Those brilliant people at British Airways, still my favourite airline if not the worlds, gave me a very heavily discounted ticket to anywhere I wanted to go. Whilst North Oxfordshire has many attractions, it is not the warmest places on earth in January and February and my ageing body works better in the sunshine and warmth, so Barbados here I come! At least that was the plan, then I started looking at hotel prices out there, blimey I could buy a semi-detached in Banbury for the price of a two week stay out there. Then my daughter, she knows everything, suggested I went on a cruise, I’ve always resisted cruises, I mean they are for old people, aren’t they.
I spent last week in the gastronomic capital of the world, Lyons, where amongst the many delicacies that I ate was one that some 50 years earlier I said I would never ever eat again.
Over the years I have put many things in my mouth, some cooked, some raw, mostly dead though the odd thing that was still alive, also a couple of things that are best forgotten though someone once said, “You should try everything once except incest and Morris dancing.”
Back in November 1973 I spent my honeymoon, with my wife of course, in Paris where one day we found ourselves in the Samaritaine department store, I remember buying some striped socks. However, our visit coincided with lunchtime, and we found ourselves in the restaurant on the rooftop terrace with fabulous views across the City of Lights.
I must start with an apology; my last post was back in at the end of July and since then my feet and the Pink Shoes have hardly touched the ground.
Amongst the many adventures we have enjoyed are, partying in Spain, almost drowning in Switzerland, wandering around Sicily, flying down to Marseilles with Harrison Ford, playing the decks in a Greek nightclub, and getting thrown into the harbour in St Tropez by the bodyguards of King of Greece.
As I write this, I should be wandering around the souks of Marrakesh but unfortunately the Moroccans would not let me into their country.
The rest of this year sees trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Lyon, Paris, Dubai, and Switzerland, these and the previous adventures will appear soon.
But the summer was marred by tragedy, during my trip to Greece in July I failed miserably with an attempt to leap ashore from a boat and the Pink Shoes got wet.
Drying them out in the blistering Greek heat was a big mistake……they shrank and no longer fit my size nine feet.
Luckily for me those nice people from Converse in Amsterdam sent me a brand-new pair, they look a bit bright and new but will soon wear in, the original pink shoes are in the process of being framed and will soon be hanging on my office wall
My last post was about the lovely people I partied with last month now it’s time to tell you about the food we ate and the restaurants we ate it in.
I must start with my Hotel, The Parga Beach Resort, set right on the beach separated from Parga town by a small headland with a castle on top of it you could if you wish would have a fantastic time without leaving it.
I must admit to being a fan of the breakfast buffet in hotels like this and you must admire their ability to being able to cater for the tastes of all the different nationalities saying there,
I find it great fun spotting the French delicately dipping their croissants in bowls of steaming coffee, the Germans with huge plates of cheese and salamis, the British who ate everything and everybody loading up napkins with rolls, fruit, cheese and meats to eat on the beach later,
Last year on a trip to Greece I met a great couple, Daryl and Lisa, we hit it off and had some great trips and some memorable meals, but unlike many holiday friendships it continues, and this year Daryl invited me to his birthday party back in Greece.
However, there was no mention that the party was going to last six days and would involve vast quantities of Mythos Beer, jumping off the back of a boat into the Ionian Sea, going out to eat a couple of hours past my normal bedtime and a Swedish mother and daughter, all very testing even for this ageing playboy.
Yesterday the Pink Shoes took me to my hometown of Warwick, I have not a drop of English blood in me, but I am a very proud Warwickian, I was born there, educated there. Lived there for 21 years and had my first kiss behind the water jump on Warwick racecourse.
Warwick is equally proud of its history, there is more history in just one square mile of the town than there is in the whole of York.
Sometimes I think I am way too selfish to be a travel or food writer, like many in the profession I am in search of that unspoilt beach, or the little bistro tucked up a cobbled street in some French city.
Except when I do I want to keep them to myself, those top restaurant critics have in their power to either destroy a restaurant or often praise them to the sky which results if fully booked tables, six month waiting lists and no chance of us locals getting fed.
On one of those rare occasions when one of the broadsheets finest ventured north of the M25 and reviewed a small restaurant in Leamington Spa he rated it 10 out of 10, within days you could not get in for love or money, the local streets were blocked with Volvo Estates with Kensington Street parking permits.