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  • Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk

    Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk

    October 15th, 2014Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article5 min read

    Britain is without doubt a nation of dog-lovers, and as such it’s a fab way to see the country; you’d be surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to people when you have a hound in tow. As publisher of the UK travel site Cool Places, Martin Dunford has spent some time seeking…

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  • Get down and dirty in Dalyan, Turkey

    Get down and dirty in Dalyan, Turkey

    January 20th, 2014Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    Stepping off the boat at Dalyan’s mud baths, you’ll be forgiven for wishing you hadn’t. But don’t be put off by the revolting rotten-egg stench of the sulphur pools – after a revitalizing day here, you’ll be gagging for more. The instructions are simple – roll in the mud, bake yourself in the sun till…

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  • Catching the Loy Krathong Festival of Light, Thailand

    Catching the Loy Krathong Festival of Light, Thailand

    January 14th, 2014Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    In the days leading up to Thailand’s annual Loy Krathong Festival of Light, pretty little baskets fashioned from banana leaves and filled with orchids and marigolds begin to appear at market stalls across the country. On festival night everyone gathers at the nearest body of water – beside the riverbank or neighbourhood canal, on the…

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  • Cycling in the Dutch countryside

    Cycling in the Dutch countryside

    November 14th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    If you like the idea of cycling, but would rather cut off both arms and legs than bike up a mountain, then perhaps The Netherlands is the perfect place for you – especially if you’re also scared of traffic. The most cycle-friendly country in the world, Holland has a fantastically well-integrated network of cycle paths…

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  • Doing penance in the Sistine Chapel, Italy

    Doing penance in the Sistine Chapel, Italy

    September 20th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article2 min read

    You’ve seen them a thousand times before you even get there. Michelangelo’s ceiling and wall frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are perhaps the most recognizable pieces of art in the world, reproduced so much that they’ve become part of the visual furniture of our lives. Getting to this enormous work isn’t easy; indeed, it’s almost an act of…

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  • Mud, glorious mud, The Netherlands

    Mud, glorious mud, The Netherlands

    August 23rd, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article2 min read

    You can wallow in it, make pies with it, even smear it all over your face. But in The Netherlands they have a different use for mud. They walk across it for fun, striking out from the coast of Friesland at low tide to the Wadden Islands, a string of four islands between 10km and 20km offshore: an…

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  • Classical drama at Epidavros theatre, Greece

    Classical drama at Epidavros theatre, Greece

    August 12th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    There’s no better place to experience classical drama than the ancient theatre at Epidavros, just outside the pretty harbour town of Nafplio in the Greek Peloponnese. Dating back to the fourth century BC, it seats 14,000 people and is known above all for its extraordinary acoustics – as guides regularly demonstrate, you can hear a…

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  • Chasing cheese in Gloucester, England

    Chasing cheese in Gloucester, England

    July 24th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling, an organized bout of cheese chasing down a grassy mound in Gloucestershire, is one of Britain’s best-known festivals, and possibly its most bizarre – a totem, somehow, of a country of eccentric and long-established events. It’s certainly in the best spirit of British amateurism: anyone can enter, and all they have to…

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  • Tread the Plitvice boardwalks, Croatia

    Tread the Plitvice boardwalks, Croatia

    July 10th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    Plitvice Lakes National Park, some 80km from the Adriatic, is Croatia’s most enticing natural attraction. Like a colossal water garden, this 8km string of sixteen crystal-clear, turquoise lakes descends through some of Europe’s most primeval forests (complete with brown bears, if you know where to look), connected by rushing waterfalls and linked by footpaths, wooden…

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  • Getting seriously active in the Ardennes, Belgium

    Getting seriously active in the Ardennes, Belgium

    June 5th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article2 min read

    Home of the EU, and for most people Europe’s most boring country, Belgium is hardly the most obvious choice for an activity holiday. Yet the thickly wooded hills of its southernmost region, the Ardennes, are one of the country’s biggest surprises: sharply scenic, with peaks of exposed limestone, criss-crossed with waymarked footpaths, busy with wildlife,…

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  • Gorging on chocolates in Brussels, Belgium

    Gorging on chocolates in Brussels, Belgium

    May 27th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article2 min read

    The Mayans may have invented chocolate long ago, but Belgium is today its world headquarters, and nowhere more so than Brussels, whose temples to the art of the brown stuff are second to none. It’s not just a tourist thing, although within the vicinity of the Grande-Place you could be forgiven for thinking so. Chocolate…

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  • Joining the Gilles at Binche Carnival, Belgium

    Joining the Gilles at Binche Carnival, Belgium

    January 10th, 2013Martin Dunford
    insert_drive_file Article1 min read

    Taking place in February or March, the four-hundred-year-old Binche Carnival is a magic combination of the country’s national preoccupation with beer – outdoor beer tents are stacked high with a huge variety of Belgian brews – and a bizarre tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. The spectacular March of the Gilles is a…

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