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Scotsman Guide to Travel 1 - Europe

Scotsman Guide to Travel 1 - Europe

Northern Highlights

EVERYONE remembers their first time. In the famous case of Mac MacIntyre, it happened almost by accident in a phone box in the fictional village of Furness. Bill Bryson’s real-life experience was altogether more deliberate - he spent weeks in Hammerfest, Norway, before his Earth moved and the sky lit up.

Island in the stream

THE influence of France hangs over Jersey like the smoke from a Gauloise cigarette. This is not surprising considering the proximity of this largest of the beautiful Channel Islands to the French coast - only 14 miles compared with 100 from the south coast of Britain.

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Walk the walk

AT THE peak of its powers, the Roman Empire sprawled to every corner of the known world, so it’s surprising to find that experiencing the historic splendour of Italy’s capital is nothing short of a pedestrian’s dream. Compared to London or Paris, for example, the scale and layout of Rome is positively compact and with cheap direct flights available from Scotland for the first time, it really has become the perfect destination for a romantic citybreak.

In search of sunny Spain

The Balearic Islands: These four islands - Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera - are easily accessed from the mainland by plane from Barcelona, Valencia or Alicante, or by ferry, and Palma de Mallorca can be reached direct from Scotland.

Hot Turkey

LONG ago, in the summer of 1974, I, like football fans all over the world, had a brief and glorious vision of the future. A team of Dutchmen in orange shirts, led by the sinuous genius of Johann Cruyff, nearly, oh so nearly, stole the World Cup from their German hosts by playing a new kind of game. They called it total football.

On your bike

WITH its infamous hash cafes and red light district, Amsterdam is a mecca for Europe’s hedonists, but tourists who dismiss the city as merely an illicit playground are missing out on its wider charms.

Paris by Design

IT IS the morning after the Tour de France streamed past the Arc de Triomphe, down the Avenue des Champs Elysees and into Place de la Concorde. When Lance Armstrong crossed the finishing line, he was allowed a little time with a bottle of champagne before being escorted across Paris’s grandest square into the Hotel de Crillon. Now he is sitting down to a spot of petit dejeuner, or more appropriately, a breakfast of champignons.

Flights of fancy

Part one of our A-Z guide to direct flights from Scotland.

Canals, carillons and cosy beer bars

WHEN Bruges became European City of Culture last year, it persuaded many to stop overlooking Belgium as a holiday destination. Despite having some fabulous cities, the country was written off by many Brits as being nothing more than the home of Hercule Poirot and the EU parliament.

London calling

AFTER erroneously stating that Winston Churchill enjoyed a gay romp with Ivor Novello, there was only one thing to do: a pilgrimage to his statue in Parliament Square to extend my sincerest apologies. It was not enough. He leaned over his stick and delivered an iron stare that insisted words - which he could wield so well - were not enough. Only action would settle this score.

Music as nature intended

IF YOU had told me last summer that within 24 hours of arriving in Cartagena for the Mar de Musicas festival I would be lying naked on a beach chatting to an assortment of new friends about whether the African star Salif Keita had been on good form the night before, I’d have thought of my cellulite-covered thighs and blushed.

The Scotsman Guide to Travel

Welcome to the first part of The Scotsman Guide to travel.

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