By Sanjana Idnani, Travel Sub-Editor
The Croft Magazine // Sanjana Idnani gives a guide to venturing abroad, even if you're in Tier 4.
Well, what a week it has been! At the time of writing, it has been seven days since Tier 4 restrictions were introduced and a spiral of different events has taken place since (so Christmas really had its usual thunder threatened!).
About 50 countries banned travel from the UK and, at the very last second, a trade deal was agreed by both the UK and the EU. While both of these events will have big implications for the current and future landscape of our travel to Europe, it’s still the holiday season and I think we all might need a light-hearted guide on how to love and experience these countries in a whirlwind year like 2020.
Therefore, I bring to you a few of Britain’s favourite European holiday destinations and some suggestions on how to ‘travel’ there from the comfort of our own homes!
1. Paris, France
Romance in the world of Rona isn’t exactly booming, but what better way to transport yourself to the City of Love than by immersing yourself in a beautiful, exciting Romantic Drama? Before Sunset (2004) tells the story of two strangers, Jesse and Celine, who met by chance in Vienna and cross paths again nine years later in Paris.
What might have happened had they stayed together when they first met? What does this second meeting in Paris mean? Is this their second chance? They have until sunset to work it out with the most beautiful scenes in Paris imbuing each scene with the best possible romantic backdrops.
2. Rome, Italy
Are you looking for a thrilling exploration of Rome and vast cultural background? Then why not try reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (2003). In this first instalment of Dan Brown’s riddling thriller series of Robert Langdon books, Harvard symbologist Langdon must race against time to stop the ancient Illuminati brotherhood from destroying Vatican City.
Travelling through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs and cathedrals, Landon and his ally Vittoria Vetra traverse through 400 years of Roman symbolic landscapes to find the secret to saving the Vatican.
3. Madrid, Spain
One of the most popular tapas dishes, patatas bravas, is commonly served in Madrid and this mouth-watering dish is certainly one that will transport you to the colourful and flavourful life of Spain. If you are in a Tier 2 area, perhaps go out for a small family meal at your local tapas bar and help support local business.
If you are facing tougher restrictions, something to spice up the weekly cooking might be to try making some of your own! Check out this recipe if you want to give it a go, and if you choose to make it a fancy night in, dress up and accompany your meal with some home-made Sangria too!
4. Salzburg, Austria
One of my favourite family movies has got to be The Sound of Music (1965), set in Salzburg, Austria. Maria, a postulant, realises that her life as a nun is too restrictive and less fulfilling than she thought it would be and is consequently failing as a nun, so when Captain Von Trapp writes to the Abbey asking for a governess, the Mother Superior sends Maria for this job.
Confronted with the difficult task of managing seven often troublesome children, Maria takes them exploring through the pastoral hills of Salzburg, teaches them to sing and helps them find joy in the smallest things. Soon, Maria and the captain start falling in love, but this brings its own problems.
Watch this heart-warming film if you are seeking something to brighten up your day and transport you to awe-inspiring landscapes.
5. Crete, Greece
While arguably the blue and sunny skies of Crete, it’s azure seas and its stunning coastal views are impossible to recreate back here in the midst of Storm Bella in England, Crete is also well-known for its Ancient Greek heritage. Crete is home to one of the most famous Greek myths, Theseus and the Minotaur.
For my final suggestion, I invite you to explore the wonders of this story and be transported to the dangerous and mystical world of Ancient Crete by checking out this brilliant blog on it by Madeline Miller, author of Circe (2018). I hope you find this story as enthralling as I do!
I hope this list will prove useful as we tackle a holiday season dimmed by some tough restrictions and that sometime next year, we might be able to visit all of these locations. Perhaps these stories and recipes will evoke a special attachment to these gorgeous locations once we can explore them again!
Featured Image: Epigram