Weekend Travel Press Digest / 24 Oct 2011
Apparently, we are heading into a winter of discontent; but not if this week’s travel digest is anything to go by. It’s time to start thinking about skiing, or visiting igloos, or catching the Northern Lights- which NASA forecasts to be the brightest in ten years. If you would rather escape the cold months, then you could always take a road less travelled. Just watch out for the wildlife…
The Guardian’s Susan Greenwood leaves skiing behind and discovers a whole realm of activities for the winter months. There’s a cooking course in France’s most authentic mountain resort, Megève; sleeping in an igloo in Slovenia; whale watching in Iceland or even taking to the skies to see the Northern lights up close.
Alf Anderson visits Red Mountain in British Colombia, renowned for its steep slopes which weave through the trees. In recent years, the resort has relented and opened up a variety of beginner-friendly runs. It seems ‘Red’ has just about everything, including slope-side luxury condos and the oldest ski-town in Western Canada.
Things are changing in the luxury chalet sphere. The Telegraph seeks out 12 chalets in the Alps fit for gastronomes, with menus ranging from ‘Gastropub’ to ‘Savoyard’ and even ‘light oriental cuisine’. However, these chalets are allowing their guests the freedom to choose if they desire a chef at all, promoting a self-catering option previously unheard of with high-end properties. If this is for you, then just make sure the supermarket isn’t at the bottom of the mountain…
Cities of Culture: Milan and Toulouse
The Telegraph pays a visit to the Sforza Castle in central Milan and sits in peace with Da Vinci, surrounded by mulberry leaves. Nick Trend spends his allotted 15 minutes with the Last Supper and reads the artists’ CV; apparently, the great man was rather humble: ‘in painting, I can do as much as anyone, whoever he may be’.
France’s fourth largest city is not exactly a tourist hub, but this may be set to change. It’s a medieval city with tinged-pink buildings and windy, pedestrianised streets. It has also taken a leaf out of London’s book, with a free cycle hire scheme; the perfect way to visit the sites on the car-free roads. Rhiannon Batten tells us more.
The Road Less Travelled
A self-drive safari comes with its own rewards and risks, the Independent discovers. Whilst it is possible to follow your own bespoke itinerary and get up close and personal with wildlife, Leslie Woit discovers that sometimes this can be a little too close. Along the way she meets a Zambian diamond tycoon, becomes very fond of a car named Mungo and learns that Africa is rather short of road signs.
The NY Times’ Seth Kugel drives along a crocodile slalom course to the Pantanal, a vast wetlands area in Brazil. Before he even checks in he spots a rare anteater; this really is one of the best places in the world to spot wildlife, and it’s a great deal cheaper than its Amazonian neighbour. He is guided by Tuca, a Panatan native with an amazing knack for tracking down animals; together they see giant otters, ocelots and capybaras.
John Gimlette attempts to see beyond the glossy, honeymoon side of the Seychelles and gets to grip with the exotic islands. He begins in Mahe, a gnarly green iguana of a place, which is gratifyingly wild. Just a few minutes from his hotel is wilderness: reefs, dark forest, pungent swamp…He and his family move on to explore Praslin, home of the coco de mer palm, along with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and an island occupied entirely by giant tortoises. It’s a place that just seems too good to be true.