GETTING THERE Rhiannon Batten paid $3502.50 for a return ticket. including taxes. from London Gatwick to Lilongwe. with British Airways through Trailfinders (0141 353 2224, www.trailfinders.co.uk). Other operators flying from London include KLM, Ethiopian Airways. South African Airways and Air Zimbabwe. From Lilongwe. it takes around eight hours to get to Chitimba by minibus and from there to Livingstonia you can either walk (four hours) or hitch (about fifteen minutes). Hiring a guide (about $22) from the guest house is a good idea, but there have been some repons of robberies and Rhiannon was advised to leave valuables at her guest house in Chitimba.


Chitimba Beach Resort is shabby and overpriced at £6 per person per night. but it's safe and convenient. In Livingstonia a room at the Stone House costs $25 per night (entrance to the

museum is a Suggested £1). By far the best option is Lukwe Permaculture camp though. about an hour's walk from LiVingstonia. towards; Chitimba. Well-designed huts cost around 59.51) per person per night or you can camp for S‘ I .{Si’} but these prices are likely to go up when ll‘.()l't} facilities are built in the near future.

BACKGROUND The most up-to-date guide to MaIaWi was published last year by Loner Planet (STI 1.99i Also of interest are Trekking In East Africa (Cl 1 .99) and Watching Wildlife In East All/(H (5:12.99). also both published by Loner Planet. In terms of websites. there aren't many at the moment to recommend. but for basic background details log onto wwwlonelyplanet.coni/(Iestinations africa iiialaisii The Malawi Der rartment of Tourism can ilt‘ contacted at PO Box 402. Blantyre. MéliélVJI. tel. ()0 265 620 300.

Excess baggage Festivals, flights and fabulous fares

I LOVERS REJOICE. for Valentine's Day is upon us once more. It's not too late to whisk your nearest and dearest away fOi a touch of romance. Our favourite is San Francisco Zoo's annual Sex Tour (wwwsfzooorg). Oh yeah. Cuddle closer as you learn all about the courtship rituals of various animals while enjoying champagne and truffles. Closer to home and rather more sophisticated are cruises on the Thames complete with pink champagne sorbet and heart-of—raspberry mOLISSB, more info from Bateaux London on 0207 926 2215‘). Finally, one for the real crazy kats. get i'lIiCi’lBCi on top of the Empire State Building. You‘ve got to write and explain ‘Jlii‘,’ you deserve the privrlege. so get scribbling to Tricia Dempsey. Empire State



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guides to Barcelona, Spain, Guatemala and Florence.

I IF OUTDOORS pursuits are what you like to get up to on holiday (we mean camping. rock climbing etc). then the Outdoors 2002 exhibition at Glasgow's SECC might be a useful port of call. Running from 6—10 February. the show promotes tourism

VI ithir: the UK and has exhibitors ranging from boat. camping and zei8t.ire equipment prOOUCBTS to accommodation and activity providers. Tickets are priced £76 (£3.50). and more info IS on the webSite. www.cutdoors— showcom


Building. 8:50 Fifth

announced four new Avenue. New York

routes from Gatwick

. 10118 which start up in I NEW TRAVEL February: Edinburgh, BOOKS out this Zurich, Malaga and

month include Time Out’s new edition of its San Francisco guide, while Rough Guides encourages you to join in the fiesta with updated

Palma. Prices for the Scotland route start at £22.50 one-way. For more information and bookings log onto www.easyjet.com

i i '~‘/\\V‘.' .


A Stranger In Spain (Methuen £10.99) .00

A welcome reprint of a Spanish travelogue 50 years after its first run. H.V. Morton was a Fleet Street reporter from the north west of England. After serving in the First World War, he wrote a series of travel diaries starting with In Search Of London, moving on to England, Wales and Scotland and eventually large sections of Europe.

This is a bit of a stretch for the modern reader used to grid references and indexed addresses of ‘that wonderful restaurant that serves snails oft Las Ramblas’ but it is well worth the risk. Morton’s agenda is to get to the very heart of what makes a country tick and he is willing to talk around the subjects with snippets of pseudo (sometimes highly questionable) history he has to hand, until he finds a semblance of national identity. This a charming if old fashioned pleasure. (Paul Dale)



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