Love is . . . a life on the open road

I've been to many places around the world so thought I'd share things I love about travelling...

France, especially Lanquedoc Rousillon
Eurostar, premier seats though
Virgin Atlantic’s choice of movies
BA’s Business class movie screens
Premium Outlets for shopping madness
Grimsby fish and chips
Massage on a Thai beach
Lobster and prawns at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort
Silk trousers from Bangkok
Noodles from a Hong Kong vendor
Animals on safari in Kenya
Rio Carnival for being the best in the world
Tobago for being so chilled out
Friendly faces at Jakes in Jamaica
Pink sand in the Bahamas
People-watching in Las Vegas
Disney World, Orlando, can't get enough of Mickey
Ireland because my dad was born there
Edinburgh on New Year's Eve
Venice because you have to love it
Wine-tasting in Stellenbosch, only white!
Swimming in the forever warm Caribbean Sea
Biking over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Gazing at the awesome Taj Mahal
Helping build a nursery in a Cape Town township
Screaming on Universal's The Hulk
Seeing the Pope at the Vatican
Drinking champagne at the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Christmas in New York
Coffee from Jamaica's Blue Mountains
Crabbing in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
Necker Island, who wouldn't?
Pashminas from India
America and even Americans
Walking in the Lake District
Driving across the US, even with a two-year-old
Handbags from Buenos Aires
Eurocamp for great family holidays
No-hassle souks in Damascus
Bon Sol hotel in Majorca
My Antler Duolite case and my Apple iPad2, love them
...and all the people in all the world who I have had the pleasure of meeting

Dolphins help park to leap over rivals

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Fins ain't so bad...the Dolphin Plunge

I’M not sure who I felt more sorry for — me hurtling 300ft down a plastic tube into a dolphin lagoon or the poor dolphins who had to watch.

And don’t tell me that Fabio, Ross, Keebler and Pepe didn’t notice because they are a highly-intelligent species who would recognise a white-bodied Brit anywhere!

The four Commerson dolphins are the highlight of Aquatica — Orlando’s new mega-waterpark which has just opened — and fulfil the creators’ dream of making it different from Blizzard Beach or Wet ‘n’ Wild.

As you shoot down the Dolphin Plunge, the 4ft black and white animals playfully dart around or jump over the tube and they can also be seen through glass from the lazy river which goes on to wind through a 10,000-gallon grotto of brightly-coloured fish.

Fabio and co, born at Aquatica’s sister park SeaWorld across the road on International Drive, are put through their paces by trainers six to 10 times a day so even those who don’t brave the ride can get close to them.

Vic Marsich, animal welfare supervisor for Aquatica, was delighted as hundreds streamed into the 60-acre park for the first time and headed straight for the dolphins. And he knows they are guaranteed to be a big hit with British visitors.

He said: “People from the UK are fascinated by dolphins. At SeaWorld we are able to show them off, here we can allow visitors to interact with them. The Commerson species are perfect for this park because they are so exciting, wacky and playful. They have huge energy and are also highly intelligent and adaptable.”

The dolphins, weighing 100lbs, can be found off the southern tip of South America but Vic insists they are a lot safer in the park. “In the wild they would be lucky to survive much over 10, here they can live into their 30s. We are like mother-hens to these animals!”

Tubes and slides litter the skyline and the screams echo across the park

Aquatica boasts some of the most thrilling water rides in the world and has 36 slides, six rivers and lagoons and an 80,000sq-ft white sandy beach. The décor and furnishings are as colourful as the fish with walls, chairs, tables, loungers and umbrellas decked out in striking orange and blue — perfectly toned down by the lush green trees and palms.

There are 2,500 different types of trees including monkey puzzles from Chile, pineapple guavas from Brazil and flowering silk oaks from Australia.

The twisting tubes and slides litter the skyline and the screams — none louder than mine — echo around the park.

If you like sledging, then eight-lane Taumata Racer is like falling off a precipice. I threw myself head-first down the 300ft slide determined to win the race against seven other competitors. I hung on for dear life as my plastic mat careered around a 360-degree turn before plunging to the bottom and suffering the humiliation of coming last!

But, at least I can say I was on the very course being used by professionals competing in the European Slide Championships. Don’t worry, I didn’t know they existed either.

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