Travel writer Chris Moss recently wrote about what he dubs the 'the Cornwall Conspiracy' – the fact that upwards of 4 million Britons flock to the southern most tip of our glorious isle each year for their summer holiday, despite his opinion that the county is vastly overrated. FRead More »
At present the government has banned all holidays from the UK before 17 May at the earliest
As Dubai comes under new scrutiny after Princess Latifa’s alleged imprisonment, Tamara Hinson explains why boycotts might not be the way to go
News broke on the eve of the first anniversary of the collapse of Flybe, which was the biggest airline at the airport
‘Pleased that BA has rescinded this decision’ – Adjoba Kyiamah, executive director of the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce
Let’s start with a little quiz. What do you think these are? Kejk Kexx Habbkapp Mowbijl Here’s a clue. The words are all English, co-opted into Maltese. The answers are at the bottom of the article* Maltese is an extraordinary language. Like this Mediterranean island nation’s food and culture, it is a fusion of the influences that have passed this way in the last millennium – and there have been many. Anyone who was anyone in the Mediterranean region wanted Malta’s deep, safe harbours, from Phoenicians to Arabs, medieval European monarchs to the British Royal Navy. Maltese, or Malti, has Arabic syntax and pronunciation, but it’s the only Semitic tongue to be written in Roman script, and more than half its vocabulary comes from Europe. For centuries it has picked up words from neighbouring Sicily and from the pan-European Knights of St John (the Knights of Malta), who ruled here for 250 years until the British took over in 1800 bringing the next linguistic twist. Malta is bilingual – Maltese and English are both official languages. Day-to-day, they mix like milk and cereal – and yes, it occasionally gets a little soggy. Watching Maltese TV I understand about one word in eight, English words bobbing in the Maltese: “… anyway …dance … about him … OK”. No matter that it could all be said perfectly well in either one of the languages; it is much more fun to fraternise. This mashup is known as Manglish. You might hear a mother dropping her child at the school gate say, “tiha kiss il-mummy” (“Give mummy a kiss”) or a friend ask his mate: “Tigi mieghi, niehdu drink il-lejla?” (“Will you join me for a drink this evening?”). Britons visiting Malta do not need to learn Maltese; everyone speaks English. But having a rough idea how to pronounce it can be useful. It helps with saying where you are going – perhaps to Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim (a neighbouring pair of Malta’s unique Neolithic temples, older than Stonehenge) pronounced ‘Imnaiydra and Haja Eem’. Or maybe to the south coast of Gozo and pretty little Xlendi Bay – pronounced ‘Shlendi’. There can still be confusion, especially when you aren’t sure which language is leading. Now you know ‘x’ is said ‘sh’, you might wonder about the ħaxix van that calls regularly at the village square, or what is happening in the xita. You may be relieved – or disappointed – to know that ħaxix means vegetables and xita is rain. Manglish even gave Malta the name of its favourite beer. Mega-rich Maltese banker John Scicluna, owner of a mini Versailles, Palazzo Parisio, that still stand in Naxxar (Nasshar, first introduced cheques to Malta. As a result he earned the nickname ‘Cisk’ (pronounced chisk), a mangling of ‘cheques’. When he later opened a brewery he called his product Cisk, and it remains the best-selling lager in the land. So let’s raise a glass to Maltese, English and Manglish – long may they mingle. ‘Saħħa” (health), Cheers! * cake, cash, hubcap, mobile
An area off the coast of Tenerife is now home to Europe’s first Whale Heritage Site. Tamara Hinson takes a closer look at how this innovative scheme is giving cetaceans a helping hand
‘It’s lunchtime on Thursday and we’re supposed to be implementing a new government policy on Monday morning’ – senior travel industry figure
A few seconds after midday, a cry went up from the crowd at the Desert Inn. It continued for several moments, a mixture of excitement and admiration which – as it hung in the air – seemed to mimic the very thing that had caused it. Some 65 miles to the north-west, the mushroom cloud billowed up, puffed out its chest and rolled with that boiling grey-white fervour of the radioactive explosion. Back on the balcony, the onlookers murmured once more and sipped their cocktails – suitably impressed at the rise of the USA’s Atomic Age. It seems a remarkable and unlikely image now – but this was once the scene that played out in hotels around Las Vegas. Seventy years ago, in January 1951, the first in a series of experimental nuclear programmes began on the sands of the closely guarded Nevada Test Site. Its mushroom clouds would be visible for 100 miles – and the state’s biggest city watched in awe.
“When you’re ready,” my guide shouts down to me, “I’ll climb that rock, drop off, and you can take the photo.” Simone Elmi, 53 going on 21, is in his element. About 20cm of fresh snow has fallen overnight and the sun is out. It’s a great day to be ski touring in the small Italian resort of Fai della Paganella. Unfortunately, he tells me on the skin track back up, occasions like this have been few and far between this season. “Most years, I would be guiding six out of seven days a week.” This year he’s lucky if it’s one or two. For self-employed individuals like Elmi, the Italian government’s decision to keep ski lifts shut this winter has been hard. Across the north of Italy, where seasonal income from skiing is worth as much as €12 billion a year, the economic impact has been enormous. Gianni Battaiola, head of the regional hoteliers association in Trentino, the province around Paganella, estimates the knock-on effects on his and other industries are costing the region around €10 million euros per day. It has been doubly frustrating, Battaiola says, because opening day was pushed back continuously, as case numbers stubbornly refused to fall. “It was December 5, then December 22, then January 7, then the 18th, then they said February 15. Now we will have the new government law which says you cannot open until Easter, so the season is finished”. These constant changes have cost not just time, but money. In the run up to the winter, Luca Guidagini, the head of lift ops in Val di Fiemme, and the regional President of ANEF, the association of lift companies, says Trentino’s resorts were confident enough about reopening to spend more than €5 million on generating artificial snow. “Thankfully, excellent natural snowfall meant it wasn’t more,” he says. They also invested heavily in apps to count skier numbers, measures to reduce queues, and “automatic spray canons” that could sanitize every gondola within four seconds, he says. As each potential opening day came and went, they geared up to go, reviewing and testing these new protocols, only to stand down at the last minute. “It was very frustrating for us, very frustrating for our partners, and very frustrating for our seasonal workers,” says Guidagini. “We promised to hire them, and then had to tell them ‘no’ as it was cancelled and cancelled.”
A second Mother's Day in lockdown is going to be tough for many, but the good news is that family reunions and shared experiences are not too far away. In the meantime, here's our pick of the best gifts you can send, from hotels across the country, throughout the weekend. Ham Yard afternoon tea, London Savoury starters in the afternoon tea from Firmdale boutique classic Ham Yard include tomato arancini, and olive and ricotta palmier, while on the cake menu there's lime and dark chocolate tartlet, raspberry macarons and white peach and vanilla choux. The teas, available for one, two or four, also include a RIKRAK by Kit Kemp Wheatgrass Bay scented candle, and a sparkling option for four is available. From £45; order by noon on March 10. Sofitel London St James Delicacies at Home, nationwide This glam London address is offering a blowout hamper-style delivery courtesy of its restaurant Wild Honey St James. It includes champagne, bottled cocktails, Hermes bath products, chocolates, cakes and a voucher for either dinner, afternoon tea or the spa when the hotel reopens. £165 via Slerp.
The hospitality, travel and tourism sector was perhaps the hardest hit when the Government announced it would be enforcing a third lockdown on January 4, but instead of wallowing, one family turned the closure of their business into an act of altruism. Vicky and Chris Saynor, who own Bethnal and Bec, a luxury self-catering retreat in Hertfordshire, began offering their studios, for free, to victims of domestic abuse after a previous guest contacted them on New Year’s Eve desperate for somewhere to stay. “Her husband had become increasingly abusive towards her over lockdown and was drinking heavily,” Vicky says. “She knew that we were closed but couldn’t afford a hotel so we took her in and she ended up staying for four days.” Vicky, who was herself a victim of domestic violence in a previous relationship, said they received very little from the Government in terms of financial support when their business closed. “We’ve had around £1,000 a month but have been running up losses of approximately £9,000 a month. So we’ve pretty much been living off our savings, which we were going to use to build our third retreat.” When the latest lockdown was announced, the couple, who met online in 2015 when Vicky was living in Tooting Bec and Chris was in Bethnal Green (hence the retreat’s name), knew that they wanted to somehow pivot their business but weren’t sure how until they had that call on December 31. They faced a few obstacles along the way. “We spoke to a number of charities and organisations to see if they could use our properties, but as we hadn’t been vetted we couldn’t be used. So with their help and advice of a few friends, who are social workers and work for the police, we decided to create respite stays,” Vicky says. They have gone on to help over 20 families and will continue to offer free accommodation for up to four nights until early April, Vicky says. “We’ve been full since the January 6 with families, single adults and pets (mostly dogs, but also one cat.) We call it ‘respite’ care and offer it as a stop gap to help people in need before they sign a tenancy agreement or arrange more long-term accommodation.” They have to make some adjustments to their studios, which are usually for adults only. “We had one lady with an eight-month-old baby so we had to do a frantic call out for a high chair, cot, baby bath and a few other things,” Vicky says. Otherwise, the families are treated in much the same way as any other guest, and free to enjoy the roll top bath, rainforest shower and vinyl record player. They have come from all over the UK and have often had to leave their support bubble due to their abusive partners, Vicky says.
Cruise holidays look set to return to UK shores with a series of voyages in home waters intended to be “a highlight of British summer time”. Sister lines P&O Cruises and Princess are leading the move after scrapping planned overseas itineraries from Southampton and replacing them with short-break and week-long cruises around Britain. Details will be released later this month. P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “We cannot wait to give our guests a much-deserved holiday. Our staycations will provide the ultimate escape and we hope they will be a highlight of British summer time.” One advantage of domestic cruises right now is that they are part of the UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown. As such, they “will not fall under the remit” of year-long advice by the Foreign Office against “international travel on a ship”, the Department for Transport told The Telegraph. A third cruise line moving to all-UK itineraries is Suffolk-based Tradewind Voyages, which is introducing the world’s biggest tall ship, Golden Horizon, this year. It has cancelled a delivery cruise from Lisbon to Portsmouth in April, followed by a series of voyages from UK ports to destinations such as Iceland, Denmark and Norway.
We live in a crowded country, but you can still find splendid isolation in Britain – on remote islands, at end-of-the-road campsites or behind the bulwarks of your own private bastion. 1. Walk on the rewild side in the Highlands Centuries ago, much of Scotland was swathed in the ‘Great Forest of Caledon’, roamed by wild boar and predators including wolves. Only a fraction survives today, but in the Alladale Wilderness Reserve an ambitious rewilding programme aims to restore that habitat – including one day, it’s hoped, those long-extirpated predators. In the meantime, immerse yourself in possibly Scotland’s wildest glens at one of two isolated, luxurious self-catering cottages sleeping four to eight or, for groups up to 18, the back-to-basics Deanich Lodge bunkhouse. You won’t be kept awake by howls (or neighbours – there aren’t any), though you’ll likely spy red deer, golden eagles and red squirrels. Cottages/bunkhouse sleeping 4/18 from £1,695/£2,310 per week; shorter stays available. Alladale (01863 755338; alladale.com). Limited availability.