Italy

Where the experts holiday: Eleanor Keymer, Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner

Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner, Eleanor Keymer, has visited over 100 countries and lived in both the Costa Rican jungle and the urban London jungle. As a result, friends and friends-of-friends have long been seeking Eleanor’s advice about favourite destinations, leading her to set up her own travel planning service.
Here Eleanor shares her travel highlights to date, with Just About Travel readers

 

What do you like to do on holiday?
I like to go wildlife watching – nothing beats seeing nature at it’s finest. I also like to get off the beaten track and discover lessen-known parts of the globe. It could be discovering a hidden spot, having an authentic experience or heading to a new region – basically it means finding places that won’t turn up in any guidebook.

Where did you last go?
I recently returned from Swaziland which is where my fiance grew up. The kingdom of Swaziland is a tiny, serene little green jewel in the middle of a problematic region. Instead of a making a brief stop off on your way to Kruger National Park, KwaZulu-Natal or Mozambique, I’d recommend staying at least a week to do the country justice.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I do. First up, I am off a road trip around Spain with my Father and baby daughter, Tara. Then in June, my fiance and I are headed to Sorrento (Italy) to tie the knot. We’re also off to Aldenery – the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands – for a friend’s wedding before travelling to Nambia, Botswana and Zambia followed by Barbados and the Dominican Republic at the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy remainder of the year – and I can’t wait!

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
This a tough question but I’d have to say Brazil. The South American giant’s ecosystems are legendary: Brazil boasts the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth. Stir into the mix wild nightlife, beautiful beaches, thundering waterfalls and charming colonial towns and you couldn’t hope for anymore.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Like many people, I dream of setting foot in remote, majestic Antarctica  – it’s one of those bucket list destinations. Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary species and is a place of surreal beauty – I have to go.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
I’d tell them to check out Chiddingstone Village – it’s one of the most beautiful and oldest villages in Kent. Visiting Chiddingstone is akin to stepping back in time – the tudor village is complete with half-timbered frames, gables and stone hung red-tiled roofs. If you think the village looks familiar, it may be because Chiddingstone has been used as a site for several films including ‘A Room with a View’. There’s a fantastic pub – The Castle Inn – that’s full of historic charm and serves a wide range of delicious locally-sourced, home cooked dishes.

How do you plan your holiday?
I turn to the internet as a source of travel information and also take into account recommendations by friends when it comes to planning my trips. However I still rely on travel guidebooks – Lonely Planet, Rough Guides et al – during my travels.

How often do you go away?
Whenever I can!

Who do you travel with?
My family, friends, my baby daughter… but I also travel a lot by myself.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
It will be an interesting time for tourism in the post Brexit market. I think we will see more international tourists owing to the favourable exchange rates and I also think we’ll see more people coming from countries you wouldn’t expect.

Thanks Eleanor!
 

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For more information on Eleanor’s destination and itinerary planning and advice, please visit www.eleanorkeymer.com/

Read the article here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/27/where-the-experts-holiday-eleanor-keymer-bespoke-honeymoon-and-travel-planner/

Ferrari Land to roar into Spain this summer

Vrrrroooooom! A new Ferrari Land theme park is opening in Europe

Start your engines. Luxury car firm, Ferrari, will open its first European theme park on 7 April 2017 next door to the PortAventura resort near Tarragona, Spain.

The new 1000million-euro (£83million) adventure park - a smaller version of the original Abu Dhabi Ferrari World theme park which opened its gates in 2010 - will be home to five rides based on the sports car brand including, star attraction, the Vertical Accelerator.

Clocking in as the tallest roller coaster in Europe, the Vertical Accelerator will launch riders up a towering spike reaching 368 feet at 112 mph in just five seconds - ensuring passengers experience the same sensations felt by Formula 1 drivers.

The park will also pay homage to the legendary red and yellow car brand’s Italian heritage: expect to see replicas of Rome's Colosseum, La Scala opera house in Milan, Piazza San Marco in Venice and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence - alongside a number of Italian themed restaurants - all designed to transport visitors to Italy.

Other attractions include Ferrari Land Gallery (an interactive exhibit that takes you through the history of the legendary Italian car maker), a racetrack, free fall tower and F1 simulators, plus a pit stop.

It is hoped that the park, approximately an hour’s drive south of Barcelona, will attract around one million visitors in its first year.

Tickets for Ferrari Land are on sale now, with a price of €60 for adults and €52 for children. For more information, visit www.portaventuraworld.com/en/ferrari-land

 

 

  

Former football ace Tony Gale reveals his favourite club

He may have won the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1995, but Tony Gale has admitted that his heart belongs to London.

Speaking at launch of the 2017 Campioni Kids Football Academy at Chia Laguna Resort, earlier this week, the West Ham and Fulham legend revealed: 

“When Blackburn won the Premier League it was great, but I was only there for one season so you don’t have the same affinity you have or somewhere you spend 10 years.”

 “I was at Fulham from 11 years of age until I left at 24, and I got into the team aged 16.  I was then at West Ham for 10 years so they’ve got to be my two favourite clubs.”

Gayle started his senior career at Fulham, where he scored 19 goals in seven seasons from 1977-1984 -  an impressive showing for a defender. He then spent 10 years with West Ham from 1984-1994, making over 300 appearances for the Irons, before winning the league in his single season with Blackburn. He also played for Crystal Palace and Maidenhead United.

 The former defender, who was controversially sent off in an FA Cup semi-final, hasn’t slowed down since hanging up his boots back in 1998. Gayle is now a regular pundit on Sky Sports, chairman of non-league club Walton Casuals and has also found time to co-found Campioni Football Academy.

The academy will run week long soccer programmes at Chia Laguna Resort in Sardinia this summer, offering children aged 6-15 the chance to brush up their ball skills in the sun under the guidance of Campioni coaches including Andy Cole (the Premier League’s third highest ever scorer), Tottenham ace Darren Anderton and current Everton star, Yannick Bolasie.
 

“In the evening, these guys are going to be are going to around with their families - they’re approachable and they’ll talk to you. These are proper guys, proper footballers and you’ll be able to mix with them, ask them questions and enjoy the family atmosphere,” enthused Gayle.

“Throw in this spectacular resort and you can’t beat it. If I was choosing a holiday, this would be it.”

 

 

It’s all kicking off in Sardinia this summer

Award winning Chia Laguna Resort to launch week long soccer academies run by leading ex and current Premier League players


Family travel isn’t child’s play. Chances are parents want to stretch out on a sun-lounger, book in one hand and cocktail in the other, while all their football crazy kids want to do is kick a ball around.

Sound familiar? It’s time to choose a destination that has something for everyone and, this summer, Chia Laguna Resort looks set to fulfil the needs of both big and little kids.

The Italian Hospitality Collection’s luxurious five star resort in Sardinia has come up with the perfect remedy for frazzled parents looking to keep energetic children occupied and entertained throughout the May half term and summer holiday: soccer academies.

The resort - compromising four 'family friendly' hotels and private villas in the south of the island - will welcome the Campioni Football Academy during summer 2017, offering children aged 6-15 the chance to join leading ex and current Premier players and brush up their ball skills.

Speaking to World Travel Awards at the launch of the 2017 Campioni Kids Football Academy at Chia Laguna Resort, which took place at Home House (https://homehouse.co.uk/ ) in London last night, co-founder and Sky sports pundit,Tony Gale, said:

“We’re basically offering a lot of fun in the sun for the whole family, at a beautiful resort. If I was going on holiday, this is would I what I pick - it’s just one of those special holidays.”

Gale continued: “Parents can relax while their kids can improve their technical skills as well as their physical and mental game, with footballing greats like Andy Cole, Tony Cottee, Darren Anderton and Yannick Bolasie.”



“And guess what? In the evening, the guys are around with their families - they’re approachable and they’ll talk to you. These are proper guys, proper footballers and you’ll be able to mix with them, ask them questions and enjoy the family atmosphere. And that’s what it is all about.”

The former West Ham and Fulham legend certainly wasn’t shy about showing his enthusiasm for The Campioni Soccer Academy and Chia Laguna Resort, but wasn’t quite so forthcoming when asked by World Travel Awards about the football club he had a soft spot for.

“I mustn't answer that,” laughed Gale. “When I am with my Fulham friends, it’s Fulham. When I am with my West Ham friends, it’s West Ham. And then I was at Blackburn when they won the Premier League as well so… but if I am honest it’s where you started. I was at Fulham from 11 years of age until I left at 24 and I got into the team aged 16.  I was then at West Ham for 10 years so they’ve got to be my two favourite clubs.”

“Blackburn was one season and when we won the Premier League it was great, but I was only there for a single season so you don’t have the same affinity you have or somewhere you spend 10 years.”

The Campioni Football Academy with English Premier League Footballers at Chia Laguna runs from 27 May to 3 June and 1 July to 4 August 2017 and is available at a cost of €550 per child per week which includes a personalised training kit and bag. Contact bookings@campionio.co for more information

Top five ski locations for ski season

Winter holidays have a glamour all of their own. Perhaps it’s the thrill of swishing through perfect powdery snows, the apres ski or the gossip (guessing which celebs are on the slopes, where they’re staying and, crucially, with whom).

Whether you’re in the process of finding your ski legs or a wannabe downhill champion, we’ve rounded up five fabulous resorts for the winter 2016-17 season

Obergurgl, Austria
Attempting to select the best ski resort in Austria is akin to pick the spottiest dog in a kennel full of Dalmatians but Obergurgl - thanks to its winning combination of unspoilt scenery, a traditional Tirolean atmosphere and the friendly intimate nature of the village - arguably gets our vote.
What’s more, snow is always guaranteed in the ‘diamond of the Alps’ partly due to the resort’s impressive height (between 2,000-3000m) and the presence of a snow cannon (one of the most comprehensive artificial systems in the Alps).
Chances are that you’ll arrive in Obergurgl determined to spend every second on the slopes. However a stop at Nederhütte (www.nederhuette.at) – Obergurgl’s best apres ski spot for DJs and dancing – will no doubt change your mind. You could easily spend hours at Nederhütte– and many do – sipping cocktails and soaking up the stunning mountain scenery and atmosphere, before heading back down the mountain for dinner.
It’s hard to think of a better way to top off another day on the slopes than by tucking into stomach filling Austrian dishes such as Wiener schnitzel,Spaetzle and apple strudel – all washed down a good glass of wine, - at restaurants like Hohe Mut Alm (www.hohemutalm.com) or the one at Hotel Edleweiss & Gurgl (www.edelweiss-gurgl.co.uk)
www.obergurgl.com

Zermatt, Switzerland
It’s a bold boast but Zermatt is easily the prettiest mountain resort in Switzerland. Don’t believe us? Just ask Toblerone. The legendary triangular Swiss chocolate bar brand, chose to put Zermatt’s Matterhorn - aka the world’s most photogenic mountain - on its packs, as did Evian. And for good reason: the Matterhorn - all 12,000ft of it - will cause even the most seasoned skier’s jaw to drop.
The iconic Matterhorn aside, Zermatt also boasts snow sure slopes from November to April, 350km of pistes facing all aspects, an efficient lift system and world class restaurants - be sure to seek out Schwyzer Stubli (www.schweizerhofzermatt.ch/). This traditional Swiss restaurant specialises in fondue and folk music and makes for a memorable night out…
There is no bad time to visit Zermatt but February is arguably the most fabulous month. This is when the Swatch Skiers’ Cup and the Luttman Johnson Memorial Race – two Instagram worthy events - take place.
One caveat: Zermatt - being a Swiss ski resort - is expensive so expect to bust out your black Amex to fund a fortnight here. It is however unforgettable and if you’re still wondering “Chalet or shan’t I visit?” then consider this. Life is short, you work hard and you deserve it.
www.zermatt.ch/en


Whistler, Canada
When a group of Vancouver business men, lead by Franz Wilhelmsen, headed North over 50 years ago to find a a mountain suitable for hosting the Winter Olympics, the group stumbled upon London Mountain after spending four hours of logging roads to reach it. But the idea of hosting the Olympic Games in less than a decade was met with a lot of scepticism and very few believed it could be done. In the end those people were right and the bid for the 68' Games failed. But that didn't get the group down and Franz and his team kept going to open, what it is now called Whistler Mountain, in 1966 for skiing.
Fast forward to 2016 and Whistler is top of most snow bunnies’ bucket list. Regularly voted the number 1 ski resort in USA and Canada, Whistler - which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary - has spent over US$2.4 million on renovations for the upcoming winter season. Improvements include terrain grading in the Olympic Zone to optimise learning for new skiers and snowboarders, and the installation of two new covered carpet lifts to help eliminate congestion to name but a few.
Beyond the slopes, there’s a staggering array of restaurants in which to enjoyNorth American staples: think steak ribs and wings, washed down with beer ensuring a lively, apes ski scene.
www.whistler.com

Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France
Chamonix - or Cham as the resort is affectionally dubbed - shot to fame in1924 when it hosted the inaugural Winter Olympics and offers first class skiing for every ability from beginners to power hounds.
The latter will love the Vallee Blanche - the most famous off-piste run in the world - and the array of ski runs that boast a vertical elevation of more than 2,000m. Regardless of which run you opt for, expect to be slaloming against the backdrop of the majestic Mont Blanc, which at 4,810m, is the highest mountain in the Alps.
When hunger pangs kick in, the top mountain restaurant is the Argentine run La Tanière (www.groumff.com). Sybarites can look forward to superior Argentine steaks served with South American wine by drop dead gorgeous waiting staff.
Ready to let your hair down? Make for Monkey Bar (www.monkeychamonix.com) in Chamonix Sud, where ski boots are invariably replaced with dancing shoes before kicking ontoCantina Club, off Rue Joseph Vallot. But be warned: clubs like Cantina only close when the last customer has left, so prepare yourself for some long, long nights.
Lastly, Chamonix is located only an hour from Geneva airport making it a popular weekend skiing destination (although non workaholics would do well to throw a sickie either side).
www.chamonix.com

Limone Piemonte, Italy
Never heard of it? Prepare for that to change. Located approximately a 90 minute drive south of Turin, Limone Piemonte is late out of the tourism starting gate and doesn’t attract the constant influx of skiers that Courchevel and Cortina do. But we Sybarites can probably all survive a skiing trip without bumping into the Sloane rangers, right?
Limone may be something of an overlooked skiing land, but it’s one worth acquainting yourself with if you want character and local charm.
A good night’s sleep at the Grand Palais Excelsior (www.grandexcelsior.com/en/) – a gorgeous alpine resort that runs like clockwork- will see you awake ready to hit the slopes each day, breaking only for polenta and Prosecco at Rifugio Ristorante Il Rosso (www.albergolagorosso.it).
By night, there’s not a great deal to do but eat, but then that’s arguably the attraction of the place. Stand out restaurants include Il San Pietro (www.san-pietro.it/en/) with its excellent wine list and Osteria Le Stalle restaurant (+39 347 8009641). And if you find Limone Piemonte a tad too peaceful, the city ofTurin – with its wide selection of elegant shops, buzzy bars and the famous Turin Shroud – is within easy day tripping distance.
www.limonepiemonte.it/