The Album: October
CD Traveller reader, Jackie Keith, takes us on a tour of her five favourite destinations
The Isle of Arran (the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, the seventh largest Scottish island the ninth largest island surrounding Great Britain) holds a special place in my heart – it’s where I spent my summers as a child. Visiting Arran is like stepping back in time: you swap crowded subways, busy pavements and pollution for wonderful wildlife (expect to see species such as Roe deer and Basking Sharks) and walks around the island. Often described as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, Arran has an amazingly diverse range of scenery: you’ll find granite peaks and deep glens at the north end of the island, and rolling and lush farmlands to the south.
Arguably Scotland’s undiscovered gem, Arran is an easy two hour trip from Glasgow (Scotland’s self proclaimed ‘capital of cool’) so why more people don’t make the journey remains a mystery. Simply take the train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour and from there the ferry to Brodick –Arran’s charming capital.
Malaysia is truly Asia: from the modern metropolis that is the capital, KL, to historic cities like Melaka and Penang, sun drenched beaches, idyllic islands, ancient temples, verdant national parks, steamy jungles and magnificent rainforests. Factor in the first class food (all kinds of cuisine is available from local Malay and Nonya dishes in the hawker centres to haute cuisine in high end hotels) and a diverse cultural heritage – the region is home to a fascinating mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian people – and few places on earth can match what Malaysia has to offer. Furthermore, it’s all blissfully affordable. Yet arguably it’s the Malaysians themselves that are the country’s own best advert. Gregarious locals have a way of reaching out to you – I never met a Malaysian who was anything less than fabulously friendly – and it’s this that makes the place so special.
If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, Hvar – voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful islands in the world – ought to rank high on your agenda. Known for its lavender, Hvar Town is architecturally stunning thanks to its honey coloured stone buildings, small theatre (the first in Europe) and pretty harbour overlooking a backdrop of islets. At night, the promenade comes to life with locals and tourists alike strolling together amongst floodlit stalls (excellent local buys include handmade lace, lavender and jewellery), admiring artists’ compositions and savouring the atmosphere provided by buzzing bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants.
People moan that London is expensive and they’re right. However as the old adage goes: ‘You get what you pay for.’ In London, you have everything you want in terms of accessibility. Want to see a show? Take your pick from fringe productions to west end musicals. Fancy spending an afternoon trawling around art galleries and museums? Go right ahead. Craving a curry at 4am? No problem. After some funky threads, that you won’t find anyone else in? Pop to Portobello on a Saturday or seek out Spitalfields on a Sunday. You get the gist… Life happens in London and the city is alive 24/7. Yet while London maybe happening, it also has history. Combined, it’s one of the most fascinating places on the planet.
Thousands of Brits flock to The Gambia each year in search of winter sun, attracted by the carousel of charter flights between the UK and Banjul. Many never make it beyond the big beach resorts of the Atlantic Coast and for good reason: this 10km stretch of coastline boasts some of the best beaches in all of Africa. The four resorts of Bakau, Fajara, Kotu and Kololi deliver everything on the holiday checklist: chalk white beaches, a sea that is paint box turquoise, water sports, restaurants, bars and an array of activities for the whole family.
But the ‘real’ Gambia starts beyond the hotel compexes. Venture further afield to historical sites such as James Island or the unspoilt coastal village of Kartong and you’ll soon discover how this tiny country, known as the ‘smiling coast of Africa’, earned its title.
Thanks Jackie! Fancy sharing your top travel experiences with fellow CD Traveller readers? Email: email@example.com