So here we are in Granada, home to Alhambra, which means the Red Fort. It is correct to simply call it Alhambra as ‘al’ means ‘the’ in Arabic. Granada itself is named after the old Jewish settlement, Medina-al-Granata, or Pomegranate City, the fruit being a symbol of fertility, which is said to contain the same number of seeds as the volumes of the Torah. We have a free day to explore before our extortionate tour; still nervous about whether we have been scammed, we are relieved to get a text confirming the meeting time. Phew! Continue reading
This is our fourth visit to the splendiferous Villa du Soleil. This year our hosts JB&C invite our other chums R&C with a brief to come armed with Brexit parodies to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan…(these can be seen on my Instagram account). As well as a garish shirt competition, it is a tradition to play musical games and quizzes to counteract the effects of copious amounts of rosé. Continue reading
It’s still raining when we arrive in Salvador, Brazil’s former capital, site of the first landing in 1501 by Amerigo Vespucci and centre of the slave trade. It is the most African part of Brazil with 80% of people having African heritage and where traditional African religions survive today with the numerous Candomblé cults. There is even a choir that sings in Yoruba.
After our magnificent week in the hot & dusty Pantanal we set off for the NE coast of Brazil, first stop Olinda and Recife. We are due to arrive at 2 am and, despite numerous emails and entreaties to our travel agent, are repeatedly told we have to go via São Paulo, a journey that will take 8 hours. Continue reading
‘Watch out! The Pantanal has the world’s worst mosquitoes!’ With this warning ringing in my ears, here we are with our Avon skin-so-soft spray (the best according to experts), craghoppers mosquito-proof trousers and shirts and even face nets to fit under hats. The African in me who has never bought any safari gear is appalled. Continue reading
It does not augur well as we step off the train in Windermere in torrential rain, me in my summer sandals! The rain continues into day one of our long weekend; our friends John and Hilary had wisely brought forward our Sunday lunch reservation at the Michelin star-winning L’Enclume in Cartmel, so we decide to go for a cultural visit to Brantwood House on the way. Continue reading
We are celebrating Ross’s second retirement. He said he wanted a rite of passage to get him out of pharma mode and back into real life. So here we are! On advice, we have decided that five nights downtown in a hot, noisy Riad is probably too much so we are staying in the Palmeraie district in a lovely place, Les Deux Tours, set in luscious gardens complete with vegetables, goats, hammam, large pool, hidden 4-poster beds for a post-prandial nap, and immaculate service. Our room lies behind a Mediterranean blue door and has its own secret garden. Spoiling indeed. Continue reading