‘Now and then, we Catalans, feel we have been misplaced (or punished) in this corner of the Iberian Peninsula’
A question I’ve heard a lot recently is “What are your plans for the summer?” I assume people are interested to know and are not just finding out when I won’t be at home so they can rob my house. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I find I’ve became curious to know what people have lined up for their holiday.
As this issue provides readers with ideas for how to spend their time off (pages 20-35), I decided to ask around the office what the staff and contributors are planning to do this summer, and whether they had any recommendations. Here’s what they told me.
Nicole Millar: Every summer I go back to the UK for a month. My husband is always away in July, so it’s a good time for the kids and I to go back to England to see grandparents, other family members and friends.
I highly recommend Cornwall as a summer destination. For us Spanish living people, it is an escape from the heat and there is so much to do. Beautiful beaches, rock-pooling, sailing, surfing, open water swimming, trails to explore, epic hills to ride your bike up, or flat trails for family rides, the list goes on... .
Matthew Tree: We’ll be visiting my Dutch father-in-law, who’s in a residence south of Amsterdam: a truly lovely man, whose incipient dementia doesn’t prevent him from being great company. And then we’ll be going to Denmark, mainly because we haven’t got a clue what we’ll find there and partly because I’m (a little) curious to see what it’s like to be in a country whose language has half the number of speakers than does Catalan.
As for a holiday destination, I recommend Australia. Before I went there, I thought it’d be like England with kookaburras, but it turned out to be a revelation: a completely different world, packed full of surprises, most of them – but not all – good ones.
Martin Kirby: We will break with tradition and stop working for a few days – our Priorat farm cottage is always booked out in summer – and head for the delights of Nottingham in England. We’d love to have time to explore the haunts of Robin Hood, but we are there briefly for the wedding of our dear niece Leila.
Give Turin a look. Perfect for a short trip, or stay and explore the area in depth. We walked everywhere and loved the architecture, vibe, food and setting with the backdrop of the Alps. A very important motor city, of course, with excellent museums, and it is fun to spot locations of the iconic film The Italian Job.
Brett Hetherington: We have no plans but that’s usual for us. If we could afford to go somewhere we would, but we can’t so we won’t. It’s a pity but also the reality of many people in Europe, where relative incomes are the lowest they’ve been for 40 years.
As for a holiday destination, I recommend Japan. At this time of year it’s better to avoid the extreme humidity by going up to the rural north of the main island Honshu or even to Hokkaido which is also beautiful and comparatively unspoiled.
Miquel Berga: Now and then, we Catalans, feel we have been misplaced (or punished) in this corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It was someone’s mistake not to let us be simply Italians, northern Italians to be precise. That’s why, when we feel a bit exhausted about the general situation around us, we long for Italy. We are taking an Italian trip this July: a couple of weeks in and around Ferrara, the charming, literary town in the Po valley and pretend, for a while, that we are highly civilized humans, Catalans living in the right peninsula.
For the summer there’s nothing like motoring along the narrow roads of northern Scotland, moving from Bed&Breakfast to Bed&Breakfast, from pub to pub, from island to island, following the whisky trails... enjoying dramatic landscapes and the occasional sunny spell and letting the rain speak softly to us every, well yes, every day.