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The Sunday Times Travel 27 August 2017

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August 27, 2017
A Rockies
landing in
Colorado
7
Europe?s
tastiest breaks
The hotel
designed
for teens
4
Tuck in with our guide to
five secret foodie boltholes 8
Gothenburg:
Sweden?s
hippest city
6
2 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Travel
EASYJET ?AVOIDED
PAYOUT WITH
MADE-UP STRIKE?
DUNCAN CRAIG
Assistant Travel Editor
E
asyJet has been accused of
inventing an air traffic control
strike to avoid paying out
thousands of pounds to
passengers in compensation
for a cancelled flight.
A family who were waiting to board the
service between Gatwick and Belfast say
they saw an engineer attending to the
aircraft, then overheard him explaining
that he was not passing the plane as safe
?because one of the engines is not
working?. The plane was grounded, but
when the family later tried to claim the
compensation due for the cancelled
flight under EU rules, easyJet said that
the cause was an air traffic control (ATC)
strike, and therefore they would not
receive a penny.
In an email, the carrier?s customer
services said: ?Compensation is only
payable when the cancellation is within
our control. A technical fault with an
aircraft would be an example.?
There were no reports of ATC strikes
on June 23, the day of the family?s
departure. Only when Sunday Times
Travel challenged easyJet?s story did the
airline admit that the plane had in fact
had a technical fault.
?I couldn?t believe it when I received the
email,? said Colleen Window, who booked
the tickets for her party of nine to travel to
Belfast for a wedding. ?We clearly saw the
van pull up by the plane with ?engineer?
written on the side, then, after a delay,
heard the engineer tell the easyJet staff
that the plane was unfit to fly.?
The airline claimed that the initial
refusal to pay compensation was due to
an administrative error. ?We were trying
to send in a replacement jet to pick up
the passengers, but that was unable to
land because of ATC slot issues,? easyJet
said. ?It looks like the customer service
agent who responded to Mrs Window
read the flight disruption report, saw
ATC on there and made this assumption.?
BRIEFING
?0.87 AT SOUTHAMPTON AIRPORT
Travellers were being offered as little
as ?0.87 to the pound last week, as
sterling dropped to an eight-year
low against the euro. The rate was
reported at a Moneycorp branch in
Southampton airport. The official rate
at the time of going to press was ?1.09.
Last week, you could get ?1.07 by
ordering online at ace-fx.com.
SKI FOR LESS IN CANADA
Book soon to get the best early-bird ski
deals in the Rockies: some peak-season
packages are cheaper than a trip to the
Alps. Ski Independence has a February
half-term week for a family of four at
When further questioned, however,
it said the replacement plane had actually
been coming from Gatwick ? the very
airport the passengers were stranded at.
?They?ve just lied through their teeth,?
Mrs Window said. ?If they made the strike
excuse to me, then how many others have
they done this to on other flights, who
have also not been compensated??
After the flight was cancelled, easyJet
provided Mrs Window?s party with eight
seats on a flight from Bristol to Belfast the
next day, which meant one of the party of
nine had to abandon the trip. The rest
endured the two-hour, 140-mile trip to
Bristol, arriving at 2.45am. The flight left
at 7am, meaning they could manage only
?a couple of hours? sleep?.
When they arrived in Belfast, they
were told that they would be liable for
the �5 bill for the hotel rooms they
hadn?t been able to use the previous night.
?We arrived in time for the wedding, but
we were far too stressed to enjoy the day,?
Mrs Window said.
EasyJet has now said she will receive
the statutory compensation of ?250
(�0) per passenger for the delay, and
the �5 hotel bill will be reimbursed
in full. In a statement last week, the
airline said: ?We would like to apologise
to Mrs Window. The cancellation was
complex and therefore we failed to
identify the correct cause. It was primarily
caused by slot delays and air traffic
issues. However, there was also a
technical element to it, which on review
we believe does qualify the passengers
for EU 261 compensation.
?We will contact all the passengers
who were wrongly advised and
proactively make the compensation
payments they are due. We take our EU
261 responsibilities extremely seriously,
will always pay compensation when it is
due and pay out tens of millions a year.?
The Civil Aviation Authority said:
?Passengers are entitled to certain rights
when their flight is delayed or cancelled,
including compensation in some
circumstances. We will not hesitate to
take action where we see evidence of
airlines failing to comply with the law.?
Were you booked on the flight to Belfast on
June 23? Or has any airline been less than
straightforward with you over the reasons
for a delay or cancellation? Let us know:
email travel@sunday-times.co.uk
the intermediate-friendly Panorama
resort, in British Columbia, for �327,
including flights, transfers and lift
passes (ski-i.com). The same week at
the Montana apartments, in Tignes,
France, costs �936 for a family of four
with Neilson (neilson.co.uk).
BRITS LOVE WI-FI
Six out of 10 Britons consider access
to free wi-fi a key requirement for
a holiday, making it more essential
than decent bars and restaurants,
culture, proximity to a beach and good
customer service. The survey, which
was conducted by Santander bank,
also found that 13% of holidaymakers
had complained to their hotel about
a wi-fi connection.
BIG
SHOT
LINE THEM UP
Congratulations
to Hugo Pennant,
this week?s winner
of our Big Shot
competition, in
association with
Audley Travel
(01993 838000,
audleytravel.com).
He crouched in
an underground
hide in Etosha
National Park,
Namibia, to snap
these wild zebras.
Hugo wins a �0
voucher ? and
makes the shortlist
for the main prizes,
which include a
14-day trip to
Burma. Upload
your shots at
thesundaytimes.
co.uk/thebigshot
or enter on
Instagram, using
the hashtag
#STBigShot. Tag
us @sundaytimes
travel
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
Your gap
year tales
After your gap-year guide in
last week?s issue, I thought I?d
write to tell you about the gap
years (plural) that my partner
and I are enjoying 30 years late. After
lengthy periods working in regular jobs,
we began the adventure three years ago as
chalet hosts in the French Alps. Nothing
unusual in that choice, apart from our age
? we?re in our fifties. We survived the
hard work and hedonism, but only just.
Thoughts of what we had given up
haunted the more challenging periods.
Our next destination was Canada,
where we helped out on various ranches
across the country. We were cowboys,
yee-haw! Five months in Australia found
us in the red centre, helping a young
couple on their newly acquired cattle
station. It was the size of Cornwall, with
just the four of us in residence. We slept in
swags under the stars and, yes, we were
near a billabong. We also managed to
squeeze in visits to Uluru and the stunning
Whitsunday Islands, and snorkelled on
the indescribable Great Barrier Reef.
Next we?re setting off to crew our first
yacht, which is being delivered to the
Canary Islands from Barcelona. Not bad
for a pair of old codgers.
Gill Smith, Huddersfield
LETTER
OF THE
WEEK
The best time in my life started when I
walked into the VSO office in London in
May 1979 and said I wanted to get out of
the rat race and help someone. I was sent
to Guyana, in South America, where I
taught the Amerindian people animal
husbandry and set up a peanut-growing
project. I lived on � a month and saved
enough money for a Caribbean holiday in
the middle of my project. I stayed for 18
months and revisited 40 years later. My
heart moves with memories of friendship.
The highlight was delivering a baby boy
in the back of a van on a bumpy dirt track
on the way to the hospital.
Brian Morris, Isle of Wight
I had a gap year before they were really
invented, nearly 60 years ago, staying
for six months with some friends of my
parents who had gone to work at the
University of Ibadan, Nigeria. My only
contact with my parents was via weekly
air letters. I travelled through Togo and
Dahomey [now Benin] to Ghana and,
while in Nigeria, I met the man I later
married. If I hadn?t had a gap year, my
three children and four grandchildren
would not have existed.
Christine Considine, Plymouth
I was barely 18, and gave up a place at
university in order to begin a financially
ill-considered but ultimately brilliant nine
months travelling the world with my best
friend. We?d been warned that the coach
from Luang Prabang, in Laos, to Chiang
Mai, in Thailand, was the ?bus of death?.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH: BRIGRITTE SPORRER/GETTY; MATT JESSOP
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 3
GREAT BRITISH BREAKS
PERRANPORTH
Dramatic coastline,
vast beaches and
crumbling mines:
Jill Turner goes full
Poldark in Cornwall
WHY?
For a family seaside break to make
Enid Blyton proud, twinned with thrilling
clifftop views and history to match. You
can also try your hand at surfing away
from the critical eyes of the pro surfers
who congregate at bustling Newquay,
a few miles away.
WHAT YOU DO
The reality was far more gruelling and far
less adventurous: 30 hours on a creaking
bus, with the driver blasting his horn
throughout the night with seemingly
sadistic pleasure. An unknown liquid
sloshed down the walkway. My seat
wasn?t attached properly, meaning that
whenever I nodded off, the cushion slid
out from under me and I got stabbed by
rusted, broken nuts and bolts. The saving
grace was the local man sitting next to us,
who produced a crate of beer for the three
of us to enjoy. We laughed ? and cried ?
all the way to Thailand.
Sam Day, London
Parents can join in, too. In November,
I visited my 24-year-old son on his gap
year in Peru. I spent last Christmas in
Sydney with my 23-year-old daughter,
who was also on her gap year. In February,
I caught up with my son again, now in
Vietnam. I do, however, advise taking a lot
of ?Bank of Dad? cash with you.
Ian McLean, Torquay
I am 53, and by nature a very cautious
person. When I hit 50, however, I decided
life was too short and began to take every
opportunity to do things that, up until
then, I would never have had the courage
to do. This has resulted in some of the
most wonderful experiences of my life.
I have swum with wild turtles in Mexico,
snorkelled from a boat on the Great
Barrier Reef and ridden a helicopter over
the Grand Canyon. When I think of all the
missed opportunities, I wish I had spoken
to myself sooner. My mantra now is: do it!
Sandra Blickett, Ewell
WRITE TO TRAVEL AND WIN
FLIGHTS WITH MONARCH
Congratulations to Gill
Smith, who wins a pair
of return flights with
Monarch to any
destination on its network.
Monarch flies from five UK
bases to more than 40
destinations, including
Alicante, Lisbon and Tel
Aviv (monarch.co.uk).
l For a chance of
winning the same
prize next week, email
your comments and
stories to travel@
sunday-times.co.uk or
write to Travel, The
Sunday Times, 1 London
Bridge Street, London
SE1 9GF, including your
name, address and
phone number. Letters
may be edited.
Prize T&Cs: ages 18+; UK residents
only; flights non-transferable and
subject to availability; full T&Cs at
thesundaytimes.co.uk/travelletters
You?ll be spending most of your time on
the beach: Perranporth strand seems to
go on for ever, a stretch of sand so perfect,
it?s like something out of a story book.
It?s busy all day with sandcastle-building
grandads, rock-pooling kids, teenagers
exploring caves and toddlers splashing
about in the water. Find time to scramble
around the base of the 50ft Chapel Rock,
which is exposed in the middle of the
beach when the tide is out, then frolic in
the warm natural swimming pool left at
its foot.
The village end is busier ? for a quieter
spot, head to Penhale Sands. Clamber
into the dunes above to see Shetland
ponies, rare orchids and what?s thought
to be the first church built by St Piran,
patron saint of Cornwall. It?s said that he
floated across from Ireland on a millstone
in the 5th century, after being tossed off
a cliff by Irish tribal kings. On the beach,
watch out for the ?safe swimming? flags
to avoid being mown down by a surfer.
If you can?t beat them, join them:
Perranporth Surf School will help
you hang ten off a surfboard, or at least
stand up, during its two-hour
introductory lessons (ages 7 and up;
perranporthsurfschool.co.uk). Really not
a surf dude? Koru offers guided kayak
adventures that take you to secret coves
and caves, with wild swimming and seal
spotting thrown in (� for two hours;
korukayaking.co.uk).
Once you?re tired of the beach, get
your boots on for a 3�-mile walk along
the South West Coast Path to the village
of St Agnes. It?s like a Cornish version
of the Midsomer Murders set, but the
real danger is from indigestion after a
giant Cornish cream tea (jam first,
always jam first) at Q Tea Room (�25;
facebook.com/qtearoom). A wander
around the adjacent gallery, then down
the delightfully named Stippy Stappy,
an alley of tiny cottages, to buzzy
Trevaunance Cove, should help.
Pretend you?re Aidan Turner and
carry on round the coast through
Poldark country, the area that inspired
the author Winston Graham. Shirtless or
not, you can gaze enigmatically at the
Atlantic as you follow the paths from
St Agnes to Chapel Porth that were used
by miners 200 years ago. You?ll pass
derelict tin mines, now overgrown with
wild flowers, including the 1802 Wheal
Coates, where you can peer down the
original shaft.
JUST ROCK UP
Low tide at
Perranporth
beach
Perranporth
Beach
Cellar Cove
The Watering
Hole
Reen Manor
Riding Stables
The Boatshed
Q Tea Room
St George's
Country House
St Agnes
Wheal Coates
Chapel Porth
1 mile
Getting into the role? Try riding the
cliffs on horseback. At the Reen Manor
Riding Stables, you can trot your horse
around winding lanes overlooking the sea
or go full Ross with a gallop along the
strand (from �; reenmanorstables.com).
WHERE YOU STAY
St George?s Country House is a mine
captain?s residence with funky rooms and
a pretty walled garden (doubles from �,
B&B; stgeorgescountryhousehotel.com).
The smart Cellar Cove has dramatic
beach views through floor-to-ceiling
windows (doubles from �; facebook.
com/CellarCovePerranporth).
WHERE YOU EAT
Clamber
into the
dunes to see
Shetland
ponies and
orchids
The best seafood in town can be found at
the Boatshed. Don?t let the price tag
put you off the five-course Taste of the
Sea special ? it?s almost enough for
two (�; thepavilionboatshed.com).
And don?t miss the unique flavours at
Pavilion Ice, next door: the owner, Matt
Burrell, studied at the Gelato University,
in Italy, and it shows (�75 a scoop;
pavilionice.com).
You have to get sandy feet for a pint
at the Watering Hole, which claims to
be Britain?s only bar on the beach. It?s
worth your while for the sunsets (mains
from �; thewateringhole.co.uk).
4 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Travel Greece
STEPHEN BLEACH
THE HOTEL FOR TEENS
A Greek resort has
found a novel way
to keep older kids
happy: it?s banned
under-12s. Stephen
Bleach and family
act like grown-ups
T
eenage holidays are tricky.
For 12 years, you could drive
them somewhere sandy, shove
a bucket and spade in their
hands, open a beer and fall
asleep over the paper, waking
occasionally to make sure they hadn?t
tunnelled to France. Then one day they
turn 13 and things get complicated.
They don?t want to spend all their time
with you, because your very existence is
an embarrassment. They don?t want to
mix with younger children, either,
because they?re not kids themselves any
more, IN CASE YOU HADN?T NOTICED.
They want to hang around with fellow
teenagers, looking surly and doing teenage
stuff like setting fire to bus shelters. But
this is frowned upon on holiday.
While all this is going on, the pressure
to have a good time on holiday is
ratcheting up, too. You?re aware they
won?t tolerate your company at all for
much longer: another year or three and
they?ll be off to spend summer learning
to be a facial tattooist in Ibiza, and you?ll
be left sobbing over past holiday snaps
and wondering what went wrong.
What?s needed, clearly, is a holiday
resort solely for families with teens.
And one company has just given it a try.
This summer, Sani, a family-friendly
megaresort in Halkidiki, Greece, opened
its fifth hotel, Sani Dunes. Built for a cool
�m, it?s a new enclave within the resort,
with a strict 12-and-over policy, a kids?
club exclusively for the 12-17 age bracket,
and a mission to make those last family
holidays a success.
Ours are 15 and 13. It was worth a shot.
First impressions: it?s wonderful. Not
the fabric of the hotel, though that?s very
nice ? sleek, modern, high-spec. No, it?s
the atmosphere that sets it apart. It?s not
like a family hotel at all. Around the pools,
parents and teens stretch out on loungers
with their novels (parents) or phones
(teens). Some chat, while sharing
TEEN-FRIENDLY BREAKS
THE ACTIVE ADVENTURE
Explore runs a programme of group
trips custom-made for families with
11- to 17-year-olds. One of the most
popular is a week in Sicily, snorkelling
in a cave, walking on Etna, sea
kayaking in a marine park and
spending a night in a tent suspended
in a tree. It starts at �395 for adults
and �275 for teens (explore.co.uk).
mocktails and cocktails brought by the
conspicuously good-looking young staff.
Responding to their surroundings, the
teens behave with a maturity beyond
their years, the adults are sweet-tempered
and appreciative.
Breakfast the first morning is surreally
serene and well ordered. ?It?s nice not
having five-year-olds running around and
dropping Thomas the Tank Engine in your
muesli,? Conor muses. When he was five,
which seems like last week, we had to dig
up most of a beach to find his Thomas,
SANI BOY
Oscar, the
teen club?s
supervisor,
with Molly and
Conor
THE COOL CITY
You need credibility, not culture. So
Vienna, no; New York, you betcha.
Go for kitsch thrills at Coney Island,
indie markets in Williamsburg,
roller-skating at Brooklyn Bridge
Park, food-truck dinners and tickets
for the Knicks. Virgin Holidays has
hotel and flight packages from about
�0pp (virginholidays.co.uk).
THE BIG GANG
Rent adjoining cottages with another
family with teens and you?ve got
mates for them, mates for you, and
big group dinners for all. Helpful
Holidays has two-bedroom barn
conversions in Lydford, Devon, from
�8 a week (helpfulholidays.co.uk).
which he had buried. ?I was a kid back
then,? he says dismissively.
But young people can?t be as boring
as old ones all the time, so they have the
Ozone, as the new teens? club has been
christened by the bare savage (look it up:
I did) hotel management. Considering that
Sani Resort is huge ? really huge: 3,500
guests, 24 restaurants, a sports centre,
even a church ? this turns out to be
disappointingly small. It has an Xbox,
a PS4, various beanbags, air hockey, a
juice bar, a giant Scrabble set mounted
on the wall. (Scrabble? Have they met
teenagers?) No bus shelters.
Happily, there?s also a smattering
of other teens and an Oscar. Every club
needs one: a relentlessly enthusiastic
and non-embarrassing just-post-teen
activity leader to galvanise the troops
with basketball, virtual-reality
tournaments, ping-pong battles, scuba
diving (a huge hit), bike rides and
barely controlled horseplay on a giant
stand-up paddleboard out in the bay.
Not all the activities lived up to the
fancy billing. ?On the eco bike ride, we saw
three birds and a dead frog,? Molly said
cheerfully. And some cost extra ? a few
euros for the bike ride, a stonking ?70 for
the diving. But it did the job admirably:
teens communed with teens, had a blast
and left mum and dad to themselves for
long swathes of the day. Which was a
novelty. I?d been concerned that the time
would weigh heavy, but it turns out we
have quite a talent for idleness.
And in the evening, you come together
again. With appetite sharpened by the
time apart, at dinner table after dinner
table, families actually talked to each
other, adults and proto-adults in calm,
sometimes intense interaction. It is, to
restate it, rather wonderful.
For now. Because, despite Sani Dunes?
success (management says it sold out over
summer), they?ve decided to drop the
under-12s rule from next year. The Ozone
will still be reserved for those aged 12 and
up, and the resort will still aim for a calm
atmosphere, but will the magic remain
when that peaceful pool is being divebombed and Thomases are being dropped
in cereal bowls? I doubt it. Get there in
October half-term for the real deal ? there?s
still space and it should be a decent 19C.
It was a clever experiment, and they?re
daft to drop it. Next year, we?ll have to
look elsewhere for teen holidays (see
panel, left), all of which seem a lot more
effort. Come on, Sani, do a U-turn: none
of us is getting any younger.
Stephen Bleach was a guest of Sani Dunes,
where the Inspiring Travel Company has a
week, half-board, from �959 for a family
of two adults and two teens, including
flights (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk)
6 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Travel
THE BIG WEEKEND
S
ILLUSTRATION BY MATTHEW CORNICK AND RAMONA JANELIUKSTE
weden?s second city was once
known solely for shipbuilding,
herrings and the Volvo HQ, but
an influx of young people has put
the west-coast town on the map
for superb art, cutting-edge fashion and
creative cuisine. It?s not all new ? giant
cinnamon buns, vintage trams and the
largest theme park in Scandinavia are
traditions worth revelling in, though the
archaic Sunday and Monday closures are
a drag. So take the late Thursday-night
flight with Norwegian or Ryanair and
you?ll be up and raring to go early on
Friday morning for a packed 48 hours.
FRIDAY
Morning
Size up the city with a stroll through the
centre. You?re heading for the hip shops
of Magasinsgatan via Saluhallen, a
copper-domed 19th-century food hall.
Trail past stalls piled with thick smoked
sausages, holey cheese and handmade
chocolates, and get a coffee for the walk
(storasaluhallen.se).
Because they were experts at building
on marshland, the Dutch were called in
to build Gothenburg in the 17th century.
The result is a city of waterways and
bridges with a whiff of Amsterdam about
it. You?ll get the idea on a 10-minute
meander west along the canal to the
crossroads of Magasinsgatan and
Vallgatan. Grandpa is the standout in
this cool cluster of shops, selling fashion
and homewares from Scandi and
Gothenburg brands such as Cornelia
Webb and Our Legacy (grandpastore.
com). Artilleriet should also be on the
list for the high-end Swedish toiletries
label L:A Bruket and boho-style velvet
cushions (artilleriet.se).
The Swedes eat early: lunch is any time
from 11.30am, and takeaway prawn salads
sell out fast at the Feskekorka. Fishermen
have been hawking their catch beneath
the white gable at the city?s ?fish church?
since 1847. The plump pink prawns,
however, came in this morning. Eat them
in the sunshine on the steps by the canal.
If it?s raining, squeeze around a tiny table
at Gabriel, inside the Feskekorka, for the
daily catch with mash and lingonberries
(mains from �; restauranggabriel.se).
Afternoon
You?ll find Picasso, Rembrandt and
Monet at the Gothenburg Museum
of Art, but one look at the stark 1923
facade and you know they aren?t the
priority here. The showstopper is the
world?s foremost collection of Nordic
painting from the early 20th century.
Munch is there, alongside Ivar Arosenius?s
dark canvases and the naive charm of
Ragnar Sandberg. Particularly good is
the gallery cluttered with Hjalmar
Gabrielson?s collection of self-portraits,
a who?s who of Swedish modernists
(�90; goteborgskonstmuseum.se).
Time for some thrills. Built at the same
time as the art museum, the Liseberg
theme park blends feelgood fun with a
certain old-school charm. A 10-minute
tram ride from town gets you to the Helix
rollercoaster, a spinning gondola named
Loke, 36 more cracking rides and some
gravity-defying soft-serve ice creams. No,
those 2kg Toblerones will not fit in your
suitcase. Yes, you?ll want to try to win
one at the spinning-wheel game anyway
(entry �70, rides from � liseberg.com).
Evening
Squeeze in a sundowner on the terrace at
Mr P before ducking inside to one of the
high tables for creative sharing plates.
GOTHENBURG
Alessia Horwich packs Nordic art, rollercoasters and
island-hopping into two days in Sweden?s hippest city
1 mile
Branno
Grandpa
Barabicu
Bar Centro
Avalon
Stranger
Artilleriet
Feskekorka
Haga
400yd
Norwegian flies to
Gothenburg from
Gatwick, Manchester
and Edinburgh; from
� return (norwegian.
com). Ryanair flies
from Stansted; from
� return.
Saluhallen
8� miles
Haga
Hem
GETTING THERE
Clarion
Hotel Post
Roda Sten
Tvala Tvaga
WHERE TO STAY
Mr P
Cafe Husaren
Gothenburg
Museum of Art
Liseberg
Housed in the huge
1920s former city post
office, by the main
station, the Clarion
Hotel Post has smart
rooms, a rooftop pool,
a Nordic-Japanese
fusion restaurant
(restaurangvra.se) and a
spa that uses exclusively
Swedish products
(skonhetsfabriken.se).
Doubles start at �5,
B&B (nordicchoice
hotels.com).
The Avalon art hotel
has rooms with colourful
accents, Bulgari
toiletries and a rooftop
pool. Doubles start at
�0 (avalonhotel.se).
The steak tartare with capers, horseradish
and beetroot, covered with pommes
allumettes, is fab (large plates from �;
en.mr-p.se). Friday is Gothenburg?s big
night out, which calls for more drinks.
Stranger is a speakeasy in a low-lit,
unmarked basement. Buzz yourself in,
grab a seat in a brick alcove and let the
barman go off menu (cocktails from �;
strangergbg.com).
SATURDAY
Morning
Anything Stockholm can do, Gothenburg
can do too: that includes a rocky
archipelago of more than 20 islands. Get
up early to explore it. See off that woolly
head with the best coffee in town, from
Bar Centro (barcentro.se), then hop on
the 11 tram to Saltholmens Brygga, where
the 9.05am ferry to Branno Rodsten gets
you to Branno at 9.23am. This is the
largest island in the archipelago, with
no cars, 800 inhabitants and a quiet
Swedish charm.
Your first stop is in a ship junkyard ?
tramp past rusting hulls and discarded
fishing nets to get to Branno Varv, a cafe
that serves fika with a view of sailing boats
and a perfect red Scandinavian wooden
hut across the water (buns from �
brannovarv.se). Appetite sated, you?ve
got a couple of hours to potter about,
dive-bomb off rickety wooden pontoons
and admire the storybook houses before
getting the 12.32pm ferry back.
On the return tram ride, get off at
Kungssten for Roda Sten, a contemporary
arts centre on the industrial waterfront.
Dwarfed by the Alvsborg suspension
bridge, this shabby boiler house was the
property of graffiti artists and ravers in
the 1980s, and is still coated with a thick
layer of gaudy tags. Inside, there are
photo, collage and video installations by
up-and-coming artists. It?s also where
you?re getting lunch ? Restaurang Roda
Sten has superb vegetarian meze plates
of stuffed vine leaves, baba ganoush and
mint salad (entry �90, mains from �;
rodasten.com).
Afternoon
From new to old: Haga was the city?s
first suburb, but, thanks to latte-pappor
(coffee papas, on paternity leave), it?s
become a cool hang-out. The 17th-century
cobbles and traditional wooden houses
will charm you, and excellent indie
boutiques such as Haga Hem, for
Moomin cushions and Marimekko fabrics
(hagahem.com), or Tvala Tvaga, for
organic candles and old-school soaps
and toiletries (tvalaochtvaga.se), will
keep you busy.
Take a pit stop at Cafe Husaren, where
�70 will buy a kanelbullar (cinnamon
bun) the size of a frisbee and twice as
thick. They?ve been making them here
under the original glass ceiling since the
19th century (cafehusaren.se).
Evening
Saturday nights in Gothenburg are sleepy:
best settle in for a long dinner. Barabicu
is an edgy grill restaurant on a west-facing
waterfront where the last slice of evening
sun in the city falls. Find a table on the
terrace, order a drink and get to work on
a slab of steak with chimichurri and
sobrasada mash, or merguez sausage in
brioche with smoked onion mayonnaise,
salsa and salt-roasted potatoes (mains
from �; barabicu.se).
Alessia Horwich was a guest of
goteborg.com, the Clarion Hotel Post
and Norwegian Airlines
DEB SNELSON/GETTY
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 7
POSTCARD FROM COLORADO
ROCKIES LANDING
A new flight to Denver means cowboy
country is less than �0 away.
James Stewart saddles up in the Rockies
I
tried on Bob Dylan?s shirt the other
day. It was a lovely white one with
diamond-shaped black buttons.
I also ordered a rattlesnake and
pheasant hot dog in a diner, and
squinted from a saloon veranda like
John Wayne in True Grit. I didn?t inhale,
despite marijuana being legal.
Unexpected things happen in Colorado.
And, as of next month, they will be more
accessible than ever. From September 16,
the low-cost airline Norwegian is adding
Denver to its ever-growing transatlantic
network, and at a mighty attractive price
? returns from �0.
As a wellspring of hipsterdom, the
capital of Colorado is now mentioned in
the same breath as Austin, Nashville and
Portland. A few hours away lie the Rocky
Mountains, posh ski resorts and gold-rush
towns haunted by the ghosts of the Wild
West. It?s one helluva road trip, for less
than a fortnight in the Med.
You?ll begin in Denver. Its epithet,
the Mile High City, refers to the 5,280ft
altitude, but applies equally to the dope.
Colorado was the first US state to legalise
marijuana, in 2012, and today pot
dispensaries outnumber Starbucks.
In April, the International Church of
Cannabis opened, which is no more daft
than Scientology?s space lizards. It?s open
Thursday to Sunday, communion optional
(elevationists.org).
Millennials are moving to Denver in
droves, and the reasons they want to live
here ? relaxed lifestyle, creative culture,
proximity to mountains ? also appeal for
a few days? holiday. Lower Downtown (or
?LoDo?, obvs) is a mellow, walkable grid.
Traffic is slow. On leafy 16th Street Mall,
pianos and chess sets are free to play with.
Warehouses have become brilliant
bookshops such as Tattered Cover. On
Larimer Street, restaurants now occupy
gold-rush-era stores. I can recommend
the Mediterranean-ish food at Rioja
(mains from �; riojadenver.com).
There are also shops such as
Rockmount, with a western swagger that?s
the real deal. Its founder, Jack Weil, sold
to cowboys in the 1940s. I?m guessing he
didn?t tell them his pioneering popper
shirt buttons were taken from diapers.
It?s kitted out Elvis, Paul Newman,
Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen.
Robert Plant was in the week before me.
Lovely guy, apparently. Dylan wore model
No 6940 when he received the Medal of
Freedom in 2012. That?s the one I went
for (shirts from �; rockmount.com).
And, of course, there?s craft beer. But
before you hiss ?hipster?, you need to
know that places such as Tivoli pulled
pints for miners on the wagon trail in
1859. Today the city has 148 breweries,
27 of which are mapped by the tourist
board?s downloadable Beer Trail. At Ratio
brewery, the tattooed barman poured a
pale ale. Then a chocolate rye scotch ale.
My head swam. Beers of 6%-8% alcohol
pack a punch at altitude. ?The hangovers
are vicious up here, too,? the barman
advised. I thought it prudent to get some
dinner: that rattlesnake hot dog at Biker
Jim?s tasted, inevitably, of chicken (�
bikerjimsdogs.com).
Let?s be honest, we can all be hipsters
at home. What you can?t do is star in your
very own western. Kenosha Pass lies 65
miles southwest of Denver. You round a
bend on Highway 285 and a grassland
basin stretches into infinity like a
revelation. Beyond it are cattle ranches,
snaking river canyons, widescreen Rocky
Mountains scenery that won?t squeeze
through a smartphone lens (trust me, I
tried), then high-plains desert to Utah.
Ridgway, beneath the San Juan
Mountains, starred in How the West Was
Won and True Grit. The town council runs
location tours on Friday mornings (�
ridgwaycolorado.com), while the True
Grit Cafe has a wall of memorabilia and
ragtime piano five nights a week. The
film?s pivotal hanging scene was shot in
the park opposite. There was a weekend
farmers? market on when I was there.
John Wayne practically lived up here.
Today, Ralph Lauren does intermittently,
in a 16,000-acre ranch. Oprah and Tom
Cruise have places just up the road in
Telluride. Any town with truffle face
masks and real estate sold by Sotheby?s
International has moved on a bit from
when Butch Cassidy was launching his
career here in 1889. But enough remains
to remind you why you came: the
film-set-perfect Victorian main street,
Colorado Avenue; the independent
shops and old saloons; the Stars and
Stripes flying from immaculate villas;
COLORADO
70
UTAH
Crested Butte
DENVER
Kenosha
Pass
Ridgway
Telluride
San Juan
Mountains
25
285
Rio
Grande
NEW MEXICO
50 miles
HIGH STREET
The mountain
resort of
Telluride, where
Tom Cruise and
Oprah Winfrey
have homes
True Grit?s
pivotal
hanging
scene was
shot in a
park in
Ridgway.
There was
a weekend
farmers?
market on
when I
was there
the kids selling homemade lemonade on
the sidewalk (no, really). I attempted
British cynicism, I really did. It never
stood a chance against such wholesome
small-town Americana.
You can ski, raft and hike from
Telluride ? I?d choose Bear Creek Falls,
just outside town ? but if you want to
bike, saddle up in Crested Butte. While
Telluride struck gold and built itself from
Victorian brick, Crested Butte found
coal and has wooden shacks. Settled by
hippies in the 1970s, it has gentrified into
a backwater of quietly groovy good living:
dream-catchers in the shop windows,
cartoony murals on free local buses, that
sort of thing.
In 1973, some good ol? Crested Butte
boys decided to go boozing in Aspen.
They cycled there on one-speed ?klunker?
bikes, 35 miles on mule tracks. It was so
much fun, they formed the world?s first
mountain-bike association. Today, at
Evolution Bike Park, you?re given body
armour to look like Robocop. Ski lifts
take you up. Gravity takes you down.
Doddle. If you?re around on a Wednesday,
you can enter a free race sponsored by
local orthopaedic surgeons ? no conflict
of interest there (bike hire from �;
bike.skicb.com).
Colorado is big country that packs a
lot in. You can go from a cowboy diner
in a pioneer town to a hipster city food
truck in six hours. It?s a nation?s narrative
in miniature.
James Stewart was a guest of Colorado
Tourism Office (colorado.com). Norwegian
flies to Denver from Gatwick; from �0
return. British Airways has flights from
Heathrow; from �1 return. The Maven is
the hippest new hotel in downtown Denver
(doubles from �8; themavenhotel.com).
Hotel Telluride has faux antiques and Easy
Rider-style bicycles (doubles from �7;
thehoteltelluride.com). Grand Lodge, in
Crested Butte, is bland, but the bike lift is on
the doorstep (doubles from �; skicb.com)
8 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Travel Cover story
F
oodies will tell you that there
are more famous and refined
towns to have dinner in: Paris,
New York, Tokyo, Copenhagen,
London. But going away to
eat doesn?t have to involve a long wait
for a reservation and a big bill at the end.
In these under-the-radar towns, where
food and drink is embedded in the local
culture, you can eat well all weekend
without spending a fortune, and you?ll
almost always get a table, even if you turn
up on the night. All you need to bring is
your appetite.
NORCIA
UMBRIA, ITALY
Perugia
You can go to
Umbria ? the next
region down from
Norcia
Tuscany ? for
10 miles
rolling landscapes
and ancient towns. Or you can go to pig
out. When it comes to eating and drinking,
we think it has the edge on its northern
neighbour, because dining out can be
half the price here and because it?s
home to the hilltop citadel of Norcia, the
pork capital of Italy.
Some time around the 12th century,
the locals twigged that the wild boar that
roam these parts make for extraordinarily
tasty salami, and they?ve been curing it
ever since. Last October, the town was
hit by a large earthquake, which sadly
destroyed the 13th-century basilica, but
within a few weeks, the norcinerias (delis)
were buzzing once again.
A weekend in Norcia will largely consist
of long lunches. At the small but smart
Enoteca Granaro del Monte, you can graze
on charcuterie and the aged pecorino
made by local shepherds (platters from
� facebook.com/enotecagranaro).
Spend the afternoon truffle-hunting (your
hotel will be able to organise this) or take
a hike into the Sibillini Mountains. The
area?s wild flowers help make the delicious
local honey, and lentils grow on the plains
? both should be on your tasting menu,
as should a large pistachio gelato from
Bar Benito, on Viale Marconi, the best
ice-cream shop in town.
Your blowout meal will be at the
Michelin-starred Vespasia, which serves
up immaculate plates such as hoops of
mezze maniche pasta with pistachios,
and sucking pig belly (three courses �;
palazzoseneca.com). For goodies to
take home, raid the superb Il Casale de
li Tappi, where salamis start at �(norcineriadinorcia.it).
Stay Vespasia?s home is the 16th-century
Palazzo Seneca. Make it yours, too.
The sophisticated modern interiors
feature antique four-posters and huge
fireplaces (doubles from �0, B&B;
palazzoseneca.com).
Fly To Perugia with Ryanair; Norcia is
a 75-minute drive away.
Cancale
CANCALE
BRITTANY, FRANCE
People come to this
blustery Breton
fishing village on the
St Malo
Dinard
western tip of the
5 miles
Baie du Mont Saint
Michel for two things: oysters and one of
the best chefs in France. Olivier Roellinger
ran the three-Michelin-starred Relais
Gourmand until 2008, and now oversees
a more modest one-star, Le Coquillage.
Book ahead for spiced Mont St Michel
salt-marsh lamb (three courses from �;
maisons-de-bricourt.com).
This is Brittany?s oyster capital, and
at low tide the sea falls back, leaving
miles of beds heaving with bivalves.
Beachside stalls sell them freshly
shucked, to be eaten on the sea wall.
EUROPE?S
TASTIEST
WEEKENDS
There?s no shame in planning your next escape around lunch. Tuck in like the
locals in these under-the-radar, food-obsessed towns, says Alessia Horwich
ULLI SEER/GETTY; FRIEDER BLICKLE/LAIF/CAMERA PRESS; ELSA ROUSSILLAT; ALAMY
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 9
TELL US YOUR
TASTIEST TOWN
AND WIN FREE
FLIGHTS
What is the
world?s most
delicious
destination?
Share your tips
at travel@
sunday-times.
co.uk. The week?s
best letter will win
its sender a pair of
return flights with
Monarch; see
page 3 for details
Come dinner time, the oysters at the
seafront Au Pied d?Cheval are served
alongside langoustines, lobster, black
sea snails, prawns and crabs in a
build-your-own seafood tower. Just
choose what you want from the baskets
at the front of the restaurant, and pair
with a cold bottle of muscadet (about
�pp; restaurant-aupieddcheval.fr).
Things get even fresher on board the
Ausqu閙�, a 1942 Breton sailing boat.
While you sail around the bay, you?ll be
served a picnic of mackerel rillettes and,
of course, oysters, followed by a
traditional crusty kouign amann pastry
(from �pp; cuisine-corsaire.fr).
Seafood overload? If yes, cross off
Breton cider, pancakes and salty butter
in one go at the best creperie in town,
Breizh Caf� (crepes from �. If no,
head upstairs to La Table, the cafe?s
Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant,
for steamed bass with ponzu,
elderflower and potatoes fried with
seaweed butter (three courses from �;
breizhcafe.com).
Stay La M鑢e Champlain is within
staggering distance of the town?s
harbourside restaurants and the sand.
The smart, simple rooms have views
out across the bay (doubles from �;
lamerechamplain.com).
Fly To Dinard with Ryanair; Cancale is a
half-hour drive. Or take the ferry to St
Malo, also 30 minutes away by car (returns
from �2; brittany-ferries.co.uk).
Madrid
CACERES
EXTREMADURA, SPAIN
You?ll need to bring
a spare suitcase to
Caceres
Caceres, to fill to
bulging with
100 miles
pimenton de La
Vera paprika, wild mushroom preserves,
Ibores goat?s cheese, olive oil from
Gata-Hurdes and maybe a whole leg of
iberico ham.
Halfway between Madrid and Lisbon,
the city benefits from an ancient mix of
Jewish, Christian and Arab influences,
and Unesco has good things to say
g
,
about the arches of its little-bit-gothic,
t-Renaissance cathedral, as well
little-bit-Renaissance
ecycled Roman pillars in the
as the recycled
ntury Almohad cisterns.
11th-century
res was Spain?s gastronomic
Caceres
capital in 2015, and its food
scene has been on a rolling
er since. First up is
boil ever
a crawl around the tapas
at jostle for space
bars that
on the cobbled plazas
and in the tangle
ts. Make
of streets.
u tick off
sure you
Meson Potosi,
a slip off a bar
st eight
with just
tables. It?s a
ase for
showcase
ion?s
the region?s
Above, stock up
in one of Norcia?s
delis; oysters
in Cancale; and
wine from the
Matosevic
vineyard, near
Brtonigla. Below,
presunto ham
from Estremoz
iberico pork ? ham, black sausage,
chorizo, loin ? and has the best wine
list in town (mains from �; Avenida
Isabel de Moctezuma 25). At Minerva,
on Plaza Mayor, try the carpaccio of
Extremaduran beef (from �
laminervacaceres.com).
The region?s best restaurant is El Figon
de Eustaquio, which was founded in 1947
and counts the London chef Jos� Pizarro,
who was born just outside town, among
its fans. Jos� would tell you to have the
migas, a Spanish classic of sausages,
bacon and fried breadcrumbs (two
courses �; elfigondeeustaquio.com).
Gabriel Mostazo (mostazo.es) and
(
)
Montanchez (sierrademontanchez.es)
sell all the ham, honey and Torta del
Casar ? a gloopy sheep?s cheese that you
yo
scoop out with a spoon and slather
on bread ? you can carry.
Stay Palacio de Oquendo is a
16th-century
y mansion just
outside the city walls, with
chic Scandi interiors beneath
benea
artfully lit bleached-stone
bleached-ston
arches (doubles
from �;
nh-collection.
com).
Fly To Madrid
(a three-hour
drive away) or
Seville (2hr
40min) with
British Airways.
Airway
Trieste
BRTONIGLA
ISTRIA, CROATIA
The Romans made
Istria?s first olive oil,
and its shellfish,
Brtonigla
asparagus, cheeses
20 miles
and wines are also
superb. In addition, this is the only region
in the world where you can eat its truffles
fresh, year-round ? white in autumn,
black in spring.
Tiny Brtonigla is your base. It?s a
20-minute drive from the Motovun forest,
where, at the rustic Konoba Dolina
tavern, the locals feast on white truffle
omelettes and pork chops hidden
beneath mounds of shaved truffles
(mains from � konobadolina.hr).
At the Matosevic vineyard, the family
use ancient grape varieties and
experiment with different types of barrel
to produce a cracking Grimalda white
(tasting �; matosevic.com). Or, for an
excellent organic red, try the Brombonero
directly from the barrel at the Clai
vineyard (tasting �; clai.hr).
On your way home, swing by the village
of Fiorini. Here, at Klaj, a stone and wood
farmhouse, they serve up meat grilled on
an open fire and doused with homemade
truffle oil (mains from � agroturizam-klaj.
com). Back in town, the pretty, refined
plates at chic San Rocco include wild sea
bass, Kvarner shrimps ? and lots more
truffles (mains from �; san-rocco.hr).
Stay San Rocco also has 14 rooms, with
exposed bricks, polished wood floors
and heavy beams. There?s a pool, too
(doubles from �0, B&B; san-rocco.hr).
Fly To Trieste with Ryanair; Brtonigla is
an hour?s drive away.
ESTREMOZ
ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL
Estremoz This is Portugal?s
gastronomic soul.
The Alentejo has
Lisbon
a gout-inducing
50 miles
number of vineyards.
Salty, sharp wheels of hard sheep?s cheese
are seasoned with paprika and olive oil.
Its cork forests produce acorns, which
are eaten by pigs, which in turn become
delicious presunto ham or porco preto.
Estremoz is a tiny medieval walled
town with colonial-style buildings of pink
marble and narrow streets that trickle
down from the 14th-century castle.
You?re here for the Saturday-morning
market, one of the biggest and best in the
country. The stallholders arrive at the
crack of dawn, and so should you. A hot,
doughnut-like fartura will do for breakfast
as you wander around stalls of oranges,
lemons, hazelnuts, pumpkins, olives,
thick rings of sausages, whole ham legs
and sheep?s cheeses. Grocery basket full,
retreat to Pastelaria Cafetaria de Estremoz
O Rossio, on the square, for coffee and a
custard tart.
The timetable for the rest of the
weekend goes like this: a lazy afternoon of
tastings at the Dona Maria vineyard (from
�; donamaria.pt); dinner at Mercearia
Gadanha, a former grocer?s where the
pork cheeks and saffron mash soak up
more vinho tinto (mains from �
merceariagadanha.pt); a splash-out lunch
of turbot with ginger and green basil
curry at the Michelin-starred L?And
vineyard (menus from �; l-and.com);
and, between meals, the Roman ruins of
Evora, half an hour away.
Stay The castle is now Pousada Castelo
Estremoz, a grand hotel with gilt-framed
beds and a sun-drenched pool.
Fly To Lisbon with easyJet; Estremoz is a
90-minute drive away. Three nights at
Pousada Castelo Estremoz start at �5pp,
B&B, including flights and car hire
(sunvil.co.uk).
14 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Travel
JAMIIE BAKER/ALAMY; ASTRID STAWIARZ/GETTY
MY HOLS
PAUL OAKENFOLD
The superstar DJ?s holiday mix includes
the Cure in Sicily, Divine in Ibiza and
a marital disaster in the Maldives
I?m a city boy, not a guy
who goes glamping, but I?ve
recently come back from
Mount Everest, where I
played an unbelievable gig. It was to raise
money for the local community. I?d never
hiked, climbed or slept in a tent before,
and it was -16C. The mornings were the
best ? get up in the freezing
ng cold as the
sun is rising, see spectacular
ular views
and eat porridge. By the end of the
day, it was difficult to breathe
athe
because of the rain, beating
ng sun and
winds. I was huddled in a sleeping
bag, suffering. The worst thing was
having to pee in a bottle in
n the
dark. I was worried aboutt
sleeping in my own puddle.
dle.
Shanghai and Buenos
Aires are my favourite
cities. The first time I
went to Shanghai, about
15 years ago, I stayed at
the Grand Hyatt, which
starts on the 53rd floor.
I was in the bath when
all the lights came on
across the river on the
Bund, the city?s romantic
old waterside district. I was
as
above the clouds with a
cocktail in my hand, thinking,
king,
?If my mum could see me
e
now...? It?s better to stay
on the Bund side now, because the
modern skyline of Pudong is unbelievable
at night ? full of neon.
Buenos Aires is all about passion. They
love football and electronic music. I stay
at the Faena hotel, where you can see
the best tango shows. Round the corner,
there?s a great little steak restaurant. I
tend to get lost in the night: go for
dinner at 11p
11pm, DJ from 3am and get
home when the sun?s up. I go to a
Boca Juniors
Junior match, go to street
markets. I used
to just fly in, play
u
I try to explore.
and leave. Now
N
I went to IIbiza for my birthday in
1987, with my friends Johnny
Walker,
Walk Danny Rampling and
Nicky
Nick Holloway. It was a
trip that ended up shaping
British
club culture. We saw
Br
Alfredo
DJ at Amnesia and
Al
it changed our lives. We
came
back to London and
ca
started
our own clubs.
st
I?d been to Ibiza once
before,
when I worked for
b
the
th company that looked
after
aft Divine, the 22-stone
transvestite
artist. My job
tran
was to look after him when
he performed
at the Ku Club.
pe
He ro
rode onto the stage on a
baby elephant.
In those days,
e
you could
cou do what you wanted.
WHERE WAS I?
There are millions of results if
you search for Little London
online. I am near one of them,
looking out to a 6.3-acre site of
special scientific interest. It?s
on an island with a monastery
dating from the 8th century.
The castle is probably a
little younger. Several films
have been shot there,
including a 1983 adventure
in which a villain?s plans for
world supremacy are
(inevitably) foiled.
Leaving Little London, I
head four miles east to a
hillfort 636ft above sea level.
The remains are scant. While
there, I also find a topograph
atop a trig point. Nearby,
in 1746, a Quaker minister
discovered a mineral that
proved to be the birth of
a significant industry in the
county. Nevertheless, it was
not exclusively this that made
the area part of a World
Heritage Site.
I potter around before
returning to the jalopy, then
drive four miles east to the
outskirts of a small town,
where I find the course of
a branch line that terminated
there. It closed in 1964. Some
significant infrastructure
remains ? notably a six-arch,
121yd viaduct and, a tad
beyond, a mile of track that
has been relaid by a heritage
railway. What do you know,
they?re running trains today.
Later, I visit an air station
southeast of the town and
two miles from one of the
county?s largest lakes. Dating
from 1944, it is home to,
among others, 736 Naval Air
Squadron. There?s a viewing
area, too, for which I make a
beeline ? although the last
time I tried something similar,
I saw nothing more than a
pigeon. Maybe I?ll fare better
today. A magpie, perhaps.
Chris Fautley
OF HELL
DANCE TIL DAWN
Paul still goes to Ibiza
every year
The DJ and producer Paul
Oakenfold, 53, was born in
London and is credited with
kick-starting rave culture in
the 1980s. A box set of his
mixes, Generations: Three
Decades of Dance, is out now
and he is playing tonight at
the SW4 festival, in London.
He lives in Los Angeles
He put his hand on my leg in the back of
the car once. I was, like, ?Nah, nah, that?s
not me.? But we had the time of our lives.
I still go to Ibiza every year. I take my
watch off and just go with it. I have long
boozy lunches at little restaurants on the
beach. I get restless lying in the sun, so I?ll
work out or go for a run. My friend?s got a
little studio, so I?ll make music and have
a few beers. Then, once or twice a week,
I?ll go out to a club or a bar.
My best holiday was probably when I
fell in love with my now ex-wife in the late
1990s. We were in Sicily, in an incredible
old hotel at the top of a mountain. There
was an old amphitheatre next door, where
we saw the Cure play. I married her and it
was downhill from then on.
Going to the Maldives was a disaster.
There?s only so much watersports you can
do for 10 days, then you find
yourself wondering why
you?re on holiday together.
But hey, that?s life.
Interview by Caroline Rees
the hotel?s main restaurant
won its first Michelin star.
For more details, or to book,
call 01631 720371 or visit
eriska-hotel.co.uk.
The prize includes one
tasting-menu dinner for two
(excluding wine) at the
Michelin-starred restaurant,
as well as a couple?s massage
at the spa and a champagne
hamper on the first morning.
It must be taken before
December 15, 2017, and is
subject to availability.
HOW TO ENTER
THE QUESTIONS
1 What is the name of the
island?
2 What is the name of the
town?
THE PRIZE
The planet?s best free
shows ? and how to
see them
No
29
GATES
COMPETITION WIN A MICHELIN-STARRED BREAK FOR TWO IN SCOTLAND
WITH THE ISLE
OF ERISKA
HOTEL
NATURAL
WONDERS
The winner and a guest will
stay for three nights in a
Hilltop Reserve at the Isle of
Eriska Hotel. The Relais &
Ch鈚eaux property sits on a
300-acre private island off
the west coast of Scotland,
and in June launched four
more of its Hilltop Reserves ?
luxurious self-catering villas
that can be booked for short
stays or as part of a
membership package.
It?s the latest stage of a
sustained period of
investment and renovation
that saw the relaunch of
Eriska?s Stable Spa and the
opening of the Deck
restaurant in 2015. In 2014,
Only one entry per person,
at thesundaytimes.co.uk/
wherewasi by Wednesday.
Normal Times Newspapers
rules apply. No
correspondence will be
entered into.
LAST WEEK?S PRIZE
The answers are Tarbert
and the Isle of Gigha. Kevin
Knight of Essex wins a
luxurious short break for
two in Cyprus, as a guest
of the Almyra hotel and
Monarch.
In 1971, Soviet geologists went
to the Karakum Desert, in
Turkmenistan, in search of oil.
Initial surveys looked good,
so they started drilling.
Unbeknown to them, they had
set up their rig on the fragile
crust above a gargantuan
pocket of natural gas. The
ground opened, the rig
plummeted into the resulting
crater, and that was when
the problems really started.
The gas ? mostly methane
? was now escaping into the
atmosphere, displacing
oxygen and posing a risk to
nearby settlements. Engineers
decided to set fire to it,
figuring that it would be gone
in a fortnight. That was 46
years ago, and the crater now
known as the Gates of Hell is
still burning.
It may not be an entirely
natural natural wonder, but
it?s an infernal spectacle
nonetheless, sending a glow
into the cold desert night
that can be seen for miles.
While methane isn?t toxic,
the intense heat and the
oxygen-deprived air can
make seeing it up close an
uncomfortable experience.
Sometimes swarms of
camel spiders, attracted by
the heat, can be seen pouring
over the crater?s rim like
arachnid lemmings.
The Gates of Hell have
become Turkmenistan?s top
tourist attraction ? and, if you
can get a visa, it?s quite easy to
visit. The crater is about 160
miles north of the capital city,
Ashgabat, and it?s one of the
highlights on a two-week Cities
of the Silk Road group tour
with Wild Frontiers (from
�895pp; 020 8741 7390;
wildfrontierstravel.com).
Return flights to Tashkent start
at �5 with Turkish Airlines.
Chris Haslam
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