GUARDIAN I was warned that Madeira is no place to build sandcastles; but quite how depleted it is of sand still came as a surprise. Its intriguing primordial rawness – a result of ancient volcanic activity – is omnipresent. Toothy mountains tower dramatically above the capital of Funchal, prod clouds and alter the weather patterns on this Atlantic speck. Beaches are pebble-dashed with boulders. Continue reading
GUARDIAN I wouldn’t normally associate a haunt like Xitang with the toothy gleam of Hollywood royalty. It’s hard to imagine high-octane players like Tom Cruise kicking back in an ancient Chinese water-village and much easier to picture the place filled with decadent opium dens and people idling on sampans. But incontrovertible proof was there to see: up on the wall in a restaurant – and it will soon be seen by many more on silver screens worldwide.