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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Il Melograno, Monopoli, Puglia

Il Melograno has been on my list of places to stay for years. In the countryside outside of Bari in Puglia, it was the fist boutique masseria (or fortified stone farmhouse) converted into a hotel. It's a classic Luxury Link property, a Relais et Chateaux with rather mixed reviews, expensive and perhaps a few years past its prime. However, despite all that it's a great place to go at the right price. Our three night Luxury Link package was a great value at a wonderful hotel. The rooms are large, rather old fashioned but beautifully cool in the summer with enormous bathrooms and antique furniture. Who could resist a place that welcomes you with fresh fruit and flowers in the room? At the auction price (which included a spa treatment) I highly recommend the property.

 Who  wouldn't love a fruit plate like this? The strawberries were incredible!

Fresh flowers in our room.

Breakfast was served in this patio overlooking the pool. Most of the guests were Northern Italian families though we saw a few Americans too. Though the property may be  old fashioned it remains a very beautiful place and it attracts a well heeled clientele. We  had an idea of how upmarket the place was on parking our rented tin can between a Maserati and a Porsche!

This is the kind of place where you order an aperitif on the patio in the early evening and they bring a series of "gifts" from the kitchen including hot and cold snacks, because nobody should be forced to drink a glass of Rose without something to nibble on! This is a highly civilized spot and a lovely place to relax in the sunshine. 

For my advice on how best use Luxury Link see an earlier post here.