• Travel Supplement

    Just like ancient India: A voyage into the depths of Rajasthan (but with espresso, power showers and proper electricity)

    Somewhere in the deepest countryside of Rajasthan, between the cities of Udaipur and Jodhpur, a table is laid out under an awning. Nearby, beneath a tree, four men in white turbans cook a feast in an array of bubbling cauldrons and bury their cannonball-shaped rolls of bread to cook underground in ashes from the fire.A boy shepherd tries to keep his curious water buffalo away as we laze on a line of charpoys Indian daybeds while the meal is prepared. During his trip, Simon stayed here at the breathtaking Chhatra Sagar camp in Rajasthan, built by Rajput aristocratsWhen we finally ...

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    A Mediterranean cruise that's right on song: Joining a choir aboard a Venice-bound ship

    A bead of sweat gathers on my brow. It s not a muggy day, but I m hot and bothered after hitting a sour note during a rehearsal of one of Elgar s four-part songs. Sopranos! Whoever took that breath on bar 36, raise your hand so that I know you know you made a mistake, shouts our choirmaster. That s how professional singers do it! Not being a pro, I keep forgetting to take credit for my mishaps. All together now: Passengers in the choir are put through their paces aboard Aegean Odyssey s Eastern Mediterranean cruiseI am in ...

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    It's a tough regime but I lost 8lb at this Alpine spa! A far from indulgent retreat at a clinic which gets results

    This is a good leveller. For all I know, the man at the next table may be a captain of German industry with a beautiful wife and six accomplished children with whom he shares his Bavarian castle.But he looks just as forlorn as me, chewing and chewing and chewing on stale bread and wondering when he should take his supplements.Mind you, this is only day two at Lanserhof Lans, just outside Innsbruck, Austria, the latest Mayr clinic to be revamped on the detoxification and de-acidification assembly line. Mark Palmer underwent a weight-loss detox program at the Lanserhof Lans Mayr clinic, ...

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    An Inspector Calls: The Crowne Plaza in Gerrards Cross lacks atmosphere but does serve up a brilliant buffet

    Rating: There s a run on functions the day we stay at the Crowne Plaza in Gerrards Cross, Bucks a hen night, a big birthday bash and various other excitable celebrations.Almost all 138 rooms are taken and a notice at reception warns that if you intend to have breakfast between 9am and 10.30am, then you should expect delays. If you take a Southern train to work most days, you wouldn t want to read that.But at least there s no sign of the staff downing tools. Far from it. They re cheery and efficient, albeit with an inflection that smacks ...

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    Palace of creature comforts: Free childcare, camel rides and value for money await at this family resort in Morocco

    Look out! cries my eight-year-old daughter, Sofia. I turn on my sun lounger. Heading towards us at a steady, but determined, pace is an enormous camel. This isn t going to be a normal half-term holiday.The creature comes to a halt a few yards from the entrance to the children s swimming pool and begins munching on a large bush. Richard stayed at Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, pictured, a spectacular 500-room complex 60 miles west of Casablanca, Morocco s largest cityIt is clearly hungry, rather than keen to join the merriment in the pool, where Sofia and my elder ...

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    Ancient Buddhas, the Irrawaddy and a taste of colonial charm: Cruising into a Burmese daze

    From far off they looked like fissures in the rock which someone had painted white, but as the boat drew closer we could see that they were hundreds of figures of the Buddha, carved into the side of the cliff which rose steeply out of the water.These Buddhas some reclining, others sitting or standing have been there for hundreds of years, and it s hard to imagine how their carvers created them; did they hang over the side of the cliff like window-cleaners in a basket? Or did they build a bamboo scaffold out of the water below?No such discomforts ...

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    My Balkan Odyssey: Cruising through Eastern Europe on a tour of its greatest monuments

    Was there ever a more fragmented part of Europe than the Balkans? Centuries of religious, political and economic struggle marked countries fighting for freedom from one empire or another Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian then battling for territory among themselves. A cruise along the final stretch of the Danube from Budapest, through Belgrade and on to Bucharest, told of an Eastern Europe more hotly contested than a Croatian football match. Monument to insanity: The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, a legacy of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu s reignThe Emerald Dawn, with 180 passengers on board, sailed from Budapest s parliament building ...

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    'I was paralysed with fear': Novice diver - with a phobia of the sea - has a VERY close encounter with a great white shark

    This was the moment all of my worst shark-diving nightmares suddenly came true. My heart stopped and a paralysing numbness stung through my body.I was in a shark cage in the waters of Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico, where the infamous YouTube video - which garnered more than 19million hits - had been filmed just weeks before. The terrifying clip showed a big shark getting inside a submersible cage after breaking the bars and flipping around with bloody gashes on its body. After finally freeing itself and swimming off, a rather shell-shocked diver was seen emerging from the ...

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    Is that Rihanna next to you on the beach? It could be, if you follow Frank Barrett's guide to stars holiday hideaways

    In February 1964 after their historic barn-storming performance on the Ed Sullivan TV show in New York, The Beatles flew to Miami Beach to enjoy a few days of winter sunshine at the Deauville Beach Resort. (It was during this flying visit they famously encountered Cassius Clay - as he was then - at his gym.) For a group who had spent bleak years grinding out performances in sleazy Hamburg nightclubs and cobwebbed village halls in Shropshire, this brief, glamorous excursion brought home the fact that they had suddenly hit the big time and were now living the dream.With Britain's ...

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    The most audacious city in the world Dubai s swift transformation from desert town to giant holiday idyll leaves former ITN reporter Andrea Catherwood awestruck

    'If we build it they will come' could be the mantra of the overarchingly ambitious project that is Dubai. My first visit in 2002 was a stopover from Afghanistan where I'd been reporting for ITN. We were awed by the scale and luxury. We drank lurid cocktails at a swim-up bar and watched dredgers spraying arcs of sand into the sea. Designer destination: Andrea in her hotel, the new Palazzo VersaceSomeone said they were creating a huge island, the shape of a date palm. The idea seemed so fantastical as to be unbelievable.Through audacity, far-sightedness and an ability to hold ...

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    Lisbon? It's a little gem! The top spots to visit in one of Europe's most history-rich cities

    Lisbon, with a history longer and richer than any other European city, is a delight. But it's small, so even for the busiest tourist, a couple of days is more than enough to fit in everything that you will want to see in the city.If you stay a couple of more days, you can add several sights outside the city too, such as Sintra with its extraordinary old palaces and wonderful gardens, and the lovely seaside resort of Estoril. Lisbon is small, so even for the busiest tourist, a couple of days is more than enough to fit in everything ...

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    It's the Med's Comeback Kid! After a quiet spell, how historic Malta has rediscovered its drive as a charming tourist hotspot

    Malta became a part of the British Empire at the beginning of the 19th Century after Napoleon's occupying French forces were ejected. The island quickly became a place of great strategic importance to Britain and of key significance to the military, particularly in the First and Second World Wars.Independent from Britain now for more than 50 years, Malta continues to have significance as a stopover place for the growing number of cruise ships that ply the Mediterranean. Vibrant: Birgu waterfront in Valletta, the capital of Malta, which as a city is attracting rave reviewsThere could be no more perfect stop ...

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    Romance, rum... and a drive-in volcano! Exploring the family-friendly island of St Lucia

    Just 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, St Lucia is a Caribbean island nation with a population the size of Luton. If it seems surprising a sovereign nation can be made up of so few people, it's worth remembering the old city states of Classical times - Sparta, for example - thrived and conquered neighbouring countries with a population no greater than St Lucia's.But rest assured that the only conquering St Lucia is out to do is winning over the hearts of tourists. Rocky outcrop: Just 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, St Lucia is a Caribbean island ...

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    The classic Caribbean charmer! Detox coach Amanda Hamilton heads to Antigua with her son, daughter and mother

    If a more perfectly synchronised Caribbean welcome could be arranged, I'd be surprised. Reggae in the arrivals lounge, a glass of rum punch and a tour around the bay just as two pelicans started their diving routine. It set the tone for a memorable week.We'd chosen Antigua and the St James's Club resort complex that straddles a gorgeous peninsula between the more rugged Atlantic side and the stunning - and family friendly - Mamora Bay. Turtle fun: Amanda s children, left and right, make friends in the pool during their family holiday to sunny Antigua I'd brought along my son, ...

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    The best train set you'll ever see! One writer's lifelong dream comes true as he joins a wildlife-packed railway trip through Canada s Rockies

    When I was ten, my most prized possession was an electric train set - a sleek, blue-and gold Canadian transcontinental diesel locomotive with matching coaches. At the back was an observation car, with along glass dome to provide panoramic views for its imaginary little passengers. So it was with a mixture of nostalgia and excitement that I waited to board the Rocky Mountaineer train in Vancouver, its smart livery recalling its blue and gold predecessors. Time to reflect: Malcolm after his action-packed train journey on the Rocky MountaineerTwo days of luxurious rail travel lay ahead, with the promise of spectacular ...

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Everyone went outside to smoke cloves and bitch about having to stay after for the State.

Jon Stewart on events following Charles — January 19, 1999