An almighty “moo” echoed around the harbour, a bit like the cow sounds we make to entertain George, only 1,000 times louder. Some fellow passengers on the top deck looked over to see how our 14-month-old reacted to the bone-shaking sound of the ferry horn. He was fine. After a little jump he went back to the important task of shovelling banana into his mouth while frowning inquisitively at the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea.
“God’s own country.” It’s a bold claim, and one that Yorkshire works tirelessly to make sure we don’t forget. But it can be tiresome to hear about rolling moors, up-and-coming cities and tea bags on repeat. And while England’s largest county has a lot to be divinely proud of, look west instead, to the red rose of Lancashire, and you’ll find its humble rival – largely untouched by tourism and grounded in its own self belief. Humility never meant weakness.
As a measure of the Gulf states’ rocket-fuelled progress as luxury tourist destinations, one long-time Indian resident told me recently that they have gone from donkeys to Aston Martins in less than 50 years. That pretty much sums it up. All three destinations have transformed themselves from bare desert settlements into smart 21st-century tourist centres with multiple attractions, excellent cuisine on tap and, in winter at least, perfect climatic conditions.
CITY GUIDES: Exploding with history and culture, Cairo is somewhere that delights all the senses – destination expert Tamara Davison lifts the lid on the best things to do in this wonderful Egyptian city