Monday, November 20, 2017
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July/August 2017 ‘An Agent Abroad’ winner, PATSY PATTERSON of Oasis Travel, explains why everyone should visit her three favourite holidays destinations: Grenada, Madeira and the Azores…

ONE of my favourite Caribbean islands is Grenada, known affectionately as ‘The Spice Islands’ a third of the world’s nutmeg is grown there, as well as cloves and mace.

Take a walk through the local spice market and enjoy the heady aroma of spices that fills the air.

The island is only 22 miles by 12 miles, perfect for a romantic getaway.

The best beach, Gran Anse boasts a sweep of white sand fronted by wonderful turquoise water perfect for swimming and snorkelling or just chilling!

Take time from your busy beach schedule to explore the lush tropical interior, and the Grand Etang National Park, filled with jungle and forest, with monkeys and exotic birds, it is also home to the spectacular Concord Water Falls.

Music in Grenada is a way of life, everyone seems to be singing, humming or whistling.

You can enjoy a great night at one of the local bars, listening to the locals ‘jammin’ the night away or you can watch a 20 strong steel band belting out ‘Singing in the Rain’ during a tropical storm!

By far Granada’s best asset is its friendly people; they are delightful, with wonderful ready smiles.

They are very proud of their island and will welcome you and want to share with you the wonderful experience that is Grenada. This is a small island with an undeveloped feel about it, go soon before it changes.

The reason I fell in love with Madeira, and I know you will agree with me, is that it offers something for everyone.

I stayed in the capital Funchal, and had a wonderful time, there just a few of the highlights. There is daily market with colourful local products and for ‘the bag ladies’ among you - the stalls selling handbags will blow your mind. Okay, I know they are not real leather, but at 10 to 15 euro each who cares! You can afford one in every colour.

For those of you who enjoy a flutter there is a fine casino with splendid cabaret dinner shows.

Enjoy a day walking along the flat promenade, stop at “The Vagrant” a yacht that once belonged to the Beatles and has now been recycled as a restaurant, rest a while sip a beer or coffee and listen to old Beatle songs before long you will be tapping your feet and singing along.

When you are refreshed and tired of Yea Yea Yea continue along the promenade to Park Municipal & watch the fountains.

There are many fine eateries in Funchal I found best ones in the old town.

Each Saturday evening there is a breathtaking firework display.

Take the cable car to Monte Palace Tropical Garden which hosts over 1,000,000 flower species from all over the world.

There are so many things to do in Funchal you won’t know what to do next but whatever you do, relax and enjoy this wonderful island.

And last, but by no means least, another of my favourite destinations is the Azores.

Your first question will probably be “Where are the Azores?” Well, let me tell you… they are a beautiful group of nine emerald green island set in the Atlantic sea, the last land fall before you hit north America.

The Azores are delightful any time of year due to the favourable climate but I think the best time to visit is May to early October.

I would recommend you visit the island of Sao Miguel.

The main town and port, Ponta Delgada has preserved its historical beauty, it’s like a step back in time with its narrow cobbled streets bordered by well preserved period houses. The food is a joy, many small intimate restaurants serving good home cooked meals and the bill won’t break the bank!

You could easily spend a week exploring Ponta Del Gada, visiting the Fort, Museums and its many gardens, or you could just sit in the town square watching the world go by with a glass of excellent chilled local wine, but it would be a shame to miss the rest of the island with its wonderful walks, spectacular scenery, vast craters of blue lakes, lush rolling valleys, rugged mountains and mineral springs.

Local tours are easy to book and very well priced. I hope you visit the Azores soon, but at least put it on your ‘places to visit wish list’ I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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