.
Bence checked everyone was on
board, a whistle was blown, and we
were off. Levi clipped our tickets, old
school style with a metal contraption,
smiling shyly, and we sat back to enjoy
the journey, passing through lovely
clusters of dark wood trees ? beech
and spruce, I suspected.
I thought about the children?s
summer camps both our city guides
had spoken about separately the
previous day. Now in their late 40s,
they attended the camp during the
communist era. Surely it was awful?
?I hated it,? our first guide told me.
?I don?t like being with people I don?t
know.? Our
other guide had
a different view.
?I really enjoyed
it and looked
forward to it
every year. We
had singing
exercises and
went exploring.
It was fun to be
with children of
my own age.?
Our train
reached its first
ESSENTIALS
�
The writer took tram
61 to the end of the line
at Huvosvolgy, where
she joined the Children?s
Railway. On
disembarking, she took
the cog railway tram
number 60 to the
terminus at Varosmajor,
where there are
connections back into
downtown Budapest.
For the full timetable
and pricing, see
gyermekvasut.hu (click
on the ?English? tab).
�
Wizz Air (wizzair.
com) offers fares from
London Luton to
Budapest from about
� return. For other
flight options, see flight
comparison websites
skyscanner.com and
momondo.com.
�
The Children?s
Railway can also be
incorporated into a
more substantial
rail-themed tour of the
central Europe region.
Experience Grand
Imperial Cities is a
13-day escorted tour
run by Great Rail
Journeys (01904
521936; greatrail.com)
which costs from
�095 per person.
Includes travel by train
from London and stops
in Vienna, Budapest,
Prague and Berlin. For
those wanting to travel
independently, GRJ
Independent (01904
734356; greatrail.com/
grj-independent) offers
a 12-day trip from
London from �475 per
person including
accommodation in
four-star hotels in four
cities and rail travel.
stop and four young
Americans climbed on board.
Levi consulted with Bence
and they were asked to pay
600 HUF (�70) each. He
reached into a waist-level
black leather box strapped
around his neck and issued
them with tickets, exchanging
them for the bank notes.
As our train chugged along
through the fairyland forest
outside, I had a quick chat
with our guards. In the
summer, when the train is
very busy, they both have
more work to do.
People got on and off at
each stop to go hiking, while
Bence sold postcards and
fridge magnets. Levi was
proud of the fact the train
runs in all weathers; every
day in the winter apart
from燤onday.
We were nearing the end of
our 45-minute trip at
Szechenyi-hegy. From here, it
was a short walk downhill to
the cog tram back to the city.
Before I left, I was keen to
hear about the boys? plans for
their future. Levi wanted to
work in IT, but Bence planned
to continue to work on the
railways; this experience had
made him more determined
to fulfil his ambition. I waved
to them as I walked away from
the train. Job done, they both
snapped out of serious work
mode and waved back.
I enjoyed my short journey
through the forest; it had been
a peaceful step back in time.
And like much in life it had
shown that nothing is ever
quite black or white.
Ten quirky train journeys
around the world: telegraph.
co.uk/tt-quirkytrains
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
11
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
GOLF HOLIDAYS
PERFECT
PEACE
On Seychelles
beaches;
bottom, luxury
at Lemuria
Putting with
birdies and
banyan trees
As the Masters hots up,
Adam Ruck finds
fairways to heaven
in the Seychelles
and Mauritius
A
nse Georgette is often
described as the most
beautiful beach in the
world. It?s a small
sandy niche on the
Seychelles island of
Praslin, where
mountainous jungle
drops steeply to the sea and pink
granite boulders frame a swathe of
gossamer licked by milky-blue waves.
The seabed is as soft as the beach ? not
always the case in this part of the
world ? and overhanging trees supply
shade for the less mad-dog to lie in.
Like all beaches in the Seychelles,
Anse Georgette is a public space. But it
doesn?t get crowded, because the land
behind belongs to a luxury hotel,
Lemuria, whose pampered residents
have alternative beaches of almost
comparable beauty closer to hand.
Those beaches have loungers and
waiters bearing cocktails. Anse
Georgette has nothing. No caf�, no car
park ? a glorious absence of facilities.
It isn?t plagued by ants or sandflies, at
least none that found me during a
research effort stretching to several
hours and a repeat visit. It really is the
stuff of tropical island dreams.
There are three overland ways to
approach it. The rugged coastal path
from Anse Lazio ? more than an hour
each way ? would be quite an
undertaking in equatorial
heat. Or you can apply to
Lemuria to be one of the
two dozen non-residents
allowed in each day. But
the best approach is to
stay at Lemuria, play its
golf course and, after
completing the short 15th,
down tools and wander
through the woods to the
beach for a swim and a
pause before braving the
horrors of the 16th, a
fiendishly narrow uphill
double dogleg par five.
There?s no hurry.
Lemuria doesn?t do fixed
tee times, nor is it the sort of
course that chivvies the
golfer with notices saying:
?If you started more than
56爉inutes ago, you?re
playing too slowly.?
Residents enjoy the freedom
of the course, starting and
finishing when and wherever they
want and pausing燼t will.
If this fosters a carefree approach to
the game, that will soon be dispelled
by the course itself, which although
not long is hemmed in by an exotic
assortment of problems including
palm trees, ponds, quagmires and
waste areas inhabited by crabs that
steal golf balls and carry them down
their holes. I know this; I saw one do it.
Replace without penalty (Rule 18-1).
That?s on the flat part, holes one to
12. After that, the course heads for the
mountainous jungle zone, cutting a
steep swathe through forest and scrub.
The 15th is one of those vertiginous
holes typical of holiday courses in hilly
places. It?s almost as high as it?s long.
The tee is a giddy perch 250ft above
Anse Georgette and the green. It often
features on lists of the world?s most
beautiful holes. After the challenges of
the preceding 14 holes, this is one of
the more straightforward shots on the
course. The ball hangs in the air for
long moments of suspense before
landing with a smack, if well directed,
or a splash in the stream at the back of
the green. On holes like this, it?s all
about club selection.
?People always take too much club
the first time they play it,? Lemuria?s
manager Bruno informs me, about half
a minute later than would have been
helpful. Bruno buses hotel guests to
this belvedere for sundowners at six,
pours the fizz and scatters hibiscus
petals on the tee to add to the romance
of the occasion for the honeymooners
who choose Lemuria and wisely leave
the golf for some other time.
In addition to their routine duties,
which include twisting towels into
elephant shapes and tending the palm
trees to make sure Lemuria doesn?t add
a golfer to the global
toll of 150 deaths a
year caused by
falling coconuts,
hotel staff are happy
to arrange a picnic
lunch. Start your
game around 10am
and you should
reach the 15th in
time to coincide with
the arrival of a box of
fishy treats and a
chilled sauvignon
blanc by South
African golfer and
winemaker
David燜rost.
ESSENTIALS
GETTY IMAGES
12
Doze the afternoon away, with half
an eye open in case a hawksbill turtle
emerges from the waves to bury her
eggs on the beach. Resume the contest
in fading light when enormous fruit
bats are on the wing, casting shadows
over the serpentine 16th fairway.
Lemuria is the only 18-hole course
in the Seychelles and the archipelago
does not feature on the radar of golf
tourism. Golf is a bonus, on top of so
many other things to enjoy: a boat trip
to a nearby island inhabited by
ground-nesting terns and giant
tortoises born in the Victorian era,
perhaps; or a bike ride to Praslin?s
Vall閑 de Mai nature reserve, with its
BA (ba.com) flies non-stop
to both the Seychelles and
Mauritius. Chaka Travel
(02890 232112; chakagolf.
com) offers packages
including golf, flights and
transfers priced as
follows�(per person in a
shared room):
�
Twin centre: five nights
at Constance Lemuria,
Seychelles (B&B) plus
five爊ights at Constance
Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius
(HB): �295.
�
Seychelles: seven nights
at Constance Lemuria,
�995 (B&B).
�
Mauritius: seven nights
at Constance Belle Mare
Plage, �325 (including
half board and pro-am
entry); Constance Prince
Maurice: �035.00 (B&B
and pro-am entry).
GOLF
�
Lemuria 6,100yd par 70;
Legend 6,650yd, par 72;
Links 6,500yd par 71. Golf
is free for hotel residents;
buggies chargeable, except
for Prince Maurice
residents.
�
MCB Championship
(European Senior Tour)
Dec 7-9; amateur
competitions including
pro-am from Dec 3. See also
constancehotels.com
black parrots and coco de mer trees, of
the suggestively shaped nuts that are
so relentlessly exploited to promote
the Seychelles? ?Islands of Love?
image. The greatest treat is doing
nothing in the balmy seclusion of
Lemuria, keeping quiet with the lights
low, so as not to disturb the turtles.
Although BA has relaunched direct
flights from the UK to the Seychelles,
there?s every reason to twin Lemuria
with a golfing stopover in Dubai or
Mauritius. The latter involves more
flying but seemed to me the more
tempting destination, with its mix of
French, Dutch and British influences.
Compared with an eagle or
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
13
FIVE TO PLAY IN 2018
ROYAL PORTRUSH,
NORTHERN IRELAND
(DUNLUCE COURSE,
THE OPEN 2019)
On a grand stretch of coast
between Bushmills
distillery and the Giant?s
Causeway, one of the
world?s best championship
links just got better, thanks
to the R&A?s decision to
take The Open back to the
home of Clarke and
McDowell, where McIlroy,
above right, holds the
course record (61). A land
grab from the course next
door has given the Dunluce
two new holes before the
turn, and its notorious
knee-trembler, a 210yd
do-or-die par three known
as Calamity Corner, is now
the 16th. Fly to Derry, stay
at Bushmills Inn and play
Castlerock and the Strand
at Portstewart while you?re
at it (irishgolfbreaks.com).
�Green fee: �0 (April,
October); �5 (summer)
(royalportrushgolfclub.
com)
TEE TIME
The Constance
Lemuria, above;
Belle Mare Plage,
left; Hotel Prince
Maurice, right
albatross, the flightless dodo
may not be the most
auspicious swing thought,
but Mauritius has taken off as a golf
destination and now has luxury resort
hotels and at least a dozen courses by
big-name designers spread around its
200-mile (320km) coastline.
After the reverential calm of
Lemuria, the bustle of a golf resort in
full swing is quite a shock. As well as
having twice as many inmates, Belle
Mare Plage is more open and sociable,
with hawkers selling sarongs on the
beach and loud music in the air after
supper. Conversation between
strangers at breakfast is not unknown.
WHISTLING STRAITS,
USA (STRAITS COURSE,
THE RYDER CUP 2020)
CLUB, NORWAY
At 68 degrees north,
greens and fairways may
not be billiard-table
smooth, but the world?s
northernmost 18-hole
course is a spectacular
links challenge in a
mountain-backed seaside
location open to the
midnight sun. Fly to
Evenes or Svolvaer, hire a
car, stay in a Links Lodge
for escapism and scenery,
or in Svolvaer for cultural
exchange (golfbreaks.com).
�Green fee: � (18 holes).
Summer packages include
48 hours of unlimited golf
(lofotenlinks.no).
Golf is a great mixer, and my visit in
early December has coincided with a
week when Belle Mare and its two
courses fill for a week of competitive
action and lively socialising. All the
leading lights of the European Senior
Tour turn up for the last event on their
calendar, the MCB Tour Championship,
while amateurs play in the pro-am and
their own competition for prizes in
various handicap categories.
At least one water hazard on every
hole, most of them visited, is my
lasting impression of Belle Mare?s
trophy course, Legend. I had a
sneaking preference for its junior
partner, Links, a more undulating and
varied layout with outcrops of black
lava and the stump of an old
watchtower beside the 18th green.
I?m not sure I?d choose it for a match
of mixed singles, though. The ladies?
200yd start at the 10th, a 350yd par
five, is calculated to humiliate us, and
it was soon followed by a 175yd
par爁our, not to mention three short
holes of around or under 100yd. Some
women of my acquaintance would
take exception to being patronised this
way, but the two Frenchwomen I
played with didn?t seem to mind.
Mireille and Marie France met in the
pro-am several years ago, when their
professionals were Philip Walton and
After the conclusion of
hostilities, aim for the next
battlefield: Whistling
Straits, host-in-waiting to
War on the Shore,
Wisconsin-style. The
Straits course that Pete Dye
made for bathroom
furniture tycoon Herb
Kohler is a convincing
faux-links complete with
mighty dunes, fierce
bunkering, oceanic views
and a wind that whistles off
Lake Michigan. In a more
sheltered parkland vein,
the River Course at
Blackwolf Run is equally
good, and there are two
more courses to play
from the luxury of The
American Club at Kohler,
a campus-like village
two hours? drive from
Chicago O?Hare
(yourgolftravel.com).
�Green fee: US $300
(�3) plus caddie fee/tip
(americanclubresort.com).
GOLF NATIONAL,
FRANCE (L?ALBATROS
COURSE, THE RYDER
CUP 2018)
You and I may not be able
to drive our golf balls down
the Champ de Mars from a
practice tee halfway up the
Eiffel Tower, as rival Ryder
Cup captains Bjorn and
Furyk did last year, but we
can take our sticks to
Versailles and play Le Golf
National, below, where
Europe and the US go head
to head in September.
Bring plenty of ammo,
because L?Albatros is a
stern test with heavy rough
and tough water holes.
Hotel on site (brittany-
Gary Marks. Did I know them? Not
personally, but Walton did win the
Ryder Cup. ?Mon Dieu!? said Mireille.
?He seemed, well, so normal.? That?s
typical of the relaxed Seniors scene.
They compete hard on the course but
know how to relax afterwards, and
they don?t behave like celebrities.
After our round we headed back to
the Legend to see the final moments of
the professionals? championship.
Following a blistering front nine,
Barry Lane held off Paul Broadhurst,
who eagled the last to Barry?s birdie;
leaving defending champion Colin
Montgomerie one shot further back.
ferries.co.uk/golf).
�Green fee �5 (April),
�0 (summer); (golfnational.com). Course
closed in September for
the Ryder Cup and for two
weeks before the French
Open (June 28-July 1).
LOFOTEN LINKS GOLF
SOUTH CAPE OWNERS
CLUB, SOUTH KOREA
With d閠ente in the air, the
timing is right for a Korea
move. Laced around a
forest-clad rocky headland,
South Cape has hardened
reviewers purring about
Cypress Point eating its
heart out, and comes with
a superb spa hotel. Fifteen
miles from Sacheon
airport, it fits with a golf
break on the island of Jeju,
as offered by Pinnacle
Travel (pinnacle-travel.
com), whose ?flop shot?
package will provide access
to the exclusive Nine
Bridges Club.
�Green fee: �0 (weekdays); (southcape.co.kr).
?My wife and I have been coming
since 1996,? Lane told the gallery at the
presentation. ?Mauritius is the best
place on earth.?
For guests who want the golf
without the party atmosphere,
Belle Mare?s close neighbour and sister
hotel the Prince Maurice replaces
disco boom with soft piano music and
offers a step up in luxury, seclusion
and price: a Bond Street boutique to
Belle Mare?s Oxford Street store.
Tucked among banyan trees and
mangroves, villas and suites on stilts
overlook the barachois, an estuary
lake with a floating restaurant and
cocktail bar.
With no sea turtles to worry
about, underwater lighting is
permissible here. A shark flitted
in and out of view beneath our feet
as we dined.
Free golf for residents of Belle Mare
Plage and the Prince Maurice is a
powerful incentive to stay put. Two
top-notch courses are enough for a
short stay and my plan to research
some alternatives came to grief when
I misjudged the depth of water at low
tide, took the plunge and skinned my
hands on a rock. That ruled out golf or
hiring a car, but I did research the first
aid facilities燼t the Prince Maurice.
They?re first class.
14
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
HOTELSEEKER
Expert reviews of the world?s great places to stay
INDIAN RETREAT
Meditations
on the sound
of silence
Caroline Sylger Jones
finds inner peace in the
stillness of a Rajasthan
hotel that aims to
cleanse body and mind
I
am sitting up in bed,
propped by a cascade of
soft white pillows,
watching a yellow Indian
sun rise over the hilltop
outside my window.
Mandalas created from
fresh marigold petals
grace my marble floor, and there are
orange marigolds hand-painted on the
walls to match. I am sipping ?bed tea?
? a ginger and black concoction left
discreetly outside my room that
morning alongside some hand-rolled
oat and honey energy balls ? and
?journaling? my morning thoughts
into a Moleskine notebook, a practice
that helps you clear your head of
thoughts, ready for the day. As my
hand moves quickly across the page to
let the dull, annoying and joyous
things in my life out through ink, I feel
a sense of liberation. After about
40爉inutes, I pause.
This is my morning ritual each day
in suite number 43 at Raas Devigarh, a
splendid palace fortress above the
large village of Delwara in Rajasthan,
created in 1760 and now a hotel with
elaborate ramparts to dream on and
bowls of fresh marigold and rose petals
at every turn. I?m here on a five-night
?ila-only? Devi Blessing retreat,
devised by British spa brand ila to be
bespoke, private and bookable all year
round for three, five or nine nights.
Named after the Indian goddess
Devi, who is believed to represent all
women, the retreats aim to recalibrate
your whole system. They include daily
two-hour treatments and two daily
one-to-one (optional) sessions of yoga
and meditation. You can also choose,
as I have, to be supported in a
period爋f silence.
Silence has been practised in almost
all monastic traditions as a way of
slowing down, reconnecting with the
self and improving mental and
physical health, and an increasing
number of retreats in the West are
including it as part of their menu.
While being in silence can give us a
real sense of peace, what?s more
beneficial is the space it offers to find
out what is really going on in our
bodies and minds, away from everyday
chatter and activity.
It?s important that we choose our
silence, as the ancient desert hermits
would have done, so that we feel in
control of it and able to use it to our
advantage rather than disappearing
into a lonely space. I?ve experienced
retreats in silence before, but they?ve
been Buddhist in flavour and always
communal, when you are supported in
an organised setting and nourished by
the energy of a group. My secular and
solitary silence at Raas Devigarh is
understandably and notably different.
I?ve pre-ordered my meals, discussed
my daily timetable with yoga and
meditation teacher Faraz, been
encouraged to journal each morning
on rising, and then sent gently into
silence for three of my five nights.
I quite quickly slip into a soothing
I do my yoga on
the ramparts,
joined by limegreen parakeets
routine of journaling, yoga, breakfast,
treatment, down time, meditation,
supper and bed. I find that because I
am alone, Faraz?s intelligent and
empathetic presence is vital to the
success of my retreat. He reminds me
to be ?mindful? ? to try to be aware of
what I?m doing when I?m doing it and
in the present moment ? and I can talk
to him about any practical concerns I
might have at any time.
On Buddhist retreats, you are
required not to read, draw or write,
but I find that my reading, sketching
and journaling here are a muchneeded solace and form of
mindfulness. Being able to indulge in
them becomes part of the pleasure of
being silent at a hotel rather than on
an organised retreat. I am, however,
entirely happy ? one might
say infinitely joyous ? to
switch off my iPhone
and燾omputer.
After journaling each day
I choose to do my own yoga
practice on the palace?s
wonderful top ramparts,
with romantic views of the
colourful village and
countryside beyond. I?m
often joined by a band of
lime-green parakeets, who
perch on the railings and
joyously screech each time I
move into a pose as if to say,
?Hey guys! Just take a look
at this one over here!?
Guests new to yoga can
instead have a private
session with Faraz.
Next is a breakfast of a
?pure alkaline? juice such as
celery, cucumber and
ginger, alongside a turmeric
latte (very yummy), a huge
pot of green tea, and eggs if
I?m hungry, served
courteously on the
restaurant terrace by smiling
white-suited waiters while I
listen to an Indian flautist play
in the spa garden
below and focus on
CURES FOR
sketching to filter
THE SOUL
out the gentle
Comfort and
chatter of guests.
beauty help
At 10.30am I
guests find
saunter to the
mindfulness
ila-only spa, which
is gracefully clad in
marble, wood and pale green
cushions strewn with ila?s
signature heart chakra design.
Here I enjoy a light steam and
a chill in the salt cave stacked
with Himalayan rock salt (I
test it ? it?s real) before an
11am, two-hour ?Devi
Blessing?. Chosen after a
consultation to爓ork on
rebalancing whichever of my
chakras appear most out of
whack, most of the treatments
pivot on a scrub and a massage and are
infinitely relaxing and often sleepinducing. I am especially intrigued by
the Prayer of the Earth, which is
timetabled on my first day to ground
me after the long journey, and requires
me to sit on a ?smoking stool? while
frankincense burns beneath my
innermost parts before I lie down for a
deliciously deep, slow body rub.
I spend most afternoons horizontal,
sunbathing and reading, or swimming
multiple lengths in the huge blackmarbled pool. The call to prayer from
Delwara at around 4.15pm rouses me
to go back to my room and potter
before changing for an early evening
relaxation session of Yoga Nidra, Yin
Yoga, meditation or chanting with
Faraz. My favourite place for these is
The Ram Room, a charming, opensided room named after the Hindu
story of Rama and Sita, where the
walls are scrawled with an elegant,
ancient script ? the handiwork of the
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
NATURAL
HAVEN
Caroline,
left, enjoys
the爄dyllic
surroundings
sadhu who used to live here,
Faraz tells me, when the
palace was a ruin.
Suppers after the sessions are by
candlelight at a table for one on the
terrace. Like the activities, meals
here can be as indulgent or as
cleansing as you choose.
While I eat mainly off
the wellness menu
with dishes such as
lemon coriander
vegetable soup,
chargrilled zucchini
and broccoli with
garlic-infused spiced
tomato salsa, I also
enjoy one glass of
fantastic red wine each
night and on the last evening
I treat myself to a sensational
chocolate fondant pudding. Why not?
No one?s telling.
I barely register the presence of
other guests and don?t feel lonely or
unusual when I dine or sit by the pool
alone. This wouldn?t be the case at
every hotel, but Raas Devigarh feels
discreet enough, with enough solo
guests, for it not to be an issue.
There?s a giant, hand-painted swing
in one of the courtyards, and most
nights after supper I take myself there
to swing like a child under the stars
with no one about, the heady scent of
queen of the night flowers in my nose.
I have a rose petal bath in my room
one evening, and I often return from
supper to find poems (such as ?Music
SILENT STAYS: THREE OF THE BEST
SHARPHAM
HOUSE,
DEVON
You can choose
secular
mindfulness
retreats in a
gorgeous
Palladian-style
mansion, nature
meditation
retreats under
canvas in the
woodland or
Buddhist
retreats at The
Barn at this
inspirational
550-acre estate
alongside a
three-mile
stretch of the
river Dart near
Totnes in
Devon. Chunks
of time,
including some
meals, are spent
in silence on
most retreats to
deepen mindful
awareness, and
all retreats move
into silence
after�m.
�Three nights?
full board from
�5 (single
room): 01803
732542;
sharphamtrust.
org
YOBABA
LOUNGE,
FRANCE
From 8.30pm
until noon the
following day is
always a period
of ?noble silence?,
where speaking
is not permitted
unless it is
completely
essential. The
silences are a
key爁eature of
the爁ive-day
well-being
retreats that
run燽etween
April and
October at this
bohemian
chateau in the
foothills of the
Pyrenees. You
can also stay
here爌rivately
between group
retreats, when
you will rise in
silence and
remain silent
until breakfast at
10am. The
retreats pivot on
delicious raw
food meals and
?embodied
meditation?, a
practice which
teaches you to
focus on the
power of mindful
breath and use
yogic movement
to rejuvenate
body and mind.
�All-inclusive
four-night
retreat from
�5pp, based on
two sharing a
double room:
0033 647 23
49�;
yobabalounge.
com
SUAN MOKKH,
THAILAND
For Vipassana
meditation in the
forest, Suan
Mokkh Buddhist
monastery at
Chaiya, north of
Surat Thani, runs
popular, highly
affordable and
deeply effective
10-day silent
meditation
retreats every
month at its
International
Dharma
and Silence? by Rumi) or pieces of
prose (such as ?What is a Goddess??)
to reflect on before bed.
Very quickly, in such a rarefied
atmosphere, my tension unravels, and
free of the chit-chat that goes with
daily communication, ideas
about my life pop up for me
to examine. I have
nothing especially to
?sort? ? my body and
mind need to rest and
reboot for the same
reasons of ?busyness?
that most of us have.
Being quiet
undoubtedly quickens
the pace of this process,
though my surroundings
are not wholly quiet. I?m in
India, after all, and though the
hotel and grounds are tranquil, sounds
often call to me in the distance ? dogs
barking, birds singing, cockerels
crowing, villagers talking, men
drumming, women singing while they
thud their washing on bare rocks.
I?m not totally silent myself either,
as I would be in a closed retreat,
for爐his a hotel, and while I avoid
company, if a fellow guest says hello to
me or a member of staff asks me a
question, I naturally respond. As Faraz
points out, I?m aiming to create a
silence within, rather than a silence
without ? a sustainable stillness of
thought and focus which, if found, is
not going to be disturbed by saying
hello to a guest or thanking a waiter.
Do I find that stillness
within? After I come out of
silence, on the last day, I
take a guided walk through
the lively village, visit a
local women?s cooperative
Hermitage,
and buy an Indian-British
starting on the
designed kaftan in the
first day of each
hotel?s new shop,
month. You can?t
Marigolds and Roses. I feel
book in advance
rested and reassured,
? you need to turn
content to have been quiet
up on the
and now also content to be
morning of the
speaking freely and busy
day before to
again. This is not the
register. Be
transformative silence I?ve
prepared to get
experienced on Buddhist
up at 4am,
communal retreats. But I
wash燼nd eat
would happily experience
communally and
it again if I?m stressed, and
help out with
for longer next time.
chores during the
day. Guidance
Five nights? full board at
and talks from the
Raas Devigarh, with daily
monks and爊uns
yoga and ila treatments,
are inspirational.
meditation, sound
�Ten days from
therapy, village walk and
2,000 baht (�),
temple tour, from
which you pay in
�860pp through
advance and is
Greaves India (020 7487
non-refundable:
9111; greavesindia.co.uk),
0066 2 936 2800;
including international
suanmokkh.org
and domestic flights.
15
16
***
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
M A K E T H E WO R L D YO U R OW N
Share stories, tips and photographs from your travels
JUST BACK
Changing my
mind about
pigeon English
This week?s winner: a bird-themed restaurant
in Bruges wins over a sceptical Laura Ansbro
H
uddling in the rain,
my finger jerks over
the phone?s wet
screen. ?It has
really good reviews online,?
my husband protests.
?Yes, but it has pigeons
speaking the menu in little
speech bubbles,? I reply
grimly, ?and a children?s
menu. A children?s menu.?
These are not the marks
of燼 good restaurant. A
children?s menu is the mark
of a pretty bad restaurant, in
my book. And as for the
illustrations showing plump
pigeons reciting dishes in
Flemish and (here I shudder)
English, to my mind it is
clearly aimed firmly at the
poor taste and limited
linguistic skills of the tourist.
The fact that I speak only
about 20 words of Flemish,
painfully learnt from a free
app in the preceding weeks,
is not the point. I have come
to Bruges to eat authentic
Flemish food, and eat it I
will, even if I have no idea
what I am ordering.
But it is my husband?s
birthday, and this is the
restaurant he has chosen. So,
rather than dismiss out of
hand the pigeons, English,
and children?s menu, I agree
to look again at the website.
As we stand there, bowed
hoods dripping on to our
soggy toddler, an elegant
and charismatic woman
sweeps down the steps and
sizes us up, immediately
HOW TO ENTER
Email your entry,
in 500 words
(with爐he text in the
body of the email), to
justback@telegraph.
co.uk by爉idnight on
Tuesday April 10.
For爐erms and
conditions, see
telegraph.co.uk/
tt-justback.
The winner will
receive �0 in
the currency of
their choice from
the Post燨ffice.
The Post Office
is the UK?s largest
travel money
provider, offering
up to 80
currencies in more
than 11,500
branches with
0爌er cent
commission.
All currencies can
also be ordered
online for next day
branch or home
delivery. Check
exchange rates at
postoffice.co.uk/
travel-money/
currency-converter
guessing the subject of our
discussion. ?I have a table
for you. What nationality?
French? English? Go in, go
in and see. Our food is very
good, delicious. I have a
table for you. My staff will
look after you.?
She reminds me
emphatically of a hotelowning friend of my in-laws;
graceful and charming, but
with a determined
unstoppability that has you
bowled over and toeing the
line without question. As my
feet begin their inevitable
walk towards the front door,
my mouth pathetically
quavers, ?Is it all
?Yes, but it has a
children?s menu,?
I grimly reply. ?A
children?s menu?
homemade?? in a last
desperate bid for
independent thought.
?Yes! Yes!? She exclaims,
?Everything homemade. I
must go out, but my staff will
look after you. Go, go in.?
Powerless to resist, we
traipse up the steps.
Fortunately, the waiters
do look after us, and the food
is indeed delicious. We order
from the pigeon-illustrated
English menu (oh shame) but
steer clear of the children?s
section. We admire the
pigeon placemats with our
son, who is much taken with
a picture of a pigeon gazing
at an aeroplane.
After a meal of meltingly
tender pigeon ? what else?
? the waiter offers to show us
the charcoal oven in which
the food is cooked. He
addresses our son, ?And
what did you like best??
?The biscuits,? comes the
prompt reply, referring to
the savoury crackers
brought with our pre-dinner
drinks. The waiter laughs.
You can be as big a food
snob as you like, but a
two-year-old will always
bring you right back down to
earth. At least he didn?t eat
anything he?d dropped on
the floor this time.
THE BIG PICTURE
Dean Packer from
Bristol is this
week?s winner with
his image of
Nevada?s Death
Valley at sunrise
PEOPLE
LIKE YOU
Our feature on the acts of
kindness experienced on our
travels (?Friendship without
frontiers?, March 31)
prompted a lot of responses,
some of which are published
here. For more, see telegraph.
co.uk/tt-kindness
PILGRIM?S PROGRESS
To walk from Pershore,
Worcestershire, to Rome
and follow in the steps of
pilgrims is a special
blessing. I had announced
before setting off in 2010 the
intention of ?knocking on
doors? in the hope of being
offered accommodation.
When I tried a door in
Conches-en-Ouche,
Normandy, a woman
berated me for trespassing.
To then ask for a bed did not
seem hopeful but, in my
best French, I had a go.
About 20 minutes later I
If you have taken a photograph
that captures the weird and
wonderful in the world of
travel, email it to thebig
picture@telegraph.co.uk. You
must include a brief description
of the photograph and your
name, address and telephone
number.
The closing date for
this week?s competition
found myself sitting at a full
dinner table with a glass of
champagne singing Happy
Birthday to Michel. Fate had
decreed that I was to join a
family celebrating the
birthday of the woman?s
husband, a rocket engineer
with the Ariane European
Space programme.
After a sumptuous meal
the men retired to watch the
final of the Six Nations
rugby tournament, England
v France. When France won
in the last few moments,
relieved, I retired to bed.
CHRIS O?GRADY WINS A
�0 RAILBOOKERS
VOUCHER
KARMA IN THE BUSH
In the distance, an
overturned lorry blocked
our path. The driver took
our offer of food and water,
but declined a lift.
Hours later, we were
under our vehicle, tying the
exhaust up with a rope. A
is midnight on Tuesday,
April 10. We regret that
we are unable to accept
postal entries.
Each week the sender of the
winning entry will receive a
Nikon D3300, a lightweight
digital SLR camera, worth
�9.99. It has many features,
including a 24.2-megapixel
DX-format CMOS sensor,
allowing you to capture
few miles later, it would fall
down again. It was going to
be a long night in the
African bush.
Suddenly, out of the
blackness, a voice called:
?Do you need help?? A
logging lorry rumbled up,
the owner instructed his
men to take off the exhaust.
He inquired whether we
were the women who had
stopped for the driver with
the overturned lorry and
said he believed in karma.
The next day he delivered
the exhaust to the town?s
chief and garage owner.
CERI WILLIAMS
OUR GREEK GUIDE
On our first visit to Crete 40
years ago, I armed myself
with a small dictionary and
learnt the Greek alphabet.
Heading towards Sitia, we
checked the map and drove
down a lane enjoying the
slow journey on to the very
poor road we had joined.
high-definition images in low
light settings, and a built-in
?Guide Mode?.
The prize is provided by
Nikon (nikon.co.uk) and
Imagine Cruising
(imaginecruising.co.uk).
See telegraph.co.uk/
tt-thebigpicture for the terms
and conditions of the
competition and a gallery of
the runners-up.
But, coming towards us
a爁lock of goats and their
shepherd. Drawing near he
pointed to the ground over
and over again, each time
saying ?Potami, Potami?. As
the car stopped I reached
for the dictionary, muttering
the Greek alphabet as I
COMPETITION
WIN A �0
RAIL VOUCHER
Far be it for us in
Telegraph Travel to
suggest there?s no
need to, er, travel
abroad, but this
week as Sarah
Baxter points out in
our cover story there
are plenty of
spectacular travel
experiences to be
enjoyed here in
Britain ? from
meeting polar bears
scrabbled through it trying
to remember the Greek
characters. Then? Eureka!
?Potami? meant ?river?. The
shepherd was telling us that
we were driving along
a燿ried-up river bed. No
wonder it was bumpy.
SHEILA TAYLOR
in Scotland to
marvelling at the
Roman baths
in燘ath.
But what are
some of your
favourite sights
closer to home?
Please send your
stories for possible
publication next
week and a chance
to win a �0 gift
voucher, courtesy of
rail specialists
Railbookers (020
3780 2110;
railbookers.co.uk).
HOW TO ENTER
Please email
relevant feedback
on any of the
articles in today?s
section (no more
than 175 words
ideally) by midnight
on April 10 to
travelviews@
telegraph.co.uk.
Please make sure
you include your
contact details.
See telegraph.co.uk/
tt-travelviews
for full terms and
conditions.
17
18
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
T RU S T E D A DV I C E
TELEGRAPH
T R AV E L
COLLECTIVE
Our experts make your travel their business
NICK
TREND
CONSUMER
TRAVEL EXPERT
Transparent pricing on car hire
websites is just the beginning if
UK travellers are to be protected
T
here were some reasons to be
cheerful over Easter ? at least
as far as our campaign for
Safer, Fairer, Better Travel
goes. Regular readers of this column
will know that one of our readers?
major concerns and greatest causes for
complaint is the way that car hire is
sold and administered ? especially at
the pick-up point.
Last weekend, the Competition and
Markets Authority (CMA) ? the UK?s
primary competition and consumer
authority ? announced that it had
completed its year-long investigation
into online companies that sell car
hire in this country. The CMA?s
enforcement work was launched as a
result of its review of car rental price
comparison sites, which found many
were advertising very low headline
prices to customers by not including
all costs. This, it said, left people
paying more than expected at the
checkout, without all the information
about what they were paying for.
According to the CMA, as a result
of爄ts work to ensure that those
companies comply with UK consumer
protection law, all the leading websites
have committed to transparent pricing
that includes all compulsory costs.
Where applicable, they must include
mandatory charges such as fuel
surcharges, young driver fees and
out-of-hours pick up charges. They
must also show the amounts of any
deposits and insurance excesses,
policy on fuel charges, and what
exactly the insurance covers.
?UK customers can be more
confident they will not be hit by
hidden charges and unexpected fees,?
claims Michael Grenfell, the CMA
executive director for enforcement.
That of course is
welcome, but the bigger
problem ? at least as far as
our readers? feedback
suggests ? is what happens
when you pick your car up
overseas. What
pressure will you
MAPPING
come under to
IT OUT
buy爀xpensive
Drivers will
insurance? How
benefit from
will any damage be
costs being
detected and
detailed online
recorded, and how
much will you be
charged for it?
So, for me, the really good
news about the ending of
the CMA?s investigation in
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
SOPHIE
BUTLER
TRAVEL
EXPERT
the UK is that it says it will now extend
its inquiry and launch its first direct
action against car hire companies
based outside the UK.
?Following extensive complaints
from people encountering hidden
costs on collection of their car at the
airport abroad, the CMA is now taking
enforcement action against businesses
based overseas but selling directly to
UK customers online.? It specifically
cites ?hidden charges for fuel,
surprisingly high excess amounts and
hidden insurance costs? among its
concerns. As Grenfell pointed out:
?Just because a business is not on UK
soil doesn?t mean the law doesn?t apply
when it sells in the UK. British
consumers have a right to protection
under consumer law and the CMA will
work to ensure they receive it.? We
await the results with interest.
In July 2019 our son, his wife and
our eight-year-old granddaughter
from Australia are joining us in the
UK with our other son, his wife and
a three-year-old granddaughter, to
celebrate my 60th birthday. We
would like to rent a self-catering
villa for all eight of us to spend a
week or so in the Kassiopi area of
Corfu. We need a swimming pool
and somewhere within walking
distance of shops and restaurants.
BARBARA TEMPLE
Dear Barbara
Corfu?s verdant north-eastern
corner, around Kassiopi and
Agios Stefanos, is very popular,
and villas book up in advance, so
it?s not too early to think ahead.
Pythia is a four-bedroom,
four-bathroom villa, sleeping
eight, in the fishing village of
Kalami, which has recently been
added to the portfolio offered by
Vintage Travel (01954 261431;
vintagetravel.co.uk). It has a
private swimming pool and lies
within a short walk of shops,
cafes and a choice of tavernas.
Kassiopi is a 15-minute drive
away. This year, a July week is
�794, rental only (2019 prices
to be confirmed).
CV Villas (020 3773 9125;
cvvillas.com) can offer a couple
of options with private pools
and within walking distance of
Kassiopi, including the stonebuilt Villa Cassia, sleeping eight,
from �337 per week, and Villa
Indiana, sleeping 11, from �972
per week in July 2019.
GIC ? The Villa Collection (020
8232 9780; gicthevillacollection.
com) offers Avlaki Beach Villa,
near Avlaki Bay. Kassiopi is a
five-minute drive from this
retreat which starts at �086 per
person in July 2019, including
flights and car hire.
Of the properties offered by
James Villa Holidays (0800 074
0122; jamesvillas.co.uk), perhaps
best suited is Villa Aetos, which
can accommodate up to eight
and offers panoramic views of
Avlaki beach. Prices from
�208, rental only, in July 2019.
Simpson Travel (020 3393
4924; simpsontravel.com) also
has good options, including a
couple that overlook the bay of
Agios Stefanos.
INDEPENDENCE AT A PRICE
Also in the news over this week has
been a succession of major disruptions
to peak season travel.
It started with the fire in a car park
shuttle bus, which led to the closure of
Stansted Airport and the cancellation
of dozens of flights on Good Friday ?
one of the busiest days of the year. And
it has carried on this week with the
French rail strike, which is set to carry
on sporadically for the next three
months, and an air traffic control
glitch on Tuesday that delayed half of
Europe?s flights.
Whenever things like this happen, it
reminds me of the vulnerability of
independent travellers. When things
go wrong, trying to re-book flights,
hotels, car hire and so on is hard
enough for tour operators ? even with
all their contacts, experience and
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
MARVEL IN
THE MED
CHECKLIST: SAVING MONEY ON BAGGAGE
Be on the
look-out for
rental options
on Corfu
GILL
CHARLTON
CONSUMER
CHAMPION
I thought my train tickets were
being posted. Now I?m told they?re
e-tickets. Can GWR resolve this?
GETTY IMAGES
Q
You stand little
chance of being
looked after by
French railways
during a strike
purchasing power. For an individual
it?s a complete nightmare. What?s
more, as an independent traveller,
your rights are very limited, while if
on the other hand you were travelling
on a package holiday, the operator
would have a duty to take care of you.
Sure, an airline is legally bound
to look after you if you are stranded.
But there is no requirement to
refund you for any losses you may
incur on your accommodation, or
other arrangements you have made
that depended on you arriving on a
certain day. And frankly you stand
little chance of being looked after by
French railways if your travel plans are
knocked awry by the strike.
It?s a reminder that the price we
pay for independence can sometimes
be inconvenience ? and significant
extra costs.
I recently booked tickets
online for a return journey
from Paddington to Penzance
in Cornwall leaving later this
month. As usual, I selected first-class
post as the method of delivery and
received a confirmation email.
However, the tickets never arrived.
When I contacted Great Western
Railways I was told that I had
requested e-tickets which could only
be delivered via the GWR App.
I am certain that I did not select
this method of payment as I don?t
possess a smartphone, only a basic
mobile. I asked the GWR agent if the
method of delivery could be amended
so that, at the very least, I could print
out the e-tickets or pick them up at
the station.
The agent told me that my only
option was to cancel the tickets
(which would be refunded less a
� service fee) and rebook the
journey. The new tickets will cost
60 per cent more than my original
Advance return.
I cannot accept that there is not a
simpler way of resolving this. Surely
GWR should be able to send me an
email so that I could print out the
ticket barcodes. Please can you help.
PATRICIA CALFE
A
have yellow pads that read the
barcode on your smartphone to allow
access to the platform.
Unfortunately, it appears that the
delivery method cannot be overidden.
This is because the tickets have been
issued and can be used by anyone
who downloads them using your
GWR log-in details. The only way
forward (other than buying or
borrowing a smartphone) is to cancel
the e-tickets and buy new paper ones.
GWR will have to reissue your
tickets at the higher fare. However,
as a gesture of goodwill, it is sending
you an e-voucher for �.50 to cover
the difference in fares which can be
used to purchase an Advance fare in
the future.
Speaking more generally, one
complication of going down the new
e-ticket route is that customers can no
longer change Advance tickets online.
Formerly, they could open the
booking up online and select a new
date or time of travel, pay the �
change fee plus any difference in fare,
and a new paper ticket would be sent
in the post (as long as this was done
more than six days before travel).
Now, customers wishing to amend an
e-ticket must phone customer
services in order for a new ticket
to be issued.
The very word ?e-ticket? is
confusing when applied to
train-operating companies.
The electronic tickets now
being issued by GWR are not
traditional e-tickets. They cannot be
printed out at home and scanned in at
the station in a similar way to airline
e-tickets. If you select GWR?s e-ticket
option, you can only use them
electronically via the GWR App. They
are mobile-only tickets and should
really be called m-tickets.
I asked GWR what had
happened in your case. Its
WHAT A
customer services claims
CARRY-ON
that you must have selected
Don?t be stung
the e-ticketing option
by last-minute
unintentionally, which is
baggage
why your tickets are stored
allowance fees
on its App. GWR is currently
rolling out this mobile
service across its network.
Updated ticket gates are already in
operation at larger stations. These
Short-haul
flights often
appear cheap
? until you factor
in the additional
cost for your
luggage. The fee
for a checked-in
bag can more
than double the
basic fare.
Moreover, with
airlines imposing
their own
baggage
restrictions and
allowances, it?s
all too easy to
fall爁oul of the
rules and get
penalised for
doing so.
So it?s
definitely worth
being clear
about爈uggage
arrangements
and charges ? not
only before you
fly but also
prior爐o booking
your flight,
particularly
where you have a
choice of airlines
flying the route.
Here are some
key pointers
to consider.
HAND
LUGGAGE
ONLY
Travelling light
will save you a
packet. With
easyJet, for
example, to take
one 20kg bag as
hold luggage can
cost as much as
� return. But
hand-luggage
size and weight
limits vary and
are usually
strictly enforced
? airlines make
money from
catching
passengers out
and charging
extra to put
oversized or
overweight
bags in the
hold. Typically,
the weight
allowance is
10kg, but easyJet
imposes no limit,
while with Tui
Airways it?s
normally a
miserly 5kg.
British Airways?
hand-luggage
allowance of two
bags (including
a爏maller
handbag/laptop
case) is one of the
most generous
for short-haul
flights ? and
particularly
worth knowing
about given that
BA offers
lower-priced
hand-baggageonly fares.
RYANAIR?S
SYSTEM
The Irish airline
now lets you
take only one
small bag (such
as a handbag/
laptop case) into
the cabin for
free. To be able
to take on a
regular-sized
carry-on bag as
well, you need to
pay an additional
� return for
?Priority & 2
Cabin Bags?, or
buy a more
expensive Plus/
Flexi ticket.
Otherwise, you
have to hand
over the larger
bag at the gate
for it to be put in
the hold (free
of燾harge, in
this燾ase).
HOLD
LUGGAGE
Changing your
mind about how
much luggage
you need at the
last minute is an
expensive
luxury. The fees
for travelling
with checked-in
luggage are
expensive
enough when
you book in
advance, but
can double if
you pay at the
airport instead
? for example,
� per bag
each way with
Jet2.com.
Note: given
that checked-in
bags are often
essential when
travelling with
children, with
Ryanair it can
work out a bit
cheaper to opt
for its baggageinclusive Family
Plus fares.
LIMITS AND
EXCESSES
There is also the
risk of being
stung by hefty
excess baggage
fees. Among the
highest are
Flybe?s, at �
per kilo over the
limit. Some
airlines let you
?pool? your
total weight
allowance with
friends and
family on the
same booking.
So if your bag is
a couple of kilos
over the limit,
that can be
offset by your
companion?s
bag weighing a
few under.
Ryanair and
easyJet allow
this, but not all
airlines do. So if
in doubt, check.
Fred Mawer
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS
TO GILL CHARLTON,
NICK TREND AND OUR
DESTINATION EXPERTS
If you have had a problem with
your holiday or travel
arrangements, contact our
trouble-shooter Gill Charlton, or
our consumer expert Nick Trend
at the email address below.
We also have more than
150 destination experts all over
the world who can help with
suggestions for great places to
stay, to eat and to visit.
Please email all questions to
asktheexperts@telegraph.
co.uk, giving your full name and,
if your query is about a dispute
with a travel company, your
address, telephone number and
any booking reference. We
regret that we cannot
personally answer all the
queries we receive, but your
email will be acknowledged.
19
20
***
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
AVIATION
Have plane
seats really
shrunk?
I
t has become a key
question when booking
your flight. Just how much
legroom will you get?
And then there?s the
follow-up: where did all
that space you remember
from decades ago
disappear to? Surely you haven?t got
that much taller ? or indeed wider ? in
the interim?
Sadly, exact specifications for older
aircraft are hard to come by. Only after
passengers started feeling the squeeze
did publications such as The Telegraph
start keeping track of legroom and seat
width. But economy class ?pitch? on
early jet airliners ? the distance
between two rows of seats ? generally
ranged from 34 to 36 inches. The
Boeing 707, for example, which
entered service in 1958 and is widely
credited with ushering in the ?Jet
Age?, offered 34 inches. So, too, did the
first 747s, operated by the likes of Pan
Am and TWA.
This all started to change in the
Eighties. In 1981, The New York Times
reported that manufacturers were, for
the first time, starting to cut seat pitch
in economy from the ?industry
standard? of between 34 and 35 inches
to just 32. A McDonnell Douglas
executive tried to justify the changes:
?With newer, less bulky seats, you
might get as much legroom with the
32 inches pitch as you would with the
34 inches,? he claimed. So began the
ongoing trend for increasing profits by
squeezing in as many passengers as
physically possible.
The Consumers
Union, a US
watchdog, began
keeping tabs on
seat爌itch in 1985.
Its records clearly
demonstrate how
America?s four
biggest airlines
(American, Delta,
United and
Southwest) have
cut legroom over
the past three
decades. In 1985,
Southwest offered
as much as 35
inches, while
United?s upper
limit in economy
was 36. None of
the four went
below 31. Fast forward to 2018 and
none of the four go above 33, while
three (American, Delta and United) go
as low as 30.
In 1990, The Telegraph compared
seat pitch on a handful of airlines,
including BA and Virgin. For long-haul
flights, Lufthansa, Qantas and Virgin
offered 34 inches in economy, while BA
offered between 31燼nd 34, depending
on the aircraft. Now only Qantas offers
more than 31 inches (its Boeing 787s
offer 32), while Virgin goes as low as 29.
CREDIT
Airlines are boosting
profits by squeezing as
many passengers on to
their planes as possible,
writes Oliver Smith
THE ISSUE OF WIDTH
How plane seats have shrunk
Typically 30 years ago
Seat pitch
(legroom)
PITCH
BATTLE
Adding seats to
planes often means
less space for
passengers
34 inches
Width
20 inches
And the worst found now
Airlines that offer below 29 inches of seat pitch
Thomas Cook Airlines, TAP Portugal, Tui Airways, Spirit
Airlines (US), Spring Airlines (China), Thai Airways,
Frontier Airlines (US), Iberia (Spain), LATAM Brasil
Airlines that offer below 17 inches of width
Air Transat (Canada), American, Delta, Nok Air
(Thailand), United, Saudia, Turkish Airlines
BEAT THE SQUEEZE
HOW LOW DO THEY GO?
The 29 inches found on Virgin
Atlantic?s A330s is pretty rare for a
long-haul airline, and only applies to
eight seats on each of three A330200s. In January the consumer
magazine Which? examined more than
30 carriers and only found two that
offer less than 30 inches on long-haul
flights: Virgin and Thomas Cook
Airlines. The website SeatGuru
reveals a few more, such as China
Southern, WOW air (Iceland), Lion
Air (Indonesia) and Vanilla Air (Japan).
For short-haul flights it is another
matter. Dozens now offer as little as 29
inches, including BA, Vueling, easyJet,
Economy class passengers have lost up
to eight inches of legroom since the
so-called golden age of flying. But
manufacturers will regularly suggest
that it is seat width, not pitch, that
really matters when it comes to
comfort. A spokesman for Boeing
claimed that ?single-aisle aeroplane
seat widths have remained constant for
more than 60 years. They are the same
width since the 707 opened up the
world for economy class passengers?.
Research, however, suggests
otherwise. In 1985, according to the
Consumers Union, none of America?s
big four airlines offered less than 19
inches of width. Now, 17 inches is the
norm, and United goes as low as 16.
Narrower seats mean there?s room
for more. British Airways recently
faced criticism over plans to install a
new 10-abreast configuration on some
of its 777s. But it was only following
in the wake of most other airlines.
United, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air,
Emirates, Air France and Qatar are
doing likewise. On the 787, eightabreast was popular at first, but now
nine is seen as the magic number.
And we could soon see the first
11-abreast aircraft. A number of airlines,
including Air France, have flirted with
the idea, first put forward by Airbus
back in 2015, of爌urchasing an A380
with 11 seats in爀ach row. That?s a
three-five-three燾onfiguration.
Boeing might point to slimline seats
and ?composite materials?, but even if
comfort is not compromised by
cutting seat pitch, cramming more
people onto the same plane certainly
makes it feel more crowded. What?s
more, planes today fly at much closer
to capacity than they did in the past. In
2017 the average passenger load factor,
for all airlines around the world, was
81.4 per cent, in 2011 it was 78.1 per
cent, and in 2005 it was 75.1 per cent.
Before 2000, around 70 per cent was
the norm.
28 inches
LACKING
LEGROOM?
Tell us about your
experience at
travelviews@
telegraph.
co.uk
Jet2.com, Norwegian and Aurigny,
while some have taken things even
further and dropped to 28.
Boeing concedes that seat pitch has
been reduced (by three inches, on
average, for long-haul flights, it
says). But it adds: ?Today?s seat pitch
and seat design ... provide similar, if not
improved, comfort from the bulky
metallic structure and foam-dense
designs used in the past. In general, the
16 inches
new seat designs and materials provide
two to three inches of ?equivalent pitch?
over older seat designs.?
No airline has dared to offer less than
28 inches. But this prospect is quite
possible. Airline interiors manufacturer
Zodiac Aerospace is just one firm to
have pitched concept cabins with 27
inches of pitch, something it says is
possible thanks to ultra slimline seats.
No airlines have taken the bait ? yet.
Seats are shrinking, they are being
pushed closer together, and airlines
are packing more of us into the same
space. So what?s the solution? You
could lessen the nightmare by opting
for an airline that offers more. Ryanair,
trumps many short-haul rivals when it
comes to legroom, offering 30 inches.
SeatGuru?s comprehensive website at
seatguru.com lists the best and worst
performers for both short-haul and
long-haul flights. You could also fork
out for premium economy. Upgrades
are often available for a small sum
? ask at the check-in desk.
Or why not treat yourself to airport
lounge access, then you can at least
put your feet up for an hour before
having your knees crushed for three.
21
22
***
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
T R AV E L O N T R I A L
We road test the latest experiences ? so you can just get out there?
BACK
IN燭HE
SADDLE
Lindsay Mabry
and Sarah Ivens,
right, stayed at
Dos Brias ranch,
Texas, main
WORTH A TRY?
THE VERDICT
GIDDY-UP PARDNER
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
From lacklustre to
yee-haw in 48 hours
Discovering her inner
cowgirl on a luxurious
Texas ranch gave
Sarah Ivens a
much-needed kickstart
T
exas is renowned for
being big, bold and
brash. It?s the
American state of
self-belief and
stamina whose
self-proclaimed
motto is ?come and
take it?, a rallying cry to all who live ?
or visit ? to be confident, daring and
brave. It is the place where selfconfidence has turned farmers into
oil billionaires and helped put
astronauts on the moon.
And all this, I figure, makes
it燼爃opeful place to counter a
midlife燾risis.
Having turned 42, as a freelance
writer and a mother to two young
children, I was feeling a bit wobbly
and stretched, away from the
cheerleading boost of being part of an
office team.
Working alone from home can be a
challenge, the temptation to doubt
yourself and become insular very real. I
knew I needed something to get me out
into the big, wide world again, to test a
few boundaries. And then I heard about
the Lone Star weekend at The Inn at
Dos Brisas, a ranch in the wilds of
Texas, an hour from Houston, where
outdoor living and a good dose of
horseplay in luxurious surroundings
promised to turn my lacklustre mood
into a resounding yee-haw in 48 hours.
?To soak in the infinity
pool after riding through
wild terrain, watching
butterflies the size
of helicopters in fields
of flowers, is to truly
forget city life exists?
LINDSAY MABRY, 42,
ACTOR, ATHENS
Driving onto the estate?s 313 acres of
rolling pastures and organic farmland,
crooning along to local boys Kenny
Rogers and Willie Nelson playing on
the radio, the fresh blast of possibility
was immediately tangible. After
settling into the hacienda (complete
with a private heated plunge pool
overlooking the miniature ponies?
paddock, a gigantic bath tub lined
with an assortment of herbal Epsom
salts for soaking and a selection of
Dick Francis novels), I perused my
itinerary over a hearty farm-to-fork
媼媼�
The combination of five-star
luxury with the Western
wiles and ways of the staff
and activities at this
charming ranch makes it
a爌erfect spot to learn
and爎elax.
dinner. The ranch has
Texas?s only Forbes爁ivestar rated restaurant ? and
the prickly pear cactus
sorbet turned out to be a
delicious revelation.
YEE-HAW!
I love to be outdoors, to
媼媼
have my cobwebs blown
The instructors try their best,
away by bright sunshine
but not everyone is a natural
and a warm breeze. But
cowgirl. Embracing nature
could I cope with doing
means being confident
this while on a horse? I
enough to admit your
hadn?t ridden for 10 years
weaknesses, and celebrate
and had never been a
your strengths. If your
natural, but I was keen to
talent lies in s?moresget back in the saddle. I
building, then you can
returned to my hacienda
focus on that.
under a blanket of stars
and was soon tucked up in
AFTER DARK
bed, where I was lured to
媼�
sleep by the sounds of
Don?t come to the inn
crickets and the glow of a
expecting nightlife.
log fire, to dream of trails
Everything is pitch-black as
and swishing tails.
soon as the sun goes down,
The horses at Dos Brisas
and entertainment is centred
are treated just as well as
on a relaxing read by
the human guests, with
firelight. But to be fair,
their own team of personal
this is all your body will
trainers, allergists,
want after a day outside!
nutritionists, masseurs and
a personal chef. This may
explain their good nature. I
climbed on to my horse, Kiss, and as
my cowboy boots rested against her
flanks I felt ready for anything.
We set off on a trail through the
rocky landscape, under canopies of
Spanish moss, over babbling streams
and through fields of Texas
bluebonnets. Snakes and lizards
darted alongside us as a hawk circled
overhead. Despite the challenges of
the foreign terrain, I felt strong and
prepared, thanks to my lovely guide
and, of course, the sure-footed Kiss.
Two hours in, I had a huge desire to
ride until sunset (it was only midday)
but my body was already starting to
ache for a bath of Epsom salts.
However, cowgirls don?t get
a lot of rest so it was straight on
to the shooting practice after
returning to the ranch and saying
goodbye to Kiss.
?Some guests really take to this and
get all Annie Oakley about it,? my
instructor informed me, as she loaded
clay pigeons into a nearby contraption.
I was nervous handling the
gun, which felt cumbersome in
my grip, but with careful instruction
I focused and pulled the trigger into
the sky. It was soon obvious, after
hitting just two of the 10 ?pigeons?,
that I was not a natural. Annie can
keep her gun!
I soon decided that I was better
suited to a gentle canter (but note
that all levels of riding ability are
welcome) through a forest trail.
There was also the option of fishing
and archery to continue my cowgirl
training, but the tub was calling
my aching limbs. This was followed
by an evening spent around the
campfire with other guests devouring
s?mores (a marshmallow-and-
?You are in this hacienda
with a fabulous fireplace
and amazing soaking
tub, then you step
outside to ranch life:
authentic small-town
Texas and good, downhome cooking?
COURTNEY BEAVER, 33,
TRAVEL AGENT, AUSTIN
chocolate sandwich roasted over the
flames): the perfect end to the day.
My time on the ranch reminded me
how exhilarating it is to step outside of
what I know and to try new things and
meet different people. It helped me
recall the times I?d taken on challenges
before ? and succeeded. This ?
alongside the fresh air and time to
myself ? definitely gave my spirits a
boost, and I returned home with
increased confidence and a swagger in
my cowboy boots.
The Lone Star Package at The Inn at
Dos燘risas (dosbrisas.com) from
$1,250 (�9) per room, per night,
including breakfast, lunch, dinner
and activities. Forest Therapy:
Seasonal Ways to Embrace Nature
for a Happier You by Sarah Ivens is
available from April 19 (Piatkus),
priced �.99.
23
24
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
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The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
25
***
KARMA
COMEDIAN
Bangkok, the
Maldives and
the Monkey Bar
in Mumbai
RUSSELL HOWARD
MY LIFE
IN TRAVEL
The comedian is happy to go anywhere,
as long as the sun?s shining and he can
hang out with quirky local characters
DUBLIN HAS A WILD ENERGY
I can feel in the audience whenever
I?m in the city for my gigs. I
love燚ublin and the locals are
extraordinary. I?m also a Liverpool
football fan, so I have been enjoying
the city a lot more recently for
the爂ames.
I HAD MY BAD KARMA
REMOVED at a temple in Bangkok
where I learned how to kick-box at a
kick-boxing school. I visited
Thailand as well as India with my
mum recently, and we?ve had some
very interesting experiences.
RATS ARE WORSHIPPED at the
Karni Mata Temple in India, and it
was fascinating to visit. We also
watched a cacao ceremony [a sacred
ritual centred around the plant] on
Koh Phangan island in Thailand.
MUMBAI WAS MAGICAL which I
was really surprised by, and I got an
insight into the world of Bollywood
while hanging out with some the
stars while I was there.
THE MOST MEMORABLE PLACES
sneak up on you, such as the Monkey
Bar in Mumbai, where I had an
incredible night out. The food?s
amazing and I love the Eighties tunes
they play.
I LOVE SLICES OF AMERICANA
like meeting cannabis growers in
Portland and hanging out with
cowboys in a place called Fossil in
Oregon, during the trip with my mum
for the latest
television series
I?m doing.
WE MET FOLKS
who were
abducted by
UFOs, or at least
they claimed to
have been. It was
a pretty remote
place and there
were only around 400 people
living爐here.
LOS ANGELES FEELS EMPTY and
overrated. I struggle with it as
a爃oliday destination. It?s the sort
of爌lace where you really need to
know爏ome locals, otherwise it just
feels so empty. Plus the traffic is
so爎ubbish.
THE BEST PLACE FOR READING is
the Maldives. I was there for a
relaxing week-long break last
Bring a likeable weirdo
on your travels then go
with them to the ends
of the Earth
year and really enjoyed reading
Shantaram by Gregory
David Roberts.
A PERFECT HOLIDAY entails
sunshine. Books and good food
are燼lso a must, and I had all three
of爐hose things in the燤aldives.
I爏tayed in a hut on stilts, so it
was爀asy to just slide into
the爏ea燼nd爂o爁or a swim
before燽reakfast.
GETTY
I LIKE STRANGE CHARACTERS
such as when I once met a man in a
bar in Copenhagen with half a
rainbow-coloured beard.
I?M A VERY EARLY RISER on
holiday, so I am invariably down at
the爌ool on a sun lounger even
before燼nyone has the chance to put a
towel on one.
IT KILLS ME when you?ve been
promised sun and it doesn?t arrive,
like when I went to Mexico a few
years ago and the weather was
disappointingly average.
COLOGNE
NEW YORK?S NIGHTLIFE is special,
and I always love hanging out with
friends there like John Oliver
[the燾omedian].
LONDON IS SO BEAUTIFUL in the
summer, and I love spending it in
Regent?s Park and the Edinboro
BRING A LIKEABLE WEIRDO on
your travels, then go with them to the
ends of the Earth. Also travel with
someone positive and pack a
good燽ook.
I like the scents from Hugo
Boss and always bring some
with me on my travels.
From �; hugoboss.com
I?M 38 AND PAST CARING about
grooming on a plane, so I just put on
a hoodie, zip myself up and look
like爐he Kenny character from the
South Park cartoon series.
I HAD THE WETTEST HOLIDAY
ever in Bournemouth as a kid. Our
family holidays were always in the
UK until that one, which was so
rainy that we went abroad after it.
Our first trip was to Lanzarote
followed by camping holidays
in燜rance.
I RECOMMEND BOOKING a really
bad hotel, to begin with, that is, and
then moving to a very good one ? it
will make you fully appreciate
your爃oliday.
Castle pub in Camden, which
has爐he燽est beer garden for
a爏ummer燿rink.
ALL THE GEAR
HEADPHONES
These noise-cancelling
headphones from Beats
are爄ncredible.
�7.90; amazon.co.uk
TRAINERS
I?m always in
trainers and I?ve got
several pairs from
K-Swiss, which
I love.
From �;
kswiss.com
I?D LOVE TO TRAVEL around South
America. I?ve never been there, but
also want to return to Liberia where
I visited a village last year for Comic
Relief. I met some children there who
had been affected by the Ebola
outbreak. It would be great to know
how they?re doing.
Interview by Roz Lewis
Russell Howard & Mum: USA Road
Trip airs on Comedy Central (Sky
112; Virgin 132) through April.
Russell also recently hosted the
annual Teenage Cancer Trust
concert at The Royal Albert Hall.
For more information about Russell,
visit russell-howard.co.uk
26
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
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uld
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ESSENTIALS
GETTY IMAGES
12
Doze the afternoon away, with half
an eye open in case a hawksbill turtle
emerges from the waves to bury her
eggs on the beach. Resume the contest
in fading light when enormous fruit
bats are on the wing, casting shadows
over the serpentine 16th fairway.
Lemuria is the only 18-hole course
in the Seychelles and the archipelago
does not feature on the radar of golf
tourism. Golf is a bonus, on top of so
many other things to enjoy: a boat trip
to a nearby island inhabited by
ground-nesting terns and giant
tortoises born in the Victorian era,
perhaps; or a bike ride to Praslin?s
Vall閑 de Mai nature reserve, with its
BA (ba.com) flies non-stop
to both the Seychelles and
Mauritius. Chaka Travel
(02890 232112; chakagolf.
com) offers packages
including golf, flights and
transfers priced as
follows�(per person in a
shared room):
�
Twin centre: five nights
at Constance Lemuria,
Seychelles (B&B) plus
five爊ights at Constance
Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius
(HB): �295.
�
Seychelles: seven nights
at Constance Lemuria,
�995 (B&B).
�
Mauritius: seven nights
at Constance Belle Mare
Plage, �325 (including
half board and pro-am
entry); Constance Prince
Maurice: �035.00 (B&B
and pro-am entry).
GOLF
�
Lemuria 6,100yd par 70;
Legend 6,650yd, par 72;
Links 6,500yd par 71. Golf
is free for hotel residents;
buggies chargeable, except
for Prince Maurice
residents.
�
MCB Championship
(European Senior Tour)
Dec 7-9; amateur
competitions including
pro-am from Dec 3. See also
constancehotels.com
black parrots and coco de mer trees, of
the suggestively shaped nuts that are
so relentlessly exploited to promote
the Seychelles? ?Islands of Love?
image. The greatest treat is doing
nothing in the balmy seclusion of
Lemuria, keeping quiet with the lights
low, so as not to disturb the turtles.
Although BA has relaunched direct
flights from the UK to the Seychelles,
there?s every reason to twin Lemuria
with a golfing stopover in Dubai or
Mauritius. The latter involves more
flying but seemed to me the more
tempting destination, with its mix of
French, Dutch and British influences.
Compared with an eagle or
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
13
FIVE TO PLAY IN 2018
ROYAL PORTRUSH,
NORTHERN IRELAND
(DUNLUCE COURSE,
THE OPEN 2019)
On a grand stretch of coast
between Bushmills
distillery and the Giant?s
Causeway, one of the
world?s best championship
links just got better, thanks
to the R&A?s decision to
take The Open back to the
home of Clarke and
McDowell, where McIlroy,
above right, holds the
course record (61). A land
grab from the course next
door has given the Dunluce
two new holes before the
turn, and its notorious
knee-trembler, a 210yd
do-or-die par three known
as Calamity Corner, is now
the 16th. Fly to Derry, stay
at Bushmills Inn and play
Castlerock and the Strand
at Portstewart while you?re
at it (irishgolfbreaks.com).
�Green fee: �0 (April,
October); �5 (summer)
(royalportrushgolfclub.
com)
TEE TIME
The Constance
Lemuria, above;
Belle Mare Plage,
left; Hotel Prince
Maurice, right
albatross, the flightless dodo
may not be the most
auspicious swing thought,
but Mauritius has taken off as a golf
destination and now has luxury resort
hotels and at least a dozen courses by
big-name designers spread around its
200-mile (320km) coastline.
After the reverential calm of
Lemuria, the bustle of a golf resort in
full swing is quite a shock. As well as
having twice as many inmates, Belle
Mare Plage is more open and sociable,
with hawkers selling sarongs on the
beach and loud music in the air after
supper. Conversation between
strangers at breakfast is not unknown.
WHISTLING STRAITS,
USA (STRAITS COURSE,
THE RYDER CUP 2020)
CLUB, NORWAY
At 68 degrees north,
greens and fairways may
not be billiard-table
smooth, but the world?s
northernmost 18-hole
course is a spectacular
links challenge in a
mountain-backed seaside
location open to the
midnight sun. Fly to
Evenes or Svolvaer, hire a
car, stay in a Links Lodge
for escapism and scenery,
or in Svolvaer for cultural
exchange (golfbreaks.com).
�Green fee: � (18 holes).
Summer packages include
48 hours of unlimited golf
(lofotenlinks.no).
Golf is a great mixer, and my visit in
early December has coincided with a
week when Belle Mare and its two
courses fill for a week of competitive
action and lively socialising. All the
leading lights of the European Senior
Tour turn up for the last event on their
calendar, the MCB Tour Championship,
while amateurs play in the pro-am and
their own competition for prizes in
various handicap categories.
At least one water hazard on every
hole, most of them visited, is my
lasting impression of Belle Mare?s
trophy course, Legend. I had a
sneaking preference for its junior
partner, Links, a more undulating and
varied layout with outcrops of black
lava and the stump of an old
watchtower beside the 18th green.
I?m not sure I?d choose it for a match
of mixed singles, though. The ladies?
200yd start at the 10th, a 350yd par
five, is calculated to humiliate us, and
it was soon followed by a 175yd
par爁our, not to mention three short
holes of around or under 100yd. Some
women of my acquaintance would
take exception to being patronised this
way, but the two Frenchwomen I
played with didn?t seem to mind.
Mireille and Marie France met in the
pro-am several years ago, when their
professionals were Philip Walton and
After the conclusion of
hostilities, aim for the next
battlefield: Whistling
Straits, host-in-waiting to
War on the Shore,
Wisconsin-style. The
Straits course that Pete Dye
made for bathroom
furniture tycoon Herb
Kohler is a convincing
faux-links complete with
mighty dunes, fierce
bunkering, oceanic views
and a wind that whistles off
Lake Michigan. In a more
sheltered parkland vein,
the River Course at
Blackwolf Run is equally
good, and there are two
more courses to play
from the luxury of The
American Club at Kohler,
a campus-like village
two hours? drive from
Chicago O?Hare
(yourgolftravel.com).
�Green fee: US $300
(�3) plus caddie fee/tip
(americanclubresort.com).
GOLF NATIONAL,
FRANCE (L?ALBATROS
COURSE, THE RYDER
CUP 2018)
You and I may not be able
to drive our golf balls down
the Champ de Mars from a
practice tee halfway up the
Eiffel Tower, as rival Ryder
Cup captains Bjorn and
Furyk did last year, but we
can take our sticks to
Versailles and play Le Golf
National, below, where
Europe and the US go head
to head in September.
Bring plenty of ammo,
because L?Albatros is a
stern test with heavy rough
and tough water holes.
Hotel on site (brittany-
Gary Marks. Did I know them? Not
personally, but Walton did win the
Ryder Cup. ?Mon Dieu!? said Mireille.
?He seemed, well, so normal.? That?s
typical of the relaxed Seniors scene.
They compete hard on the course but
know how to relax afterwards, and
they don?t behave like celebrities.
After our round we headed back to
the Legend to see the final moments of
the professionals? championship.
Following a blistering front nine,
Barry Lane held off Paul Broadhurst,
who eagled the last to Barry?s birdie;
leaving defending champion Colin
Montgomerie one shot further back.
ferries.co.uk/golf).
�Green fee �5 (April),
�0 (summer); (golfnational.com). Course
closed in September for
the Ryder Cup and for two
weeks before the French
Open (June 28-July 1).
LOFOTEN LINKS GOLF
SOUTH CAPE OWNERS
CLUB, SOUTH KOREA
With d閠ente in the air, the
timing is right for a Korea
move. Laced around a
forest-clad rocky headland,
South Cape has hardened
reviewers purring about
Cypress Point eating its
heart out, and comes with
a superb spa hotel. Fifteen
miles from Sacheon
airport, it fits with a golf
break on the island of Jeju,
as offered by Pinnacle
Travel (pinnacle-travel.
com), whose ?flop shot?
package will provide access
to the exclusive Nine
Bridges Club.
�Green fee: �0 (weekdays); (southcape.co.kr).
?My wife and I have been coming
since 1996,? Lane told the gallery at the
presentation. ?Mauritius is the best
place on earth.?
For guests who want the golf
without the party atmosphere,
Belle Mare?s close neighbour and sister
hotel the Prince Maurice replaces
disco boom with soft piano music and
offers a step up in luxury, seclusion
and price: a Bond Street boutique to
Belle Mare?s Oxford Street store.
Tucked among banyan trees and
mangroves, villas and suites on stilts
overlook the barachois, an estuary
lake with a floating restaurant and
cocktail bar.
With no sea turtles to worry
about, underwater lighting is
permissible here. A shark flitted
in and out of view beneath our feet
as we dined.
Free golf for residents of Belle Mare
Plage and the Prince Maurice is a
powerful incentive to stay put. Two
top-notch courses are enough for a
short stay and my plan to research
some alternatives came to grief when
I misjudged the depth of water at low
tide, took the plunge and skinned my
hands on a rock. That ruled out golf or
hiring a car, but I did research the first
aid facilities燼t the Prince Maurice.
They?re first class.
14
Saturday 7 April 2018 The Daily Telegraph
***
HOTELSEEKER
Expert reviews of the world?s great places to stay
INDIAN RETREAT
Meditations
on the sound
of silence
Caroline Sylger Jones
finds inner peace in the
stillness of a Rajasthan
hotel that aims to
cleanse body and mind
I
am sitting up in bed,
propped by a cascade of
soft white pillows,
watching a yellow Indian
sun rise over the hilltop
outside my window.
Mandalas created from
fresh marigold petals
grace my marble floor, and there are
orange marigolds hand-painted on the
walls to match. I am sipping ?bed tea?
? a ginger and black concoction left
discreetly outside my room that
morning alongside some hand-rolled
oat and honey energy balls ? and
?journaling? my morning thoughts
into a Moleskine notebook, a practice
that helps you clear your head of
thoughts, ready for the day. As my
hand moves quickly across the page to
let the dull, annoying and joyous
things in my life out through ink, I feel
a sense of liberation. After about
40爉inutes, I pause.
This is my morning ritual each day
in suite number 43 at Raas Devigarh, a
splendid palace fortress above the
large village of Delwara in Rajasthan,
created in 1760 and now a hotel with
elaborate ramparts to dream on and
bowls of fresh marigold and rose petals
at every turn. I?m here on a five-night
?ila-only? Devi Blessing retreat,
devised by British spa brand ila to be
bespoke, private and bookable all year
round for three, five or nine nights.
Named after the Indian goddess
Devi, who is believed to represent all
women, the retreats aim to recalibrate
your whole system. They include daily
two-hour treatments and two daily
one-to-one (optional) sessions of yoga
and meditation. You can also choose,
as I have, to be supported in a
period爋f silence.
Silence has been practised in almost
all monastic traditions as a way of
slowing down, reconnecting with the
self and improving mental and
physical health, and an increasing
number of retreats in the West are
including it as part of their menu.
While being in silence can give us a
real sense of peace, what?s more
beneficial is the space it offers to find
out what is really going on in our
bodies and minds, away from everyday
chatter and activity.
It?s important that we choose our
silence, as the ancient desert hermits
would have done, so that we feel in
control of it and able to use it to our
advantage rather than disappearing
into a lonely space. I?ve experienced
retreats in silence before, but they?ve
been Buddhist in flavour and always
communal, when you are supported in
an organised setting and nourished by
the energy of a group. My secular and
solitary silence at Raas Devigarh is
understandably and notably different.
I?ve pre-ordered my meals, discussed
my daily timetable with yoga and
meditation teacher Faraz, been
encouraged to journal each morning
on rising, and then sent gently into
silence for three of my five nights.
I quite quickly slip into a soothing
I do my yoga on
the ramparts,
joined by limegreen parakeets
routine of journaling, yoga, breakfast,
treatment, down time, meditation,
supper and bed. I find that because I
am alone, Faraz?s intelligent and
empathetic presence is vital to the
success of my retreat. He reminds me
to be ?mindful? ? to try to be aware of
what I?m doing when I?m doing it and
in the present moment ? and I can talk
to him about any practical concerns I
might have at any time.
On Buddhist retreats, you are
required not to read, draw or write,
but I find that my reading, sketching
and journaling here are a muchneeded solace and form of
mindfulness. Being able to indulge in
them becomes part of the pleasure of
being silent at a hotel rather than on
an organised retreat. I am, however,
entirely happy ? one might
say infinitely joyous ? to
switch off my iPhone
and燾omputer.
After journaling each day
I choose to do my own yoga
practice on the palace?s
wonderful top ramparts,
with romantic views of the
colourful village and
countryside beyond. I?m
often joined by a band of
lime-green parakeets, who
perch on the railings and
joyously screech each time I
move into a pose as if to say,
?Hey guys! Just take a look
at this one over here!?
Guests new to yoga can
instead have a private
session with Faraz.
Next is a breakfast of a
?pure alkaline? juice such as
celery, cucumber and
ginger, alongside a turmeric
latte (very yummy), a huge
pot of green tea, and eggs if
I?m hungry, served
courteously on the
restaurant terrace by smiling
white-suited waiters while I
listen to an Indian flautist play
in the spa garden
below and focus on
CURES FOR
sketching to filter
THE SOUL
out the gentle
Comfort and
chatter of guests.
beauty help
At 10.30am I
guests find
saunter to the
mindfulness
ila-only spa, which
is gracefully clad in
marble, wood and pale green
cushions strewn with ila?s
signature heart chakra design.
Here I enjoy a light steam and
a chill in the salt cave stacked
with Himalayan rock salt (I
test it ? it?s real) before an
11am, two-hour ?Devi
Blessing?. Chosen after a
consultation to爓ork on
rebalancing whichever of my
chakras appear most out of
whack, most of the treatments
pivot on a scrub and a massage and are
infinitely relaxing and often sleepinducing. I am especially intrigued by
the Prayer of the Earth, which is
timetabled on my first day to ground
me after the long journey, and requires
me to sit on a ?smoking stool? while
frankincense burns beneath my
innermost parts before I lie down for a
deliciously deep, slow body rub.
I spend most afternoons horizontal,
sunbathing and reading, or swimming
multiple lengths in the huge blackmarbled pool. The call to prayer from
Delwara at around 4.15pm rouses me
to go back to my room and potter
before changing for an early evening
relaxation session of Yoga Nidra, Yin
Yoga, meditation or chanting with
Faraz. My favourite place for these is
The Ram Room, a charming, opensided room named after the Hindu
story of Rama and Sita, where the
walls are scrawled with an elegant,
ancient script ? the handiwork of the
The Daily Telegraph Saturday 7 April 2018
***
NATURAL
HAVEN
Caroline,
left, enjoys
the爄dyllic
surroundings
sadhu who used to live here,
Faraz tells me, when the
palace was a ruin.
Suppers after the sessions are by
candlelight at a table for one on the
terrace. Like the activities, meals
here can be as indulgent or as
cleansing as you choose.
While I eat mainly off
the wellness menu
with dishes such as
lemon coriander
vegetable soup,
chargrilled zucchini
and broccoli with
garlic-infused spiced
tomato salsa, I also
enjoy one glass of
fantastic red wine each
night and on the last evening
I treat myself to a sensational
chocolate fondant pudding. Why not?
No one?s telling.
I barely register the presence of
other guests and don?t feel lonely or
unusual when I dine or sit by the pool
alone. This wouldn?t be the case at
every hotel, but Raas Devigarh feels
discreet enough, with enough solo
guests, for it not to be an issue.
There?s a giant, hand-painted swing
in one of the courtyards, and most
nights after supper I take myself there
to swing like a child under the stars
with no one about, the heady scent of
queen of the night flowers in my nose.
I have a rose petal bath in my room
one evening, and I often return from
supper to find poems (such as ?Music
SILENT STAYS: THREE OF THE BEST
SHARPHAM
HOUSE,
DEVON
You can choose
secular
mindfulness
retreats in a
gorgeous
Palladian-style
mansion, nature
meditation
retreats under
canvas in the
woodland or
Buddhist
retreats at The
Barn at this
inspirational
550-acre estate
alongside a
three-mile
stretch of the
river Dart near
Totnes in
Devon. Chunks
of time,
including some
meals, are spent
in silence on
most retreats to
deepen mindful
awareness, and
all retreats move
into silence
after�m.
�Three nights?
full board from
�5 (single
room): 01803
732542;
sharphamtrust.
org
YOBABA
LOUNGE,
FRANCE
From 8.30pm
until noon the
following day is
always a period
of ?noble silence?,
where speaking
is not permitted
unless it is
completely
essential. The
silences are a
key爁eature of
the爁ive-day
well-being
retreats that
run燽etween
April and
October at this
bohemian
chateau in the
foothills of the
Pyrenees. You
can also stay
here爌rivately
between group
retreats, when
you will rise in
silence and
remain silent
until breakfast at
10am. The
retreats pivot on
delicious raw
food meals and
?embodied
meditation?, a
practice which
teaches you to
focus on the
power of mindful
breath and use
yogic movement
to rejuvenate
body and mind.
�All-inclusive
four-night
retreat from
�5pp, based on
two sharing a
double room:
0033 647 23
49�;
yobabalounge.
com
SUAN MOKKH,
THAILAND
For Vipassana
meditation in the
forest, Suan
Mokkh Buddhist
monastery at
Chaiya, north of
Surat Thani, runs
popular, highly
affordable and
deeply effective
10-day silent
meditation
retreats every
month at its
International
Dharma
and Silence? by Rumi) or pieces of
prose (such as ?What is a Goddess??)
to reflect on before bed.
Very quickly, in such a rarefied
atmosphere, my tension unravels, and
free of the chit-chat that goes with
daily communication, ideas
about my life pop up for me
to examine. I have
nothing especially to
?sort? ? my body and
mind need to rest and
reboot for the same
reasons of ?busyness?
that most of us have.
Being quiet
undoubtedly quickens
the pace of this process,
though my surroundings
are not wholly quiet. I?m in
India, after all, and though the
hotel and grounds are tranquil, sounds
often call to me in the dista
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