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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…

Sextantio, Le Grotte della Civita Hotel Matera

I first saw pictures of the fabulous Le Grotte della Civita hotel on and I was captivated. It's an incredible place and I can't resist sharing some of the pictures. The hotel is stylish but simple beautifully expressed as a pared down luxury. It is  the perfect marriage of a modern aesthetic joined with the natural  beauty and architectural form of  the traditional cave dwellings or sassi as they are known in Matera. Romantic, sparse, elegant and cool in the face of the blinding summer heat, the Grotte della Civita is one of the most memorable places I have stayed and I highly recommend it.
Our room was long and had been dug right out of the hillside. the door was the only opening to the natural light and so the room was lit with candles and discreetly hidden and dimly glowing bulbs. With temperatures above 40 degrees we were happy to shut out the heat. Behind the bed was an enormous low egg shaped bath which you can see below, and behind that a smaller, but not entirely separate, bathroom.
As you can see even the loo is trendy! Everything here was   deliberately chosen, even the wilted flowers left casually on the dining room tables. 

The hotel is on the edge of the old city overlooking the countryside. With a small patio to sit out and admire the view the situation could not be more beautiful. 

Tip: We asked to see an number of rooms and there were all lovely. Even the standard rooms are quite large. We booked through Kiwi Advantage for a free upgrade which I recommend.