The Album: January 2011
CD Traveller reader, Emilie Scholey, takes us on a tour of her five favourite destinations
Cartmel (Lake District)
England’s largest national park is one of the most popular holiday spots in Britain and for good reason. When it comes to recharging body and soul, a week in the Lake District (think welcoming B&BS, bracing walks and hearty, home-cooked meals) can’t be beaten. In particular, I’ve got a soft spot for the medieval village of Cartmel which my Dad introduced me to, having camped there as a boy scout. Situated in a quite valley, Cartmel is wonderfully unspoilt. One of my favourite things to do there, is to pack a picnic (including the obligatory sticky toffee pudding – Cartmel is the birthplace of the delicious dessert) and head to the racecourse where you can sit next to the longest known ‘run-in’ to get a perfect view of the horses.
Marrakech casts a spell on you – especially Djemaa el Fna. One of the busiest squares not only in Africa but in the world, it’s a cacophony of shopkeepers, fortune tellers, food sellers and performances. While it can be a tad touristy, behind heavy unmarked doors lie restaurants with courtyards and secret rooftops – the perfect place to sip Marrakech’s sip sweet mint tea and sketch the inspiring surroundings. As an art teacher, I found that I couldn’t put my sketchbook down!
If you can, try and stay in a riad – a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. Checking into a riad is like stepping into a fairytale.
After spending the summer of 1992 watching the Barcelona Olympics, I had to book a break in Barcelona. I remember that I simply couldn’t wait to get there and cried when I left.
Spain’s capital has everything you could want from a city break: stylish shops, spectacular architecture, mountains, buzzing nightlife, beaches and of course, fab food. Seriously – the cuisine alone is reason enough to place Barcelona at the top of your winter wish list. Whatever you do, don’t skip town without trying the tapas at Barcelona’s biggest food market, La Boqueria. Mmmmmm. This is food heaven!
Treasured temples, palm fringed, pristine beaches, verdant vegetation, brightly coloured saris, happy herds of elephants… It could be a cliché, if it wasn’t all true, but it’s all here in India’s most southern state. Little wonder then, that Sir Paul McCartney hailed Kerala as being ‘truly God’s own country.’ Every corner of Kerala has something of interest but one essential – no matter what your budget – is to take a memorable boat cruise on Kerala’s backwaters. A backwater tour allows visitors an intimate glimpse into the lives of local people completely hidden from the road. As you meander through miles of waterways (think lakes, canals, rivers and green swaying stretches of paddy fields), expect to see trails of underwear, washing lines and villagers cleaning both themselves and their clothes in the water.
Ryan Air might fly to Finland but, for the most part, Finland (more specifically Ruka), is a secretive and intriguing destination that’s cut off from the rest of the world: I loved the feeling of being totally isolated. The air in Ruka is so fresh it will make you feel giddy while the snow is softer, deeper and whiter (even more so than Simon Cowell’s teeth), than any I have ever seen. For me, what made Ruka was having a husky ride; drinking vodka in an igloo was a first-and being able to ski down slopes with nary a sole in sight. Bliss!
Thanks Emilie! Fancy sharing your top travel experiences with fellow CD Traveller readers? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org