I’m dreaming of a warm Christmas
Well, here in Old Blighty, we seem to be getting some patches of that long-promised good summer weather. The air-conditioning has been switched on in the Exodus office for its annual day's use, before one of the girls got too cold and switched it off again (metabolism and thermal control seems to be one of the least discussed and misunderstood differences between the sexes!). Even the lone Balham ice-cream van has been in the car park tinkling out the one little tune that has us all salivating like Pavlov's dogs. In London at least, the general populations' mood is directly proportional to the outside temperature and for a few weeks of the year it becomes a cosmopolitan, outdoor-café fixated city and almost pleasant to live in.
There's no stopping that nagging thought though. The days are already getting shorter. The warm weather won't last. All too soon it'll be November again. There's no limit to the happiness a week or two of summer sun can bring in the midst of the English winter - access to which is surely one of the greatest accomplishments of the modern age. Focusing this escape on walking only aids its recuperative power, you'll return sunned, happy, fit and ready to face down the worst that January can throw at you - the complete opposite to those who have spent their time loading up on drizzle and cold turkey.
Where to go depends on what you want. It’s hard to top Cuba as a hot and sunny place to see in the Christmas holidays – celebrate with some cocktails and dancing and then climb the country’s highest peak to clear the hangover, lounge under palm trees on tropical beaches and explore its fascinating recent history.
Back in warmer climes, head to see the spectacular scenery and beguiling wildlife of the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia or even larger mammals on our South African Walking Safari. It’s also the perfect time to lose yourself amongst a sea of sand on our Sahara Desert Trek as temperatures are at their most comfortable.
Closer to home lies the winter sun mecca of Morocco, where the Atlas Mountains provide great walking throughout the winter. In sight of their peaks, Andalucia may well be on the package holiday tourist map, but escape is always a few minutes of walking away.