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*Terms and conditions apply, see cruisingpower.ie for details. IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OF TRAVEL INFORMATION FEBRUARY 2013 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 2 Free The Glens of Antrim Istanbul Australia’s north west wonderland PRICES AND OPTIONS FOR 2013 WASHINGTON CAPITAL EXPERIENCE NEW GUINEA THE LAST FRONTIER PICK ME UP I’M Free page 001 cover Feb 2013 r 2 14/01/2013 09:49 Page 1
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  • *Terms and conditions apply, see cruisingpower.ie for details.

    IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OFTRAVEL INFORMATION

    FEBRUARY 2013

    VOLUME 17 NUMBER 2

    Free

    The Glens of Antrim

    IstanbulAustralias north west wonderland

    PRICES AND OPTIONS FOR 2013

    WASHINGTON CAPITAL EXPERIENCE

    NEW GUINEA THE LAST FRONTIER

    P

    I

    C

    K

    M

    E

    U

    P

    I

    M

    F

    r

    e

    e

    page 001 cover Feb 2013 r 2 14/01/2013 09:49 Page 1

  • page 002 11/01/2013 11:34 Page 1

  • Holiday Villages

    A

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    CALL:

    1850 45 35 45

    ONLINE:

    falconholidays.ie

    VISIT:

    Falcon Travel Shops or Local Travel Agent

    BOOK NOW

    *Prices are subject to availability and includeextras. Flight supplementsmay apply. Insurance andight

    meals not included.Departures fromDublinAirport. Falcon is fully bonded and licensed by CAR (TO 021)

    LOW DEPOSITS + OUR LOWEST PRICES GUARANTEE!

    7

    th

    May 2013

    All Inclusive

    5 Star, Majorca

    Family price

    1 week from

    Family price with free

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    page 003 11/01/2013 11:35 Page 1

  • THE KNOWLEDGE www.travelextra.infoCONTENTS

    5 News TV holidays back on airwaves6 Hotels: News10 Brochures: First flush of 201314 Trends: Places to watch in 201316 Destinations: Washington DC,ChiangMai, San Diego, Australias out-back, Yosemite, Broome, Alaska, Santi-

    ago de Compostela, Asturias, CostaLuz, Papua New Guinea, Lisbon,Alen-tejo, Kwazulu Natal, GranCanaria, Brit-tany, Ski Austria, Ski Andorra. 37 Holiday World: Fair for the fares58-63 Flying: Trans Atlantic growth64 Fashion: Courtney & Lennon65 Cruise launch: Celebrity Reflection66 Afloat: Cruise and ferry

    68 Cruise: Brilliance of the Seas70 Ireland: Home holiday news72 Ireland: Glens of Antrim & K Club74 Postcards: from the travel industry76 Global Village Inside the travel industry77 Window seat: Our columnists78 Pictures: Out and about

    The 2013 holidayseason, at firstglance, does notthrow up much hope forbargains. But if youthink laterally and fol-low the trends in the in-dustry, you can make themost of your free time in2013.

    FLASH sales areso commonplace nowthat they may have to berenamed prolongedbeam of light sales. Getyourself on as manyemail lists as possible tokeep track of them. Startwith the airlines, to catchthe flash sales that werepioneered in this countryby Ryanair, four daysseat promotions at 12,and have been copied byall the main airlines andthe main hotel groups.Individual hotels are alsoholding flash sales.

    ESHOT lists areguaranteed to save youmoney. The biggest mar-ket in the flash salesbusiness is operated bycompanies such asGroupon, giving theireshot recipients 24 hoursto book a low cost deal.These are ridiculouslycheap, hotels are sellingrooms in the hope of get-ting a few euro backfrom a meal or in thebar, or generating repeatbusiness. There are now25 flash sale websitesand eshots, so many thatsomebody has set up awebsite to keep track ofthem all, calleddealspage.ie.

    ONLINE depositswere the good newsstory of 2012. Airlinessuch as Aer Lingus andBritish Airways no

    longer force you to payfor your flight in fullwhen you book. Remem-ber that travel agents andtour operators also allowyou to pay a low depositrather than taking yourcredit card for the fullamount in January whenyou are not travellinguntil July. Some airlinessuch as American Air-lines are also allowing ahold option when yousee a low price on the In-ternet you can hold it fora day and then decide. Ifthe price is gone up, youcan still buy at yester-days fare.

    VOUCHERSare the currency of re-cession. Stay in a hoteland expect to have a 50voucher off your nextstay left by your pillow.

    BIDE your time ifyou are flexible withyour plans and you dontlike any of the fares orprices you see, flashsales by the major air-lines are common place.They sell off the emptyseats at a better rate thanyou can get now. Sign upfor the email alerts fromall the major airlines toget this. Airline revenuemanagement systems usefour main factors in put-ting prices on the win-dow (computer or yourtravel agency): historicalflight data, seasonality,market demand, and(most importantly) com-petitive considerations.If there are more thantwo airlines on a route,prices are harder to man-age for the airline andbetter for the consumer.

    BOOK now if youlike the price and are dueto fly in the next sixmonths. The airlines liketo get the very earliestbookers to pay throughthe nose for their tickets,people who KNOW theyhave to be somewherefor a wedding or a fam-ily occasion. After that,it is a pretty simpleprocess where the airlinefare rises as each sectionof the aircraft getsblocked off. Sometimesif sales are a little live-lier than they antici-pated, they will taketickets off the market -the reason the lowestfares youre searchingfor may already be soldout is because the airlinethinks theyll be able tosell those seats at ahigher value and will as-

    sign them accordingly.The computer has a re-think with six weeks togo. With a fortnight togo, prices will climbsteadily, so much so thatif you miss your flightand have to rebook, theshortest Ryanair flightcan cost you 300.

    NEW destinationscost less than well estab-lished ones, because theytake a while to becomewell known enough.This applies to packageholidays as well as air-lines. This year there arenew routes to Scandi-navia and America thatwill take some time toestablish themselves.New systems can helptoo. United moved theirmuch-praised Orion rev-enue management sys-tem to origin anddestination-based insteadof by segment in 2012. Itunder performed whichtranslates as good newsfor the consumer..

    CHERRY pick.The wise guys in avia-tion have been un-bundling their productsand services. They telltheir investors they saythis has created highmargin items whichdrives profit. Fliers cancherry pick what is left.If you dont want thechecked bag or food, optout and save money.

    FERRY pick. Lowdeposits are the normwith ferry companiesand they offer a more re-laxed journey with dayrooms, showers and evena mini-spa. You arriverelaxed and with asmany bags as you like.

    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 4

    Opportunity knacks

    Travel ExtraAdvertising & Subscriptions6 Sandyford Office Park

    Dublin 18(+3531) 2913708

    Fax (+3531) 2957417

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    Co Kildare

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    Make sure to catch the flash rather than splash the cash

    Page 004 Knowledge r 14/01/2013 14:32 Page 1

  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 5

    Successfulgetaway

    New travel programme gets 420,000 viewers

    BROOKINGS

    Institute in the USAs

    annual report suggests Ireland dropped from

    12th to 22nd in the rankings for end to end pas-

    sengers since 2003 with a dip of 4pc, in com-

    mon with many European countries being

    overtaken by Latin America/Caribbean traffic.

    US-UK traffic dropped 3.8pc but remains 3rd

    (after Canada and Mexico). Spain (+17pc) re-

    mains 13th, Switzerland (+70pc) rose from

    24th to 18th and was the only European coun-

    try to overtake Ireland. Netherlands dipped

    1.5pc and from 14th to 23rd. Belgium (+40pc)

    improved from 34th to 32nd. Brookings says

    Dublin provided 1,35m passengers in contrast

    to DAA's figure of 1,53m for all transatlantic.

    Kuoni have listed their top 10 in 2012: 1 Mal-

    dives, 2 Thailand, 3 Sri Lanka, 4 USA, 5 UAE,

    6 Mauritius, 7 Malaysia, 8 Barbados, 9 Singa-

    pore, 10 St Lucia

    NEW YORK CITY

    welcomed a

    record 52m visitors in 2012, a new all-time

    high and a 2.1pc increase over 2011

    VACCINE SHORTAGE

    There

    are fears of a typhoid vaccine shortage fears

    for holiday makers after the recall of the vac-

    cine by Sanofi.

    BEIJING

    Irish citizens have been able to

    make three-day visa-free visits to Beijing and

    Shanghai since New Years day.

    T

    he new Irish travel programme

    Getaways has achieved a

    Neilsen rating of 420,000 and

    a 27pc market share onits debut.

    Produced Maggi Gibson for Holy-

    wood based JannineWaddell and pre-

    sented by 2005 Rose of Tralee

    Aoibhinn N Shilleabhin and

    Belfast broadcaster Joe Lindsay, the

    series covers 12 destinations in six

    episodes airing on Thursdays on

    RTE1 and Mondays on BBC NI, a

    programme which is which is six

    minutes longer due to the absence of

    commercial breaks.

    Each programme features one main

    foreign destination and a local stay-

    cation destination. In this seriesAoib-

    hinn and Joe are heading to Malta,

    northern Italy, Lisbon, the Izmir re-

    gion in Turkey, Chicago and Mo-

    rocco. The Holiday Show on TV3 is

    concentrating on home holidays this

    season.

    Joe Lindsay and Aoibhinn N Shilleabhin

    NNEEWWSS

    Contact your local Travel Agent | www.sunway.ie | 01 2366 845

    All the above prices are per person based on 2 sharing. Prices include: Flights / Taxes & Charges and

    Bagggage allowance. Return airport transfers and 7 nights accommodation in the properties listed above.

    Prices are per person based numbers shown. Child prices are based on under 12 sharing including flights, accom. & taxes. Instant

    purchase on above offers. Deposit only offers available, please ask Sunway Sales agent for prices. Offers subject to availability.

    Tunisia

    2* Dreams Beach Htl B/B from 347 397 449 427

    Majorca

    2* Sun Beach Apts S/C from n/a 397 499 569

    Gran Canaria

    2* Colina Mar Apts S/C from 399 467 529 439

    Lanzarote

    2* Marazul Apts S/C from 399 489 599 529

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    MAY JUNE JULY AUG

    Orlando Special

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    Page 005 News 14/01/2013 11:16 Page 1

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    page 006-007 11/01/2013 12:16 Page 2

  • HOTELS

    www.travelextra.info

    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 8

    GUILBAUDS

    The DailyMeal.com

    has listed Patrick Guilbaud 68th among its 100

    best hotel restaurants in world. The number

    one was Jol Robuchon Restaurant at MGM

    Grand Las Vegas.

    ADARE

    Manor has become the the first

    ever Irish property to win a World Travel

    Award It was awarded Worlds Leading Bou-

    tique Golf Resort.

    SOFITEL

    will be opening two new

    properties in Dubai in 2013. Sofitel The Palm

    with 361 rooms and 182 serviced residences,

    and 31-storey, 350-room Sofitel Downtown

    hotel

    FERMANAGH

    Lusty Beg Island

    owner Michael Cadden has opened a new 35-

    bedroom Fermanagh Hotel on site of the for-

    mer Fort Lodge Hotel

    DAILY MEAL

    Five Irish restaurants

    in the Daily meals top 100 list for Europe,

    Chapter One 25th, Guilbaud 48th, Fishy Fishy,

    Kinsale 82nd, Ballymaloe 83rd and Aniar, Gal-

    way 88th Osteria Francescana in Modena Italy

    was selected as the best restaurant in Europe.

    ABU DHABI

    Jumeirah at Etihad Tow-

    ers has opened the Observation Deck at 300

    EXPEDIA

    has bought hotel price com-

    parison website Trivago for 477m.

    TRAVELODGE

    hotels have comiled

    a list of unsuual things left behind by hotel

    guests in 2012, theyb include a winning Eu-

    roMillions ticket, a stamp album worth

    250,000, an original Harry Potter wand,

    breast implants, a box of live crabs, a Persian

    Chinchilla kitten, a pantomime horse, a

    50,000 Rolex watch, a diamond encrusted

    phone

    SHANGRI-LA

    groups first UK prop-

    erty will also be the first new-build five-star in

    London in over a decade. It will take up floors

    34 to 52 of this architectural giant, offering 202

    rooms and suites. Epic views of the capital

    will, of course, come as standard.

    OSLO

    s The Thief opened on 9 January

    is so-christened because it sits in Tjuvhol-

    men, a fjord-side district where criminals were

    once executed. But times change, and The

    Thief equipped with 119 rooms is the latest

    element in the gentrification of a waterfront

    that is rapidly shedding its warehouses for

    cafs, shops and the drama of Norways na-

    tional opera house.

    NICARAGUA

    s first luxury accom-

    modation opens in February, with the unveiling

    of the Mukul Resort. ouse spa.

    THE REFINERY

    is to open in New

    Yorks Garment District on West 38th Street

    (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), making use

    of the Colony Arcade Building a former hat

    factory.

    Charlie Sheil, GM of the Marker Hotel: a four star plus property to open in Dublins Grand Canal Harbour

    Square March, is a sign of renewed optimsim in the hotel industry

    Rovers return

    Dublin and south-west lead occupancy improvement

    I

    rish hotel occupancy has im-

    proved in 2012, but there are still

    regions of the country with dan-

    gerously low levels of occupancy.

    Filte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn

    said that things had improved, parti-

    cal on the touirm hotspots, but that

    there were parts of the country where

    there are lots of 50, which are not

    good. Occupancy rates are lowest in

    the midlands, the trophy properties

    there are going to find it hardest.

    Challenge for hotels is generating the

    margin to reinvest in the property

    Filte Ireland research suggests that

    domestic trips are holding up, and 9m

    trips were

    taken by Irish people in Ireland but

    Irish people are spending less, 100m

    less in 2012. Of hoteliers and guest-

    house owners surveyed by Filte Ire-

    land 8/10 are increasing marketing

    effort, 7/10 are cutting operating

    costs, 6/10 are discounting prices and

    1/2 targeting new markets, introduc-

    ing new products or services, while

    the other three responses are falling

    this one is increasing

    Redmond ODonoghue, chairman

    of Filte Ireland said that the hotspots

    reported increased hotel occupancy

    leading to strong margins. He said

    that while 2009 and 2010 were about

    survival, 2011 was stop the bleeding,

    number up 5pc, 2012 was the year of

    consolidation, and 2013 is the year for

    growth at last.

    The physical infrastruture is in

    place, bridges, tunnels, the tourism in-

    frastructure is in place, hotels, golf

    courses and attractions, the heavy lift-

    ing has been done, the programmes

    are in place with the Gathering.

    ODonoghue said that 2012 was an

    exceptional year for business tourism

    and that 2013 prospects had initially

    been much weaker but were now

    strengthening.

    ODonoghue praised what he

    called a tourism friendly govern-

    ment and contrasted the irish posi-

    tion on VAT with that in Portugal,

    there the government increased their

    13.5pc VAT rate to 23pc under pres-

    sure from the Troika nearly killing

    the industry

    0818 44 44 47

    Region 2010 2011 2012

    Average 58 59 63

    Dublin 63 66 73

    East Midlands 44 41 46

    South East 61 59 64

    South West 61 62 64

    Shannon 53 54 49

    West 59 61 66

    North west 52 51 54

    Big town 61 64 69

    Smal town 55 55 57

    Rural 55 54 57

    HOTEL OCCUPANCY

    Profitabllity up down same

    Hotels 54 25 21

    Guesthouses 38 16 46

    Hostels 35 16 49

    Atratcions 30 31 39

    Self catering 25 31 44

    Bed & breakfast 15 17 68

    PROFITABILITY

    Page 008 Hotels 14/01/2013 09:10 Page 1

  • page 009 11/01/2013 12:19 Page 1

  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 10

    A

    fter 2012s

    sad, sorry,

    pathetic ex-

    cuse for a summer,

    it doesnt seem one

    bit too early to be

    planning ahead for

    next year. So, if you want to get an idea

    of whats likely to be the next trend, the

    Falcon summer 2013 brochure is ready

    to rock.

    There are enticing savings for those

    ready to book before the end of January

    2013 - savings of E150 per adult or

    E300 per couple, one-parent family sav-

    ings, guaranteed free child places, free

    room and board upgrades, group places

    and holiday flexibility guarantees for

    those prepared to plump for next years

    summer holiday right now.

    You can reserve your plane seat for

    Euro15 (adults) and Euro 7 (children)

    and babies aged under two get a 10kg

    baggage allowance on top of their

    pushchair or car seat.

    There are family-friendly places with

    loads of kids clubs and a grown-up

    zone on page 17, if you are travelling

    with another adult, with a la carte dining

    in Holiday Villages themed onMexican,

    Italian or Chinese food, just for exam-

    ple.

    The 2013 summer brochure also in-

    cludes details of next years cruise op-

    tions with an extended choice on two

    up-graded Platinum ships, the Thom-

    son Dream and Thomson Celebration.

    All Inclusive is the big thing at the

    moment with both self-catering and

    half-board upgradable (facilities and

    timings vary by hotel) see page 18. If

    you like the idea of stashing your wallet

    for a week or two

    in your room safe

    this is for you!

    On pages 12

    and 13, Falcon

    include a quick

    guide to their main

    Holiday Villages, specially for children.

    These are ideal for families because of

    the variety of entertainment, sport and

    both outdoor and indoor (just in case of

    a cloud or two) activities ranging from

    crches, cartoon character appearances,

    stage academies, assault courses, foot-

    ball and the like.

    For under-twos there are swim-a-

    song courses where babies and young

    ones are taught pool skills using nursery

    rhymes and interactive play (sessions fill

    up fast so book ahead) and evening ses-

    sions are limited to two per week or

    three per two weeks (clearly these are

    popular!).

    For three-to-eight-year-olds there are

    Kids Clubs with expert-run academies

    (stage and football although not si-

    multaneously so dont worry that your

    youngster will return home with the

    histrionics of a Roy Keane ).

    From Egypt to the usual Spanish sun-

    spots in the islands and mainland, the

    Algarve, Turkey, Bulgaria, Crete, Za-

    kynthos, Corfu and Cyprus the choice

    is wide and getting wider at Falcon.

    Importantly, of course, all holidays

    are with a licensed and bonded operator

    with 24/7 support in-resort (if you want

    it no intrusive sales talk if you dont)

    so no chance of being stranded abroad

    or losing your precious holiday money.

    More from Falcon on 1850 45 35 45.

    FALCON

    SUMMER

    catpion

    W

    ith 268

    p a g e s

    of holi-

    days to choose

    from, the Thomas

    Cook Summersun

    2013 brochure is

    really packed with

    new destinations,

    hotels and ideas for next summer such

    as more family activity holidays and

    more all-inclusives.

    There are 37 new resort hotels for

    next year, three of them in stylish

    France, and an entirely new coastline in

    Spain the Costa de la Luz in the south-

    west of the country.

    Theres a newhotel also onCrete (which

    gets warmer earlier and stays warmer later

    because of its southerly position) and there

    are the eight Aquamanias including a

    new one on theAlgarve.

    Villas have also been added to the pro-

    gramme, such as the three-bedroom Sun-

    shine Villas in Puerto Rico on Gran

    Canaria which sleep six adults in a small

    complex on a hillside from 629 per per-

    son for seven nights from Dublin or Cork.

    For families, the Thomas Cook

    brochure also tackles the problem head

    on (see page 7). The low-down on what

    you and your brood can expect at the

    companys specialist familyWORLD re-

    sorts is explained in detail, from room-

    size to kids clubs and pool areas.

    Better safe than

    sorry, say I and the

    list of resorts with

    this kind of attention

    to detail is included

    there are just four of

    them, but they are

    the business! Baby-

    WORLD features

    baby-bottle sterilising and food-warm-

    ing facilities.

    Sunstar resorts are for older children

    with entertainment laid on such as soccer

    academies, dance-coaching, crches,

    evening cabarets, teen activities and

    evening sessions so parents get a night off.

    There is also guidance on which re-

    sorts are young and lively (now

    theres a euphemism) with Club 18-30 if

    youre looking for 24-hour non-stop

    party holidays. Escapades is what to

    look for if youre dead set on the worlds

    best nightlife.

    After youve picked the kind of holi-

    day you want, its a choice of destina-

    tion and hotel. There are literally

    hundreds to choose between.

    I know the H10 Estepona Palace on

    page 105 as its where a relative got

    married eighteen months ago. The view,

    from the terraces, of the sea, beach and

    even NorthAfrica is stunning but it re-

    ally can be difficult to choose when the

    list appears endless.

    For more, contact your local travel

    agent or 01-514 0328.

    THOMAS

    COOK

    SUMMER

    Azureoptions

    F

    rom Aruba to

    Zanzibar

    and just

    about every other

    letter of the alpha-

    bet in-between:

    Topflight are offer-

    ing the world this

    year and their new

    brochure is a hefty 140

    pages long.

    Tony Collins and his team are nothing

    if not enthusiastic and their big selling

    point is they are Irish-owned, bonded to

    the hilt and multi-award winning. So

    you get the choice you want, without the

    risks of going it alone.

    New this year in the brochure is the

    destination of Sri Lanka perfect to

    combine with firm favourites such as the

    Maldives, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

    and Malaysia.

    The company uses a wide range of

    airlines to carry customers across the

    world including Virgin Atlantic, Thai,

    China Airlines, Air Mauritius and Eti-

    had, although its specialist partner is

    British Airways.

    Needless to say, within the brochures

    pages is a glamorous array of beach hotels,

    each more alluring than the last, on a daz-

    zling choice of islands from west to east.

    I was glad to see my old favourite,

    Blue Waters on Antigua, featured. Its

    genuinely laid-

    back, set on a

    wonderful, calm

    beach and its not

    the largest resort

    in the world,

    which suits me

    fine.

    There are

    plenty of adult-only

    beach hotels which are ideal for honey-

    mooners not yet ready for the patter of

    tiny feet and all-inclusive hotels for

    those who want nothing more than to put

    their wallets away for a week.

    On Cuba, there are some specialist

    tours for those who want to see this is-

    land before the days of Castro end.

    ARum and Rhythm Tour gives you an

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  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 14

    I

    f 2012 was the year

    of the east thanks to

    the three airlines who

    bring us to theAsian gate-

    ways. Increased capacity

    in 2013 will be to the

    west and to the north.

    Not that the east has

    faded. Emirates, Etihad

    and Turkish have all en-

    joyed high load factors

    and each of them is now

    talking about double

    daily services. With Eti-

    had offering ten weekly

    services through Abu

    Dhabi, Turkish offering

    ten through Istanbul, and

    Emirates offering seven

    through Dubai, a whole

    new world of one-stop

    connection possibilities

    have opened up.

    Australia is by far the

    most important for the

    Irish market. It remains

    our long haul destination

    of choice with a large in-

    crease in tourism among

    the young and the over

    50s, who seem to be tak-

    ing the opportunity of-

    fered by bargain fares to

    visit their relatives who

    have gone out on one

    year visas. Etihad offer

    one stop connections to

    Brisbane, Melbourne and

    Sydney. Emirates offer

    Adelaide and Perth as

    well. The Emirates deal

    with Qantas means that

    Dubai rather than Singa-

    pore is going to be the

    gateway of choice for

    people flying toAustralia.

    Direct services to

    India, a real possibility

    before the recession that

    hit both Ireland and Air

    India are no longer on the

    runway but we have lots

    of new one-stop options.

    Emirates serve ten

    cities in India, Etihad

    nine, and TurkishAirlines

    serve Delhi and Mumbai.

    While Dublins direct

    service to Beijing is still a

    possibility (the Chinese

    capital is the same distance

    from Dublin as Los Ange-

    les), Etihad serve seven

    cities in China, Emirates

    and Turkish three each.

    Emirates and Etihad both

    serve four cities in Pakistan

    and Turkish two.

    All three serve

    Bangkok, our second

    favourite long haul holi-

    day destination. Kuala

    Lumpur is still a direct

    flight possibility. Emi-

    rates recently launched a

    flight to Phuket and im-

    proved their Bangkok

    connections. Etihad have

    great connections to the

    Seychelles.

    Vietnam, for a long time

    a two stop destination, is

    now just one stop away via

    Turkish or Emirates.

    The options are also in-

    creased when you look

    south toAfrica. Durban is

    now one stop away by

    Emirates.

    S

    o far one exciting

    new westbound

    route has been de-

    clared for 2011, the

    United service to Wash-

    ington Dulles. It offers

    100 seats less per aircraft

    than the equivalent Aer

    Lingus services to BWI

    in 2002-3 and Dulles in

    2007-9 but it opens up

    lots of exciting prospects

    in Virginia and Maryland

    as well as the vast open

    air museum that is Wash-

    ington DC.

    A hub or an alliance

    can make a difference.

    Charlotte was the new

    route of choice in 2011

    and it opened up dozens

    of extra Florida connec-

    tions. Aer Linguss tie in

    with Jetblue has created

    west coast opportunities

    that would never have

    justified a direct service.

    Air Canada has

    launched a new code-

    share with Aer Lingus

    and increased capacity on

    the Dublin Toronto route.

    It is a matter of time be-

    fore this becomes year-

    round.

    South American one

    stop options are also in-

    creasing. British Airways

    now has eight direct

    flights under its own liv-

    ery to Dublin each day.

    The propensity of other

    airlines to offer their

    lower cost flights in the

    Irish market, rather than

    affect local sales, means

    it can also make sense to

    fly east to go west, to Sao

    Paola via Istanbul.

    Extra connections to

    Frankfurt in 2013 will

    mean more connection

    options through

    Lufthansas fast growing

    hub.Anew fourth runway

    means it will overtake

    Heathrow as Europes

    busiest airport in three

    years time.

    T

    our operators are

    showing undue

    caution in the

    chartering of services for

    2013, many preferring in-

    stead to block book seats

    on scheduled airlines.

    Tenerife is the only ex-

    ception, with both Falcon

    and Thomas Cook return-

    ing to the island after

    pulling out in 2012 be-

    cause of competition

    from Aer Lingus and

    Ryanair.

    There will be extra

    weekly charter flights to

    Corfu, Palma, Faro and

    Lanzarote. Sunways

    Agadir operation resumes

    in summer after two sea-

    sons when it was just a

    winter service.

    Services to Egypt, Mo-

    rocco and Tunisia are still

    suffering the effects of

    the Arab spring.

    But there is action here

    as well. Three new tour

    operators received their

    licenses in the November

    licensing round.

    The entry of One Stop

    Touring Shop into the

    Irish market has boosted

    interest and bookings

    across their range of three

    products, Insight Vaca-

    tions, Contiki for the 18

    to 35 age group and Uni-

    world Boutique River

    Cruise Collection.

    The dramatic entry of

    Wings Abroad into the

    market in 2011 was a suc-

    cess despite the effect the

    new competition had on

    prices, and are hoping to

    expand further in the Irish

    market in 2013 with a

    longer season from Shan-

    non. Aer Lingus have op-

    erated their Izmir flight

    since 2011 on a charter li-

    cense.

    Short haul routes are

    also growing again after

    two years of hiatus. Air

    Frances service to Pau

    was one of the most ex-

    citing developments of

    2011.

    Aer Lingus had 18 and

    Ryanair 17 seasonal serv-

    ices last summer. Capac-

    ity has been cut back so

    much that it is unlikely

    there will be further cut-

    backs in 2013, particu-

    larly after a summer of

    high prices.

    F

    ashions change fast

    in the holiday busi-

    ness. Often the

    choice of destination is

    decided for us by an am-

    bitious tour operator or

    airline operator.

    Topflight, Sunway and

    the Travel Department

    are all planning expan-

    sion in Asia in 2013.

    Direct flights have

    made a brief impact in the

    past for unlikely destina-

    tions such as the Azores,

    Cape Verde, Corsica,

    Cuba, Dominican Repub-

    lic, several Greek islands

    (most recently Santorini

    and Skiathos), Romania

    and Thailand. Most fea-

    tured as fashionable

    places for about three

    months before they, or

    their access routes,

    stopped.

    Sometimes a bad expe-

    rience (Jamaica 1992) or

    a season of intensive

    overbooking (Croatia in

    2004) can see off the rep-

    utation of an entire desti-

    nation. Croatia and

    Bulgaria in 2006-8 both

    peaked only to perish as

    the punter decided the

    product was not exactly

    what they wanted.

    Sicily and Sardinia, in-

    troduced more gingerly

    by innovative tour opera-

    tors in the late 1990s,

    both stayed the pace.

    Flights to Bulgaria, for

    instance, went from one

    to nine weekly and back

    again to three over an

    alarming three year pe-

    riod. This ski season Bul-

    garia has no direct flights

    from Dublin.

    Croatia is returning to

    the bookings chart this

    autumn and could well be

    the new Croatia.

    Lets hope the beds are

    still available, unlike last

    time, when we arrive for

    the holliers in 2013. The

    average price of a 2x2

    bucket and spade holiday

    climbed to over 3,000

    last summer.

    Most of the air capacity to the USA is directed to New York

    Westerly wanderings

    Westerly wanderings

    Increased frequency on west bound routes offer possibilities in 2013

    TRENDS 2013

    Page 014-015 Trends r 11/01/2013 12:29 Page 1

  • ALGARVE

    Nothing seems to dent the popu-

    larity of the southern Portuguese coast. It recently

    captured Majorcas crown as the mainland summer

    holiday destination of choice for Irish people and the

    summer services from all Irish airports are set to sta-

    bilise or increase again in 2013.

    ANDALUCIA

    There are 100,000 beds in

    Torremolinos alone (more than New York), so a

    change in fashion or a spat between Ryanair and an-

    other airport will never stop the trail of Irish holiday

    makers returning to Spains most touristed region.

    AUSTRALIA

    Increasingly our favourite

    long haul destination out of Ireland. Go diving with

    the Whale Sharks in Exmouth or swimming with the

    fresh water crocs in Kakadu and you will never ever

    forget the experience. All the major cities are now

    one-stop options through the Middle East.

    BOSTON

    Is Boston the new New York? The

    availability of an extra aircraft has enabled Aer Lin-

    gus have put on extra services for the summer of

    2013. Shopping is tax free, the hotels are cheaper and

    the museums are amazing.

    CANADA

    Air Canada are getting more adven-

    turous by the year with the size of craft and Transat

    have opened up Montreal as well. The beautiful north

    beckons.

    CHINA

    Ethnic travellers used to fill the few

    available seats through our favourite European hubs

    to this vast and diverse country, pushing prices

    Pagoda-high. This has changed with the creation of

    additional transfer options. Direct flights from

    Dublin? It is an inevitability.

    DUBAI

    An amazing 25-year success story of

    tourism is set to continue as Emirates increased their

    craft from a 237-seater to a 360-seater and still find

    they need more capacity.

    LISBON COAST

    Picture postcard towns

    like Ericeira and Obidos are among the highlights of

    one of the most richly decorated stretches of coast in

    Europe. For a long time Irish eyes were focussed fur-

    ther south, but good air services to Lisbon has at-

    tracted the surfers, of both the real and web variety,

    golfers or those whose idea of a good time is a nice

    wine and the finest seafood watching the sunset over

    the Atlantic.

    MAJORCA

    A victim of its entrenched rela-

    tionship with tour operators in the past, tens of thou-

    sands of hotel beds along the coast have been

    released to accommodation only specialists in the

    past two years and brought greater flexibility.

    MALTA

    Getting married? There are nearly 400

    churches in Malta, one at every turn of the road.

    It also can save a lot of money. A wedding in Malta

    will set you back an average of 4,500, compared

    with the average of 23,000 at home.

    SCANDINAVIA

    Lots of extra capacity

    from SAS and Aer Linguss return to Stockholm and

    Copenhagen should keep the major Scandinavian

    destinations on the radar for 2013.

    TURKEY

    This is one of the fastest growing

    destinations out of Ireland, going from 10 to 20

    flights weekly in two years. You can fly to Antalya,

    Bodrum and Izmir on the south west coast. The Turk-

    ish Airlines daily service to Istanbul which offers

    connections throughout the country is to go from

    seven to ten flights weekly in May.

    WASHINGTON

    The newest west bound

    route of 2012 was the United Airlines daily service.

    Washington is not just the US capital, it is a vast open

    air museum. There are lots anniversary commemora-

    tions of the US Civil War,

    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 15

    Dublin on the arrivals board at Abu Dhani

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  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 16

    W

    ashington DC

    runs on gos-

    sip. They

    spend days cultivating it

    and plucking it when it is

    ripe. People gather in the

    trendy clubs and high end

    eateries to bitch and back-

    bite.

    Government agencies

    and embassies scramble

    for streetscape, compet-

    ing with each other like

    arriviste merchants.

    Lobbyists and lawyers,

    tens of thousands of each,

    and politicians, peacock

    through the streets and

    social spots like shop-

    keepers daughters.

    So what do you do in a

    village? Take to the sad-

    dle, tinkle the bell and

    cycle the length of its

    finest sights. The mall is

    Washingtons viewing

    gallery of monuments to

    the fallen, its martyrs and

    militarists, a map of

    Americas heroes and

    hang-ups around a pool

    of swampy water.

    The tour, led by Tujon

    Gallagher of Bike and

    Roll (its as easy as rid-

    ing a bike, he reassures

    us) is magnificent beyond

    expectations, his stories

    informed and entertaining

    as he talks us through the

    politics of commemora-

    tion, of which the Mall in

    Washington is a case

    study.

    Probably the most

    complicated of all is the

    FDR memorial, each sec-

    tion of it a battleground of

    competing interest

    groups. Americas

    wounds are most openly

    on display with the Viet-

    nam memorial, commis-

    sioned and in place 22

    years before the World

    War II memorial.

    T

    here is no WW1

    memorial yet, a

    hundred years

    after the event. There is a

    feisty Korean war memo-

    rial. Martin Luther King

    looks white and Maoist,

    as befits the Chinese de-

    sign. There is big type to

    the left hand side of Lin-

    coln, his inaugural speech

    forever in three feet high

    carving looking to the eu-

    ture rather that the future.

    Most impressive of all,

    slightly eccentric, is Ein-

    stein, a short distance

    from the main cluster.

    Dont look for any

    mention of the losing side

    in the Civil war anywhere

    in the city. There is none.

    You have to go to Rich-

    mond, Virginia, for that,

    Eddie Sielenski one of

    the guides said. The

    north won and there was

    this attitude around.

    You couldnt help but

    think that after 150 years,

    a bit of Civil War recon-

    ciliation might be in

    order. If the French and

    Germans can do it

    They have drained the

    enormously stenchy pond

    and refreshed the water.A

    pity, because that was

    part of the story.

    You can also ogle the

    White House from be-

    yond the perimeter fence,

    132 rooms and six chefs.

    This is all a prelude to

    the Hill, all pomp and se-

    curity and the self impor-

    tance accorded the

    political masters of the

    heaving collection of cul-

    tures that is theUnitedStates.

    A security lock-down

    in the US Congress meant

    we were shut in like Holy

    Hour drinkers in the old

    days, listening to the

    valedictory speech of Illi-

    nois politician Judy Big-

    gert to an empty House of

    Representatives. They es-

    corted us in, took our mo-

    bile phones from us, and

    when a distant alarm was

    activated then told us we

    could not retrieve our

    possessions even if we

    were allowed to leave.

    It was one of the most

    interesting lock-ins on the

    planet. We also peeked in

    to the public gallery of

    the Senate, looking down

    on a floor full of failed

    US presidential candi-

    dates.

    A

    t Juniper restau-

    rant they tell us

    they make their

    own honey on the roof of

    the hotel.

    The Doyle Collection

    has three hotels in the

    city, three slices of Ire-

    land in the embassy dis-

    trict. The Dupont Circle

    Hotel offers 327 rooms,

    in a great part of the city,

    near James Hobans pub

    (the man who designed

    the White House has no

    monuments in the city but

    gets an Irish pub named

    after him) and just round

    the corner from one of the

    most eccentric bookshops

    in the world, an amazing

    establishment called

    Kramer Books, a book-

    shop with a bar, or is it a

    bar with a bookshop?

    An earthquake has prevented visits to the Washington memorial, adding to the mystique of the column

    Easy DC

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    Page 016 washington dc r 11/01/2013 12:31 Page 1

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    I did before, so I can treat us all more often.

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    Travel Counsellor for 7 years

    Three blocks away is

    another slice of Ireland,

    the Fairmont Embassy

    Row hotel, where

    Alexandra Byrne and

    Stephen Johnston host us

    for breakfast in their sig-

    nature restaurant, 2100

    Prime.

    This place used to be

    the Jockey Club and there

    are still pictures of horse-

    men around the walls.

    This is where Kennedy

    dined on the evening of

    his inauguration.

    The best bit of Wash-

    ington DC, without a

    doubt, is the rooftop bar

    in the W. This place has

    some amazing monu-

    ments, stunning sights,

    and an occasional historic

    avenue. And thats just

    the fellow-revellers

    there is more to see if you

    turn around to look at the

    city instead. The White

    House is waving distance

    but a tree gets in the way.

    Hotel GM Ed Baten

    tells me that half of the

    revenue at the W comes

    from food and beverages.

    It is easy to see how, this

    is one of the coolest

    places in town, topping a

    very historic hotel, haunt

    of presidents for 150

    years, and a nightmare to

    refurbish before they re-

    opened it two years ago.

    Try their Rock and Eye

    cocktail made with spices

    and Jamaican dark rum.

    I

    nevitably,Washington

    DC has a media mu-

    seum, the Newseum

    where journalism junkies

    can soak it all in. The trib-

    utes to the fallen include

    Veronica Guerin who gets

    three mentions while

    Martin OHagan and the

    Eastbourne victims fea-

    ture in the list of the

    fallen. I meet the staff to

    talk about the inclusion of

    Irish journalists Jarlath

    Dolan andAustin Finn on

    the list of the fallen and to

    correct the spelling of

    Tony Hennigans name.

    This is where I had a

    sobering meeting with the

    sister of Gerardo Ortega

    a journalist killed in the

    Philippines last year for

    exposing corruption in

    local government at the

    Freedom Forum section

    of the journalism mu-

    seum on Pennsylvania

    Avenue, the Newseum.

    S

    ince MayWashing-

    ton has been acces-

    sible from Ireland

    once more. The route was

    profitable from the first

    month United Airlines

    launched the direct flight.

    The key to this is the air-

    craft type, a Boeing 757-

    200, with 16 business

    class seats plus 186 seats

    in economy and the fact

    that Dulles is a United

    hub with 65pc of their

    passengers onward

    bound.

    There are other op-

    tions. Is it worth flying

    east to go west?

    Lufthansa is the first cus-

    tomer for the new Boeing

    747-8 which is being

    used to launch their new

    business class product.

    The staircase up to busi-

    ness class has been

    widened and become a

    design feature of the

    craft. Luggage bins are

    bigger and tucked out of

    the way.

    Lufthansa has config-

    ured the aircraft for 467

    passengers with 98 busi-

    ness in class and 380 in

    economy. They serve

    great food and wine and

    even change the lighting

    to resemble the outside

    world and take the hard

    edge off the jet lag.

    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 17

    The best view of Pennsylvania Avenue is from the balcony of the Newseum

    DESTINATION USA

    Page 016 washington dc r 11/01/2013 12:31 Page 2

  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 18

    N

    o beach, big

    draw. The most

    popular inland

    holiday destination in

    Asia, Chiang Mai is a

    wonder to behold before

    you do anything touristy

    like climb up the steps of

    its eagles nest temple.

    Thailand was the first

    Asian country to cut it as

    a beach destination. Back

    in the 1950s and 1960s

    while the rest werent

    sure where to start, Thai-

    land captured five major

    European markets, get-

    ting people excited about

    Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi

    and Koh Samui.

    They even got the

    movie with the best

    name, the Beach.

    How did Chiang Mai

    fit into all of this? Even

    the people who oversaw

    the success are not sure.

    There are bigger cities

    like Beijing and more

    handsome places like

    Hanan or Ankor Wat. But

    as a uniquely tourist des-

    tination, Chiang Mai tops

    the inland charts.

    C

    hiang Mai looks

    handsome as we

    arrive and start

    with a highly efficient

    check-in at the Furama

    Hotel, a three star offer-

    ing that is better than

    many four star hotels I

    have been in, with big

    rooms.

    It has two pools sur-

    rounded by quasi-reli-

    gious statues, one of

    which is an enchanting

    rooftop pool with a view

    across the valley to the

    mountain from which the

    towns iconic temple

    beckons, Wat Phra That

    Doi Suthep.

    The temple is a spiri-

    tual place, where people

    carry flowers as they do

    circuits and nests of can-

    dles fill the air with a

    spiritual sizzle.

    M

    ountain towns

    in Asia are dif-

    ferent from

    their crowded lowland

    contemporaries, Chiang

    Mai is villagey and al-

    most sprawling, with a

    European style 17th cen-

    tury walled town at its

    heart. The night market is

    full of stuff from China.

    Arent all markets nowa-

    days?

    There are 30,000

    rooms in Chiangmai and

    350 hotels, ranging from

    the D2 discount chain to

    five star product at about

    40 a night. Hoteliers

    complain there are too

    many.

    Hoteliers always do.

    T

    he highlight of the

    trip? A day at the

    Chiang Mai

    school for the blind on

    Arak Road, splashing

    paint and generally mak-

    ing a mess as my taste of

    a Voluntourism project.

    At meal time the children

    put their hand up for

    more food and we rush

    down to fill their plates.

    When they sing and

    perform a cacophony of

    local instruments and the

    whole experience is less

    awkward than I imagined.

    I am a critic of supply

    side well-meaning volun-

    tourism, especially as the

    travel aspect of it is hope-

    lessly marked up, but

    when you make a child

    smile it is difficult to

    chaff.

    When I get one of the

    kids to feel the keys of

    my laptop he pulls the w

    off, which is orrying.

    A

    t night Chiang

    Mai offers one of

    the liveliest

    scenes on the planet, we

    spend several hours trans-

    ferring by tuk-tuk be-

    tween night clubs,

    The Riverside restau-

    rant, spread between in-

    door and outdoor sec-

    tions, where there is a

    terrific live band.

    The pounding heavy-

    bass Good View.

    The high soaring singer

    in the Bali room in Fab-

    rique, here the elders go

    while the young ones

    hang out in the techno

    dancing room.

    The sardine-packed

    Mandalay where a

    woman in our group got

    hit on by twenty fresh-

    faced youths in the course

    of a thirty yard scrum

    push to the bar.

    The Monkey Club, all

    screens and bounce.

    On to the temple of the

    young night-lifers, Warm

    Up, where I felt like

    everybodys grandfather.

    There was a Shangi

    beer and Mekhong Thai

    whiskey in each one.

    Thai whiskey is a mis-

    nomer: it is made from a

    sugar cane base which

    means it is really rum,

    best drunk with cola and

    a morning-after warning.

    Shane MacGowan

    wrote a song about it, so

    it must be good.

    I

    s there a downside?

    Of course. Where you

    have tourists you

    have chicanery. The Thai

    tourist board say the

    biggest number of com-

    plaints they get each year

    is because tourists are fer-

    ried into shops they do

    not want to go.

    When tourists are

    brought to the Royal

    Gems shop, a 40pc com-

    mission goes to the driver

    which gives a hint of

    what the mark-up is like.

    One driver got 3500 in

    one day last year.

    Prayers at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

    n Eoghan Corry flew to Chiang Mai with Emirates via Dubai and Thai Airways

    from Bangkok.

    n Night Market Walking Street - Tha

    Pae Gate. An iconic market in the Old

    City, the heat and crowds become a bit

    oppressive but always worth a look.

    n Chiang Mai Safari. Travel through

    300 acres of Doi Suthep-Pui National

    Park and interact with animals ranging

    from giraffes to zebras to rhinos.

    n Chiang Dao Cave turned into a

    shrine and religious site.

    nWat Umong 14th-century temple

    built into the side of Suthep mountain

    and constructed of a series of tunnels.

    nWat Chiang Man. This temple was

    oldest temple in Chiangmai built in

    1297 at the site King Mangrai used

    when he supervised the building of

    Chiang Mai.

    n Elephant Nature Park, elephant res-

    cue project set in Northern Thailand.

    THINGS TO DO

    Bright lights

    small city

    Eoghan Corry in Chiang Mai

    DESTINATION THAILAND

    Songkran Festival

    Chai Phra Kiat Temple

    Page 018 Thailand Chiang Mai r 11/01/2013 12:33 Page 1

  • Take an island break.

    Drop out of the rat

    race, lose yourself in

    the stunning Maltese

    archipelago and find your

    inner balance by indulging

    in the intimate experience of

    relaxed living.

    Urbanites may be excused

    for thinking that a small

    island in the Mediterranean

    might be rather stifling, but

    Malta is surprisingly

    well-connected and highly

    cosmopolitan.

    Short distances mean that

    you can get around with

    extreme ease and being

    close to its quieter areas

    does not mean that you

    have to forsake the vibes of

    the city. Imagine being able

    to wake up in one of the

    beautiful boutique hotels

    around the island, and com-

    bine the beach, relaxation,

    shopping, culture and

    nightlife at once.

    This is the beauty of our

    archipelago. The more

    urbanised Malta is only a 25

    minute ferry ride away from

    its quieter, smaller sister

    island of Gozo, where the

    pace of life allows you the

    breathing space you need to

    savour the quaint villages

    and stunning views which

    might just leave you breath-

    less once more.

    If its a true combination

    that youre after, then look

    no further than the harbour

    area Valletta and the Three

    Cities or the wonderfully

    long, winding Sliema and St

    Julians sea front.

    Walking along the coast

    in either area is enough of a

    cultural tour in itself.

    The Harbour area is a

    monument to Baroque

    architecture and the city of

    Valletta has been designated

    a World Heritage Site.

    You could choose to stay

    in various architecturally

    significant buildings, from

    historic Art Deco outside the

    revamped City Gate, whose

    contemporary feel juxtaposes

    nicely with older buildings

    just inside; or you could

    choose to stay in one of the

    beautifully restored, 16th

    century town houses or

    palazzi in the heart of the

    city which allow you to

    mingle with the residents

    while living it up in style.

    Shopping on Republic

    Street, only a few streets

    away, is a terrific way of

    sightseeing and getting the

    latest seasons must haves

    in one.

    The stunning architecture

    of the 19th century Palazzo

    Ferreria sets the tone of

    your shopping experience

    banks, cafes, restaurants,

    international franchises and

    department stores all located

    in listed buildings. Indulge

    in a gelato or try sipping a

    cappuccino in Piazza Regina,

    outside the National Library,

    with the Grandmasters

    Palace on your left and

    shops to your right.

    Valletta is furnished with

    a surprisingly wide selection

    of restaurants and cafes

    which cater for discerning

    tourists. Menus will change

    regularly so that you can

    never anticipate how your

    taste buds will be tantalised:

    Mediterranean fusion which

    competes with Italian, French

    and typical Maltese cuisine.

    Just across the imposing

    Grand Harbour, lie the three

    cities, the chief one of

    which, Vittoriosa or Birgu, as

    it is known in Maltese,

    houses not only monuments

    and museums, but also a

    Casino. Theres plenty to

    see, the Inquisitors Palace,

    the Maritime Museum and

    the beautiful parish church

    of St Laurence - waking up

    in living museums like

    these is an experience which

    leaves you wanting more.

    Indulge in a tour of some

    of the islands best shopping

    in Sliema, across the

    Marsamxetto Harbour from

    Valletta. Shop to your

    hearts content along the

    promenade, the two busy

    parallel streets Bizazza Street

    and Tower Road or in Tigne,

    where local boutiques rub

    shoulders with international

    franchises. The wide variety

    of restaurants and cafes will

    quell any appetite.

    Staying in the hotels here

    is a charming experience.

    They are woven into the

    Sliema residential town core,

    keeping you close to all the

    amenities while ensuring rest

    and relaxation after a day

    shopping or at the beach.

    The leisurely walk along

    the SliemaSt Julians prome-

    nade will bring you to St

    Julians once a charming

    fishing village but now a hip

    sea-side town with a village

    core and busy nightlife, with

    bars and restaurants which

    spill into its neighboring

    suburb of Paceville.

    So lose yourself in the

    area and let Maltas unique

    melange of old-world charm

    and contemporary vibes

    sweep away your stress, making

    for one of the most enjoy-

    able holidays youll ever have.

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    Page 019 Malta ad feature 14/01/2013 10:32 Page 1

  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 20

    T

    he fourth person

    you meet in a city

    tells you every-

    thing you need to know

    about it. The fourth per-

    son you meet in San

    Diego will be in the navy.

    The bay defines the

    city, rather than the other

    way round. The skyline

    attempts to fight back

    with two tall skyscrapers

    and 15 other wannabe

    high-risers.

    It doesnt quite make

    an impact compared with

    the sparkling ocean and

    its multifarious jetties and

    shipping paths (one jetty

    is named after John

    Wayne, in tribute to the

    big-hatted mans fishing

    trips to the Baja after

    which he crashed into it,

    not once, but twice).

    San Diego is not just an

    All-American apple pie

    city: it is whiteAmerican,

    retro American, more

    Denver than LA or San

    Fran. Hispanics and

    African Americans com-

    bined make up less than

    10pc of the population.

    Want that border feel-

    ing? Go to El Paso.

    Come here to party.

    And meet a sailor.

    S

    an Diego was all

    about the navy

    when Top Gun was

    filmed here 25 years ago

    and counting. Naval in-

    stallations, the largest in

    the world, dominated the

    economy.

    It is a ten minute walk

    from the dock to Kansas

    City Barbeque, where the

    sleazy bar scene in Top

    Gun was filmed and Tom

    Cruise romanced Kelly

    McGillis with their rendi-

    tion of "You've Lost That

    Loving Feeling.

    It looks the same (de-

    spite a fire in the interim)

    and is crammed with

    chatty locals.A red haired

    woman down the bar de-

    clares she is Irish and

    starts a competition

    among the clientele and

    the fun goes on, a chorus

    line of wit all along the

    bar. How could they even

    fit a camera in here, never

    mind a crew?

    The naval base has

    135,000 military worker

    bees moving around it at

    any time. They fill the

    nightclubs and bars, the

    streets by day and if you

    have sharp eyes, you can

    see the Navy Seals train-

    ing in the morning from

    one of the stunning rooms

    across the bridge from the

    city in the Hotel del Coro-

    nado, the largest resort

    hotel in the world when it

    opened in 1888.

    They say that every

    week at least one female

    visitor on the beach is in

    need of mouth to mouth

    resuscitation.

    It is a spectacle when a

    battle squadron pulls out

    to sea, gathering their

    nautical baggage and dis-

    appearing with astonish-

    ing speed: the giant

    aircraft carriers that usu-

    ally sit in the bay, as im-

    portant to the cityscape as

    any skyscrapers, the

    flotilla of destroyers, fast

    subs and finally the air-

    craft, who never leave on

    board the carrier taking

    off over the city at inter-

    vals.

    One battle squadron is

    the size of the entire Irish

    army.

    But if they ever consid-

    ered invading us we

    could be certain to talk

    them out of it the night

    before in the bar.

    W

    hich bar? If it

    doesnt look

    lively enough,

    you can try the other 39

    bars or 100 restaurants in

    the Gaslamp Quarter

    alone. Other American

    cities are scrambling

    around trying to invent

    neighbourhoods out of

    urban disarray, San Diego

    has eight of them com-

    pacted together like pier-

    stones, The two most

    famous are the Gaslamp

    Quarter and Little Italy,

    the East Village, Embar-

    cadero, Cortes Hill, Co-

    lumbia and Horton plaza

    all come with their own

    character (I wonder did

    Horton inspire Dr Seuss

    who lived locally?).

    The celebration revs

    into gear for 6pm and

    continues until 2am, the

    streets in the Gaslamp

    Quarter lively and safe as

    everyone spills out Fifth

    Avenue and back in

    search of the perfect beer

    the multifarious local

    brews are a new attrac-

    tion.

    One restaurant sits re-

    splendent amongst them

    all: Jim Croces widow

    Ingrid has opened a

    shrine to good food as

    well as her singer-song-

    writer husband. Her

    cookbook is called

    Thyme in a Bottle.

    The night then ex-

    plodes into multi-faceted

    action. You can hear Tom

    Cruises lines from Top

    Gun somewhere behind

    you on the sidewalk: em-

    barrass yourself, get a

    beer to put the flames out.

    Or maybe crash and burn.

    C

    liffs and beaches,

    beaches and cliffs.

    We made peace

    with the Pacifica on a tour

    of the coast with Joe

    Timko, who spent his

    twenties at Ocean Beach

    writing the great film

    script that didnt happen

    and then, happily, decided

    his time would be better

    spent hosting visitors to

    this beautiful city.

    The coast to the north

    passes through the beach

    bum magnet of Ocean

    Beach, with its long holi-

    day pier reminding you of

    what pier pressure really

    is in South California.

    The shoreline life then

    does a dolphin leap over

    one large estuary and then

    gets really interesting.

    La Jolla (pronounced

    by the locals, with very

    unhispanic accentuation,

    Lahoya) is the expensive,

    Leucadia the pristine,

    Torrey Pines the golf

    mecca, Soledad point the

    view, but for the exotic

    head for a little further.

    Here you find the high-

    est, wildest cliffs and

    places to laze and spend a

    little time looking east.

    And most exotic of all, a

    stretch of sand below

    where distant figures are

    TheUSSMidway used to be known as the USSNeverdocks, now it is a permanent fixture in SanDiego

    n BA have a daily direct non-stop service from London Heathrow using a Boe-

    ing 777 aircraft with a choice of 3 cabins on board World Traveller, World Trav-

    eller Plus and Club World. Arrivals and departures will be into London Heathrow

    Terminal 5. Arrivals and departures will be into London Heathrow Terminal 5.

    n San Diego is British Airways third destination to California, in addition to

    Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    n Fares start at 758 return including all taxes and surcharges from Dublin

    using codeshare Aer Lingus.

    n Bookings can be made at www.ba.com or through your travel agent.

    n Departs Heathrow 15.50 Arrive San Diego 20.05 Depart San Diego 22.00 Ar-

    rive Heathrow 15.20. These timings will be updated with the summer timetable.

    Naval Gazing

    Naval Gazing

    Eoghan Corry finds why its

    never lame in Southern california

    F

    light BA273 to

    San Diego may be

    THE most hidden

    of hidden treasures of

    Willie Walshs trove.

    It is the only direct

    route to the southern Cal-

    ifornian destination from

    Europe and the airline

    and the local tourism bu-

    reau have decided to risk

    a visit by a group of Irish

    writers. Embarkation is

    from Terminal 5, tall and

    quiet, housing Englands

    longest escalator and its

    own rapid transit train to

    get to the distant satellite

    gates. A glass of cham-

    pagne on arrival helps

    steady the nerves. The

    flight from Heathrow

    over the frozen waste-

    lands of Greenland and

    Canada is 11 hours but

    you gain eight hours

    along the way in time

    difference. I am in one of

    the so called love seats

    in the middle of business

    class, shared with a mid-

    dle aged American male

    chemist, we share an in-

    terest in good conversa-

    tion and a copious supply

    of Californian wine.

    DESTINATION USA

    Page 020-021 San Diego r 11/01/2013 12:49 Page 1

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    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 21

    DESTINATION USA

    celebrating naturalism.

    There is a gay section on

    this beach, says Joe, a

    couples section, and a

    section where all the con-

    fused people are.

    The surprise here-

    around is that San

    Diegos orientation is so

    northcentric. It is as if the

    community is reluctant to

    look south. They tell you

    that Tijuana has a reputa-

    tion for being a danger-

    ous place to visit, but that

    is only part of the story.

    It is surely to San

    Diegos advantage that a

    heaving city double the

    size of San Diego nestles

    south of the border.

    On the whale watching

    expedition (a trip that will

    always turn up a splash-

    ing tail or two) they talk

    about the sealife that

    wanders up and down the

    migration path to the

    Baja, as if all that down

    there was a distant Tr na

    ng. The mood is: you

    can go but dont come

    crying back to me when

    you fall off your horse on

    your return.

    R

    egular first time

    tourists dont

    have time for the

    cliffs, they are too busy

    cashing in on the big sig-

    natures. San Diego has

    four, their Legoland the

    best of the family after

    Billund (subject to the

    proviso that I have not

    visited Tampa), they have

    the original Seaworld, a

    famous zoo and its sister

    safari park.

    Zoos are something of

    an acquired taste and

    have no place in the itin-

    erary of an international

    tourist who has seen real

    animals in their natural

    habitat.

    San Diegos zoo, to its

    credit, knows what is

    doing, and does it well.

    The animal kingdom is

    turned into something of

    a soap opera for the visi-

    tors, an endless cycle of

    happy marriages and cute

    kids, with the hard nosed

    battle-weary world of

    conservation getting

    mentioned as the justifi-

    cation for it all.

    It is hard not to be

    taken in by the panda

    with the stick of bamboo

    or the condors who have

    been saved from extinc-

    tion, their siblings re-

    leased back to the wild.

    That is the measure of

    success: there were only

    22 Californian condors

    left when they were

    brought into care, the zoo

    reports that its 300th

    chick hatched this year

    and many have been re-

    leased again to the wild.

    It works. The policy is

    so successful and so fa-

    mous that zoos around

    the world send people

    here to find out how they

    do it.

    As our guide Emily

    Martin described it this

    pair have a cute little

    story, they definitely like

    each other so we are

    keeping our fingers

    crossed for some baby

    jaguars this spring.

    T

    he zoo, like much

    of the energy that

    illuminates San

    Diego, was spawned by

    the opening of the

    Panama Canal nearly a

    century ago.

    Balbao Park nearby re-

    mains in pristine hail-

    the-new-canal 1915

    condition, unusually for

    these things (San Diego

    was supposed to be first

    port of call of ships head-

    ing north).

    It now houses an eclec-

    tic and spell-binding col-

    lection of museums, of

    which the strangest is the

    model railway museum.

    The Prado looks like the

    cover of that Eagles

    album, the Californian

    tower a delicious faux-

    conquistador construc-

    tion. And the seafood,

    beer and wine are great

    too.

    Balbao is the secret

    weapon of San Diego, not

    as famous as Legoland or

    Seaworld or the zoo, but

    more fascinating than any

    or all of them.

    If you have one attrac-

    tion to see before BA274

    departs for home, it is the

    USS Midway, home to

    4,104 sailors in its 30-

    year career patrolling the

    Pacific, where you can

    see how generations of

    salts lived, worked and

    breathed.

    Visitors climb to the

    Barillo National Monu-

    ment to look back along

    the bay and city skyline.

    On the way back join

    the queue for fish tacos at

    Hodads. You wont regret

    it. An all American expe-

    rience with Mexican

    food. So San Diego.

    Ocean beach pier

    Page 020-021 San Diego r 11/01/2013 12:49 Page 2

  • FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 22

    I

    t is easy to under-

    stand, as the Romans,

    the Byzantines and

    the Ottomans clearly did,

    that Istanbul is the centre

    of the universe.

    Tourists got to the

    Hagia Sophia and Blue

    Mosque and Topkapi

    palace to learn that.

    In the process they fail

    to understand that the Is-

    tanbuli universe has its

    own centre: Eminonu

    quay.

    It is a tram ride from

    the tourist attractions (not

    just the overground ones,

    check out the Roman

    baths) and here the

    throngs gather to cram

    the ferries bound every

    15 minutes for the magi-

    cal, mysterious Asian

    shores.

    They are coloured

    vividly with scarlet

    lifebuoys, and belch

    black smoke as they chug

    away from our continent.

    The 20-minute crossing

    to Uskudar costs about 50

    cents. It can be a breezy

    pleasure, enhanced with

    strong tea in tiny tulip

    glasses.

    The skyline shines in

    every direction, billowing

    mosques, brandishing

    their towers like medieval

    bayonets, the silent

    Galata Tower, a relic of

    Genoese-colonial times;

    Topkapi lurking behind

    its veil of vegetation, the

    extravagant mansions and

    palaces that line the

    shoreline, and in the dis-

    tance, the gatepost castles

    of the Bosphorous which

    reminded everyone that

    Constantinople was un-

    stormable.

    The sunshine dances

    on the choppy surface of

    the Bosphorus. The mys-

    terious Kiz Kulesi, a

    fairytale lighthouse on a

    rocky outcrop, sits near

    the shore. In the distance

    you can see the Princes

    Islands, a taste of holiday

    resort Turkey, a three

    euro boat ride from the

    city, like lumps of granite

    peering out in the Sea of

    Marmara.

    They are an enticing

    sight, sun resorts from the

    south east magically

    towed to lie within easy

    reach of the metropolis.

    Then before you have

    taken it all in, the engines

    go quiet. Welcome to

    Asia.

    I

    n Athenian antiquity

    Uskudar was called

    Chrysopolis, the city

    of gold.

    It is a city in its own

    right, full of life and tra-

    dition. You can go to the

    endpoint at Fehnerbahce

    (the only major soccer

    club is on the Asian

    shore, unlike Galatasaray

    and Bezitkas) to walk the

    gardens and look back at

    Europe.

    Dominating the main

    square is the magnificent

    Iskele Camii, which was

    built sometime around

    1557 by Sinan as a tribute

    to Mihrimah, daughter of

    Suleyman the Magnifi-

    cent.

    If you make it to Yeni

    Valide Camii you will

    find a peaceful courtyard

    to sit in with cats for com-

    pany.

    As the evening light

    fades the buzz of Bagdot

    Street matches anything

    back acrosss the Bospho-

    rous.

    Istanbul is not just a

    city of 2,000 mosques,

    157 churches and 18 syn-

    agogues, but also home to

    some of the hottest

    nightlife in Europe.

    The hottest places are

    within easy reach of each

    other. Su Ada has the

    edge on the private yacht

    scene as it is offshore. It

    is vying to be trendiest

    night spot in Istanbul with

    Sortie (formerly Laila, re-

    cently renamed), and

    Reina (still, as its name

    suggests, reigning cham-

    pion).

    The rooftop 360 offers

    floor-to-ceiling windows

    opens out onto a huge ter-

    race and, late at night,

    turns into one of the city's

    hippest clubs.

    The restaurant with the

    best view in town is

    Hamdi, serving inexpen-

    sive local produce made

    with the best local ingre-

    dients in the best location

    since 1970. Mustafa

    Beys family has built the

    place up and it is now a

    500-seat business over

    three floors.

    The food is VERY spe-

    cialist - minced meat

    pizza, yoghurt starters,

    and no one else serves

    pistachio kebab. Dont

    miss it.

    T

    here is lots to see

    and a short time to

    do it, so Guide

    Yirdiray Kirmizi quickly

    identifies the pace I like

    and we have 25 stops on

    a city tour to beat all city

    tours - five mosques,

    three churches, four

    parks, four viewpoints,

    three museums and other

    attractions all flash by at

    speed.

    We pay homage, in

    rapid fire succession, to

    the reliquary (Patriarchate

    at Fener), the beautiful

    (St Giorgio), the aesthetic

    (St Savior in Chora), the

    spiritual (Church of Pana-

    gia of Blechernae, leafy

    green and out of the way,

    a real treasure), the bor-

    ing (Tekfur Palace), the

    over-rated (spice market)

    and the sublime (the huge

    underwater cisterns near

    Hagia Sophia).

    n Eoghan Corry flew to Istanbul with Turkish Airways, who fly daily direct

    from Dublin.

    n Sirkeci Station is a Germanic mas-

    terpiece almost within the shadow of

    Topkapi Palace. For decades this was

    the way to arrive in Istanbul, aboard

    the Orient Express from Paris to Con-

    stantinople. The route still operates.

    n Salacak is hopping-on point for a

    quick boat trip out to the strange Kiz

    Kulesi (Maidens or Leanders Tower).

    (It costs about 3) kizkulesi.com.tr

    THINGS TO DO

    n Kanaat Lokantasi (Selmanipak

    Caddesi 25), a clean, plain, brightly lit

    dining area. Big tureens brim with

    classic mezzeler (shared starters), in-

    cluding imam bayildi aubergine,

    tomato, onions and olive oil,

    n House Caf Ortaky (Salhanesi

    Sokak 1; tel +90 212 227 2639), the

    perfect pit stop for coffee or a shared

    bottle of Turkish ros.

    PLACES TO EAT

    Golden Horn

    Eoghan Corry finds treasure beyond

    Topkapi in Istanbul

    DESTINATION TURKEY

    Ice cream sellers awaiting their day

    There are many treasures beyond the astonishing skyline in Istanbul

    Page 022-023 Istanbul r 14/01/2013 12:49 Page 1

  • Hagia Sophia is

    one of three

    must-dos in pic-

    ture-postcard Istanbul,

    the first-stop venue

    alongside the Blue

    Mosque (still blue) and

    the Topkapi Museum,

    which has probably the

    most amazing single

    room of exhibits any-

    where in the world, the

    sword of David, the staff

    of Moses, the beard of

    Muhammad and the skull

    of John the Baptist all in

    the same place. Hmmm.

    It costs 10 (20 new

    Turkish lira, each worth-

    half a euro, like an old

    Deutschmark) to get in to

    Hagia Sophia, 10 for

    the Topkapi and 7 in to

    the harem, which is cheap

    considering what a male

    had to forfeit to get a job

    there in the Sultans time.

    I note the circumcision

    room too is closed but I

    am back in Taksim before

    I have opened my legs

    again, my return delayed

    by a joker who diverted

    me to the wrong tram

    stop in a bid to get me

    into the carpet shop.

    M

    ost tourists stay

    in the nest of

    hotels around

    Taksim Square, an eclec-

    tic area, which mixes le-

    gitimate bars like the

    delightful Biz Jazz Bar (it

    has GREAT live music

    and a bubbling atmos-

    phere) with more sordid

    girly bars where unsus-

    pecting clients are

    charged 25 a beer and

    subjected to a drip-pric-

    ing technique to part with

    money than they an af-

    ford.

    Most of the dodgier

    places are clearly marked

    with danger signs, such as

    Tayland 85 but CE&SA

    bar has a legitimate air

    about it until you arrive.

    The tourist bits of Is-

    tanbul are filled with a

    well trained breed of hus-

    tlers. A single male in Is-

    tanbul makes friends

    easily.All these guys with

    woolly hair and friendly

    eyes all want to talk to

    you and bring you to a

    distant door where they

    bring you down stairs

    into a darkened room

    where a friendly woman

    joins you.

    It is not as much sex

    they are selling (that too,

    probably) than over-

    priced drink, your drink

    costs 15, hers costs

    40, so you are hit with a

    bill for 150-200 at the

    end of the hour. This

    makes the process more

    like what happens at the

    Galway Races than tradi-

    tional prostitution.

    I didnt indulge. The

    system was explained to

    me by a friendly waiter

    more intent on getting me

    a fish casserole than an

    exotic belly dance.

    Y

    ou cant miss the

    departure point

    on Eminonu

    quay to Istanbuls hidden

    treasure. The sultans re-

    sort island of Bykada is

    a 3, thirty minute boat

    ride from the city and

    could be a distant

    Mediterranean red-tile

    hideaway. It being July,

    the place was teeming

    and while hiring a bike

    (7.50) enables one to es-

    cape to a more distant

    beach it does not seem to

    shed the crowds.

    This is a taste of holi-

    day resort Turkey, a mere

    three euro boat ride from

    the city.

    FEBRUARY 2013 PAGE 23

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    DESTINATION TURKEY

    Roof mosaics in the Kariye Museum

    Page 022-023 Istanbul r 14/01/2013 12:49 Page 2

  • Broken Hill is that

    rarity, a mining

    town that en-

    dured. Because it has 30

    hotels and dozens of pubs

    and great restaurants it

    can offer that rarity, a

    comfortable bed and the

    remoteness of the bush at

    the same time. My hotel,

    the Palace, has flamboy-

    ant murals and the re-

    flected fame of having

    been used as a film loca-

    tion for Priscilla, Queen

    of the Desert. It is on Ar-

    gent Street, near Cobalt

    Street, in a town where

    the streets seem to have

    been named from a chem-

    istry set.

    They felled every tree

    within a hundred km of

    Broken Hill to fuel the

    smelters of the town. The

    road takes you from

    sparse scrubland into

    thick vegetation like it

    crosses a boundary. The

    bull dust gets into every-

    thing. More the grit out-

    doors than the great

    outdoo


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