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The perfect places to have a relaxing soak
Holiday parks go well beyond a tent pitch or caravan – now you can expect swimming pools, circus skills, nature walks and even spa facilities
Past the town's cross-country skiing track, a little further on from an icy-looking pond peppered with hardy ducks, steam was rising from the valley floor. A series of low-rise modern buildings, large windows brightly lit against the surrounding mountains, awaited me, grouped around a striking dome and a simple glass box.
Forget the United Nations – world peace is only a massage away at the Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa and Cultural Hideaway in Bavaria
The Austrian Tirol transforms into a picture of edelweiss-dotted pastures once the snow has melted. And if hiking boots are more your thing than skis, consider VJV's "Going Going Tirol" break: £675 per person grants you a seven-night stay with breakfast in the town of Going at the four-star Dorfhotel Schnablwirt, a traditional hotel complete with sauna and steam room. Also included is return airfare departing on 22 May from Heathrow.
Anatoly Krasovsky is one of many Belarus dissidents to have vanished under Europe's 'last dictatorship'. Jerome Taylor reports
Snack-loving sleuth who's all clued-up
You don't have to be mad to enjoy a dip in winter. Despite sub-zero temperatures that leave even the hardiest of athletes numb, Jenny Landreth discovers why cold swimming is a life-affirming experience
There was a good deal of outrage and much throwing of weight around as the Commonwealth Games action got under way yesterday. The trouble was, when it came to the pre-tournament formalities in boxing, the weight was all a bit imprecise. The official weigh-in descended into farce and ultimately into postponement after fighters were told they were up to two kilograms heavier than they actually were.
Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire
Where better to unwind than in the elegant surroundings of Heythrop Park Resort? The Health Club & Spa boasts three luxurious and tranquil spa treatment rooms. Don’t miss the state-of-the-art gym, sauna and steam room, and the beautiful 20-metre heated swimming pool. The resort also offers a new 18-hole championship-level golf course and clubhouse, two hotels including a new Crowne Plaza due to open on 1 October, and an onsite crèche for little guests.
Contact: 01608 673333;
Enstone, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5UE
Germany's largest theme park may be a bit kitsch, but the kids will love it, says Justin Rowlatt
Artful clutter, a super-size bed and a deep free-standing bath – elements which, one might think, could give a good hotel a "homely" air. Not according to Patrick Goff, who ran an award-winning hotel design practice for 25 years before setting up Hoteldesigns.net, an online industry resource: "When a designer talks about a hotel being 'homely'," he says, "he's lying. He's talking about a kind of theatrical, Disneyland 'homely' – not what you actually get at home."
The new decade and the new year were ushered in around the world with spectacular fireworks displays, heightened security measures and a blue moon. Spontaneous hugging broke out in Tokyo, hundreds of Filipinos were hurt by celebratory firecrackers and gunfire, while revellers in Venice struggled to keep their feet dry as the New Year came in with a high tide.
I am stark naked. On the edge of a northern sea. In the depths of winter. It is, unsurprisingly, freezing. The body of water beside which I am shivering and goose pimpled is the Baltic. Or at least it's where the Baltic ends and merges with the North Sea, on that stretch of grey, flat water bisecting the coasts of Denmark and Sweden: the Oresund. To the north, on the opposite shore, are the battlements of Elsinore, where Hamlet fought with insanity. Here in Malmö , in the south of Sweden, I'm beginning to doubt my own state of mind. What was it about going swimming at this time of year that seemed like a good idea? And in chilly Scandinavia, at that?
The Government wants to stamp out exploitation in the sex industry. But as Sophie Morris discovers, the inner workings of the oldest profession are infinitely more complicated than ministers would care– or dare – to admit