Design, Marmite & Lanzarote

Cesar Manrique wind mobile

Cesar Manrique wind mobile

Now that the nights are drawing in and winter has come a-knocking, my thoughts are turning to warmer climes. For a guaranteed dose of sunshine, my money’s on the Canary Islands – Lanzarote to be precise. Here’s why…

Lanza-grotty Or Lanza-hottie?

Many moons ago, I used to live and work on the island of Lanzarote. It’s got a real Marmite factor – people either love or hate it. Reason being, it’s incredibly volcanic. Unlike some of its siblings, like super-lush Gran Canaria and La Palma, this Canary isle is incredibly rocky and barren. In fact, it looks a lot like the moon. So much so, it was was used by NASA as a testing zone for the lunar buggies and once doubled up as an alien planet in an episode of Doctor Who. While some people are turned off by the scorched backdrop – dubbing the island ‘Lanza-grotty’ – I adore it. When teamed with the traditional white sugar-cube houses, the scenery takes on a sleek, almost monochrome effect. To my mind, it’s very much Lanza-hottie.

Los Jameos del Agua, Lanzarote

Los Jameos del Agua, Lanzarote

Hail Cesar!

But the landscape is just part of my Lanzarote love affair. I’m also a big advocate of the island’s most famous son, the artist and designer, Cesar Manarique. A contemporary of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, he is one of Spain’s foremost modern artists. His handiwork can be seen across Lanzarote. He went on a crusade to safeguard the traditional look and feel of his beloved island – ensuring the tourist concrete jungles that blighted neighbouring Tenerife et al never befell Lanzarote. It’s down to him that there are no high-rises on the island. He also expounded the marriage of art with nature. This lead to him spearheading a number of funky design projects, including a series of kaleidoscopic wind mobiles, a grotto-come-lido complex, and a restaurant fuelled by a the heat of a volcano.

Lanzarote Legacy

I recently wrote a post for the Thomson travel blog about Senor Manrique and his Lanzarote legacy. You can read it here.

Advertisements

Drive Majorca – 5 | Alcudia, Ses Paisses & Caves of Arta

 

Alcudia, Majorca

Alcudia, Majorca

So, the Torres takeover of the Thomson travel blog has finally drawn to a close.

Alcudia, Majorca

Alcudia, Majorca

This past week, my driving guide to Majorca has featured on the holiday giant’s website. The idea was to try and show a different side to the island, away from the tourist masses and the package resorts.

Ses Paisses, Majorca

Ses Paisses, Majorca

More Ses Paisses, Majorca

More Ses Paisses, Majorca

Anyhow, here’s the final instalment, which features the Moorish town of Alcudia, the Stone Age remains of Ses Paisses and the incredible subterranean wonder that is the Caves of Arta.

Disco Caves of Arta

Disco Caves of Arta

Caves of Arta, Majorca

Caves of Arta, Majorca

Drive Majorca – Day 5 | Alcudia, Ses Paisses & Caves of Arta

Drive Majorca, Day 4 | Port Andratx, Andratx & St Elm

Port Andratx, Majorca

Port Andratx, Majorca

Merci Thomson for posting my Majorcan itineraries on your travel blog this week.

St Elm, Majorca

St Elm, Majorca

Here’s the link to my penultimate guide. In today’s post, I make a beeline for the yacht-filled marina at Port Andratx, the market town of Andratx and the oh-so pretty bay of St Elm.

Drive Majorca, Day 4 – Port Andratx, Andratx & St Elm

 

Drive Majorca – Day 3 | Lluc & Pollensa

Lluc Monastery

Lluc Monastery

Well, it’s day 3 of my takeover on the Thomson travel blog. I feel like a mini-celeb, particularly today as they’ve stuck up a pic of my ugly mug on the homepage. Eek!

Pollensa

Pollensa

Today’s post sees me chart another scenic driving route across Majorca – this time ticking off the north of the island. Ports of call include Lluc Monastery and the Roman town of Pollensa. Enjoy…

Drive Majorca, Day 3 – Lluc & Pollensa

Drive Majorca – Day 2 | Soller, Deia & Valldemossa

Deia, Majorca

Deia, Majorca

Yesterday saw my guide to Majorca go live on the Thomson travel blog. Woop! Woop!

Soller, Church, Majorca

Soller, Majorca

Part deux was posted today. The second instalment sees me tick off the island’s trio of too-pretty-by-half towns, namely Soller, Deia and Valldemossa.  

Valldemossa, Majorca

Valldemossa, Majorca

Interestingly, the latter was the shack d’amour of the composer Frederick Chopin and his French bit of fluff, Madame George Sand. For the full lowdown, read the complete guide here…

Drive Majorca, Day 2 – Soller, Deia & Valldemossa

Star Billing On The Thomson Blog | Drive Majorca – Day 1, Palma

Fiat 500

Driving around Majorca in my Fiat 500

I’m rather excited. Reason being, an article I wrote is the headline post on the Thomson travel blog. Earlier in the year, I jetted off to Majorca – or Mallorca if you’re posh – for a little tripette. While I was there I devised some driving routes around the island which I road tested – literally. They’ll be featured on the Thomson blog over the course of this week. Today sees me tick off Majorca’s chic captial, Palma. Oh, and I wax lyrical about Fiat 500s…

Drive Majorca, Day 1 – Palma

The World’s Best Diet | Top 5 Takeaways From Around The World

English Breakfast

Fat-filled Full English Breakfast

Did anyone see The World’s Best Diet on Channel 4 the other night? Talk about food for thought…

No surprise that the UK didn’t score overly well. Hardly a shocker given that many of us start the day with a fry-up and round things off with a plate of fish’n’chips. Mind you, we did a lot better than the likes of Australia, which seems to be breeding a nation of chubbers. And there was me thinking they were all sports mad skinny-bilinky-long-legs down under.

Fish and Chips

Good Old Fish & Chips

Of course, one of the biggest culprits was the USA where waistlines are expanding faster than the frontiers of Russia into the Ukraine. A curveball came courtesy of Mexico. 50 or so years ago it was a fairly slimline nation. But American influence on diets has resulted in Mexicans piling on the pounds. Not only that, but apparently Mexico has one of the worst dental records due to all the fizzy drinks it glugs each year. It was really sad to see kids of 5 or 6 at the dentist with mouthfuls of black, peg-like, rotting teeth.

So who topped the chart with a holier-than-thou healthy food halo? My money was on Japan or one of the Nordic countries – all of whom did very well in the poll. However it was Iceland that took the top spot with its ultra-healthy mix of fish, fish and more fish – the rawer the better. Now, while I like sushi now and again and am partial to smoked salmon at weddings, I’m not a massive wet fish lover – at least not when it’s herring-y.

Thankfully, some of my favourite types of food made it into the top 10 with ItalySpain and France all scoring very well in the healthy eating stakes. Just as well really as I’d pulled together this blog post for First Choice the other day…

Top 5 Takeaways From Around The World