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AS plans go, it had seemed foolproof. A week of lounging by the pool, sipping cocktails and fending off an endless stream of bronzed beauties. We'd done our research - two viewings of Four Weddings and a Funeral - and so were fully aware of the devastating effect a posh English accent would have on American soil.
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WHEN planning a Valentine's dinner, there are so many supposed aphrodisiacs - such as oysters, asparagus, truffles and chocolate - it is difficult to know where to begin. But a good starting point is to decide what to exclude. Would shepherd's pie or stew with dumplings be a good idea? Probably not - glorious as these dishes are, they are a bit on the stodgy side for romance, candlelight and silk stockings.
Lochgreen House Hotel
LAZING around on sun-loungers and topping up the tan are all very well, but for those who would like to take a more meaningful holiday, GapGuru (www.gapguru.com) offers volunteering and paid breaks in India.
MIDWAY through an ambitious regeneration programme, Cardiff is almost unrecognisable from ten years ago. Fortunately, the Welsh capital has retained a strong sense of its own identity, along with a great sense of humour. This mix of super-confident steel-and-glass skyscrapers and down-to-earth friendliness makes it a good time to visit the UK's youngest capital city.
BEAUTY queens in fantastical costumes, adorned with leaping dolphins or a life-size Japanese cherry tree, pass through the crowded streets on floats. They are grinning bravely despite the weight of their feathered headdresses and the chill of wearing a sequined bikini on a winter's night. Carnival time has arrived in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
THE Radisson Edwardian Mayfair Hotel, Stratton Street, London (020 7629 7777, www.radissonedwardian.co.uk)
The future is orang
Peebles Hotel Hydro
LAID-BACK, multicultural and extremely civilised, Toronto has got it sussed. The growing success of the Toronto International Film Festival and the creative energy of local artists, designers and filmmakers are leading a full-blown cultural renaissance, while the recent addition of sleek, ultra-modern architecture by Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind highlights the city's new-found confidence.
THE collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and its immediate aftermath was an event of truly historic proportions, heralding a new, unified Germany. But did we then flock to those newly accessible states in East Germany to discover their hidden delights? No, we did not. As far as most Britons are concerned, a holiday in Germany continues to conjure up thoughts of Bavarian mountains, gigantic tankards of powerful beer, bratwurst and lederhosen.
TRAWLING the website of every budget airline to check which destinations can be reached from your nearest airport is a time-consuming business. Now www.thetravelmagazine.co.uk is offering internet users the option of searching for a budget flight from an airport of their choice.
Great conical rock formations loom large in the dusty landscape, each topped off by an additional geological wonder, some looking like giant mushroom caps, others like vast footballs. Cappadocia, a historic region in central Turkey, is famous for these 'fairy chimneys', but the area also boasts a wealth of other delights.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west