Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Tuesday 16th September

You can tell the honour of a city by the way it treats its animals. I am pleased to say that - along with Istanbul - Athens passes my test.

The hotel has a pooch - Glykas ("sweet one") who I spent a few minutes with this morning and The Acropolis Museum has Eleanor the kitten AND both are looked after by anyone and everyone. They are revered and are treated with dignity and kindness. Thank you Athens!

So - today was about thunderstorms AND the AMAZING Acropolis Museum. Built in 2008, it houses 40,000 artefacts from the Acropolis/Parthenon.

I am NOT a political man BUT the so-called "Elgin Marbles" MUST be returned and also the panels & Caryatids that were looted. They do not belong to the British Museum, they belong in the Acropolis Museum and to the people of Greece. So there. Shame on you British Museum.

Anyway, I interviewed this wonderful chap, Professor Pandermalis who was the driving force behind the Acropolis Museum. He certainly knows his stuff ...

Song of the Day: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - UB40 & Robert Palmer

Monday, 15 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Monday 15th September

The Grand Bretagne, Athens opened in 1874. It as 320 rooms and suites - but only ONE Royal Suite. It's 400 sq metres in area. It has just one bedroom.
BUT it features: a piano, more antiques than you can imagine, oodles of gold, lashings of Blue Brazilian Marble, a Californian King Size Bed, an office, a massage table, a rain shower, a steam room, a sauna, an 18-seater dining table, humidor, wine cellar ... oh and a running machine. Its balcony looks over Constitution Square, the Parliament Building, The National Gardens, The Acropolis .. and the Stadium ..

Previous guests who have stayed in here include Sofia Loren and future guests include ... well, ask me on Thursday! Heehee

It is AN AMAZING suite - Euros 15,000 per night (+ tax) ... but somehow feels a wee too much for just me .. :(

Today I sampled some FABULOUS Greek wines and the best olive oil in the world. I know what gifts to buy and take home!

Oh - and the weather was STUNNING!

Right off for a wee swim before supper.

Song of the Day: Alex Clare - Addicted to Love

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Sunday 14th September

Kalimera from Athens!

Greetings from The Royal Suite at The Grande Bretagne Hotel - THE best hotel in Athens ... 

We are here to film for a week in the Greek capital and I am quite excited. Acropolis, Parthenon etc ... 

Just home from the Maldives for a few days and things have been chaotic ... but still managed to find time for tennis, cooking, riding and dancing lessons, a date (!) and I learnt how to iron a shirt! A fabulous lady in the local launderette gave me an hour of her time! I am so proud ... no excuses ever again!

SO - Shanghai and Maldives are done ... Athens this month and then ... India in October! 

We start filming in earnest tomorrow ... so todays entry is short & sweet.

Filia my friends, filia ...

Song of the Day: Maria Callas - Ebben! Ne Andro Lontana

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Inside Luxury Travel is planning a new advertising campaign ... with a little help from an elephant named Yuki ...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Song of the Day: How Deep Is The Ocean? - Eric Clapton

How much do I love you?
I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How many times a day
Do I think of you?
How many roses
Are sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lose you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How many times a day
Do I think of you?
How many roses
Are sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lose you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How high is the sky?
And if I ever lose you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
 — at on my way home ... yay

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Sunday 7th September

Two iconic buildings in Dubai - BOTH visited ... one for dinner (last night, the fabulous Amal in The Armani Hotel in The Burj Khalifa) and of course, Burj Al Arab ...

It's SO hot here and SO humid. I do miss "the balmy ocean breezes of the Maldives".

So - the adventure is finally over and I can go home to sleep and prepare for another one.

Right ...

Song of the Day: End of the Line - Travelling Wilburys
 — at The Oberoi, Dubai

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Saturday 6th September

Greetings from Dubai!

I am here for a couple of days of meetings ... however ... I am so, so looking forward to getting home.

Ele and Neil are currently off to Canada via London! I know! What crazy lives, eh?

Last evening was a mixture of sadness and huge sadness. We sat on the beach ... under the stars, drank champagne and reminisced on Maldives and love.

OKAY - so it is VERY VERY VERY hot here ... I am not going out for the rest of the day BUT I have a lovely dinner planned tonight with an old friend in an amazing venue ... EXCITED!

Oh - I am staying at The Oberoi in "Downtown" ... there is a lot of building work going on around me ... and (my choice) NO beach!

Song of the Day: Missing - Everything But The Girl
 — at The Oberoi, Dubai

Friday, 5 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Friday 5th September

It's a very long time since I have been SO sad to leave a filming destination ... and I am quite miserable that I am leaving the Maldives early tomorrow.

However, I will be back soon ... ON HOLIDAY!

We have finished up here so it's time to pack. I have a couple of days in Dubai before I finally get home. Work - not pleasure:


1) "L"o"V"e on the beach ...
2)  My lovely Park Hyatt dive instructor - Madamoiselle Pauline a Paris
3) Le Grand Bleu
4) In my Park Water Villa - there are 50 villas here - 14 over water, 16 with no pool and 20 with pool ... of which
5) Mine is one ...
6) Tonight it's a farewell "champagne & canapes" on the Beach - wish YOU were here!
7) I love & miss all the "S"s in my life 

Why is sand so white and soft here in the Maldives? Because it's made of coral ...

Three bits of advice about the Maldives:

a) Don't come here alone
b) Prepare yourself to never want to leave
c) Be able to snorkel or dive

THANK YOU to everyone at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and the Park Hyatt Hadahaa 

Song of the Day: My Love is Your Love - Whitney Houston

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Thursday 4th September

Seven dives in a week and I am now totally pooped.

Today I saw: green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, jaguar shark (amazing), white tipped sharks, grey reef sharks, Napoleon fish, tuna, starfish, (happy) clowm fish, lobster ... AND some of the most amazing coral forests on Earth. The colours, the density, the accessibility ... simply amazing ...

Huge thanks to the Diving Team here which has captured the most amazing footage and photos.

Tomorrow is the last day here ... in Paradise.

Song of the Day: River - Joni Mitchell

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Varun's Diary - Wednesday 3rd September

I am tired. Don't get me wrong, I am still hugely enthusiastic BUT I am ... "tired".

Today I learnt about the 60 million year history of the Maldives. It's quite interesting.

I also went on my first ever "night dive". I have done 5 dives this week already ... it's funny ... I have found diving one of the most cathartic sports I have ever tried.

But now, all I do is think ... think think think ...

OK - sleep sleep sleep.

Two days to go then I start the journey home via Dubai for a couple of nights.

Song of the Day: Everybody Hurts - REM

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