By March, the good cheer of Christmas seems to have long evaporated from everywhere but around the waistline – and left us feeling pale, flabby and utterly underprepared for the summer months. Even though the first of March heralds the first day of spring in the UK, this loose appellation translates into ‘sometimes warm enough to venture to the newsagents without arctic gear’ and more broadly seems a lukewarm incentive to attack the housework,; another drear-ridden activity. Throw caution to the mad march wind, and head out to an energising, inspiring destination, and blast away the cobwebs…
A stark collision of old and new, the ancient fortified medina of Marrakech nestles by its modern city counterpart, or Gueliz, blazing colour and activity. No place in the city, past or present, is more vibrant than Jemaa el-Fnaa, a market square which embodies many of our most quixotic aspirations for a foreign holiday. Snake charmers, fortune tellers and fakirs decorate the streets, and people watching are cooled by the tang of orange juice doled out by stallholders during the day. When evening descends, food stalls command the square, dishing up steaming and succulent dishes as the night market kindles with life under desert stars.
Although the country blazes with good weather all year round, the driest months in Barbados are between December and May, which makes March the perfect time to plan a sun-drenched beach holiday on a tropical island. Touch down in Bridgetown, the closest Barbados has to a capital, and explore the scatterings of its colonial lineage, such as the UNESCO recognised garrison which is now the Barbados Museum and Cultural Society. Only a short drive away, Harrison’s cave is a crystallized limestone cave filled with eerie stalactites and a glassy Mirror Lake. Calciferous water drops from porous walls to gently soak trespassing visitors as they take a tram ride through its various chambers. Then, head to one of the island’s beaches, recline with an icy cocktail, and watch the sun sink into the waves.
For those who want to celebrate the essence of spring, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington blooms on March 25th with a grand opening ceremony. 2012 will be a particularly important year for the festivities, as it’s the 100th Anniversary of the Gift of the Trees. This marks the occasion 3,020 Cherry Trees were sent to the US from Japan, and will involve cultural performances, historic exhibits and, of course, viewing the astounding cherry blossoms surrounding the Washington Monument and in Potomac Park. A trip to Washington this March will guarantee a once -in a -lifetime experience that will obliterate any post-winter woes for at least another year…