CULTURAL TRIPS Fly out with the culture club
Anthea Gerrie previews an impressive programme of arts festivals and cultural events
FOR CULTURE VULTURES, the range of music-and art-based holiday opportunities available over the coming year is more ambitious and exciting than ever. Close to home, there’s a new escorted art and garden tour of the South of France; visits to the Byzantine and Ottoman art treasures of Turkey and a fresh look at the Renaissance through the eyes of the powerful families who ruled Italy’s great city-states.
Further afield there is a newly-accessible Aboriginal art trail in Australia and a chance to help rebuild musicians’ homes in New Orleans, while enjoying Mardi Gras.
There are just four days left to book this trip, which takes place at the end of January and will include a French Quarter visit, plantation and swamp tours, dinner on a river-boat and lots of world-class jazz at the world’s greatest street party.
And that is without mentioning the satisfaction of having helped to build 70 affordable homes to attract musi- cians back to the beautiful city devastated by Katrina. The £1,220 price tag does not include air fare, but January is low season and the strong pound buys an awful lot of dining, entertainment and souvenir shopping these days.
As one of the few visitors privileged to have been up close to ancient rock art in the Aboriginal homeland of Arnhemland, I can confirm it is well worth the effort and cost to visit this far-flung corner of Australian’s Northern Territory which remains a pristine wilderness.
Even flying over the primordial escarpment is a thrill, and the view from a boat of a billabong, packed with water-lilies and crocs and fringed by 10 million birds, was as unforgettable as the beautiful scratchings. Now threeday flying tours to the rural art centres of Oenpelli, Maningrida, Elcho Islands and Yirrkala are available with specialist operators who organise stays at a rarefied wilderness lodge.
Israel imay be chillier than Australia in winter, but it is a lot cheaper to reach, especially with the advent of low-cost flights. It is not too late to contemplate some December sun at the Negev-based Music in the Desert event, or risk the rain to enjoy the Jacobs Ladder folk-music festival at Nof Ginosar in the Galilee, where Celtic bodhran, American country rock and line dancing add a cosmopolitan mix.
While names remain to be finalised
Stockholm, where Crystal Cruises stays overnight as part its Baltic journey which features classical concerts