America, Countries

Forget Black Monday it’s Craic Monday

If someone has pinned you down to tell you that this is the unhappiest day of the year, tell them Forget Black Monday it’s Craic Monday with these great escapes.

They, of course, will be full of woe and be all too quick to tell you.

About how today has the worst of the weather, the longest of nights and how you’ll be skint after Christmas.

Thank the heavens then for my friend Rachel.

For she brings sunshine into my life with a steady stream of far-off exotic destinations some of which I’ve still to tick.

Dip your toe in

Poolside party: In West Hollywood

The London West Hollywood, California, USA: Now I made a splash in West Hollywood when I would jump from breakfast to the lobby swimming pool.

But today’s offering is a different inn, The London West Hollywood which houses a gorgeous rooftop pool and cabanas.

Just imagine swimming towards panoramic views of LA and Beverly Hills.

Your garden oasis sweeps from downtown LA all the way to the Getty Centre and beyond.

Blue skies

Go Broncos: Sporty Denver

Denver, Colorado, USA: Now closer to the skies was I 1600 metres up in the sky in the Mile High City.

And the sun too with 300 days of the big yellow ball every year.

The RiNo neighbourhood is the hip area, while it’s a great sporty city too.

The home of the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies and Colorado Avalanche.

The air being thin up there in Denver the locals will tell you it takes half as much time to get twice as drunk.

All of which appeals to the thrifty, but partying Scot in me.

Lakes and rivers

The Romans were here: Heviz Spa

Lake Balaton, Héviz Spa, Hungary: The gift of Travel is in the people we meet, more magical than any sunset.

It is beholden on us too to all be ambassadors for our individual countries.

And that is why I’ll always believes Hungarians must be as charming as my Topflight for Schools pal Edina.

I dare say this Magical Magyar would be better at talking you through the inner sea, Lake Balaton.

It is home to picturesque landscapes surrounded by ancient fortresses, underwater cave galleries, vineyards and historic towns.

But don’t just take our word for that (well, actually do) but visitors have been relaxing here since the Ancient Romans.

Héviz Spa is a hotspot in Europe for relaxation and mineral treatments. www.visithungary.com

Shimmering seas

Tomori Beach, Kyushu, Japan: Now we’re probably more used to images of its bustling cities and cherry blossom parks.

But it’s the sunny seaside which we’ll focus on here and in the island of Amami, ‘the Blue Angel.’

Tomori Beach in Kyushu is considered the best on the island and just ten minutes from the airport.

And it is also a haven for snorkellers.

Blue murals and sculptures

Sacramento, California: Now for those who think California is only about the Big Two, Los Angeles and San Francisco had to sit up and take notice.

When Greta Gerwig wrote a ‘love letter’ to her native Sacramento, the multi award-winning Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan.

Fans of the rites of passage movie will instantly recognise the American Market & Deli in the hip Midtown neighbourhood.

And its exterior mural depicting a Lady Bird-appropriate peacock with a large fan of feathers.

Store co-owner Gurpreet Singh makes a cameo appearance selling Lady Bird cigarettes, a lottery ticket and a Playgirl magazine.

Having just turned 18, she is buying every previously forbidden item now legally available to her.

I can identify with that and I know you fun Bandanini and Bandanettes do too.

And that is why today you’ll forget Black Monday it’s Craic Monday.