Scottish Daily Mail

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- Mark Palmer TRAVEL ED­I­TOR United Kingdom · Fidel Castro · Cuba · Varadero

THE obit­u­ar­ies of Jan Mor­ris — who died last week — brought her to life in mag­nif­i­cent fash­ion.

Many of them were sprin­kled with her wis­dom about travel — though she did not re­gard her­self as a travel writer, rather, a writer about places and peo­ple.

‘The books have never tried to tell some­body what a city is like. All I do is say how I’ve felt about it,’ she once said.

One of her tech­niques was to ‘wan­der aim­lessly about’, an­other was ask­ing peo­ple for di­rec­tions even if she knew ex­actly where she was go­ing. A po­tent mix of de­tach­ment on the one hand, en­gage­ment on the other.

And I loved how she would first visit a city’s law court, ‘where you can see ev­ery kind of rap­scal­lion and de­cent per­son, too, and you can judge the tem­per of the city by the mag­is­trates’.

I won­der what side of the ar­gu­ment about travel — or the lack thereof — Jan would be on right now.

I’m fairly sure she would be a fully paid-up mem­ber of the Mail’s Get Bri­tain Fly­ing Again cam­paign, and would be aghast at the plight of those in the travel in­dus­try.

Mind you, we think this week’s cover story brings some much­needed sun­shine.

We can thank ‘El Co­man­dante’ for open­ing up Cuba’s Riviera; in fact, Fidel Cas­tro had a huge house there him­self, although he was never keen for his sub­jects to know ex­actly where.

Some of the deals we have un­earthed on the Va­radero penin­sula are surely ir­re­sistible — and I know from ex­pe­ri­ence that the food in Cuba is now edi­ble.

On the home front, Christ­mas is back, with three house­holds al­lowed to get to­gether, so on Pages 64 and 65 we’ve rounded up some gor­geous prop­er­ties (­pic­tured) around the coun­try, all of which still have avail­abil­ity dur­ing the five days when it doesn’t mat­ter what tier you’re in.

There won’t be many law courts to in­spect i n that pe­riod, but plenty of time to wan­der aim­lessly about — with Jan Mor­ris’s ap­proval.

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