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The Sunday Times Travel - 18 March 2018

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March 18, 2018
Have a
ball in
cultured
Vienna
4
George
Ezra?s
travel
mishaps
22
How to bike
? or hike ?
the world?s
best spots
12
TRAVEL
SECTION OF
THE YEAR
Seductive Seychelles
Maroon yourself in the Indian Ocean with a new direct f light 6
2 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
IN DEFENCE OF
THE HOLIDAY
REOFFENDERS
DUNCAN
CRAIG
Deputy Travel Editor
W
hat a bunch of
unadventurous,
narrow-horizoned sad
sacks we all are. A new
study has found that
most of us (more than 90%, according to
Travel Republic) holiday in the same
places year after year. Not only that, we
stay in the same resorts, eat at the same
restaurants and do the same activities ?
if lying slack-jawed on a strip of beach,
drooling gently, could ever be construed
as an activity.
A world of choice, quite literally, yet
we go back to that same wisteria-clad
four-star in Sardinia. You know, the one
where you fell off that paddleboard. The
one with Stefano on the crepe stand at
breakfast. Stefano ? what a legend!
Of course, we do sometimes go
elsewhere. It?s just that, after these brief
destinational dalliances, we tend to return
to the spots we?re wedded to. The home
away from home. Only warmer.
As I say, pathetic ? and clearly, we here
at Sunday Times Travel need to take a
long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror.
Or do we?
I was pondering this over my daily
chicken salad baguette and decaf
americano (hot milk) at a certain
ubiquitous food outlet not exactly
renowned for its thrusting culinary
experimentation. Across the road lay the
endless international foodie treasures
of Borough Market. I hear it?s great.
Never really ventured in, to be fair.
You?ll be picking up on my clunky
subtext: we all like a bit of familiarity.
And convenience. Particularly when we?re
short of time and/or energy. And two
things we?re definitely short of around
our hols are time and energy.
Yet we?re always told that familiarity
breeds contempt. Really? What breeds
contempt on my holiday is the following:
getting lost, repeatedly, on the way to the
pool; traipsing around seven substandard
restaurants before finding the one that
serves a decent paella; driving for 35
minutes to a pile of rubble masquerading
as a jewel of antiquity. Above all, what
breeds contempt is the sinking realisation,
three hours into an expensive week?s
holiday (sometimes a fortnight), that I
really, really don?t like where I am.
None of that happens when you?re a
repeat offender. You know the lie of the
land and the best bit of land to lie on.
Everything is easy, effortless even. So
you can get on with the main focus of a
holiday: doing three-fifths of sod all.
Responding to the Travel Republic
survey, the independent travel expert
Frank Brehany urged us to stretch our
holidaying selves a little more. ?Why not
be really adventurous and just stick a pin
in the map?? he says. I?ll tell you why.
Because then I?ll end up in the Pacific. Or a
Kurdish-held stronghold in northern Syria.
Far better, I say, to pack a weathered
copy of Bruce Chatwin?s In Patagonia, or
download Levison Wood?s Silk Road
odyssey, Eastern Horizons, onto your
splash-proof Kindle. Then read them on a
sunlounger, between dozes, wishing you
were doing those terribly adventurous
things ? while being secretly glad you?re
not. At least, not right at that moment.
There are other plusses: one, you can
distance yourself from the ?travel as
performance? trend. Go to the same villa
in Portugal enough times and people will
stop asking about it. Which means you
don?t have to ask them, then hear about
how they helped deliver panda triplets
on a spiritual retreat in Outer Mongolia.
Over half-term.
Two, you?ll be surrounded by
something far more valuable than
facilities (however swanky these happen
to be): memories. Landmark moments,
priceless family interactions, amusing
incidents. ?Ah, remember when little
Jonny wet himself by the watersports hut,?
the waiter will say, tousling little Jonny?s
hair, even though little Jonny is now 36.
So let?s not beat ourselves up when
we?re returning to the same country (if the
survey is to be believed) 10 times, and the
same resort as many as eight. I won?t be.
There is indeed a world of choice out
there. But, frankly, until I?ve had my
holibobs, I really don?t have the energy.
@duncancraig_
Wedded to the same holiday spots ? or
always on the hunt for somewhere new?
Email us at travel@sunday-times.co.uk
and you could win �0 towards a hotel
stay (see panel, right)
BRIEFING
TRAVEL WINS AT PRESS AWARDS
Congratulations to our editor, Martin
Hemming, who was named Travel
Journalist of the Year at the Society of
Editors Press Awards last week. Regular
contributor John Arlidge was highly
commended in the same category.
RUSSIA ?HARASSMENT? WARNING
Travellers to Russia have been warned
that they may be harassed or fall victim
to anti-British sentiment. The Foreign and
Commonwealth Office updated its travel
advice last week following the escalation
in tensions between Britain and Russia
over the poisoning scandal in Salisbury.
It said those visiting in the coming weeks
should remain vigilant, avoid protests or
demonstrations and refrain from making
political comments publicly.
SPRING SAVINGS ON ENGLISH BREAKS
No one told the weather, but spring
officially starts this week, signalling the
reopening of attractions across the
country. To mark the occasion, English
Tourism Week is offering discounts for
numerous sites and events ? from city
tours and cookery courses to a ?flight?
on the British Airways i360, in Brighton ?
until Sunday. For full details, see
visitengland.com/english-tourism-week.
BIG
SHOT
SMOKE RINGS
Congratulations to
Richard Sharrocks,
of Morpeth, winner
of this week?s Big
Shot competition,
in association with
Audley Travel
(01993 838000,
audleytravel.com).
Richard?s picture of
the UAE airforce?s
display team in
action over Abu
Dhabi wins him a
�0 photography
voucher ? and
puts him on the
shortlist for
the main prizes,
which include a
13-day trip to China
for two. Upload
your shots at
thesundaytimes.
co.uk/thebigshot
or enter on
Instagram: tag us
@sundaytimes
travel and use
the hashtag
#STBigShot
l This week?s
competition closes
at 11.59pm on
Wednesday. Ages
18+; UK and RoI
only. T&Cs at the
sundaytimes.co.uk/
travelphotocomp
LETTERS
Direct
opinions
Your piece on flying nonstop
to Australia (?One giant hop?,
last week) filled me with
nostalgia. My sister, Connie,
and her husband took a giant hop of their
own ? the ?Ten Pound Pom? emigration
scheme in the late 1940s. It took four
weeks by boat, not 17 hours, and from
each port she sent an aerogram to my
village school near Whitby. We all followed
her progress ? what a geography lesson!
She was so happy there, and her girls
have grown up true Aussies.
Frank Thompson, Manchester
LETTER
OF THE
WEEK
My longest nonstop flight was 16 hours in
economy, Hong Kong to New York. It was
a nightmare that saw Mrs Macca and I
stumbling through JFK like zombies. My
trips to the UK from Perth involve 11 hours
to the Middle East; an hour or two on the
ground to stretch my legs; then a further
eight hours on to London. Why spend
more money on a painful 17-hour flight
just to save three or four hours?
?Macca?, Western Australia
No disrespect to Perth, but it?s not quite
the centre of Australia and entails a
further four hours? flying time to get to
Sydney. Rather the equivalent, in the
opposite direction, of announcing
with great fanfare a nonstop flight from
Sydney to, say, Bucharest.
?Comment is free?, via thetimes.co.uk
?You don?t arrive feeling like shit,? Prof
Simpson said in your piece. Let?s hope
they make this the tagline for the ad
campaign. I bet it would be nearly as
successful as ?Come and say g?day?.
Vincent Ayre, via thetimes.co.uk
SILK WITH ADDED SPICE
A suggestion to add to last week?s itinerary
for travelling the Silk Road. When in
Khiva, take a day to visit the vast desert
fortresses of Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala ?
magnificent monuments of long-vanished
civilisations, their mud-brick ramparts
now crumbling into the sand. You will
almost certainly be the only person there.
Take stout shoes and a water bottle,
climb to the interior and admire the open
landscape stretching to the distant hills.
Roderick Chisholm, Bristol
In 2015, my husband and I travelled in
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar,
China. Each step was memorable, but the
Irkeshtam Pass and the snow-clad Tien
Shan mountains will remain with us for
ever, as will the friendliness of the people.
In Tashkent, we met a group of elderly
village ladies on a pilgrimage. Their broad
smiles showed mouthfuls of gold teeth;
through our guide, they explained that
was how they kept their savings.
Anne and Drew Young, Aberdeenshire
GREAT BRITISH BREAKS
LAVENHAM
ALAN COPSON/GETTY
COVER PHOTOGRAPH: BRAUNS/GETTY
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 3
Tudor living ? and a
touch of modern
wizardry ? combine
in the Suffolk village
WHY?
It?s the most perfectly preserved
medieval village in England, and surely
the prettiest. Lavenham?s heyday was
the 15th century, when wool made it rich,
but the fine Tudor buildings have aged
gracefully: the higgledy-piggledy houses
are painted in vibrant candy colours.
Indeed, it?s such a place of antiquity that
Lovejoy frequently rocked up here in his
Morris Minor. Not so fussed about
history? Then come for the food: often
locally shot, seasonal and a celebration
of the Suffolk countryside immortalised
in Constable?s landscapes.
WHAT TO DO
BUCKET LISTS
I don?t know what?s on Martin Hemming?s
bucket list (Briefing, March 4), but I?m glad
I saw Afghanistan?s Buddhas of Bamiyan
before they were destroyed. I also visited
Palmyra. How many of the kind Syrians I
met there are now refugees ? or worse?
Diana Nurcombe, Warwickshire
The northern lights had been on my sister
Denine?s bucket list before she passed
away, aged 59. In her memory, I travelled
north of Reykjavik, to find I was looking
at the skies with more than 500 others!
Rather than spoil the experience, this
enhanced it: standing in a wind chill of
-25C, when the lights danced, we cheered
and hugged, strangers no more.
Laura Morris-Lloyd, Caerphilly
WRITE TO
TRAVEL
AND WIN
�0
TOWARDS
A PRIDE OF
BRITAIN
HOTELS
STAY
BIKER SLALOM
Last time I skied at Glenshee (?Ski here
now?, last week), there were a couple of
Aberdeen biker gangs on day trips sitting
happily in the cafeteria, snow melting
from their leathers, having spent the
morning bombing down the slopes on
rented skis. As you say, it?s different.
Plunket Greene, via thetimes.co.uk
RYANAIR COURTESY
Ryanair gets a lot of flak, but I?d like to
help redress the balance. Recently, my
wife and I flew with them to Dublin. She
needed a wheelchair, and we were treated
throughout with kindness and courtesy ?
nothing was too much trouble, even
under the pressure of Storm Emma.
Patrick Sheehy, Suffolk
Congratulations to Frank
Thompson, who wins a �0
voucher towards a stay,
meals, drinks or spa
treatments at any
member of the
Pride of Britain
Hotels collection
in England,
Scotland or
Wales, all of which
specialise in the ?art
of great hospitality?
(prideofbritainhotels.com).
For a chance to win the
same prize in a future issue,
email your stories and
comments to travel@
sunday-times.co.uk ?
or write to Travel,
The Sunday Times,
1 London Bridge
Street, London
SE1 9GF. Please
include your name,
address and
telephone
number. Letters
may be edited.
Prize T&Cs: ages 18+; UK residents
only; the prize is non-transferable and
subject to availability; full T&Cs at
thesundaytimes.co.uk/travelletters
Mosey around, marvelling at the wonky
charm. Start at Market Place, where
you?ll find the Guildhall, one of the most
impressive Tudor buildings in the UK,
timbered and carved with vines and lions.
It?s a National Trust property, so you can
swot up on local history: orphans once
spun Lavenham?s signature woad-blue
cloth in its 15th-century prime (�80,
children �40; nationaltrust.org.uk/
lavenham-guildhall). Next door is the
mustard-yellow Little Hall, a 14th-century
merchant?s house now filled with books,
art and antiques (open from Saturday
until October 28; �50; littlehall.org.uk).
Head down the hill by any route:
they?re all charming. Shilling Street is
the least explored by tourists, while the
well-preserved High Street has a posh
butcher and shops selling curios and art.
At the bottom, Water Street is painted
all the shades of a setting Suffolk sun.
Look out for De Vere House, which
starred as Harry Potter?s birthplace in
the hugely successful film franchise.
Then venture to the edge of the village,
to St Peter and St Paul?s Church, a vast
and splendid edifice for so small a place.
It dates back to Norman times, but has
been expanded and elaborated on over
the centuries: a tower and chapels were
added, as well as decorated windows and
tombs for the clothiers
who contributed to the building.
After drinking in the atmosphere, sip
something stronger in the village?s historic
pubs: the Swan and the Lavenham
Greyhound are equally wonderful,
imbued with the scent of log fires. Or cosy
up with cake. Lavenham Blue Vintage
Tea Rooms does homemade scones piled
on granny?s-house crockery (afternoon
tea �.50; lavenhambluetearooms.com).
Walk off the carbs on the four-mile
route of the former railway track. The
last train left in 1965; now the line runs
through a nature reserve, with views of
Lavenham?s church, to the village of Long
Melford, another delightful old wool
town set on the Stour. There are rich
vintage pickings to be found at its antiques
shops and centres, as well as the Long
Melford Antique & Vintage Fair, held
at the Old School on the last weekend of
every month.
DIFFERENT
SLANT
Lavenham?s
wonky High
Street
Great House
Guildhall
Lavenham
Greyhound
Little
Hall
Swan
St Peter and
Lavenham
St Paul's Church
Priory
Long Melford
5 miles
De Vere
House
100yd
WHERE TO STAY
Made up of three restored Tudor houses
and the Wool Hall, set around courtyard
gardens, the Swan has traditional rooms
(some with four-posters ? ask before
you book), the Airmen?s Bar and a great
spa: you can submerge yourself in any
weather in a steamy sunken pool on the
terrace (doubles from �5, B&B;
theswanatlavenham.co.uk).
The 13th-century Lavenham Priory is
open to the public during the day; in the
grounds are two self-catering properties
with rolltop baths and canopied beds (two
nights from �5; lavenhampriory.co.uk).
WHERE TO EAT
Water Street
is painted all
the shades
of a setting
Suffolk sun
The Great House is a restaurant with
rooms serving dishes such as saddle of
rabbit with a port sauce and Atlantic
wild turbot in a herb and sesame crust
(two-course lunch �, � la carte mains
about �; greathouse.co.uk).
The Lavenham Greyhound is a cosy
pub with a drinks list that includes
artisanal gins. The food is excellent value:
punchy torched sea bass and red lentils
was �(lavenhamgreyhound.com).
Laura Fowler
4 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
THE BIG WEEKEND
O
ILLUSTRATION BY JULIAN OSBALDSTONE, ADEEL IQBAL AND MATTHEW CORNICK
h, Vienna. Could there be a
mix of music, art and giddy
wedding-cake architecture
more delicious than yours?
This year the menu is richer
than ever, as the city marks the centenary
of the deaths of the local artists Gustav
Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as the
architect Otto Wagner, with a season of
exhibitions under the banner Beauty and
the Abyss (viennesemodernism2018.info).
Even if you don?t go to any of these special
shows, this is still one of the most ravishing
city breaks in Europe, and not nearly
as expensive as its reputation suggests.
Waltz on over ? you won?t regret it.
FRIDAY
Evening
There?s more to Austrian cooking than
schnitzel. Start with a lighter, more
modern approach courtesy of O Bouf閟,
in a quiet, untouristy corner of the
city?s ancient Innere Stadt. It serves
reinvigorated Viennese standards at
modest prices (konstantinfilippou.com).
Arrive no later than 5.30pm, toast the
night with a zesty glass of dry white gelber
muskateller (�50) and sup on a bowl of
clear chicken soup with cheese and lovage
dumplings (�. But don?t hang about ?
you?ve got an appointment at the Vienna
State Opera, where most performances
start at 7pm or 7.30pm.
It doesn?t really matter what?s on, as
you?re going for the buzz in the lobby
beforehand, the quality of the singing
and the thrill of seeing it all for �60.
Yes, that?s the price of a standing ticket,
which you buy from a furtive little kiosk
hidden away behind the cloakroom. Then
climb a million stairs and join the real
music fans at the very top of the theatre
(wiener-staatsoper.at).
Afterwards, you?ll be feeling peckish, so
join the queue for a late-night hot dog at
the Bitzinger sausage stand, just across
the road (from �50; bitzinger-wien.at).
It?s hardly the equivalent of a rowdy
Friday-night kebab back home: most of
your fellow munchers will be opera buffs.
Evening
Keep dancing all the way to the Loos
American Bar, on K鋜ntner Durchgang.
Designed by the early modernist master
Adolf Loos, it?s a tiny jewel box of
mahogany, onyx and marble, barely
bigger than a cupboard, and serves a
mean manhattan for �. Then it?s on to
dinner at Glacis Beisl, at the back of the
Museumsquartier ? book to be sure of a
table. This is the moment to embrace
traditional Viennese dishes such as
Blunz?n (blood sausage): pan-fried, so
it?s sweet and crispy on the outside, rich
and comforting within, and the perfect
foil for tangy sauerkraut. Mains start at
�50 (glacisbeisl.at).
SUNDAY
SATURDAY
Morning
Mariahilfer Strasse is Vienna?s main
shopping street ? and it?s full of
could-be-anywhere chains. For a more
artisanal atmosphere, head to the nearby
7th district. Ready yourself with a shot
of Ethiopian Burtakaana coffee at tiny
Kaffemik, on Zollergasse (� kaffemik.at),
then start shopping. Schmuck St點k
showcases Sabina Ebner?s delicate
jewellery (rings from �; schmuck-stueck.
at); Handschuh am Neubau has been
selling gloves for more than 50 years
(from �; handschuh-neubau.at); and at
Wauwau, they turn their own peppermills
on a lathe (from �; wauwau.at). But
for Austria?s comfiest souvenir, pop into
Vega Nova, on Westbahnstrasse, for a
pair of light, warm, brilliantly coloured
felt slippers (from �; veganova.at).
Afternoon
Your browsing will deliver you almost to
the door of Tian, on Schrankgasse, a
veggie bistro with a Michelin-starred
sibling ? once you?ve put together a meal
from the starter menu, you?ll realise why.
A sweet potato, apple and sage salad is
typical of its well-matched flavours (�
tian-bistro.com).
For dessert, pick up a bar of wild thyme
and walnut crisp chocolate at Schokov
(� schokov.com), round the corner on
Siebensterngasse, then hot-foot it to your
next appointment: a concert by the
students of the University of Music and
Performing Arts Vienna. It?s one
of the world?s best music schools and,
though the standards are stratospheric,
these Studienkonzerte are free. Check
?cultural events? at mdw.ac.at and take
your pick ? there?s usually a good choice
on Saturday afternoons, themed by
instrument and generally starting at 2pm,
in three venues around the city.
You might have to leave early, though,
because you need to be at the Elmayer
Tanzschule by 4pm for your waltzing
lesson. On a side street next to the stables
of the Spanish riding school, Elmayer?s
core business is preparing the city?s
teens for ball season, which runs from
November to mid-February ? but, every
Saturday from 4pm to 5pm, couples can
show up, unannounced, and learn the
rudiments of the city?s most famous dance
(�; elmayer.at). Waltzing is not hard, as
you?ll soon discover ? at least, not if you
do it slowly. The skill lies in speeding it up.
VIENNA
Fusion food, waltzing lessons, electrifying art ? you?ll
have a ball in the Austrian capital, says Sean Newsom
Caf�
Ansari
Innere
Elmayer Stadt
Tanzschule
O Bouf閟
25hours
Glacis
Loos
Beisl
American Bar
Kaffemik Tian
Vienna State
Opera House
Leopold Kunsthistorisches
Museum Museum
Ruby Marie
400yd
WHERE TO STAY
Two U-Bahn stops from
the city?s museum hub,
the Ruby Marie hotel
is near a district of
hipster coffee shops
and designer boutiques
? a great place to hang
out (doubles from �;
ruby-hotels.com/en).
The 25hours hotel,
next to the Volkstheater,
offers a similar
combination of small
rooms and big, relaxed
public spaces, with a
buzzy bar on the top
floor (doubles from �;
25hours-hotels.com).
GETTING THERE
Sean Newsom was a
guest of the Vienna
Tourist Board. easyJet
flies to Vienna from
Bristol, Edinburgh,
Gatwick, Luton and
Manchester; from �
return. Or try Austrian,
BA, Eurowings or Flybe.
wien.info/en
Morning
Now for one of Europe?s most electrifying
juxtapositions of art. It starts with the
Maria Theresa Monument, outside the
Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM), a
tour de force of muscular imperial statuary
that turns the 18th-century empress into
an 18ft titan. Her dynasty, the Habsburgs,
made Vienna, and there?s no mistaking
that here. Follow this with a tour of the
museum itself (�.50; khm.at), feasting
on the dynasty?s collection of Old Masters
before you stop for a Melange (a Viennese
latte) in the cafe. There?s no grander place
in the city to sip coffee than beneath the
fabulously ornate central dome.
Now for the contrast. A few hundred
yards away, the Leopold Museum is home
to masterpieces by the expressionist
wunderkind Egon Schiele. At the KHM,
you?ve seen what he was rebelling against;
now check out his fierce and bilious
Seated Male Nude of 1910. It?s like sucking
lemons after a slice of chocolate cake
(�.50; leopoldmuseum.org).
Afternoon
Sunday is when Vienna slows down,
meaning that lunch can last for hours.
So head to Caf� Ansari, just across the
Danube Canal from the Innere Stadt in
the fashionable 2nd district, and fall in
step with the locals. This is one of their
favourite restaurants ? an unfussy,
high-ceilinged room lit by five enormous
windows. There?s not a schnitzel in
sight: the food here is from Georgia,
on the southern side of the Caucasus.
Try smoked aubergine with pomegranate
seeds, then chicken with saffron fennel
and sweet potatoes (mains from �.50;
cafeansari.at). It?s the perfect place to
end your Viennese whirl.
6 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Cover story
T
he 115 islands that make up
the Seychelles offer
castaway-grade beaches
against a backdrop of
jungle-clad mountains. The
wildlife includes giant tortoises that
could have come straight from the set of
Jurassic Park, and turtles that waddle up
the sand to lay eggs, sometimes a few
feet from your room. Eight weeks later,
these turn into impossibly cute hatchlings
that can be spotted scrambling back into
the azure ocean. Despite being home to
some of the world?s top hotels, the place
still feels authentic. There?s practically
no crime, the cuisine is spicily addictive
and the people are charismatic and
fun-loving ? only the Czechs drink more
beer per head.
What?s not to like? Basically, getting
there. There have been no direct flights
from the UK for years, and few relish the
thought of a mad dash through a Middle
Eastern airport. Fortunately, this situation
changes on Saturday, when British
Airways will launch a nonstop service
that trims journey times from 13-16 hours
to a much more agreeable 10.
Here?s all you need to know ahead of
your Seychellois sojourn.
THE EXPERIENCE
Expect perpetual summer, with
temperatures hovering between 27C and
30C. Traditionally, December to February
sees downpours, and April and May are
the driest months, though climate change
is making forecasting fun these days.
International flights land on the biggest
island, Mah�, home to the tiny capital,
Victoria ? a tropical Trumpton with a
cathedral, a handful of museums and
art galleries, a market and botanical
gardens. It takes two days tops to see its
sights, and that?s if you walk slowly.
Praslin is the next ?busiest? island: one
set of traffic lights at the end of the runway
that flashes when a plane is landing in
case it overshoots, one disco (weekends
only) and one golf course, should you
want to ruin a good walk in paradise.
What the pair have in spades is natural
assets ? not just Instagrammable beaches
and diving, fishing and sailing, but, with
much of their landmass covered in ancient
forest, cracking hiking. On Mah�, you
can yomp through vanilla and cinnamon
trees in Morne Seychellois National Park
to reach the island?s 3,000ft peak. On
Praslin, the Vall閑 de Mai Nature Reserve
is home to the rare coco de mer palm,
with suggestively shaped nuts that can
weigh more than 60lb.
In this twitchers? paradise, you?ll find
birds that could have flown out of a
JUNGLE RETREAT
Constance
Eph閘ia, above,
is surrounded by
mangrove forest.
Below, the Hilton
Seychelles Labriz
Disney cartoon. Or, for moments of pure
Attenborough, time a visit around the
life cycle of the endangered hawksbill
turtles: they nest from October to January
and babies emerge between December
and March, although some dawdlers don?t
appear until April.
Island-hopping between Mah� and
Praslin couldn?t be simpler, with frequent
20-minute flights (from � return;
airseychelles.com) and three daily
60-minute ferry crossings (from �
return; catcocos.com). You can also use
either island as a springboard to smaller
outposts such as La Digue: a 15-minute
boat ride from Praslin, it?s intoxicatingly
laid-back, and everyone there gets about
on bicycles.
For a more glitzy, Maldives-like
experience, take a boat, light plane or
helicopter to stay on one of the private
islands. Zil Pasyon, on F閘icit�, is the
sexy spa option, while eco-chic North
Island is often voted the world?s best
resort ? and, at �,000pp for a week,
it?s definitely one of the most expensive.
There?s also one of this year?s hottest
openings, the glamorous Desroches
Island, as well as the pared-back
simplicity of Bird Island.
THE BEACHES
Hotel prices
include return
flights from
London (not
always direct)
All beaches are public, so you could
gatecrash one within a luxury resort?s
confines. But it?s hardly necessary, as
there isn?t a duff inch of coastline to be
found. That said, Anse Georgette, behind
the gates of the five-star Constance
Lemuria, on the north coast of Praslin, is
particularly special ? a cosy golden bay
cloaked by palm-covered hills. Also on this
coast is Anse Lazio, a frequent flyer in
lists of the world?s best beaches: emerald
water, half a mile of silky sand studded
with the islands? signature blush-pink
granite boulders and, despite its fame,
barely any development.
Baie Lazare, on the south coast of
Mah�, is equally stunning, and a favourite
with Seychellois families at weekends.
Beau Vallon, on the other side of the
island, has more of a scene, including
watersports and a Wednesday-night food
bazaar where you can try cassava chips,
homemade curries and local drinks such
as bacca, a sugarcane liquor, while bands
play and people dance on the beach.
Bear in mind that from May to
September, trade winds can make
swimming off the south coasts of Mah�
and Praslin tricky. They also bring
in seaweed, particularly on Praslin. From
November to April, the winds shift and
the northern coasts experience rougher
seas and seaweed.
Weather conditions are less of an issue
on smaller islands, where you can yomp
across the interior and switch coasts in a
matter of minutes.
SEYCHELLES
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
A new direct flight from London brings the Indian Ocean?s friendliest archipelago a step closer.
Susan d?Arcy is your guide to a castaway?s dream of turtle runs, Creole food and perpetual summer
PHILIPP BURON; ADAM BRUZZONE
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 7
Its two pools (one for families) are rather
lovely and there are children?s menus at
both restaurants (seven nights for a family
of four in two rooms from �556, B&B;
tropicalsky.com).
The Hilton Seychelles Labriz is on
Silhouette, a 45-minute boat transfer
from Mah� and the third largest island in
the archipelago. It has five peaks above
1,600ft, so the scenery makes a dramatic
backdrop to this glitzy 111-room resort,
all polished marble and hardwoods. The
garden villas are particularly well suited
to families (seven nights for a family of
four sharing a room from �196, B&B;
beachcombertours.co.uk).
Constance Eph閘ia, on Mah�, is the
largest resort in the Seychelles, with 313
sleek rooms and villas, but it escapes
feeling impersonal by being split into two
complexes divided by a mangrove forest.
On offer are tennis, a kids? club, a spa,
cycling, walking, climbing and zipwires
through the forest canopy (seven nights
for a family of four in a two-bedroom villa
from �249, B&B; hayesandjarvis.com).
BEST ON A BUDGET
Le Repaire, on La Digue, is an 18-room
beachfront hideaway that matches the
mood of this unpretentious island. Service
is warm and the chef is Italian, making
the menu an interesting fusion: lamb
chops in local rum sauce, for example,
followed by wickedly good tiramisu
(eight nights from �610pp, half-board;
jasmineholidays.co.uk).
Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort is
set around an 80ft pool steps away from a
palm-fringed beach on Mah�s west coast.
It has 124 bedrooms, a dinky spa, a rooftop
shisha lounge and two great restaurants
(seven nights from �559pp, half-board;
hayesandjarvis.co.uk).
Bird Island Lodge is a 170-acre
ecolodge on Bird Island, a 30-minute flight
from Mah� ? it lives up to its name, with
the resident frigates, blue pigeons and
grey plovers joined by millions of nesting
sooty terns between May and October.
The 24 rooms have no TV, no air-con, no
coffee-making facilities and hairdryers
only on request, but there is wi-fi (seven
nights from �749pp, full-board;
justseychelles.co.uk).
BEST NEW OPENINGS
THE FOOD
Seychellois cuisine is Creole-based:
chicken or octopus curries with red chilli
and creamy coconut milk, served with
tamarind chutney and a tangy mango or
delicate palm-heart salad. Rousettes ?
fruit-bat curry ? is a speciality that?s a little
gamey and very bony. Even some locals
haven?t tried it, so feel free to pass. The
Marie Antoinette (marieantoinette.sc),
in a 19th-century mansion on Mah�,
serves bat when in season and has had
the same menu since it opened in 1972;
the � buffet might include battered
parrotfish, aubergine fritters and fish
stew, and is the perfect introduction to
the islands? dishes.
There are few things finer for lunch
than a crab curry (�), with your feet in
the sand, at Bonbon Plume on Praslin?s
prized Anse Lazio beach. Go early, as
it?s always packed (which is why they?re
building another nearby). At Chez Jules,
on Anse Banane, La Digue, you might see
chef Jules spearing octopus out front
while you tuck into his previous catch ?
with a zingy salad ? for less than a tenner.
THE
HOTELS
BEST FOR COUPLES
Paradise Sun is tucked away on the
C魌e d?Or, a stunning 1�-mile stretch on
Praslin?s north coast. It has 80 rooms and
does a tasty complimentary afternoon tea,
but pace yourself: the octopus curry at
its waterfront restaurant is exceptional
(seven nights from �959pp, half-board;
justseychelles.co.uk).
Constance Lemuria, also on Praslin,
recently had a � revamp, giving this
grande dame?s 105 rooms a lighter look.
A long-running turtle programme makes
this the place to stay to see the little cuties.
Other claims to fame include the only
18-hole golf course in the Seychelles and
a new executive chef who trained at the
fabled El Bulli, in Spain; there?s also
cycling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing
and floodlit tennis (seven nights from
�130pp, B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
The colonial-style villas at the Four
Seasons Resort Seychelles on Mah�
are tucked into the jungle canopy for
maximum privacy. Each has a vast deck
and an infinity pool overlooking the idyllic
sweep of Petite Anse, a sheltered cove in
the south (seven nights from �140pp,
B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
BEST FOR FAMILIES
Coco de Mer, on Bois de Rose Bay, in the
southwest of Praslin, offers shuttles to the
famous Anse Lazio beach, as well as bikes
to explore the surrounding quiet coves.
LAZY DAYS How
you?ll spend
most of your
stay at Carana
Beach, Mah�
Carana Beach is a gorgeous property
with a sweet spa in the north of Mah�.
The 40 rooms have ocean views and
mood lighting in the bathrooms, and a
dozen have plunge pools. There are
muslin-draped cabanas around the main
pool and the Creole restaurant uses
produce from the owner?s farm (seven
nights from �115pp, half-board;
beachcombertours.co.uk).
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, on F閘icit�, is
a stylish bolthole of 30 villas that offers
private-island exclusivity and close
proximity to Praslin and La Digue, with
regular boat trips to both should you feel
stir crazy ? unlikely, given the spa built
into the boulders, guided kayaking,
hilltop hikes, archery, rum tastings and
cinema under the stars (seven nights from
�390pp, B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at
Desroches Island was hotly anticipated
after a rebuild that swallowed three years
and undisclosed millions. You?ll think
the flight from Mah� well worth the 35
minutes, as it takes you to 71 beachfront
pool villas with buckets of glamour and
enviable privacy. Nine miles of the pure
white stuff is the main attraction (seven
nights from �995pp, half-board;
elegantresorts.co.uk).
Susan d?Arcy was a guest of Elegant Resorts
(elegantresorts.co.uk). BA?s new nonstop
service from Heathrow will run twice a week
from March to October; from �7 return
8 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
POSTCARD FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA
PETER BELLINGHAM; HADYNYAH/GETTY; JAMES STEWART
T
a Seng village isn?t quite ready
for visitors. There are no signs.
No menus in the shack serving
food. I?ve just seen one of the
chef ?s ingredients escape,
clucking. And the local kids are gawping
at me from outside. I?m the first foreigner
to visit in a month, explains the owner,
Nai, setting down a bowl of chicken broth.
I?m in this remote settlement in central
Cambodia to see a temple. I know, I know:
the country isn?t exactly short of temples.
A four-hour drive west of Ta Seng is
Angkor Wat, the most humdinging
archaeological sight in Southeast Asia and
the largest religious building in the world.
It?s also host to about 6.5m visitors a year,
or 18,000 a day. Tranquil it is not.
Is it possible to enjoy a less crowded
experience? Sambor Prei Kuk, at the other
end of Tonl� Sap Lake, offers kiln-like ruins
more than 1,000 years old. Koh Ker, in the
far north, has a 10th-century pyramid
you?d swear was Mayan. Preah Vihear, on
a mountain on the Thai border, is also a
belter. All were obscure a decade ago;
today they have coach-friendly car parks.
There are no such amenities at Preah
Khan Kompong Svay, a mile from Ta Seng
? known to villagers as Prasat Bakan, or
?ancient sanctuary?. I?m here following a
tip from the British location scout Nick
Ray, the man who selected Angkor?s Ta
Prohm temple as a backdrop for the first
Tomb Raider film, starring Angelina Jolie
(so let?s blame him for today?s crowds).
?Angkor?s the mother ship, but Preah
Khan is something else,? he tells me.
Construction started in the 9th century
on what became for a time the largest
temple city of the Khmer empire, which
extended from modern Cambodia into
southern Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
?No one has heard of the place,? Nick says.
To get there, Sinath, my guide, and I
drive five hours north from Phnom Penh.
When we turn off Highway 62 into the
Boeng Peae Wildlife Sanctuary, we bid
goodbye to the 21st century. Soon we?re
pothole-hopping along dirt roads, with
cars giving way to tractors, ox carts and
kids on vintage bikes. Our destination is
the BeTreed ecolodge, just outside the
sanctuary. By the third dicey river crossing,
I?m wondering if the risk is worth it.
It is. Former NGO workers Ben and
Sharyn Davis set up BeTreed deep in the
forest in 2016, both as a wildlife sanctuary
? pileated gibbons, long-tailed macaques
and assorted varieties of flying squirrel
whizz through the treetops ? and to deter
illegal logging. They?ve put me in a
treehouse. As dusk seeps through the
canopy, the whoops and trills of tropical
birds fill my room, and I startle a pair of
flying squirrels while trying to find the loo.
Preah Khan is 40 minutes away, and
the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme tune is
the only soundtrack that can do justice to
the drama of arriving next morning. First
we pass a pyramid topped with sandstone
elephants beside a shimmering lake ? the
city?s ancient reservoir. Around a corner,
we come to a gobsmacked halt before the
best movie set never used: a ruined
temple in succulent jungle, its collapsed
arcades a collage of sunlight and shadow.
Four beatific faces are smiling on its
central tower ? the bodhisattvas of
infinite compassion, Sinath explains.
I?m sizing up the ruins when a chap
arrives on a scooter, waving vigorously.
Uh-oh: a ticking-off. But no ? temple
guard Mao is simply delighted to see me.
We?re the first visitors in a week.
The core of the temple city lies beyond
a bridge lined by mad-eyed birdmen and
spanning a square moat like that around
Angkor. We should imagine this, Sinath
ANGKOR NOT
James Stewart treks to a Cambodian temple city buried in jungle, not visitors
explains, as the ocean: ?Preah Khan is like
a mandala. It represents heaven on earth.?
We cross symbolic mountains ? a
temple wall vanishing into silver-grey
forest ? and go through a three-towered
gatehouse down cool, dark corridors (in
the shadows are the same willowy dancers
seen at Angkor Wat) before emerging in a
meadow where cows graze by an ancient
pilgrims? hostel. There?s a ruin in a copse.
Another hostel? A shrine? No one knows.
Preah Khan has never been properly
excavated. The French claimed to do so in
the 1870s as a ruse to loot statues. Later, it
was seen as too remote or too dangerous
(on account of the Khmer Rouge?s
landmines). It took an aerial survey in
Angkor Wat
HIDDEN DEPTHS
Preah Khan, top;
and happy faces
at every turn
We come to
a halt before
the best
movie set
never used
Preah Khan
Kompong
Svay
Tonl�
Sap
CAMBODIA
20 miles
Boeng Peae
Wildlife
Sanctuary
Mekong
Phnom Penh
2015 to reveal Preah Khan?s vast urban
sprawl: myriad monuments hide
unclaimed in the undergrowth.
I?m eager to see the god-kings? temple ?
the equivalent of the one at Angkor.
We scale a gatehouse wrapped in the
tentacles of a strangler-fig tree, then pass
through an archway to find three towers
like collapsing sandcastles in a sea of
rubble. (After remaining intact for a
millennium, Preah Khan was plundered
in the last days of the Khmer Rouge;
removing the statues for the black market
in Bangkok caused the temple to collapse.)
It looks astonishing all the same ? ragged
towers of red sandstone mottled with age.
For half an hour, we scramble across a
jumble of monkey gods in muscleman
poses, grinning demons and Buddhas
meditating in rows. Angkor has been
studied for 150 years. Here you explore.
You hypothesise. Every carving becomes
fascinating. What?s lacking is people.
So, is Preah Khan worth the schlep? A
qualified yes: visit Angkor first for context,
but for a magical glimpse of how things
used to be, this is your place. Yet there is
talk of improved roads, restoration ? even
a homestay in Ta Seng. So go soon. The
chance to be alone with the Angkorian
ancients can?t last for ever.
James Stewart was a guest of TravelLocal,
which has a seven-night tour of
Cambodia?s hidden temples from �460pp,
including transfers, excursions, a guide
and some meals (travellocal.com).
Emirates flies to Phnom Penh from
London; from �9 return
10 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Britain
LANDI
Portsmouth?s D-Day Museum skilfully
evokes the events of the landmark wartime
operation following a � transformation.
Stephen Bleach drops in for a preview
N
PRECISION PLANNING The 272ft-long Overlord Embroidery tells the story of D-Day
early 74 years ago, the largest
seaborne invasion in history
was launched from the south
coast of England. In a single
day, 156,100 allied troops
landed on the coast of Normandy.
On Good Friday, Britain?s only museum
dedicated to that operation will reopen
after a �9m overhaul ? and, last week, I
sneaked into Portsmouth?s D-Day Museum
for an early reconnaissance mission.
In terms of scale, the building is
dwarfed by the events it portrays ? the
500 exhibits are packed into just 13,450
square feet ? but it has emotional
firepower way beyond its size. It?s in a
suitably stirring spot, tucked under Henry
VIII?s Southsea Castle and surrounded
by a huge expanse of Solent-facing green
space, a couple of miles from the former
allied nerve centre at Portsmouth docks.
The layout is, sensibly, chronological.
The first exhibits, on preparations for
the invasion, give an inkling of the
richness of detail to come: a compass
hidden in a button, used by British special
forces; a German propaganda sheet
dropped on Portsmouth; a biscuit-tin
radio smuggled to the French Resistance.
It?s just the start. Each of those
500 exhibits tells a small piece of a
developing, epic story. The dun-coloured
dungarees were designed for the men
who sneaked onto Normandy?s beaches,
under the noses of the Nazis, to collect
sand samples ahead of the invasion.
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 11
(The allies needed something firm enough
to fight from.) There?s a padre?s stole from
June 6, itself recovered from Omaha
beach, a set of grisly looking bayonets, a
mutely menacing German sign from Juno
beach, reading ?MINEN? under a skull and
crossbones. A hastily written telegram
reads simply: ?RICKIE DIED JUNE 7TH
MOTHER HEARTBROKEN.?
Don?t expect much hefty hardware.
There?s an LCVP landing craft that
was used in the invasion, a 25pounder British field gun and an
ominous sea mine, complete
with horns waiting to be
triggered by shipping.
But big kit is largely left
to the Imperial War Museum
at Duxford; instead, the
curators have turned
the lack of space to
their advantage
by focusing on the
small-scale and the
intimate. A pretty
yellow dress stands
out ? it was sewn
from allied
parachute silk by
the destitute
French locals, desperate for style and
frivolity as much as bread and wine.
Interwoven with all this are large,
clear displays showing the facts, figures
and sequence of events, with plenty of
hands-on interactives for kids (spin the
dice to see if you?ll end up in the navy or
conscripted down the coalmines with the
Bevin boys) and, most affecting of all,
first-hand accounts from the men and
women who served.
A written account from Private
Bill Edwardes, stretcher bearer
with the 1st Worcesters, recalls
the ?M? he was supposed to write
on the forehead of injured men
he?d injected with morphine. ?You
could never find the damn pencil,
so you sometimes had to use mud
or blood.? The casualty
rate in the Battle of
Normandy, which
followed D-Day,
was appalling:
as one quote
notes, life
expectancy for
junior infantry
officers was
three weeks.
After all that intensity, the museum?s
most vaunted exhibit is a bit of an
anticlimax. Commissioned in the 1960s
by the tobacco baron Lord Dulverton, the
Overlord Embroidery is a needlework
narrative telling the story of the invasion,
and took 20 people five years to make.
Granted, the scale is impressive ? it?s 272ft
long, 33ft more than the Bayeux Tapestry
? and a dedicated gallery shows it off
better than before, but the Embroidery
itself is, frankly, a little weird. Cartoonish,
borderline psychedelic, it?s General
Montgomery meets Sergeant Pepper.
Don?t skip the gallery, though ? it houses
the candid and moving audio memories
of 27 veterans, recorded in 2014. Most of
them now lie silent.
If you?re lucky, you might run into John
Jenkins ? the museum?s last surviving
veteran volunteer drops in once a week or
so. The 98-year-old served in the Royal
Pioneer Corps throughout the Battle of
Normandy. ?From the beaches to Bremen,
I never got a scratch. I count myself a lucky
man,? he told me. What was his trade after
the war? ?Trained killer,? he deadpanned.
There was a twinkle in his eye.
There are niggles at the D-Day Museum.
Some of the displays aimed at children are
MARK MAGUIRE/PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL
NG CRAFT
Above, models
of vessels used
in the allied
invasion. Left,
veteran volunteer
John Jenkins, 98
grating ? General Top Trumps? Really?
And occasionally you long for more
depth: who fired that machinegun? Did
Lieutenant Sydney Jary, who received
that dire life-expectancy warning, survive
against the odds?
Still, as those generals found, a good
plan can take a few setbacks. For the most
part, this is a precision bombardment
of exhibits and memories ? and it hits
the target.
Adults �, seniors � under-18s �
family (two adults and three children) �;
ddaymuseum.co.uk
12 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Active
C
ongratulations. You?ve decided
on an active break this year.
But which way to go ? hike or
bike? Don?t decide before
you?ve read our guide to 10
classic outdoorsy destinations, done
both ways. All promise variations on
wildflower meadows, birdsong and epic
scenery ? and will result in a lingering
healthy glow that will seriously irk friends
and colleagues on your return home.
What are you waiting for?
SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
HIKE IT (difficulty
)
This week-long luxury trip will give you a
taste of the Highlands to make the soul
sing: toothy cliffs, wild beaches and
moorland seemingly stretching to infinity.
You?ll bag a Munro ? Ben Hope, 3,041ft ?
explore Cape Wrath and take a Zodiac to
uninhabited Eilean nan Ron. Your base
throughout is a private lodge in Kinloch,
with a talented chef ? not a boil-in-the-bag
meal in sight. May to September; from
�095 (wildernessscotland.com).
BIKE IT (difficulty
)
Two years ago, the former pro cyclist
James McCallum rocketed around the
North Coast 500 Highlands loop in barely
31 hours. Where?s the fun in that? This, the
first tour of the entire loop, allows seven
days. It?s still no easy ride: daily distances
are between 64 and 87 miles; ascents
reach nearly 2,500ft. Highlights? For
McCallum, Durness to Tongue, the
west coast?s beaches and the ascent
over the highest pass in the UK, Bealach
na Ba. Brutal but brilliant. May and
June; from �5 (pedal-nation.co.uk).
WILD ATLANTIC WAY, IRELAND
HIKE IT
This new itinerary for the Clare and
Galway sections of the west-coast trail
includes the Cliffs of Moher (astonishing
seascape and vertiginous hell,
simultaneously). Yet half the point
of a walking holiday is to escape,
so it also takes in less visited
corners: the Burren plateau,
edge-of-the-world escapism
on Inishmore and pubs in
Roundstone throbbing with folk
music. Eight days, May to
September; from �699
(exodus.co.uk).
BIKE IT
Here?s a challenge for any road
cyclist with a hankering for
quad-burning fun: the entire
418-mile Wild Atlantic Way
from Mizen Head, Co
Cork, to Donegal?s
Malin Head. Tough? To
be sure ? even with a
support van to carry the
luggage. You?ll explore
three national parks, take
on bucket-list challenges
such as the Ring of Kerry, and
refuel with the best Guinness in the
world. Twelve days, July and August;
from �820 (wildernessireland.com).
HIKE I
OR BIKE
E
The most ravishing landscapes are best exp
p
own steam. James Stewart has 10 spots ? do
o
SAVOIE ALPS, FRANCE
HIKE IT
You?re in ibex territory on this eight-day
guided tour of the Clar閑 Valley. Dropped
daily at a different trailhead, you?ll
explore some of France?s least visited
Alpine corners. The Chardonnet Valley is
all wildflower meadows, corkscrew peaks
and silence; at Gardiole mountain, you?re
likely to be alone on top of the world (well,
9,032ft). After six hours or so on foot each
day, sink into the outdoor hot tub at your
chalet-hotel in N関ache. June and October;
from �330 (mountainkingdoms.com).
BIKE IT
The Haute-Savoie Alps offer flowing forest
trails, vertiginous ridges, dizzying passes
? and likely no other cyclists in sight. This
Prices are
per person,
including most
meals and
accommodation,
but not flights,
based on
the cheapest
week
week-long mountain-bike tour is the first
in the region, hopping between a French
g顃e, a mountain refuge and an Italian
agriturismo to bag the best trails. Expect
rollercoaster runs from mountain to
meadow and one-hit descents of 3,300ft.
You?ll also conquer the 7,952ft Col Basset.
July; from �625 (skedaddle.co.uk).
AUSTRIA
HIKE IT
Ever heard of the Tiroler Lech Nature
Park? Exactly ? and that?s why you should
go. This nine-day, 78-mile tour is the first
guided trip to discover one of the last
wild river landscapes in Europe, the
Salzkammergut (where The Sound of
Music was shot). You?ll walk, picnic in
meadows and sleep in farmstays, where
your luggage awaits. June to September;
from �9 (walksworldwide.com).
BIKE IT
This self-guided Salzkammergut itinerary,
nearly all on the flat, provides a new
lake each day, visits curios such as the
hut where Mahler composed and ends
up at the Unesco-listed Hallstatt. Expect
swimming, cuckoo-clock villages,
LAURIE NOBLE, PAUL BRADBURY, HAUKE DRESSLER/GETTY
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 13
HEELS OR WHEELS? Left, Spello, Umbria; above, Med and mountains in Mallorca
Trevi, coiling up from a sea of olive groves,
is a scenic highlight; accommodation is in
small, characterful hotels. Seven days, May
to October; from �9 (headwater.com).
BIKE IT
Or go further on a 55- to 95-mile pedal
(you decide how far you want to ride each
day) from Spoleto to Assisi. The route?s an
Italian greatest hits: back roads past olive
groves and cypress trees; Renaissance
frescoes the colour of local sagrantino
red wine in pretty Spello and Montefalco;
truffles on the menu. It?s an eight-day tour
with a choice of easy-rider lowlands or
hairy-chested hills each morning. April to
November; from �085 (atg-oxford.com).
BALEARICS, SPAIN
IT...
I
E IT
plored
p
under your
one
o two different ways
mid-afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen and ?
go on, then ? pine-flavoured schnapps.
Wunderbar. Eight days, June to
September; from �105 (inntravel.co.uk).
UMBRIA, ITALY
HIKE IT
This self-guided trip through Italy?s
green heart sees you hike the Camino
di Francesco pilgrimage route from
Spello to Spoleto. We say ?hike?. It?s
an amble, really: 30 miles in total, one
day walking for five hours, the next
resting in a pretty hill town. Medieval
HIKE IT
Rousseau, Rimbaud, Kant: keen walkers
all. Like them, you?ll be encouraged to see
hiking as a way to liberate your thinking
on this Mallorcan mindfulness tour, based
in San Telmo ? not so tough, considering
you?ll be hiking far away from Magaluf,
where the Tramuntana mountains tumble
into the Mediterranean. Routes are
decided daily by the group; optional yoga
and meditation will get you in the mood.
Eight days, September; from �5
(ramblersholidays.co.uk).
BIKE IT
You can keep your slogs up Sa Calobra
mountain. We?ll take the low, swooping
west-coast roads around Deia, first stop
on a new bike-and-boat tour of the
Balearics. After two days of cycling,
you sail between Formentera (boho,
flat, with the archipelago?s prettiest
bays) and the pine-clad, rave-free
bits of Ibiza ? Benirras, Cala d?Hort
and Sa Caleta ? to Ibiza Town. Daily
distances are 24 miles max, and
that boat-hotel is a tall ship you?re
invited to help sail. Eight days,
August and
September;
from �615
(bspoke
tours.com).
ALBANIA
HIKE IT
Wizz Air is
launching
flights from Luton to
Tirana next month, easing
access to the last unexplored country in
Europe: a short-haul sunspot with a
Mediterranean coast, a mountainous
interior, antiquities to rival Italy and
affordable plonk. Your destination
is the Accursed Mountains ?
name of nightmares, hiking
location of dreams. A ferry
down Lake Koman kicks
off this pioneering trip in
the Dinaric Alps, where
you?ll walk for about
six hours a day in the most savagely
glaciated scenery south of Scandinavia.
Quite a challenge, although horses will
help you over Valbona Pass ? at 5,800ft,
a trip high point in every sense. Eight
days, June and September; from �5
(wildfrontierstravel.com).
BIKE IT
Draw on your own horsepower on this
two-wheeled odyssey, which offers a
sweeping ? if testing ? introduction to the
country. From Pogradec, you?ll hairpin
over the Gramoz Mountains, descend
4,695ft to Gjirokaster, explore Roman
ruins at Butrint and pedal up the Albanian
Riviera. The denouement is Berat, the
country?s postcard town. Eight days, 200
miles, three Unesco-listed sites ? and
transfers to skip the boring bits. June to
October; from �5 (explore.co.uk).
SLOVENIA
HIKE IT
Slovenes can?t get enough of the Karst,
a southwest backwater that?s all rustic
soul where Lake Bled is coach tours. It
provides bewitching walking, too. On
this six-night trip, you?ll enjoy four or
five hours of it a day, working your way
through sylvan hills and ancient villages.
The countryside also yields a potent
farmers? red wine, teran, and brilliant
air-cured ham. Chances are you?ll
sample them with their maker at your
agriturismo accommodation. April to
October; �0 (onfootholidays.co.uk).
BIKE IT
Slovenia is one of Europe?s great leisurely
cycling destinations. The roads are quiet,
the scenery?s striking and ever-changing,
the locals are friendly and the cuisine
easily justifies that extra appetite you?ll be
generating. This seven-night self-guided
tour ? which finishes over the border in
Venice ? takes in 180 miles of back roads
and visits to medieval villages, Triglav
National Park, vine-strewn hills and,
eventually, the beaches around La
Serenissima. Because it?s your break,
you decide the cycle lengths daily, while
those friendly locals transfer your
luggage. March to October; from �7
(freedomtreks.co.uk).
JORDAN
HIKE IT
Tourist numbers are understandably down
in this volatile region and, though the
Foreign & Commonwealth Office stresses
that most visits are trouble-free, the effect
has been to make Jordan feel more Old
Testament than ever. Of the eight sections
that make up the new long-distance
Jordan Trail hiking route (jordantrail.org),
choose Dana to Petra, a Middle East Inca
Trail that enters Petra by the back door,
Wadi Gurab, after five humbling days
striding across dry river beds. At 10 miles
a day, you shouldn?t struggle, even in
Continued on page 15 ?
PROMOTED CONTENT
The great Australian road trip
Journey along the Explorers Way and you will be following in the footsteps
of history while enjoying one of the world?s most spectacular highways?
I
n 1862, when John McDouall Stuart
led the first expedition from
Adelaide to Darwin, through the
mysterious Australian Outback,
he was hailed a hero, and his
achievement ranked alongside the
discovery of the source of the Nile.
Given the dangers he faced en route,
the fearless Scot would be surprised
to learn he had also created one of
the world?s great tourist trails.
The 1,800-mile Explorers Way
takes you right through the heart of
Australia. You can follow it in either
direction, and to see it in style you
need to approach it at a leisurely pace,
so you can soak in the beauty of the
contrasting ocean and Outback
combinations of South Australia and
the Northern Territory.
Adelaide?s Mediterranean climate is an
ode to outdoor living. The city is framed
by four fabulous beaches, all within 20
minutes of downtown. They are dotted
with cool caf閟 where you can shuck
oysters and sip wines from the worldclass vineyards on Adelaide?s doorstep.
Darwin is closer to southeast Asia than it
is to Sydney ? only two-and-a-half hours
from Bali and four-and-a-half hours
from Singapore; and the influence of its
Asian neighbours is obvious. Life here
is tropical and al fresco, epitomised by
the best-ever sunsets, followed by
sultry nights and spicy curries at its
legendary Mindil Beach foodie markets.
Both state capitals are also cultural hot
spots. Adelaide is Australia?s answer to
Edinburgh and hosts the largest Fringe
outside the Scottish capital. During the
four-week event, every spare inch of the
city is commandeered for pop-up stages
and non-stop entertainment. Meanwhile,
Darwin celebrates the Northern
Territory?s Aboriginal culture and
heritage with a burgeoning arts scene.
Stuart hasn?t been forgotten. There?s
Central Mount Stuart, a mountain peak in
the Northern Territory, and Stuart Creek
in South Australia, and, at some point,
you?ll join the Stuart Highway, which
links the two cities and still follows the
19th-century explorer?s route.
Two of the Outback?s most famous
towns were also originally named
Drink in the beauty
of the ocean and the
pristine wilderness
of the Outback
after him. Administrators changed
the name of Stuart to Alice Springs
in the early 1930s, but the town
continued to revel in its reputation for
Red-Centre eccentricity. These days,
that includes hosting quirky events
such as the annual Camel Cup, where
riders race unpredictable ungulates
around the southern hemisphere?s
only purpose-built track.
The town is also the gateway to Uluru
(Ayers Rock). A visit to the rock, which
is higher than the Shard, is currently
even more special thanks to the Field
of Light installation by the British artist
Bruce Munro. He uses 50,000 solarpowered spheres to gently illuminate
the desert: his artwork will remain
in place until the end of 2020.
On his travels, Stuart must have been
in the vicinity of Coober Pedy, unaware
of the valuable opal field underfoot.
It was only in 1915 that a 14-year-old
boy, playing in the dust, discovered
the first gemstone. And when settlers
decided to live underground to escape
the oppressive heat, its original name
of Stuart Range was changed to
Coober Pedy, an anglicisation of
?kupa-piti?, Aboriginal for ?white man
in a hole?. Now, tourists disappear
down into the old subterranean homes
for a memorable night?s sleep.
And while the two Outbacks share
DNA: both having pristine Red-Centre
wildernesses, their wildlife is
wonderfully varied. Kakadu National
Park, a three-hour drive from Darwin,
is all spectacular waterfalls and
croc-spotting cruises, whereas South
Australia?s Flinders Ranges, five
hours? drive from Adelaide, boasts
the awesome Wilpena Pound, a canyon
with red gum forests where you walk
beside kangaroos, wallabies and emus.
Be thankful you?re a 21st-century
adventurer. When he completed his
successful crossing, John McDouall
Stuart was almost blind from the
harsh sun, had scurvy and had to be
carried on a stretcher. Today, you?ll
have a tan, incredible memories and
an enviable Instagram account.
Find out more from Australia experts
Austravel: call 0808 278 3953 or visit
austravel.com/oceantooutback
Clockwise from above
left: the Red Centre
is rich in Aboriginal
culture; Darwin?s
Mindil Beach at
sunset; South
Australia?s idyllic
coastline; the
rugged beauty of
Flinders Ranges
Planes, trains and
automobiles ? how to
do the Explorers Way
Singapore Airlines, above, allows
travellers to fly into either Darwin
or Adelaide and out of the other
at no extra cost.
As Australia?s most frequent
visitor, it offers flights from Heathrow
and Manchester, with seamless
connections via Singapore?s worldrenowned Changi airport. Benefits
for transiting passengers include an
SG$20 voucher to spend while at the
airport and a choice of two free city
tours for those with a longer transit
The airline?s service, meals and
drinks are also second to none.
That just leaves the 1,800 miles
in the middle to organise.
For the time-poor, Virgin Australia,
Singapore Airlines? partner, has
domestic hops to Alice Springs
from both cities.
Or you can let the train take the
strain: the iconic Ghan service, with
luxury cabins and bars, chugs from
coast to coast, right through the
sun-scorched Red Centre.
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 15
Travel Active
MANUEL-F-O/GETTY
? Continued from page 13
the heat, while the desert camps are
mesmerising. April to November; from
�905 (experiencejordan.com).
BIKE IT
Feel the history on a new 167-mile pedal
from Dead Sea to Red Sea, covering up to
30 miles a day. After a trip to the Roman
city of Jerash, you?ll descend from Mount
Nebo, where Moses spied the Promised
Land, to visit Herod the Great?s castle.
After camping at Little Petra and a full day
in Petra itself, you head south to a camp
in Wadi Rum. Nine days, April to October;
from �040 (intrepidtravel.com).
SRI LANKA
HIKE IT
This fortnight in the central hill country
foregoes some famous sights, including
the fortress of Sigiriya, but you?ll
experience Sri Lanka?s true colours, from
the grasslands of Horton Plains to a stay
in a Buddhist temple. There are two
big-ticket draws: a 7,358ft ascent of Adam?s
Peak and a walk with wild elephants in
Udawalawe National Park. March and July;
from �695 (mountainkingdoms.com).
BIKE IT
The first north-south traverse of the island
means 523 miles over nine days in the
saddle. ?Very achievable? for average
cyclists, apparently. (A van follows just in
case.) You start in the coastal villages of the
Tamil north, then it?s tropical scenery all
the way: tea plantations, rice paddies, the
Lion Rock temple in Sigiriya and elephants
in Udawalawe. Your rest day is in the hill
town of Kandy. June to September; from
�395 (keadventure.com).
COOL KIT FOR HIKERS AND BIKERS
Fizan Compact
trekking pole
Keep your balance on
rough ground with this
aluminium pole, which
has a moulded hand
grip and a carbide tip.
It weighs 158g and
collapses down to a
backpack-friendly 58cm.
�; rohan.co.uk
Osprey Radial 26
cycling backpack
The Radial is
studded with
pockets, and its
AirSpeed design
feature lifts it up and away
from your skin to keep your
back cool. A waterproof
cover is included.
�0; wiggle.co.uk
Tecnica Forge
walking
g boots
It?s goodbye
dbye
blisters
with the
world?s
first thermo-moulded
boots. A 20-minute
fitting at a partner retailer
results in a unique design
heat-shaped to your feet.
From �5; tecnica.it
Siva Cycle Atom
phone charger
Arrive at your
destination with
a fully charged
phone. The Atom
clips onto a bike and uses
pedal power to charge a
battery pack via a USB port.
�5; halfords.com
Celestron
TrekGuide
digital compass
TrekGuide can be
clipped to a belt or
bag and is housed in
tough but light plastic.
It also gives time, weather
and altitude readouts.
�; celestron.com
IN THE PINK Visit Petra, Jordan, as part of a walking or cycling holiday
Garmin Varia bike radar
If you own a Garmin
bike computer,
add this rear-facing
radar and you?ll get
warning of oncoming
vehicles. It?s also a
rear light, with LEDs that get
brighter as a car approaches.
�0; garmin.com
Matt Bingham
Overseas Travel
Canada
USA
Greece
Overseas Travel
UK Holidays
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JOIN THE ULTIMATE
TOUR OF CHINA
From the Great Wall to Shanghai, China is vastly
more rewarding than any Thai resort fortnight.
JAMIE FULLERTON ? travel writer, The Sunday Times
Experience the wonders of this extraordinary country on our exclusive 15-night
tour ? and book by the end of March to receive a free business-class upgrade
PRICE INCLUDES
International return ?ights, including free one-way
business class upgrade*
? Visa fees for UK and EU passport holders
? Four-star accommodation throughout
? State dinner and ancient ceremony re-enactment in Xian
? A four-day Yangtze cruise
? 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 dinners
? All sightseeing as per itinerary (see online)
? All transportation, touring with guides and entrance fees
? Bullet train from Xian to Chengdu
?
C
hina is an extraordinary destination: a vast
country of stunning natural beauty and
staggering dynamism, layered with millennia
of history and culture. Appreciate its scale, energy
and subtleties for yourself on this unique 15-day tour.
Travelling with our partner Wendy Wu Tours ? the
UK?s leading Asia travel specialist ? you will mingle
with locals in Beijing; meet the pandas of Chengdu;
marvel at spectacular Buddhist temples; see the
Terracotta Warriors; gaze out from sleek Shanghai
skyscrapers; and walk along the Great Wall. From
the Forbidden City to the mighty Yangtze, you will
experience China at its beguiling best.
REASONS TO BOOK
FREE BUSINESS CLASS UPGRADE
PANDAS IN CHENGDU
Enjoy a free one-way business class
upgrade worth �200*. Upgrade both
ways from �9.
Meet China?s iconic giant pandas at
Dujiangyan Panda Base.
CEREMONIAL XIAN
Sail through magni?cent scenery along
the Yangtze, a crucial cultural and
economic artery.
Attend an exclusive state dinner and
re-enactment of the ancient entrance
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WALL AND WARRIORS
Visit Mutianyu, a beautiful section of
the Great Wall; and take in Xian?s
Terracotta Warriors, an extraordinary
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YANGTZE CRUISE
FREE EXCURSION***
Choose from: the chance to meet the
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Trip duration: September 7 to 21, 2018
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thetimes.co.uk/chinatour
*Book by March 30, 2018. One-way on international ?ights only. Upgrade both ways from �9. Valid for ?ights to/from Xian. Very limited space, subject to availability. **From price based on a twin/double share, single supplement applies. ***Offers on a strictly ?rst-come, ?rst-served basis.
Holidays are operated by Wendy Wu Tours, Cottons Centre, 47-49 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QG and subject to the booking conditions of Wendy Wu TOURS, ATOL AND ABTA protected; a company wholly independent of News UK. Wendy Wu Tours: ATOL 6639. ABTA W7994.
22 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
FRANK KRAHMER/GETTY; KEN MCKAY/REX; MARK BOURDILLON
MY HOLS
GEORGE EZRA
The Budapest singer is inspired by his
travels, but Sleeping Rough in Paris and
Capsizing in Mykonos never made the cut
After the success of my first
record, I spent a lot of time
abroad, only seeing places
through a car window, so
in the past year I?ve been taking myself
to little places around the UK instead.
I went to the Isle of Skye, up from Euston
? I love trains ? to Glasgow, then on to
Mallaig on the five-hour winding trip
through the Highlands and over the Harry
Potter viaduct, which I didn?t recognise
until everyone started taking pictures.
Finally I got a little chug-boat over to
Skye. I cut my finger on a walk there,
so I got to see the A&E department,
too. It was like a village hall.
In 2015 I did a solo walking holiday
in the Cotswolds, staying in pubs,
which varied from quaint to
more ?Sky Sports?. One
landlord, Wayne, had the
most insane mullet and was a
keen drinker. As we polished
off a bottle of gin, I told him
I had a big walk the next
day and needed to be sure
breakfast was on. He assured
me it would be. Then, in the
morning, his wife told me he
hadn?t woken up ? ?classic
Wayne? ? but my continental
breakfast was ready: a fun-size
box of Rice Krispies and some
whole-fat milk.
I love Barcelona ? it?s so relaxed. I was
there for a month working on the new
album, and each day I would walk up
Montjuic, taking a break to sit in the
garden of the posh hotel halfway up and
watch the world go by. Too often I think
we?re on autopilot. It?s really important
to be present.
The last holiday I didn?t organise myself
was on the beach at Mykonos with my
girlfriend. I booked a canoe trip where
the canoe had a rudder at the back
and two pedals ? I?d never seen
one like it. If you pressed the right
pedal, you turned left. There was
something about it that my brain
did not like at all, and within three
minutes I?d capsized five or
six times. Eventually
somebody kindly asked if
I would like to turn back
to the beach, because
they weren?t confident
I could make the trip.
My first album was
inspired by a big trip
through Europe, where
on the last night I had to
sleep on the street in Paris.
I?d got the train up from
Barcelona and intended to
get a bed at a hostel, but it
was a national holiday and
everywhere was full. I tried
WHERE WAS I?
It?s the year?s first treasure
hunt, where we must solve
clues, saving letters from the
answers for later use. We meet
at a station and open the first
clue: ??England does not love
coalitions.? Drive southeast to
the 18th-century home (save
letters one and two) of this
prime minister.? We find said
building and take a photo as
proof, then open the second
clue. ?Twelve miles northwest
to a ruined Augustinian abbey
(save letter six).?
A good map means it isn?t
long before another picture is
in the can, enabling us to open
the third clue. ?Back almost
from whence you came? (only
four miles north-northeast
of the aforementioned PM?s
home) ?to the home town
(letter three) of an author,
born 1916 (first name, letters
one and four). He wrote in an
unexpected kind of way.?
Singing the catchy theme
tune to the television series,
we open the fourth clue.
?Northeast to a second
town (letters one and seven),
birthplace in 1904 of a second
author (first name, letter
three), whose 1938 novel
features a teenage hoodlum
(colourful name, letter one) in
awe of a racketeer (surname,
letter one).? Not a razor blade
in sight, we joke, then move
on to clue five. ?While in town,
visit the ruined 12th-century
castle. Which archbishop (first
name, letters three and six;
surname, letter three) owned
it between 1155 and 1165??
Tricky, but we work it out.
Which leaves our final
envelope. ?Hello campers!
Rearrange the 14 letters to
reveal an ancient earthwork
nearby (two words). We?ll
meet you on the public
footpath leading to it.?
Chris Fautley
POINTS OF DIFFERENCE
Skye was memorable
The singer-songwriter George
Ezra, 24, is best known for
his platinum-selling single
Budapest. His debut album,
Wanted on Voyage, was the
UK?s third biggest seller of
2014. His second album,
Staying at Tamara?s, is
released this week (see On
Record, Culture, page 22)
and he begins a UK tour on
March 29 (georgeezra.com).
He lives in Bristol
to sleep in the Gare Montparnasse, but a
lot of homeless people had the same idea,
so the police came round with dogs the
size of horses and chucked everyone out.
Then I walked in the rain to the Gare du
Nord, set up camp in a doorway, watched
a man beat someone up and thought,
?I?m not going to fare well here.? I hated
Paris for a long time thanks to that.
One of my new year?s resolutions was
to see more and do more on tour, so
instead of travelling on the day of each
event, I go the night before and make time
for a little stroll. What I?ve learnt is that
it?s so good to just admit you?re a tourist.
People always want to say ?Oh no, we
went to a place where the locals go?,
which is great, but why don?t you just
indulge and be a tourist?
Recently I?ve been doing the touristy
bits of London ? the Tower,
the Millennium Bridge,
standing outside St Paul?s.
It?s been great.
Interview by Alessia Horwich
from Portsmouth, Poole and
Plymouth to Brittany and
Normandy. Fares start at �,
one-way, for a car and two
passengers; book at
brittanyferries.com or call
0330 159 7000.
The prize must be taken in
the periods June 2-30 or
September 1-8, 2018, or June
2019, subject to availability.
Extra terms and conditions
apply ? see thesundaytimes.
co.uk/wherewasi for details.
THE QUESTIONS
1 What is the name of the
first town?
2 What is the name of the
ancient earthwork?
THE PRIZE
Travel gadgets
tried and tested.
By Martin Hemming
No
8
WIND-UP
COMPETITION WIN A WEEK FOR 14 IN A LOIRE VALLEY MANOR HOUSE
WITH PURE
FRANCE AND
BRITTANY
FERRIES
THE
KIT LIST
The winner and up to 13
guests will enjoy a week,
self-catering, at the Manoir
Coteaux ? a beautifully
restored country house with
an adjoining cottage near
Dou�-la-Fontaine, in the Loire
HOW TO ENTER
Valley. Set in a leafy garden
with terraces, a pergola and a
pool, it has seven bedrooms,
seven bathrooms and a
wealth of period details. It?s
one of the many high-quality
rental properties in Pure
France?s portfolio, from
chateaux to contemporary
beach houses. For details, or
to book, call 020 3514 2359
or visit purefrance.com.
The prize includes return
ferry crossings for a car and
up to four passengers with
Brittany Ferries, which sails
Only one entry per person,
at thesundaytimes.co.uk/
wherwasi by Wednesday.
Normal Times Newspapers
rules apply. No correspondence
will be entered into.
LAST WEEK?S PRIZE
The answers are Belah
Viaduct and Middleton-inTeesdale. Martyn
Nowakowski of Solihull wins
a holiday in Abu Dhabi, with
the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi
and Etihad Holidays.
PHONE
CHARGER
What is it? At first glance, the
AMPware Case is an ugly but
hardy protective plastic cover
for your phone. On closer
inspection, a hidden handle
folds out of its back, which,
when cranked, powers a
built-in dynamo, which in turn
supplies an electric charge to
your phone. In theory, two
minutes? cranking will give a
flat battery enough juice to
make an emergency call; 10
minutes gets you up to two
hours of ?regular use?. It?s
only compatible with the
iPhone 6 and 6S.
How was it? On my first go,
my battery level actually
dropped by 1%, which in a
life-or-death situation would
be concerning. A little green
light tells you when you?re
winding at the correct speed,
but the fiddly size of the handle
makes this hard to maintain.
The handle also works as a
stand, so you can prop up
your phone to watch the
latest episode of EastEnders
you?ve downloaded ? not
recommended when your
battery level is already critical.
Pack it? Definitely practise
your technique before heading
off into the jungle, or it could
be wrist ache that kills you.
Buy it Order it for � at
thefowndry.com.
@martin_hemming
@
_
g
ne?s bucket list before she passed
away, aged 59. In her memory, I travelled
north of Reykjavik, to find I was looking
at the skies with more than 500 others!
Rather than spoil the experience, this
enhanced it: standing in a wind chill of
-25C, when the lights danced, we cheered
and hugged, strangers no more.
Laura Morris-Lloyd, Caerphilly
WRITE TO
TRAVEL
AND WIN
�0
TOWARDS
A PRIDE OF
BRITAIN
HOTELS
STAY
BIKER SLALOM
Last time I skied at Glenshee (?Ski here
now?, last week), there were a couple of
Aberdeen biker gangs on day trips sitting
happily in the cafeteria, snow melting
from their leathers, having spent the
morning bombing down the slopes on
rented skis. As you say, it?s different.
Plunket Greene, via thetimes.co.uk
RYANAIR COURTESY
Ryanair gets a lot of flak, but I?d like to
help redress the balance. Recently, my
wife and I flew with them to Dublin. She
needed a wheelchair, and we were treated
throughout with kindness and courtesy ?
nothing was too much trouble, even
under the pressure of Storm Emma.
Patrick Sheehy, Suffolk
Congratulations to Frank
Thompson, who wins a �0
voucher towards a stay,
meals, drinks or spa
treatments at any
member of the
Pride of Britain
Hotels collection
in England,
Scotland or
Wales, all of which
specialise in the ?art
of great hospitality?
(prideofbritainhotels.com).
For a chance to win the
same prize in a future issue,
email your stories and
comments to travel@
sunday-times.co.uk ?
or write to Travel,
The Sunday Times,
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Street, London
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Mosey around, marvelling at the wonky
charm. Start at Market Place, where
you?ll find the Guildhall, one of the most
impressive Tudor buildings in the UK,
timbered and carved with vines and lions.
It?s a National Trust property, so you can
swot up on local history: orphans once
spun Lavenham?s signature woad-blue
cloth in its 15th-century prime (�80,
children �40; nationaltrust.org.uk/
lavenham-guildhall). Next door is the
mustard-yellow Little Hall, a 14th-century
merchant?s house now filled with books,
art and antiques (open from Saturday
until October 28; �50; littlehall.org.uk).
Head down the hill by any route:
they?re all charming. Shilling Street is
the least explored by tourists, while the
well-preserved High Street has a posh
butcher and shops selling curios and art.
At the bottom, Water Street is painted
all the shades of a setting Suffolk sun.
Look out for De Vere House, which
starred as Harry Potter?s birthplace in
the hugely successful film franchise.
Then venture to the edge of the village,
to St Peter and St Paul?s Church, a vast
and splendid edifice for so small a place.
It dates back to Norman times, but has
been expanded and elaborated on over
the centuries: a tower and chapels were
added, as well as decorated windows and
tombs for the clothiers
who contributed to the building.
After drinking in the atmosphere, sip
something stronger in the village?s historic
pubs: the Swan and the Lavenham
Greyhound are equally wonderful,
imbued with the scent of log fires. Or cosy
up with cake. Lavenham Blue Vintage
Tea Rooms does homemade scones piled
on granny?s-house crockery (afternoon
tea �.50; lavenhambluetearooms.com).
Walk off the carbs on the four-mile
route of the former railway track. The
last train left in 1965; now the line runs
through a nature reserve, with views of
Lavenham?s church, to the village of Long
Melford, another delightful old wool
town set on the Stour. There are rich
vintage pickings to be found at its antiques
shops and centres, as well as the Long
Melford Antique & Vintage Fair, held
at the Old School on the last weekend of
every month.
DIFFERENT
SLANT
Lavenham?s
wonky High
Street
Great House
Guildhall
Lavenham
Greyhound
Little
Hall
Swan
St Peter and
Lavenham
St Paul's Church
Priory
Long Melford
5 miles
De Vere
House
100yd
WHERE TO STAY
Made up of three restored Tudor houses
and the Wool Hall, set around courtyard
gardens, the Swan has traditional rooms
(some with four-posters ? ask before
you book), the Airmen?s Bar and a great
spa: you can submerge yourself in any
weather in a steamy sunken pool on the
terrace (doubles from �5, B&B;
theswanatlavenham.co.uk).
The 13th-century Lavenham Priory is
open to the public during the day; in the
grounds are two self-catering properties
with rolltop baths and canopied beds (two
nights from �5; lavenhampriory.co.uk).
WHERE TO EAT
Water Street
is painted all
the shades
of a setting
Suffolk sun
The Great House is a restaurant with
rooms serving dishes such as saddle of
rabbit with a port sauce and Atlantic
wild turbot in a herb and sesame crust
(two-course lunch �, � la carte mains
about �; greathouse.co.uk).
The Lavenham Greyhound is a cosy
pub with a drinks list that includes
artisanal gins. The food is excellent value:
punchy torched sea bass and red lentils
was �(lavenhamgreyhound.com).
Laura Fowler
4 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
THE BIG WEEKEND
O
ILLUSTRATION BY JULIAN OSBALDSTONE, ADEEL IQBAL AND MATTHEW CORNICK
h, Vienna. Could there be a
mix of music, art and giddy
wedding-cake architecture
more delicious than yours?
This year the menu is richer
than ever, as the city marks the centenary
of the deaths of the local artists Gustav
Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as the
architect Otto Wagner, with a season of
exhibitions under the banner Beauty and
the Abyss (viennesemodernism2018.info).
Even if you don?t go to any of these special
shows, this is still one of the most ravishing
city breaks in Europe, and not nearly
as expensive as its reputation suggests.
Waltz on over ? you won?t regret it.
FRIDAY
Evening
There?s more to Austrian cooking than
schnitzel. Start with a lighter, more
modern approach courtesy of O Bouf閟,
in a quiet, untouristy corner of the
city?s ancient Innere Stadt. It serves
reinvigorated Viennese standards at
modest prices (konstantinfilippou.com).
Arrive no later than 5.30pm, toast the
night with a zesty glass of dry white gelber
muskateller (�50) and sup on a bowl of
clear chicken soup with cheese and lovage
dumplings (�. But don?t hang about ?
you?ve got an appointment at the Vienna
State Opera, where most performances
start at 7pm or 7.30pm.
It doesn?t really matter what?s on, as
you?re going for the buzz in the lobby
beforehand, the quality of the singing
and the thrill of seeing it all for �60.
Yes, that?s the price of a standing ticket,
which you buy from a furtive little kiosk
hidden away behind the cloakroom. Then
climb a million stairs and join the real
music fans at the very top of the theatre
(wiener-staatsoper.at).
Afterwards, you?ll be feeling peckish, so
join the queue for a late-night hot dog at
the Bitzinger sausage stand, just across
the road (from �50; bitzinger-wien.at).
It?s hardly the equivalent of a rowdy
Friday-night kebab back home: most of
your fellow munchers will be opera buffs.
Evening
Keep dancing all the way to the Loos
American Bar, on K鋜ntner Durchgang.
Designed by the early modernist master
Adolf Loos, it?s a tiny jewel box of
mahogany, onyx and marble, barely
bigger than a cupboard, and serves a
mean manhattan for �. Then it?s on to
dinner at Glacis Beisl, at the back of the
Museumsquartier ? book to be sure of a
table. This is the moment to embrace
traditional Viennese dishes such as
Blunz?n (blood sausage): pan-fried, so
it?s sweet and crispy on the outside, rich
and comforting within, and the perfect
foil for tangy sauerkraut. Mains start at
�50 (glacisbeisl.at).
SUNDAY
SATURDAY
Morning
Mariahilfer Strasse is Vienna?s main
shopping street ? and it?s full of
could-be-anywhere chains. For a more
artisanal atmosphere, head to the nearby
7th district. Ready yourself with a shot
of Ethiopian Burtakaana coffee at tiny
Kaffemik, on Zollergasse (� kaffemik.at),
then start shopping. Schmuck St點k
showcases Sabina Ebner?s delicate
jewellery (rings from �; schmuck-stueck.
at); Handschuh am Neubau has been
selling gloves for more than 50 years
(from �; handschuh-neubau.at); and at
Wauwau, they turn their own peppermills
on a lathe (from �; wauwau.at). But
for Austria?s comfiest souvenir, pop into
Vega Nova, on Westbahnstrasse, for a
pair of light, warm, brilliantly coloured
felt slippers (from �; veganova.at).
Afternoon
Your browsing will deliver you almost to
the door of Tian, on Schrankgasse, a
veggie bistro with a Michelin-starred
sibling ? once you?ve put together a meal
from the starter menu, you?ll realise why.
A sweet potato, apple and sage salad is
typical of its well-matched flavours (�
tian-bistro.com).
For dessert, pick up a bar of wild thyme
and walnut crisp chocolate at Schokov
(� schokov.com), round the corner on
Siebensterngasse, then hot-foot it to your
next appointment: a concert by the
students of the University of Music and
Performing Arts Vienna. It?s one
of the world?s best music schools and,
though the standards are stratospheric,
these Studienkonzerte are free. Check
?cultural events? at mdw.ac.at and take
your pick ? there?s usually a good choice
on Saturday afternoons, themed by
instrument and generally starting at 2pm,
in three venues around the city.
You might have to leave early, though,
because you need to be at the Elmayer
Tanzschule by 4pm for your waltzing
lesson. On a side street next to the stables
of the Spanish riding school, Elmayer?s
core business is preparing the city?s
teens for ball season, which runs from
November to mid-February ? but, every
Saturday from 4pm to 5pm, couples can
show up, unannounced, and learn the
rudiments of the city?s most famous dance
(�; elmayer.at). Waltzing is not hard, as
you?ll soon discover ? at least, not if you
do it slowly. The skill lies in speeding it up.
VIENNA
Fusion food, waltzing lessons, electrifying art ? you?ll
have a ball in the Austrian capital, says Sean Newsom
Caf�
Ansari
Innere
Elmayer Stadt
Tanzschule
O Bouf閟
25hours
Glacis
Loos
Beisl
American Bar
Kaffemik Tian
Vienna State
Opera House
Leopold Kunsthistorisches
Museum Museum
Ruby Marie
400yd
WHERE TO STAY
Two U-Bahn stops from
the city?s museum hub,
the Ruby Marie hotel
is near a district of
hipster coffee shops
and designer boutiques
? a great place to hang
out (doubles from �;
ruby-hotels.com/en).
The 25hours hotel,
next to the Volkstheater,
offers a similar
combination of small
rooms and big, relaxed
public spaces, with a
buzzy bar on the top
floor (doubles from �;
25hours-hotels.com).
GETTING THERE
Sean Newsom was a
guest of the Vienna
Tourist Board. easyJet
flies to Vienna from
Bristol, Edinburgh,
Gatwick, Luton and
Manchester; from �
return. Or try Austrian,
BA, Eurowings or Flybe.
wien.info/en
Morning
Now for one of Europe?s most electrifying
juxtapositions of art. It starts with the
Maria Theresa Monument, outside the
Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM), a
tour de force of muscular imperial statuary
that turns the 18th-century empress into
an 18ft titan. Her dynasty, the Habsburgs,
made Vienna, and there?s no mistaking
that here. Follow this with a tour of the
museum itself (�.50; khm.at), feasting
on the dynasty?s collection of Old Masters
before you stop for a Melange (a Viennese
latte) in the cafe. There?s no grander place
in the city to sip coffee than beneath the
fabulously ornate central dome.
Now for the contrast. A few hundred
yards away, the Leopold Museum is home
to masterpieces by the expressionist
wunderkind Egon Schiele. At the KHM,
you?ve seen what he was rebelling against;
now check out his fierce and bilious
Seated Male Nude of 1910. It?s like sucking
lemons after a slice of chocolate cake
(�.50; leopoldmuseum.org).
Afternoon
Sunday is when Vienna slows down,
meaning that lunch can last for hours.
So head to Caf� Ansari, just across the
Danube Canal from the Innere Stadt in
the fashionable 2nd district, and fall in
step with the locals. This is one of their
favourite restaurants ? an unfussy,
high-ceilinged room lit by five enormous
windows. There?s not a schnitzel in
sight: the food here is from Georgia,
on the southern side of the Caucasus.
Try smoked aubergine with pomegranate
seeds, then chicken with saffron fennel
and sweet potatoes (mains from �.50;
cafeansari.at). It?s the perfect place to
end your Viennese whirl.
6 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Cover story
T
he 115 islands that make up
the Seychelles offer
castaway-grade beaches
against a backdrop of
jungle-clad mountains. The
wildlife includes giant tortoises that
could have come straight from the set of
Jurassic Park, and turtles that waddle up
the sand to lay eggs, sometimes a few
feet from your room. Eight weeks later,
these turn into impossibly cute hatchlings
that can be spotted scrambling back into
the azure ocean. Despite being home to
some of the world?s top hotels, the place
still feels authentic. There?s practically
no crime, the cuisine is spicily addictive
and the people are charismatic and
fun-loving ? only the Czechs drink more
beer per head.
What?s not to like? Basically, getting
there. There have been no direct flights
from the UK for years, and few relish the
thought of a mad dash through a Middle
Eastern airport. Fortunately, this situation
changes on Saturday, when British
Airways will launch a nonstop service
that trims journey times from 13-16 hours
to a much more agreeable 10.
Here?s all you need to know ahead of
your Seychellois sojourn.
THE EXPERIENCE
Expect perpetual summer, with
temperatures hovering between 27C and
30C. Traditionally, December to February
sees downpours, and April and May are
the driest months, though climate change
is making forecasting fun these days.
International flights land on the biggest
island, Mah�, home to the tiny capital,
Victoria ? a tropical Trumpton with a
cathedral, a handful of museums and
art galleries, a market and botanical
gardens. It takes two days tops to see its
sights, and that?s if you walk slowly.
Praslin is the next ?busiest? island: one
set of traffic lights at the end of the runway
that flashes when a plane is landing in
case it overshoots, one disco (weekends
only) and one golf course, should you
want to ruin a good walk in paradise.
What the pair have in spades is natural
assets ? not just Instagrammable beaches
and diving, fishing and sailing, but, with
much of their landmass covered in ancient
forest, cracking hiking. On Mah�, you
can yomp through vanilla and cinnamon
trees in Morne Seychellois National Park
to reach the island?s 3,000ft peak. On
Praslin, the Vall閑 de Mai Nature Reserve
is home to the rare coco de mer palm,
with suggestively shaped nuts that can
weigh more than 60lb.
In this twitchers? paradise, you?ll find
birds that could have flown out of a
JUNGLE RETREAT
Constance
Eph閘ia, above,
is surrounded by
mangrove forest.
Below, the Hilton
Seychelles Labriz
Disney cartoon. Or, for moments of pure
Attenborough, time a visit around the
life cycle of the endangered hawksbill
turtles: they nest from October to January
and babies emerge between December
and March, although some dawdlers don?t
appear until April.
Island-hopping between Mah� and
Praslin couldn?t be simpler, with frequent
20-minute flights (from � return;
airseychelles.com) and three daily
60-minute ferry crossings (from �
return; catcocos.com). You can also use
either island as a springboard to smaller
outposts such as La Digue: a 15-minute
boat ride from Praslin, it?s intoxicatingly
laid-back, and everyone there gets about
on bicycles.
For a more glitzy, Maldives-like
experience, take a boat, light plane or
helicopter to stay on one of the private
islands. Zil Pasyon, on F閘icit�, is the
sexy spa option, while eco-chic North
Island is often voted the world?s best
resort ? and, at �,000pp for a week,
it?s definitely one of the most expensive.
There?s also one of this year?s hottest
openings, the glamorous Desroches
Island, as well as the pared-back
simplicity of Bird Island.
THE BEACHES
Hotel prices
include return
flights from
London (not
always direct)
All beaches are public, so you could
gatecrash one within a luxury resort?s
confines. But it?s hardly necessary, as
there isn?t a duff inch of coastline to be
found. That said, Anse Georgette, behind
the gates of the five-star Constance
Lemuria, on the north coast of Praslin, is
particularly special ? a cosy golden bay
cloaked by palm-covered hills. Also on this
coast is Anse Lazio, a frequent flyer in
lists of the world?s best beaches: emerald
water, half a mile of silky sand studded
with the islands? signature blush-pink
granite boulders and, despite its fame,
barely any development.
Baie Lazare, on the south coast of
Mah�, is equally stunning, and a favourite
with Seychellois families at weekends.
Beau Vallon, on the other side of the
island, has more of a scene, including
watersports and a Wednesday-night food
bazaar where you can try cassava chips,
homemade curries and local drinks such
as bacca, a sugarcane liquor, while bands
play and people dance on the beach.
Bear in mind that from May to
September, trade winds can make
swimming off the south coasts of Mah�
and Praslin tricky. They also bring
in seaweed, particularly on Praslin. From
November to April, the winds shift and
the northern coasts experience rougher
seas and seaweed.
Weather conditions are less of an issue
on smaller islands, where you can yomp
across the interior and switch coasts in a
matter of minutes.
SEYCHELLES
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
A new direct flight from London brings the Indian Ocean?s friendliest archipelago a step closer.
Susan d?Arcy is your guide to a castaway?s dream of turtle runs, Creole food and perpetual summer
PHILIPP BURON; ADAM BRUZZONE
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 7
Its two pools (one for families) are rather
lovely and there are children?s menus at
both restaurants (seven nights for a family
of four in two rooms from �556, B&B;
tropicalsky.com).
The Hilton Seychelles Labriz is on
Silhouette, a 45-minute boat transfer
from Mah� and the third largest island in
the archipelago. It has five peaks above
1,600ft, so the scenery makes a dramatic
backdrop to this glitzy 111-room resort,
all polished marble and hardwoods. The
garden villas are particularly well suited
to families (seven nights for a family of
four sharing a room from �196, B&B;
beachcombertours.co.uk).
Constance Eph閘ia, on Mah�, is the
largest resort in the Seychelles, with 313
sleek rooms and villas, but it escapes
feeling impersonal by being split into two
complexes divided by a mangrove forest.
On offer are tennis, a kids? club, a spa,
cycling, walking, climbing and zipwires
through the forest canopy (seven nights
for a family of four in a two-bedroom villa
from �249, B&B; hayesandjarvis.com).
BEST ON A BUDGET
Le Repaire, on La Digue, is an 18-room
beachfront hideaway that matches the
mood of this unpretentious island. Service
is warm and the chef is Italian, making
the menu an interesting fusion: lamb
chops in local rum sauce, for example,
followed by wickedly good tiramisu
(eight nights from �610pp, half-board;
jasmineholidays.co.uk).
Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort is
set around an 80ft pool steps away from a
palm-fringed beach on Mah�s west coast.
It has 124 bedrooms, a dinky spa, a rooftop
shisha lounge and two great restaurants
(seven nights from �559pp, half-board;
hayesandjarvis.co.uk).
Bird Island Lodge is a 170-acre
ecolodge on Bird Island, a 30-minute flight
from Mah� ? it lives up to its name, with
the resident frigates, blue pigeons and
grey plovers joined by millions of nesting
sooty terns between May and October.
The 24 rooms have no TV, no air-con, no
coffee-making facilities and hairdryers
only on request, but there is wi-fi (seven
nights from �749pp, full-board;
justseychelles.co.uk).
BEST NEW OPENINGS
THE FOOD
Seychellois cuisine is Creole-based:
chicken or octopus curries with red chilli
and creamy coconut milk, served with
tamarind chutney and a tangy mango or
delicate palm-heart salad. Rousettes ?
fruit-bat curry ? is a speciality that?s a little
gamey and very bony. Even some locals
haven?t tried it, so feel free to pass. The
Marie Antoinette (marieantoinette.sc),
in a 19th-century mansion on Mah�,
serves bat when in season and has had
the same menu since it opened in 1972;
the � buffet might include battered
parrotfish, aubergine fritters and fish
stew, and is the perfect introduction to
the islands? dishes.
There are few things finer for lunch
than a crab curry (�), with your feet in
the sand, at Bonbon Plume on Praslin?s
prized Anse Lazio beach. Go early, as
it?s always packed (which is why they?re
building another nearby). At Chez Jules,
on Anse Banane, La Digue, you might see
chef Jules spearing octopus out front
while you tuck into his previous catch ?
with a zingy salad ? for less than a tenner.
THE
HOTELS
BEST FOR COUPLES
Paradise Sun is tucked away on the
C魌e d?Or, a stunning 1�-mile stretch on
Praslin?s north coast. It has 80 rooms and
does a tasty complimentary afternoon tea,
but pace yourself: the octopus curry at
its waterfront restaurant is exceptional
(seven nights from �959pp, half-board;
justseychelles.co.uk).
Constance Lemuria, also on Praslin,
recently had a � revamp, giving this
grande dame?s 105 rooms a lighter look.
A long-running turtle programme makes
this the place to stay to see the little cuties.
Other claims to fame include the only
18-hole golf course in the Seychelles and
a new executive chef who trained at the
fabled El Bulli, in Spain; there?s also
cycling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing
and floodlit tennis (seven nights from
�130pp, B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
The colonial-style villas at the Four
Seasons Resort Seychelles on Mah�
are tucked into the jungle canopy for
maximum privacy. Each has a vast deck
and an infinity pool overlooking the idyllic
sweep of Petite Anse, a sheltered cove in
the south (seven nights from �140pp,
B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
BEST FOR FAMILIES
Coco de Mer, on Bois de Rose Bay, in the
southwest of Praslin, offers shuttles to the
famous Anse Lazio beach, as well as bikes
to explore the surrounding quiet coves.
LAZY DAYS How
you?ll spend
most of your
stay at Carana
Beach, Mah�
Carana Beach is a gorgeous property
with a sweet spa in the north of Mah�.
The 40 rooms have ocean views and
mood lighting in the bathrooms, and a
dozen have plunge pools. There are
muslin-draped cabanas around the main
pool and the Creole restaurant uses
produce from the owner?s farm (seven
nights from �115pp, half-board;
beachcombertours.co.uk).
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, on F閘icit�, is
a stylish bolthole of 30 villas that offers
private-island exclusivity and close
proximity to Praslin and La Digue, with
regular boat trips to both should you feel
stir crazy ? unlikely, given the spa built
into the boulders, guided kayaking,
hilltop hikes, archery, rum tastings and
cinema under the stars (seven nights from
�390pp, B&B; elegantresorts.co.uk).
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at
Desroches Island was hotly anticipated
after a rebuild that swallowed three years
and undisclosed millions. You?ll think
the flight from Mah� well worth the 35
minutes, as it takes you to 71 beachfront
pool villas with buckets of glamour and
enviable privacy. Nine miles of the pure
white stuff is the main attraction (seven
nights from �995pp, half-board;
elegantresorts.co.uk).
Susan d?Arcy was a guest of Elegant Resorts
(elegantresorts.co.uk). BA?s new nonstop
service from Heathrow will run twice a week
from March to October; from �7 return
8 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel
POSTCARD FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA
PETER BELLINGHAM; HADYNYAH/GETTY; JAMES STEWART
T
a Seng village isn?t quite ready
for visitors. There are no signs.
No menus in the shack serving
food. I?ve just seen one of the
chef ?s ingredients escape,
clucking. And the local kids are gawping
at me from outside. I?m the first foreigner
to visit in a month, explains the owner,
Nai, setting down a bowl of chicken broth.
I?m in this remote settlement in central
Cambodia to see a temple. I know, I know:
the country isn?t exactly short of temples.
A four-hour drive west of Ta Seng is
Angkor Wat, the most humdinging
archaeological sight in Southeast Asia and
the largest religious building in the world.
It?s also host to about 6.5m visitors a year,
or 18,000 a day. Tranquil it is not.
Is it possible to enjoy a less crowded
experience? Sambor Prei Kuk, at the other
end of Tonl� Sap Lake, offers kiln-like ruins
more than 1,000 years old. Koh Ker, in the
far north, has a 10th-century pyramid
you?d swear was Mayan. Preah Vihear, on
a mountain on the Thai border, is also a
belter. All were obscure a decade ago;
today they have coach-friendly car parks.
There are no such amenities at Preah
Khan Kompong Svay, a mile from Ta Seng
? known to villagers as Prasat Bakan, or
?ancient sanctuary?. I?m here following a
tip from the British location scout Nick
Ray, the man who selected Angkor?s Ta
Prohm temple as a backdrop for the first
Tomb Raider film, starring Angelina Jolie
(so let?s blame him for today?s crowds).
?Angkor?s the mother ship, but Preah
Khan is something else,? he tells me.
Construction started in the 9th century
on what became for a time the largest
temple city of the Khmer empire, which
extended from modern Cambodia into
southern Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
?No one has heard of the place,? Nick says.
To get there, Sinath, my guide, and I
drive five hours north from Phnom Penh.
When we turn off Highway 62 into the
Boeng Peae Wildlife Sanctuary, we bid
goodbye to the 21st century. Soon we?re
pothole-hopping along dirt roads, with
cars giving way to tractors, ox carts and
kids on vintage bikes. Our destination is
the BeTreed ecolodge, just outside the
sanctuary. By the third dicey river crossing,
I?m wondering if the risk is worth it.
It is. Former NGO workers Ben and
Sharyn Davis set up BeTreed deep in the
forest in 2016, both as a wildlife sanctuary
? pileated gibbons, long-tailed macaques
and assorted varieties of flying squirrel
whizz through the treetops ? and to deter
illegal logging. They?ve put me in a
treehouse. As dusk seeps through the
canopy, the whoops and trills of tropical
birds fill my room, and I startle a pair of
flying squirrels while trying to find the loo.
Preah Khan is 40 minutes away, and
the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme tune is
the only soundtrack that can do justice to
the drama of arriving next morning. First
we pass a pyramid topped with sandstone
elephants beside a shimmering lake ? the
city?s ancient reservoir. Around a corner,
we come to a gobsmacked halt before the
best movie set never used: a ruined
temple in succulent jungle, its collapsed
arcades a collage of sunlight and shadow.
Four beatific faces are smiling on its
central tower ? the bodhisattvas of
infinite compassion, Sinath explains.
I?m sizing up the ruins when a chap
arrives on a scooter, waving vigorously.
Uh-oh: a ticking-off. But no ? temple
guard Mao is simply delighted to see me.
We?re the first visitors in a week.
The core of the temple city lies beyond
a bridge lined by mad-eyed birdmen and
spanning a square moat like that around
Angkor. We should imagine this, Sinath
ANGKOR NOT
James Stewart treks to a Cambodian temple city buried in jungle, not visitors
explains, as the ocean: ?Preah Khan is like
a mandala. It represents heaven on earth.?
We cross symbolic mountains ? a
temple wall vanishing into silver-grey
forest ? and go through a three-towered
gatehouse down cool, dark corridors (in
the shadows are the same willowy dancers
seen at Angkor Wat) before emerging in a
meadow where cows graze by an ancient
pilgrims? hostel. There?s a ruin in a copse.
Another hostel? A shrine? No one knows.
Preah Khan has never been properly
excavated. The French claimed to do so in
the 1870s as a ruse to loot statues. Later, it
was seen as too remote or too dangerous
(on account of the Khmer Rouge?s
landmines). It took an aerial survey in
Angkor Wat
HIDDEN DEPTHS
Preah Khan, top;
and happy faces
at every turn
We come to
a halt before
the best
movie set
never used
Preah Khan
Kompong
Svay
Tonl�
Sap
CAMBODIA
20 miles
Boeng Peae
Wildlife
Sanctuary
Mekong
Phnom Penh
2015 to reveal Preah Khan?s vast urban
sprawl: myriad monuments hide
unclaimed in the undergrowth.
I?m eager to see the god-kings? temple ?
the equivalent of the one at Angkor.
We scale a gatehouse wrapped in the
tentacles of a strangler-fig tree, then pass
through an archway to find three towers
like collapsing sandcastles in a sea of
rubble. (After remaining intact for a
millennium, Preah Khan was plundered
in the last days of the Khmer Rouge;
removing the statues for the black market
in Bangkok caused the temple to collapse.)
It looks astonishing all the same ? ragged
towers of red sandstone mottled with age.
For half an hour, we scramble across a
jumble of monkey gods in muscleman
poses, grinning demons and Buddhas
meditating in rows. Angkor has been
studied for 150 years. Here you explore.
You hypothesise. Every carving becomes
fascinating. What?s lacking is people.
So, is Preah Khan worth the schlep? A
qualified yes: visit Angkor first for context,
but for a magical glimpse of how things
used to be, this is your place. Yet there is
talk of improved roads, restoration ? even
a homestay in Ta Seng. So go soon. The
chance to be alone with the Angkorian
ancients can?t last for ever.
James Stewart was a guest of TravelLocal,
which has a seven-night tour of
Cambodia?s hidden temples from �460pp,
including transfers, excursions, a guide
and some meals (travellocal.com).
Emirates flies to Phnom Penh from
London; from �9 return
10 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Britain
LANDI
Portsmouth?s D-Day Museum skilfully
evokes the events of the landmark wartime
operation following a � transformation.
Stephen Bleach drops in for a preview
N
PRECISION PLANNING The 272ft-long Overlord Embroidery tells the story of D-Day
early 74 years ago, the largest
seaborne invasion in history
was launched from the south
coast of England. In a single
day, 156,100 allied troops
landed on the coast of Normandy.
On Good Friday, Britain?s only museum
dedicated to that operation will reopen
after a �9m overhaul ? and, last week, I
sneaked into Portsmouth?s D-Day Museum
for an early reconnaissance mission.
In terms of scale, the building is
dwarfed by the events it portrays ? the
500 exhibits are packed into just 13,450
square feet ? but it has emotional
firepower way beyond its size. It?s in a
suitably stirring spot, tucked under Henry
VIII?s Southsea Castle and surrounded
by a huge expanse of Solent-facing green
space, a couple of miles from the former
allied nerve centre at Portsmouth docks.
The layout is, sensibly, chronological.
The first exhibits, on preparations for
the invasion, give an inkling of the
richness of detail to come: a compass
hidden in a button, used by British special
forces; a German propaganda sheet
dropped on Portsmouth; a biscuit-tin
radio smuggled to the French Resistance.
It?s just the start. Each of those
500 exhibits tells a small piece of a
developing, epic story. The dun-coloured
dungarees were designed for the men
who sneaked onto Normandy?s beaches,
under the noses of the Nazis, to collect
sand samples ahead of the invasion.
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 11
(The allies needed something firm enough
to fight from.) There?s a padre?s stole from
June 6, itself recovered from Omaha
beach, a set of grisly looking bayonets, a
mutely menacing German sign from Juno
beach, reading ?MINEN? under a skull and
crossbones. A hastily written telegram
reads simply: ?RICKIE DIED JUNE 7TH
MOTHER HEARTBROKEN.?
Don?t expect much hefty hardware.
There?s an LCVP landing craft that
was used in the invasion, a 25pounder British field gun and an
ominous sea mine, complete
with horns waiting to be
triggered by shipping.
But big kit is largely left
to the Imperial War Museum
at Duxford; instead, the
curators have turned
the lack of space to
their advantage
by focusing on the
small-scale and the
intimate. A pretty
yellow dress stands
out ? it was sewn
from allied
parachute silk by
the destitute
French locals, desperate for style and
frivolity as much as bread and wine.
Interwoven with all this are large,
clear displays showing the facts, figures
and sequence of events, with plenty of
hands-on interactives for kids (spin the
dice to see if you?ll end up in the navy or
conscripted down the coalmines with the
Bevin boys) and, most affecting of all,
first-hand accounts from the men and
women who served.
A written account from Private
Bill Edwardes, stretcher bearer
with the 1st Worcesters, recalls
the ?M? he was supposed to write
on the forehead of injured men
he?d injected with morphine. ?You
could never find the damn pencil,
so you sometimes had to use mud
or blood.? The casualty
rate in the Battle of
Normandy, which
followed D-Day,
was appalling:
as one quote
notes, life
expectancy for
junior infantry
officers was
three weeks.
After all that intensity, the museum?s
most vaunted exhibit is a bit of an
anticlimax. Commissioned in the 1960s
by the tobacco baron Lord Dulverton, the
Overlord Embroidery is a needlework
narrative telling the story of the invasion,
and took 20 people five years to make.
Granted, the scale is impressive ? it?s 272ft
long, 33ft more than the Bayeux Tapestry
? and a dedicated gallery shows it off
better than before, but the Embroidery
itself is, frankly, a little weird. Cartoonish,
borderline psychedelic, it?s General
Montgomery meets Sergeant Pepper.
Don?t skip the gallery, though ? it houses
the candid and moving audio memories
of 27 veterans, recorded in 2014. Most of
them now lie silent.
If you?re lucky, you might run into John
Jenkins ? the museum?s last surviving
veteran volunteer drops in once a week or
so. The 98-year-old served in the Royal
Pioneer Corps throughout the Battle of
Normandy. ?From the beaches to Bremen,
I never got a scratch. I count myself a lucky
man,? he told me. What was his trade after
the war? ?Trained killer,? he deadpanned.
There was a twinkle in his eye.
There are niggles at the D-Day Museum.
Some of the displays aimed at children are
MARK MAGUIRE/PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL
NG CRAFT
Above, models
of vessels used
in the allied
invasion. Left,
veteran volunteer
John Jenkins, 98
grating ? General Top Trumps? Really?
And occasionally you long for more
depth: who fired that machinegun? Did
Lieutenant Sydney Jary, who received
that dire life-expectancy warning, survive
against the odds?
Still, as those generals found, a good
plan can take a few setbacks. For the most
part, this is a precision bombardment
of exhibits and memories ? and it hits
the target.
Adults �, seniors � under-18s �
family (two adults and three children) �;
ddaymuseum.co.uk
12 March 18, 2018 The Sunday Times
Travel Active
C
ongratulations. You?ve decided
on an active break this year.
But which way to go ? hike or
bike? Don?t decide before
you?ve read our guide to 10
classic outdoorsy destinations, done
both ways. All promise variations on
wildflower meadows, birdsong and epic
scenery ? and will result in a lingering
healthy glow that will seriously irk friends
and colleagues on your return home.
What are you waiting for?
SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
HIKE IT (difficulty
)
This week-long luxury trip will give you a
taste of the Highlands to make the soul
sing: toothy cliffs, wild beaches and
moorland seemingly stretching to infinity.
You?ll bag a Munro ? Ben Hope, 3,041ft ?
explore Cape Wrath and take a Zodiac to
uninhabited Eilean nan Ron. Your base
throughout is a private lodge in Kinloch,
with a talented chef ? not a boil-in-the-bag
meal in sight. May to September; from
�095 (wildernessscotland.com).
BIKE IT (difficulty
)
Two years ago, the former pro cyclist
James McCallum rocketed around the
North Coast 500 Highlands loop in barely
31 hours. Where?s the fun in that? This, the
first tour of the entire loop, allows seven
days. It?s still no easy ride: daily distances
are between 64 and 87 miles; ascents
reach nearly 2,500ft. Highlights? For
McCallum, Durness to Tongue, the
west coast?s beaches and the ascent
over the highest pass in the UK, Bealach
na Ba. Brutal but brilliant. May and
June; from �5 (pedal-nation.co.uk).
WILD ATLANTIC WAY, IRELAND
HIKE IT
This new itinerary for the Clare and
Galway sections of the west-coast trail
includes the Cliffs of Moher (astonishing
seascape and vertiginous hell,
simultaneously). Yet half the point
of a walking holiday is to escape,
so it also takes in less visited
corners: the Burren plateau,
edge-of-the-world escapism
on Inishmore and pubs in
Roundstone throbbing with folk
music. Eight days, May to
September; from �699
(exodus.co.uk).
BIKE IT
Here?s a challenge for any road
cyclist with a hankering for
quad-burning fun: the entire
418-mile Wild Atlantic Way
from Mizen Head, Co
Cork, to Donegal?s
Malin Head. Tough? To
be sure ? even with a
support van to carry the
luggage. You?ll explore
three national parks, take
on bucket-list challenges
such as the Ring of Kerry, and
refuel with the best Guinness in the
world. Twelve days, July and August;
from �820 (wildernessireland.com).
HIKE I
OR BIKE
E
The most ravishing landscapes are best exp
p
own steam. James Stewart has 10 spots ? do
o
SAVOIE ALPS, FRANCE
HIKE IT
You?re in ibex territory on this eight-day
guided tour of the Clar閑 Valley. Dropped
daily at a different trailhead, you?ll
explore some of France?s least visited
Alpine corners. The Chardonnet Valley is
all wildflower meadows, corkscrew peaks
and silence; at Gardiole mountain, you?re
likely to be alone on top of the world (well,
9,032ft). After six hours or so on foot each
day, sink into the outdoor hot tub at your
chalet-hotel in N関ache. June and October;
from �330 (mountainkingdoms.com).
BIKE IT
The Haute-Savoie Alps offer flowing forest
trails, vertiginous ridges, dizzying passes
? and likely no other cyclists in sight. This
Prices are
per person,
including most
meals and
accommodation,
but not flights,
based on
the cheapest
week
week-long mountain-bike tour is the first
in the region, hopping between a French
g顃e, a mountain refuge and an Italian
agriturismo to bag the best trails. Expect
rollercoaster runs from mountain to
meadow and one-hit descents of 3,300ft.
You?ll also conquer the 7,952ft Col Basset.
July; from �625 (skedaddle.co.uk).
AUSTRIA
HIKE IT
Ever heard of the Tiroler Lech Nature
Park? Exactly ? and that?s why you should
go. This nine-day, 78-mile tour is the first
guided trip to discover one of the last
wild river landscapes in Europe, the
Salzkammergut (where The Sound of
Music was shot). You?ll walk, picnic in
meadows and sleep in farmstays, where
your luggage awaits. June to September;
from �9 (walksworldwide.com).
BIKE IT
This self-guided Salzkammergut itinerary,
nearly all on the flat, provides a new
lake each day, visits curios such as the
hut where Mahler composed and ends
up at the Unesco-listed Hallstatt. Expect
swimming, cuckoo-clock villages,
LAURIE NOBLE, PAUL BRADBURY, HAUKE DRESSLER/GETTY
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 13
HEELS OR WHEELS? Left, Spello, Umbria; above, Med and mountains in Mallorca
Trevi, coiling up from a sea of olive groves,
is a scenic highlight; accommodation is in
small, characterful hotels. Seven days, May
to October; from �9 (headwater.com).
BIKE IT
Or go further on a 55- to 95-mile pedal
(you decide how far you want to ride each
day) from Spoleto to Assisi. The route?s an
Italian greatest hits: back roads past olive
groves and cypress trees; Renaissance
frescoes the colour of local sagrantino
red wine in pretty Spello and Montefalco;
truffles on the menu. It?s an eight-day tour
with a choice of easy-rider lowlands or
hairy-chested hills each morning. April to
November; from �085 (atg-oxford.com).
BALEARICS, SPAIN
IT...
I
E IT
plored
p
under your
one
o two different ways
mid-afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen and ?
go on, then ? pine-flavoured schnapps.
Wunderbar. Eight days, June to
September; from �105 (inntravel.co.uk).
UMBRIA, ITALY
HIKE IT
This self-guided trip through Italy?s
green heart sees you hike the Camino
di Francesco pilgrimage route from
Spello to Spoleto. We say ?hike?. It?s
an amble, really: 30 miles in total, one
day walking for five hours, the next
resting in a pretty hill town. Medieval
HIKE IT
Rousseau, Rimbaud, Kant: keen walkers
all. Like them, you?ll be encouraged to see
hiking as a way to liberate your thinking
on this Mallorcan mindfulness tour, based
in San Telmo ? not so tough, considering
you?ll be hiking far away from Magaluf,
where the Tramuntana mountains tumble
into the Mediterranean. Routes are
decided daily by the group; optional yoga
and meditation will get you in the mood.
Eight days, September; from �5
(ramblersholidays.co.uk).
BIKE IT
You can keep your slogs up Sa Calobra
mountain. We?ll take the low, swooping
west-coast roads around Deia, first stop
on a new bike-and-boat tour of the
Balearics. After two days of cycling,
you sail between Formentera (boho,
flat, with the archipelago?s prettiest
bays) and the pine-clad, rave-free
bits of Ibiza ? Benirras, Cala d?Hort
and Sa Caleta ? to Ibiza Town. Daily
distances are 24 miles max, and
that boat-hotel is a tall ship you?re
invited to help sail. Eight days,
August and
September;
from �615
(bspoke
tours.com).
ALBANIA
HIKE IT
Wizz Air is
launching
flights from Luton to
Tirana next month, easing
access to the last unexplored country in
Europe: a short-haul sunspot with a
Mediterranean coast, a mountainous
interior, antiquities to rival Italy and
affordable plonk. Your destination
is the Accursed Mountains ?
name of nightmares, hiking
location of dreams. A ferry
down Lake Koman kicks
off this pioneering trip in
the Dinaric Alps, where
you?ll walk for about
six hours a day in the most savagely
glaciated scenery south of Scandinavia.
Quite a challenge, although horses will
help you over Valbona Pass ? at 5,800ft,
a trip high point in every sense. Eight
days, June and September; from �5
(wildfrontierstravel.com).
BIKE IT
Draw on your own horsepower on this
two-wheeled odyssey, which offers a
sweeping ? if testing ? introduction to the
country. From Pogradec, you?ll hairpin
over the Gramoz Mountains, descend
4,695ft to Gjirokaster, explore Roman
ruins at Butrint and pedal up the Albanian
Riviera. The denouement is Berat, the
country?s postcard town. Eight days, 200
miles, three Unesco-listed sites ? and
transfers to skip the boring bits. June to
October; from �5 (explore.co.uk).
SLOVENIA
HIKE IT
Slovenes can?t get enough of the Karst,
a southwest backwater that?s all rustic
soul where Lake Bled is coach tours. It
provides bewitching walking, too. On
this six-night trip, you?ll enjoy four or
five hours of it a day, working your way
through sylvan hills and ancient villages.
The countryside also yields a potent
farmers? red wine, teran, and brilliant
air-cured ham. Chances are you?ll
sample them with their maker at your
agriturismo accommodation. April to
October; �0 (onfootholidays.co.uk).
BIKE IT
Slovenia is one of Europe?s great leisurely
cycling destinations. The roads are quiet,
the scenery?s striking and ever-changing,
the locals are friendly and the cuisine
easily justifies that extra appetite you?ll be
generating. This seven-night self-guided
tour ? which finishes over the border in
Venice ? takes in 180 miles of back roads
and visits to medieval villages, Triglav
National Park, vine-strewn hills and,
eventually, the beaches around La
Serenissima. Because it?s your break,
you decide the cycle lengths daily, while
those friendly locals transfer your
luggage. March to October; from �7
(freedomtreks.co.uk).
JORDAN
HIKE IT
Tourist numbers are understandably down
in this volatile region and, though the
Foreign & Commonwealth Office stresses
that most visits are trouble-free, the effect
has been to make Jordan feel more Old
Testament than ever. Of the eight sections
that make up the new long-distance
Jordan Trail hiking route (jordantrail.org),
choose Dana to Petra, a Middle East Inca
Trail that enters Petra by the back door,
Wadi Gurab, after five humbling days
striding across dry river beds. At 10 miles
a day, you shouldn?t struggle, even in
Continued on page 15 ?
PROMOTED CONTENT
The great Australian road trip
Journey along the Explorers Way and you will be following in the footsteps
of history while enjoying one of the world?s most spectacular highways?
I
n 1862, when John McDouall Stuart
led the first expedition from
Adelaide to Darwin, through the
mysterious Australian Outback,
he was hailed a hero, and his
achievement ranked alongside the
discovery of the source of the Nile.
Given the dangers he faced en route,
the fearless Scot would be surprised
to learn he had also created one of
the world?s great tourist trails.
The 1,800-mile Explorers Way
takes you right through the heart of
Australia. You can follow it in either
direction, and to see it in style you
need to approach it at a leisurely pace,
so you can soak in the beauty of the
contrasting ocean and Outback
combinations of South Australia and
the Northern Territory.
Adelaide?s Mediterranean climate is an
ode to outdoor living. The city is framed
by four fabulous beaches, all within 20
minutes of downtown. They are dotted
with cool caf閟 where you can shuck
oysters and sip wines from the worldclass vineyards on Adelaide?s doorstep.
Darwin is closer to southeast Asia than it
is to Sydney ? only two-and-a-half hours
from Bali and four-and-a-half hours
from Singapore; and the influence of its
Asian neighbours is obvious. Life here
is tropical and al fresco, epitomised by
the best-ever sunsets, followed by
sultry nights and spicy curries at its
legendary Mindil Beach foodie markets.
Both state capitals are also cultural hot
spots. Adelaide is Australia?s answer to
Edinburgh and hosts the largest Fringe
outside the Scottish capital. During the
four-week event, every spare inch of the
city is commandeered for pop-up stages
and non-stop entertainment. Meanwhile,
Darwin celebrates the Northern
Territory?s Aboriginal culture and
heritage with a burgeoning arts scene.
Stuart hasn?t been forgotten. There?s
Central Mount Stuart, a mountain peak in
the Northern Territory, and Stuart Creek
in South Australia, and, at some point,
you?ll join the Stuart Highway, which
links the two cities and still follows the
19th-century explorer?s route.
Two of the Outback?s most famous
towns were also originally named
Drink in the beauty
of the ocean and the
pristine wilderness
of the Outback
after him. Administrators changed
the name of Stuart to Alice Springs
in the early 1930s, but the town
continued to revel in its reputation for
Red-Centre eccentricity. These days,
that includes hosting quirky events
such as the annual Camel Cup, where
riders race unpredictable ungulates
around the southern hemisphere?s
only purpose-built track.
The town is also the gateway to Uluru
(Ayers Rock). A visit to the rock, which
is higher than the Shard, is currently
even more special thanks to the Field
of Light installation by the British artist
Bruce Munro. He uses 50,000 solarpowered spheres to gently illuminate
the desert: his artwork will remain
in place until the end of 2020.
On his travels, Stuart must have been
in the vicinity of Coober Pedy, unaware
of the valuable opal field underfoot.
It was only in 1915 that a 14-year-old
boy, playing in the dust, discovered
the first gemstone. And when settlers
decided to live underground to escape
the oppressive heat, its original name
of Stuart Range was changed to
Coober Pedy, an anglicisation of
?kupa-piti?, Aboriginal for ?white man
in a hole?. Now, tourists disappear
down into the old subterranean homes
for a memorable night?s sleep.
And while the two Outbacks share
DNA: both having pristine Red-Centre
wildernesses, their wildlife is
wonderfully varied. Kakadu National
Park, a three-hour drive from Darwin,
is all spectacular waterfalls and
croc-spotting cruises, whereas South
Australia?s Flinders Ranges, five
hours? drive from Adelaide, boasts
the awesome Wilpena Pound, a canyon
with red gum forests where you walk
beside kangaroos, wallabies and emus.
Be thankful you?re a 21st-century
adventurer. When he completed his
successful crossing, John McDouall
Stuart was almost blind from the
harsh sun, had scurvy and had to be
carried on a stretcher. Today, you?ll
have a tan, incredible memories and
an enviable Instagram account.
Find out more from Australia experts
Austravel: call 0808 278 3953 or visit
austravel.com/oceantooutback
Clockwise from above
left: the Red Centre
is rich in Aboriginal
culture; Darwin?s
Mindil Beach at
sunset; South
Australia?s idyllic
coastline; the
rugged beauty of
Flinders Ranges
Planes, trains and
automobiles ? how to
do the Explorers Way
Singapore Airlines, above, allows
travellers to fly into either Darwin
or Adelaide and out of the other
at no extra cost.
As Australia?s most frequent
visitor, it offers flights from Heathrow
and Manchester, with seamless
connections via Singapore?s worldrenowned Changi airport. Benefits
for transiting passengers include an
SG$20 voucher to spend while at the
airport and a choice of two free city
tours for those with a longer transit
The airline?s service, meals and
drinks are also second to none.
That just leaves the 1,800 miles
in the middle to organise.
For the time-poor, Virgin Australia,
Singapore Airlines? partner, has
domestic hops to Alice Springs
from both cities.
Or you can let the train take the
strain: the iconic Ghan service, with
luxury cabins and bars, chugs from
coast to coast, right through the
sun-scorched Red Centre.
The Sunday Times March 18, 2018 15
Travel Active
MANUEL-F-O/GETTY
? Continued from page 13
the heat, while the desert camps are
mesmerising. April to November; from
�905 (experiencejordan.com).
BIKE IT
Feel the history on a new 167-mile pedal
from Dead Sea to Red Sea, covering up to
30 miles a day. After a trip to the Roman
city of Jerash, you?ll descend from Mount
Nebo, where Moses spied the Promised
Land, to visit Herod the Great?s castle.
After camping at Little Petra and a full day
in Petra itself, you head south to a camp
in Wadi Rum. Nine days, April to October;
from �040 (intrepidtravel.com).
SRI LANKA
HIKE IT
This fortnight in the central hill country
foregoes some famous sights, including
the fortress of Sigiriya, but you?ll
experience Sri Lanka?s true colours, from
the grasslands of Horton Plains to a stay
in a Buddhist temple. There are two
big-ticket draws: a 7,358ft ascent of Adam?s
Peak and a walk with wild elephants in
Udawalawe National Park. March and July;
from �695 (mountainkingdoms.com).
BIKE IT
The first north-south traverse of the island
means 523 miles over nine days in the
saddle. ?Very achievable? for average
cyclists, apparently. (A van follows just in
case.) You start in the coastal villages of the
Tamil north, then it?s tropical scenery all
the way: tea plantations, rice paddies, the
Lion Rock temple in Sigiriya and elephants
in Udawalawe. Your rest day is in the hill
town of Kandy. June to September; from
�395 (keadventure.com).
COOL KIT FOR HIKERS AND BIKERS
Fizan Compact
trekking pole
Keep your balance on
rough ground with this
aluminium pole, which
has a moulded hand
grip and a carbide tip.
It weighs 158g and
collapses down to a
backpack-friendly 58cm.
�; rohan.co.uk
Osprey Radial 26
cycling backpack
The Radial is
studded with
pockets, and its
AirSpeed design
feature lifts it up and away
from your skin to keep your
back cool. A waterproof
cover is included.
�0; wiggle.co.uk
Tecnica Forge
walking
g boots
It?s goodbye
dbye
blisters
with the
world?s
first thermo-moulded
boots. A 20-minute
fitting at a partner retailer
results in a unique design
heat-shaped to your feet.
From �5; tecnica.it
Siva Cycle Atom
phone charger
Arrive at your
destination with
a fully charged
phone. The Atom
clips onto a bike and uses
pedal power to charge a
battery pack via a USB port.
�5; halfords.com
Celestron
TrekGuide
digital compass
TrekGuide can be
clipped to a belt or
bag and is housed in
tough but light plastic.
It also gives time, weather
and altitude readouts.
�; celestron.com
IN THE PINK Visit Petra, Jordan, as part of a walking or cycling holiday
Garmin Varia bike radar
If you own a Garmin
bike computer,
add this rear-facing
radar and you?ll get
warning of oncoming
vehicles. It?s also a
rear light, with LEDs that get
brighter as a car approaches.
�0; garmin.com
Matt Bingham
Overseas Travel
Canada
USA
Greece
Overseas Travel
UK Holidays
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Accommodation
Scotland
Overseas Travel
Flights
FREE
BUSINESS
CLASS
UPGRADE,
SAVING
�200*
JOIN THE ULTIMATE
TOUR OF CHINA
From the Great Wall to Shanghai, China is vastly
more rewarding than any Thai resort fortnight.
JAMIE FULLERTON ? travel writer, The Sunday Times
Experience the wonders of this extraordinary country on our exclusive 15-night
tour ? and book by the end of March to receive a free business-class upgrade
PRICE INCLUDES
International return ?ights, including free one-way
business class upgrade*
? Visa fees for UK and EU passport holders
? Four-star accommodation throughout
? State dinner and ancient ceremony re-enactment in Xian
? A four-day Yangtze cruise
? 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 dinners
? All sightseeing as per itinerary (see online)
? All transportation, touring with guides and entrance fees
? Bullet train from Xian to Chengdu
?
C
hina is an extraordinary destination: a vast
country of stunning natural beauty and
staggering dynamism, layered with millennia
of history and culture. Appreciate its scale, energy
and subtleties for yourself on this unique 15-day tour.
Travelling with our partner Wendy Wu Tours ? the
UK?s leading Asia travel specialist ? you will mingle
with locals in Beijing; meet the pandas of
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