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With health secretary Matt Hancock recently announcing that this year’s summer holidays are very likely to be cancelled, many travellers will be feeling disappointed.
But don’t despair – although it won’t be quite the same, there are ways to bring your holiday destination to your home. Here are a few ideas…
Learn the language
Why not start by taking the time to learn the language of your chosen holiday destination? If you are able to take your holiday next year instead, this will provide the perfect opportunity to wow your fellow travellers with your new skills.
Language learning website Duolingo allows you to learn languages completely free of charge. You can choose from 35 different languages, including German, Portuguese, Turkish, Hindi and Japanese.
Alternatively, Babbel lets you choose from 14 different languages, including Spanish, Italian, French and Swedish. If you sign up for 12 months, you’ll pay £4.75 a month, or for six months you’ll pay £5.49 a month.
Cooking up a feast or learning the local dance can help to recreate your holiday destination at home – although you may need a little imagination too. The examples below may provide you with some inspiration:
Food: Make a delicious Greek salad with fresh olives, red onion, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese and olive oil. You could also try making chicken souvlaki using this recipe from the BBC Good Food site and serve with fresh tzatziki.
Entertainment: Head over to YouTube to learn how to dance the Hasapiko or Syrtaki. Once you’ve danced your socks off, settle down to watch Mamma Mia which was filmed in various Greek locations, including Damouchari, Skopelos, and Skiathos, or Captain Corelli’s Mandolin which is set in the gorgeous Greek island of Kefalonia.
Food: As well as stocking up on deliciously smelly French cheeses and fresh bread, you could also try making your own croissants for breakfast and steak haché and pommes frites for dinner. Plus, have a look at this recipe for blood orange and dark chocolate madeleines for dessert.
Entertainment: France has a number of traditional dances you could try, including the Gavotte and the Tourdion. If you’d prefer to relax with a film, Chocolat was shot in the medieval village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy and on the Dordogne River. Alternatively, take a trip round fashionable Paris with Amélie.
Food: Spain is renowned for its scrumptious tapas so if you fancy making your own, take a look at these recipes for patatas bravas, ham croquetas and stuffed and grilled vegetable bites to get you started. Alternatively, you could whip up a batch of delicious paella and a jug of sangria to go with it. Sit outside to eat and soak up the sun.
Entertainment: While you’re eating, why not listen to some beautiful Spanish guitar music? Or if you have some energy to burn off afterwards, you could try learning the Flamenco or Bolero.
Alternatively, unwind with a film such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona which is set in the stunning city, or The Bourne Ultimatum which features capital city Madrid.
Food: Italy is well known for its pizza and pasta, but why not try something a little different and have a go at making potato gnocchi? You could also try rosemary Focaccia, and for dessert take a look at these deliciously sweet and creamy cannoli.
Entertainment: While you’re eating, imagine you’re in Italy by listening to a beautiful Italian opera such as Tosca or La bohème by Giacomo Puccini or Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Afterwards, consider testing your dancing skills with an Italian folk dance, or relax watching Roman Holiday which showcases Rome at its best, A Room with a View which is set in stunning Florence, or Only You which takes viewers through Venice, Rome and Tuscany.
Entertainment: As you tuck into your Caribbean delights, unwind to the sound of steel drum music, or turn it up a notch with some reggae music which is bound to lift your spirits.
If you fancy a film, James Bond films Live and Let Die and Dr No both feature Jamaica, and this is also the setting for Countryman. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is also partly filmed in sun-soaked Saint Vincent.
Camp in the garden
If you had planned to go on a camping trip with the kids this summer, another option for those with a garden is to pitch a tent and spend the night gazing at the stars. If you have camping equipment at home, you could even cook breakfast, lunch and dinner on your camping stove.
Get out the paddling pool and ball games and you could (almost) imagine you’re really there.
Take a virtual tour
Finally, a number of tourist attractions, museums and world heritage sites are offering the opportunity to take a virtual tour, and these are well worth checking out. You may even find some inspiration for future holidays. Here are a few suggested tours to enjoy:
- Central Park in New York
- The Grand Canyon in Arizona, America
- The Vatican in Rome, Italy
- Machu Picchu in Peru
- Athens Acropolis, Greece
- Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland
- The Louvre Museum in Paris.