Caroline Herrera’s travelling life

Your favourite city for a weekend away?

Paris. I’m not a big shopper, but I love browsing at the Marché aux Puces or
in antique shops, just wandering around seeing beautiful things. It’s best
in spring, because of the flowers. I stay at the Plaza Athénée, where I love
the inner courtyard and to lunch at Le Relais.

Other favourite cities?

Venice, which is very mysterious and romantic, particularly if you arrive by
vaporetto and watch the city rising up from the sea. We stay at the Gritti
[Palace] or with friends.

Top treasure-hunting spots?

Antique shops, flower markets and bookshops. The best bookshops are Librairie
Galignani on Rue de Rivoli in Paris, and Heywood Hill on Curzon Street in
London, which has every interesting book you could ever want. I love books;
my suitcases are always full of them. Books and shoes. I read when I am sad, when
I am happy, when I am nervous. My favourite British author is Jane Austen, and
my favourite American one is John O’Hara.

Favourite restaurants?

Benetos, on the Greek island of Patmos, in a house by the sea with a vegetable
garden; Scott’s in London for fresh fish; and Casa Lucio in Madrid, a
typical Spanish place that does the most fantastic huevos estrellados – “broken”
fried egg with chips. The dish tastes unlike anything you could make; you
could waste 40,000 eggs trying to do it at home.

Where would you like to go next?

Istanbul: one of the world’s great cities.

The most romantic hotel?

The Hassler in Rome, with views of the Spanish Steps. The room we take has a
beautiful terrace, with the whole of Rome below. In the mornings and
evenings, it is unbelievable. We go every year, sometimes twice.

Luxurious treats on holiday?

I always have breakfast in bed – just my dog and myself. Always. And my
husband.

Are you a fan of wild places?

One in particular: La Gran Sabana in Venezuela, in the Amazon, which belongs
to a friend of mine. It was built near a magnificent waterfall and
everything had to be brought in by helicopter. You are surrounded by jungle
and mountains, so it’s very exotic and virginal. You stay for a week and you
take everything. If you go anywhere, it’s by helicopter; we went to see the
tallest waterfall on the Amazon, then had lunch on top of a mountain.
Otherwise, you walk in the jungle, swim in the river…

Have you ever travelled rough?

Once. We stayed on a beautiful Venezuelan island called Los Roques, and the
water and the lights didn’t work for three whole days. We were in a group
and everyone made the best of it, swimming instead of bathing.

The most glamorous room you’ve had?

At Windsor castle: the Queen’s. I can’t go into more detail; it was a private
visit.

Most glamorous hotel?

The Ritz in Madrid, which I’ve stayed at since I was a child, always in the
same apartment. It is a proper old hotel: grand and filled with antiques. I
don’t like modern ones where you push a button and the lights all go on in
the middle of the night. It’s in a good position, too: close to the Prado
and the botanical gardens.

The best hotel in Britain?

Claridge’s, which has the best concierge in the world, Martin. I love him. He
makes your life different and can do anything.

Favourite shops abroad?

I rarely go into a shop on holiday, because fashion and design are what I’m
involved in every day. I need another world. I do like linen shops, though,
particularly Casa Bonet in Palma. In London, I visit SJ Phillips if I can,
to see their jewellery. And in Jaipur, I went to the Gem Palace with my
daughter; it was like Ali Baba’s cave. The maharajahs took us there on their
elephants, which was a wonderful way to travel.

Your favourite airline?

Emirates. The ceiling is covered in little lights that look like stars, you
have your own cabin with your own television, and you can have dinner and
lunch whenever you like.

Preferred luggage?

Handbags I have designed myself, and old Vuitton suitcases. I’ve always
travelled with them, so I’m used to them. They have the space I need. I
don’t know how to travel light.

Ideal capsule wardrobe?

That’s a funny question, and one I can’t answer: I don’t know what a capsule
wardrobe is. I take a lot of shoes: walking shoes, high shoes, sandals. My
luggage is always overweight; my husband’s is, too.

What would you never leave behind?

My dog – I cannot leave that behind. My diary. And a small picture of the
Virgin Mary who has been with me since I was a little girl. It was given to
me by my mother.

Beauty essentials?

Bobbi Brown lipstick, DR Harris body creams, Patricia Wexler face cream. And
lots of water.

Your greatest luxury when travelling?

Not to have a timetable.


Luxury travel firms eye Indian market

India is becoming a market for luxury travel, with advanced economies such as the US and Europe slowing down. International luxury travel operators are setting up shop in the country, while domestic travel houses are starting dedicated luxury travel divisions.

Travel firms bet big on rich travellers as economic slowdown has minimum impact on their spending or travel plans.

Global luxury travel firm Abercrombie and Kent has started full-fledged operations in India under Abercrombie and Kent India Pvt. Ltd, according to travel consultants, and more such firms are expected to follow suit.

In March, InterGlobe General Aviation Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of InterGlobe Enterprises Ltd, renamed itself InterGlobe Established Products Pvt. Ltd and expanded its portfolio from a private jet service to a one-stop shop for luxury lifestyle solutions. The firm will sell luxury items such as super cars, yachts and high-end motorcycles.

InterGlobe Enterprises is the parent firm of low-fare carrier InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, under the brand IndiGo.

Cox and Kings Ltd director Peter Kerkar said his firm is counting on influential names among high net-worth individuals (HNIs). The travel firm has a luxury division—Luxury Escapades. Kerkar said demand is robust as more Indians are entering this segment.

India will double the number of HNIs to 403,000 by 2015, said Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer in a 31 August Reuters report. It said an average HNI takes at least two holidays a year—one short and one long. Total revenue in the Indian luxury travel industryis estimated at $1.7 billion (around `7,800 crore). “With the advanced economies of the US and the UK seeing recession, India is a high growth market for luxury travel operators,” said Neelesh Hundekari, principal and head (luxury and lifestyle practice) at AT Kearney. Amit Kalsi, vice-president (private travel) at Abercrombie and Kent India, said the focus is on emerging markets—China and India. “The company had set up the India operations in January and will set up the China operations this month,” he said. The global meltdown in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis has changed the luxury travel market and Western travellers have become value conscious. They are preferring destinations closer to their home countries and there has also been postponement of holidays, Kalsi said. The company has handled 300 passengers since January. The cost per person per night can be upwards of $500.

Indians are spending more on holidays and have taken a fancy to explore exotic locations, luxury experiences, local culinary delights and shopping holidays, according to Kashmira Commissariat, chief operating officer (outbound division) at Kuoni India, which has a specialized luxury division.

“Exotic and unique destinations like Egypt, Turkey, (South) Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia are gaining popularity with the Indian travellers. Exotic castles and villa holidays in Ireland, Switzerland and Greece have received very good response from luxury travellers,” she said.

According to the most recent American Express Business Travel Monitor report, India is witnessing increased activity in the luxury space, with the country retaining the most attractive investment destination tag. The report said the past two years saw some of the biggest luxury car launches, entry of premier labels and accessories, and hotel brands in India.

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Greece Euro Crisis: Is an Exit Imminent? – About

Financial news sources are reporting that the much-discussed Greek exit from the Euro is increasingly likely – Action Forex suggests that it could happen within days, while The Financial Times moans that Eurozone’s Passion Week Has Come.

What might this mean for your travel in Greece? A sudden change in what is the “official” currency of Greece – and the absence of a replacement currency, at least for a while – could certainly create confusion for the traveler along with possible disruptions in transit schedules.

Euros would continue to be in use as usual, but it is possible that some merchants and hotel keepers would prefer to be paid in other currencies, particularly on credit card purchases. Calculating on-the-spot exchange rates on larger purchases, for jewelry or art, always a tricky proposition, could be even more complicated.

The effect of this turbulence on the value of the Euro itself is also unclear – the exit of a country from the financial union may shake the faith in the Euro as a stable currency and cause a change in value, though that could be to some travelers’ advantage.
What can you do to protect yourself and your trip?

  • If you haven’t gotten travel insurance for your trip to Greece yet, this may be one more reason to do so -but ask if it will include financial failures due to the Greek financial crisis. Policies vary between companies, and if this is considered to be a “known” problem prior to your trip, some firms may not insure it.
  • You may want to bring extra cash in your home currency as a backup
  • You may also want to have extra Euros in cash with you
  • It might even be a good time to resurrect those traveler’s checks which have fallen out of favor in recent years. If there is a sudden exit from the Euro, the effects on banking could mean ATMs are not restocked as quickly, and it’s one more way to carry cash safely. But be aware that in Greece, traveler’s checks usually can only be exchanged for cash at a designated bank, which can be inconvenient.
  • You may want to rearrange your trip to allow extra time to get back to Athens for your flight home.

What brought this all on so abruptly? Greece’s talks with the “troika” came to an abrupt halt last week, as About.com’s Guide to International Investing Justin Kuepper noted: Troubles Begin to Resurface in Greece.

More Headlines from Greece


Greece Vows To Increase Pace Of Structural Overhauls

–Finance minister pledges measures to shrink public sector, speed up privatizations and liberalize economy

–Minister says government to transfer selected state assets into a Greek state privatization fund

–Minister reaffirms government’s goal to raise EUR5 billion from privatizations by the end of 2011, and EUR28 billion by 2014

(Updated to adds details, comments throughout, beginning in third paragraph.)

ATHENS (Dow Jones)–Greece’s government vowed Tuesday to increase the pace of structural overhauls following fresh criticism from its European partners that it needed to accelerate austerity plans and sales of state assets.

In a news conference, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos pledged to …


Spain, Italy look to book Euro spots

Both Spain and Italy will be looking to seal their places in next summer’s European Championships on Tuesday night.

Defending champions Spain are currently top of Group I, leading second-placed Czech Republic by five points and having played a game less. With only two qualifiers left under Tuesday’s matches, a win against Liechtenstein would guarantee Spain’s presence at next year’s finals in Poland and Ukraine.

In Group I’s other fixture, Scotland will look to keep their faint hopes of qualification alive when they play hosts to Lithuania.

Italy are another team who can book their place on Tuesday, but they will have to be wary of second-placed Slovenia, who will have been buoyed by the Azzurri’s insipid peformance in their 1-0 win over Faroe Islands last Friday.

The Islanders themselves will travel to face Serbia, while Group C‘s final fixture sees Estonia host Northern Ireland.

One team who have already guaranteed their presence in Poland and Ukraine next summer is Germany, who are cannot be overtaken at the top of Group A.

It is now down to Turkey and Belgium in the fight for the second qualifying spot, although only the former are in action on Tuesday, when they travel to play Austria.

Group A’s other match on Tuesday will be a battle of the bottom sides when Azerbaijan play hosts to Kazakhstan.

Things are starting to heat up in Group B with just three qualifiers remaining, and leaders Russia will know they cannot afford to slip up in their home game against second-placed Republic of Ireland.

Hoping to capitalise on either side’s slip-up will be third-placed Slovakia, who are currently level with the Irish on 14 points, two behind the Russians. The Slovaks take on Armenia on Tuesday evening, while Macedonia host Andorra.

In Group D, France will be looking to edge closer to next summer’s finals when they travel to play Romania, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belarus both know a loss in their encounter will spell the end of their qualification prospects.

The group’s other match sees Luxembourg take on Albania.

Fresh from an 11-0 trashing of San Marino, Holland travel to Finland knowing a win would all but guarantee them a place at Euro 2012.

Level on points behind the Dutch are Sweden and Hungary, who will be looking to stay alive with wins in their respective matches against San Marino and Moldova.

Things are looking very tight in Group F with leaders Greece leading second-placed Croatia by just a point, while Israel are a further three behind.

Greece will travel to play Latvia on Tuesday, while Croatia entertain Israel in a must-win game for either side. Bottom side Malta will be looking for their first points of the campaign when they play hosts to Georgia.

England are currently top of Group G, leading second-placed Montenegro by three points with only two games remaining, but with the latter not in action on Tuesday, the English will have to wait till the next matchday before they can be fully assured of their participation next summer.

They face a hungry Wales side on Tuesday evening, while third-placed Switzerland will look to keep their faint hopes of qualifying alive when they host Bulgaria.

Finally, Group H is also heating up, with Portugal and Norway level at the top on 13 points, while Denmark sit in third, three points behind.

With the Portuguese not in competitive action on Tuesday, Denmark will entertain Norway, while Iceland and Cyprus play off in the clash of the basement sides.

Tuesday’s Euro 2012 Qualifiers

Group A

Azerbaijan vs Kazakhstan

Austria vs Turkey

Group B

Russia vs Republic of Ireland

FYR Macedonia vs Andorra

Slovakia vs Armenia

Group C

Italy vs Slovenia

Estonia vs Northern Ireland

Serbia vs Faroe Islands

Group D

Romania vs France

Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Belarus

Luxembourg vs Austria

Group E

Finland vs Holland

Moldova vs Hungary

San Marino vs Sweden

Group F

Croatia vs Israel

Latvia vs Greece

Malta vs Georgia

Group G

Switzerland vs Bulgaria

England vs Wales

Group H

Denmark vs Norway

Iceland vs Cyprus

Group I

Spain vs Liechtenstein

Scotland vs Lithuania


Germany: Too early for Bulgaria, Romania to join Schengen

Sofia. More than 200 banknote tally with the data of those bills used to pay a ransom in Greece, given to the Greek ‘Impudent’. The news broke as a result of the exchange of information between the Bulgarian and Greek services over the case of the four Albanian nationals detained recently at the Gyueshevo checkpoint.
The press office of the Interior Ministry announced that officers with the SIRENE Bureaux have sent data about the banknotes found during the arrest of the four Albanians. After a check, the Greek authorities have confirmed that more than 200 of the bills, worth more than EUR 10,000, coincide with the bills used to pay a ransom in Greece.

FOCUS News Agency recalls:
Four Albanian citizens, wanted under the Schengen Information System (SIS), have been arrested by the Border Police, director of Border Police Directorate senior Commissary Zaharin Penov told FOCUS News Agency. The four men under detention are criminals who used to deal with racketeering and abduction in Greece.
A European Arrest Warrant was issued for the four on 26 July 2011. They were detained in a taxi on their way to Gyueshevo checkpoint on the Bulgarian-Macedonian border on Friday evening. They were travelling from the western town of Kyustendil to the border checkpoint when a border police patrol from Kyustendil Regional Directorate stopped the car for a check. The police found out that the three men, who are aged 28, 23 and 20, and a 23-year-old woman are wanted under the Schengen Information System by Greece.
The Greek authorities search for the four Albanians in relation with kidnappings, robberies, racketeering and holding hostages. The last kidnapping they committed dates back to May 2011 and it triggered a wide public response then, the police chief added.


‘Senior backpackers’ trots the globe

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