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



On song in Kingston for legend Bob

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With Bob Marley's widow Rita

BOB Marley’s widow walked into the recording studio to the sound of a bunch of wannabe reggae stars warbling One Love.

We were having a dry run before being rescued by Rita who armed herself with the other original members of Marley’s backing singers, the I-Three, and son Stephen who is now as famous in Jamaica as his dad.

No one could blame them for leaving our group — led by Richard “Like A Virgin” Branson — to just blare out the chorus “Let’s get together and feel all right.” If it had been X Factor, Simon Cowell would have sent Rita Marley and the Wailers packing but, incredibly, once the sound men had done their business, the CD wasn’t half-bad.

Being a fan of Rasta Bob, I’d joined Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to the Jamaican capital Kingston, knowing that we were visiting the Marley family’s Tuff Gong studio to make a commemorative record. Rita — now 61 with 11 children and 58 grandchildren — greeted us with the warmth and generous spirit that runs through the veins of the people in this beautiful lush Caribbean island.

“It is always a joy to welcome visitors from the UK,” she said. A tour of the studios (www.tuffgong.com) includes seeing how records are produced, including vinyl which we’ve all thrown out but still a big-seller in Jamaica.

Go on to the Bob Marley Museum, once his home, where you can see his favourite guitar, a 20-minute movie and where he was shot by political activists.

Take home great souvenirs of the King of Reggae — who died from cancer in 1981, aged 36 — including T-shirts, albums, badges and even a keyholder! 

We drove out of the city and meandered through the beautiful Blue Mountains 

The vast majority of Brits who visit Jamaica fly into Montego Bay — Virgin’s other route at the opposite end of the island. Holidaymakers flood to nearby beach resorts and those further down the coast in Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios or Negril on the other side of the airport.

But for me, visiting the island for the third time, the area around Kingston is just as appealing, even if you are caught in a tropical storm. We drove out of the city and meandered through the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountains to stay at Strawberry Hill perched on a peak 3,100 feet up.

The views are breathtaking, so I’m told. The torrential rain allowed me just a glimpse of Kingston’s twinkling lights before the mist came down like a blanket. No complaints because that’s the risk you take if you go to Jamaica in the rainy month of October.

It still didn’t spoil my senses…the smell of the fauna and the constant sound of the birds and insects. Strawberry Hill with its Georgian-style cottages, pool and spa is the perfect retreat. Chill, walk, have a massage or go for a taste of Jamaica’s other great export apart from Marley… coffee, even though the locals prefer tea.

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