America, Countries, Europe

Diana’s last summer holidays

It may be a quarter of a century since Diana’s last summer holidays, but plus ca change, because it will be forever frozen in time, in our consciousness.

The way her life ended it is heartening to think that her final summer saw her shine, on the humanitarian stage in Sarajevo.

At her most empathetic consoling Elton John at the funeral of Gianni Versace in Milan.

At her most playful as a mother with her boys in Saint Tropez.

Fast cars: Well, a Fiat 500 in Saint Tropez

And in a relationship, and maybe even in love, on a cruise with Dodi to Sardinia and then up to Paris.

All different destinations in their own right but all reflecting aspects of her character.

But not just hers as at her crux Sarajevo, Milan, Saint Tropez, cruises and the City of Light and Lovers Paris would entrance anybody.

And certainly those of us who has had the good fortune to visit them.

The life of a royal

Diana rules the waves: The People’s Princess

Now we might not have lived the life of luxury that Diana did (although we did try).

And I should imagine I drew the same inspiration from each experience.

Birthday girl

Sandals in the wind: Di’s pal Mother Teresa

Diana kicked off her summer on June 18 in her celebrity home bolthole of America.

Where she surprised by shunning glitzy Manhattan for the broken Bronx to walk hand in hand with Mother Teresa.

All to spotlight poverty in the borough.

She spent her birthday on July 1 working, in her home city of London, at the 100th anniversary of the Tate Gallery.

Where she received 90 bouquets of flowers.

An upgrade on the late night garage bunch many women up and down the country receive.

She took to the sea with her kids as many of us do in mid-July although perhaps not all of us in a super yacht.

Vive La France

High life: Saint Tropez

The French Riviera though is doable for us mere mortals particularly if we seek out more affordable options such as the Mimozas Resort Cannes.

Such as neighbouring and more authentic neighbouring town Mandelieu La Napoule.

While staying in your own holiday homes at family specialist resort XX won’t require a royal divorce settlement.

Take too a speedboat tour around the Cote D’Azur for a window into the yachts and super yachts of the riche.

La Dolce Sweeter

Fashion for passion: In Milan

Italy’s fashions and melodramas were always going to be as much as a fit for Diana as her iconic cocktail dresses.

Many of whom she sold off at auctions at Christie’s that summer.

She had a mercy mission in Milano to attend Gianni Versace’s funeral and consoled Elton John.

It wasn’t all cocktail hour that summer though with Diana throwing her weight behind Landmine Survivors Network in Sarajevo.

Diana explored further afield down to Sardinia.

And you can too aboard MSC cruise specialists.

Paris for lovers

Hairdi-har-har: Joker Diana

Before following Diana and Dodi up to Paris and her final days at the Ritz.

The Ritz will of course attract the ghoulish to stand outside and gawp much as others do outside John Lennon’s Dakota Building in New York.

But Diana, like us all, liked a plush hotel and how the Ritz likes to do plush.

Among the swathe of programmes on the Princess of Wales’ life and death to mark 25 years since her death is a Channel 5 production Diana’s Last Summer.

And while absorbing the tragedy of her demise lap up instead a young woman’s tour de force.

Diana’s last summer holidays.

 

 

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying

We came, Warsaw, we concurred

It’s our own Bandanini and Bandanette Warsaw pact because of its value… we came, Warsaw, we concurred.

For those of you wanting to escape the British sun (the new normal) the Polish capital won’t have you sweating.

About the costs with a two-day getaway for a couple only setting you back £426.

Our friends at Viator do the heavy lifting for us with a priced guide to what’s best to do in Warsaw and its vicinity.

And, of course, we’ll always be drawn to the history and the hops which means, Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz and a pub crawl.

Chopin list

My old piano: Chopin

 

Viator’s guide leaves us free to break bread, or seeing it’s Poland dumplings, when they invite us out to their embassy, or events.

Eastern and Central Europe has long since topped our shopping list, or Chopin list if you’re Warsaw.

I remember well being seduced by the value of Bulgaria 25 years ago.

And then meeting a family who were back in the autumn for their second holiday after saving on their first earlier in the year.

Sofia so good, Prague’s brag

Feast in the East: Sofia

Sofia is second on the Forbes Advisor list at £432, Vilnius in Lithuania (£465), Skopje in North Macedonia (£511) and Belgrade in Serbia (£521).

Prague at £523 ticks most boxes for us (particularly the Strahov Monastery Brewery).

While Podgorica and Montenegro at £528 is one of those discovery destinations.

Must Sarajevo

Franz in high places: In Sarajevo

We know about a day in Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina on a coach trip from Medjugorje.

But two days in the Balkans crossroads city is 8th on the list at £538… and you won’t be disappointed!

We’ll pick out the Franz Ferdinand museum, the Atrocities Museum and the Winter Olympics vista as a starting point.

Riga in Latvia at £550 and Bucharest in Romania at £561 make up the top ten.

Figure it out

Pole star: Warsaw

So you want to know how they come up with the figures.

Well Forbes Advisor factors in the average price for return flights for two people…

With the help of Numbeo.com, BudgetYourTrip.com and CheapFlights.com.

Two nights’ accommodation, two days’ worth of excursions, a taxi for the entire vacation, and meals out as well as alcohol.

Sounds like our kind of mini-break.

And seeing we like a challenge we might start at the very beginning… it’s a very good place to start.

So we can say, we came, Warsaw, we concurred.