When first I visited Israel – a decidedly middle eastern country – I didn’t expect to find myself strolling amidst a Gay Pride parade with over 100,000 people revelling on the beaches of Tel Aviv. On my recent and second visit to Israel, I had the great honour of being invited by The Ministry of Tourism, who ushered me and two journalists on an equally unexpected – and remarkably broad – historical and cultural tour of this breath-taking country, called ‘Sea to Sea’. Israel is a delicious melting pot of religion, culture, people and food; where Mediterranean meets Middle-Eastern, and where modern meets traditional. On this expedition, I discovered some truly ancient sites, voyaged through one of the oldest cities on the planet, enjoyed exquisite Israeli restaurants, feasted my way through vegetable/fruit and fish souks, and languished in the intimate boutique hospitality of this country. The list of highlights is impractically long so I’ve listed my absolute key takeaways if you’re thinking of a trip – and at the bottom of the post, other things to do whilst you’re there, should you have time. This is an active trip to remember!
The Bermuda Rectangle. Is what I thought it was called, but it turns out that doesn’t exist either. Apart from a superstitious fiction of vanishing vessels and the even-more-mysterious Bermuda Shorts, I’d not really encountered the island of Bermuda before. This marvel of nature is a long, thin, subtropical, volcanic island (made up of 181 mini-islands!) that’s shaped like a seahorse, and is a veritable slither of paradise with soft pink sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Marine heritage is a fundamental part of daily life here, and it offers simply some of the best sailing conditions in the world. When the Bermuda Tourism Authority invited me to tour the island and train with the Land Rover BAR team ahead of the elite and ultra-prestigious Americas Cup in May, I commenced my research; Turks & Caicos is 1,340km away, this isn’t in the Caribbean, it’s one of the most isolated islands on the planet, and it’s surrounded by absolutely nothing other than the fresh depths of the Atlantic Ocean. And its waters are blessed with lashings of wind; a sailors mecca! What I discovered when I set foot on the island couldn’t have been more unique; this is one of the most welcoming gems I’ve encountered on my voyages! Click more to see behind the scenes from the sailing equivalent of F1, as well as my top 10 wellbeing activities on this stunning, arresting island! (more…)
You might recently have spied a trail of breadcrumb-pictures on my Instagram where I’m riding London’s eponymous Santander Cycles, meandering my way around what I think are some of our wonderful capital city’s most picturesque parts; the gorgeous Little Venice area of Regent’s Canal, the Outer Circle in Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill… The Cycles are a ubiquitous and awesome fitness resource which anyone can use to see those parts of the city they’ve not visited before: I.e. go discover London for less than the cost of a green juice and get fit at the same time, it’s the perfect combo!!! For example – and it’s a bit of an unusual example – I recently attended a mind-blowing special spin class ABOVE the iconic landmark Tower Bridge, hosted by (and ON) Santander Cycles. The 80m glass walkway housed myself and 9 other lucky invitees as we Santander-cycled our way through an hour-long sweaty BOOM Cycle class whilst watching a deliciously romantic sunset over the Thames and St Pauls. (more…)