July 21, 2009
Retiring English cricketing behemoth Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff will be fondly remembered for four things: slaying Australian bowlers and batsmen, staggering sportsmanship, exceptional levels of inebriation, and an accident while stoically steering that most manly of nautical vessels: the pedalo. With the release of an advert (watch below) fondly playing on his infamous watery wobble, and the sale of the offending vehicle for charity on ebay (auction closes on 26-July at 1300 BST), the pedalo’s public profile is set to rise again. Especially for those aquatic adventurers determined to follow brave Freddie into the watery unknown, and in honour of his match-winning effort at Lords, we’ve collated some holidays ripe for your own ‘Fredalo’ incident:
HYDE PARK, LONDON
The undisputed home of pedaloing, and an idyll of decorum and delicacy ill-suited to stupefied strike-bowling sailors. Such a posh pond demands dapper digs, and Hyde Park Garden Mews is certainly that: part of The Wowhouse Company‘s collection, it’s a luxurious London townhouse located in a quiet cul-de-sac close to Lancaster Gate (surely Freddie’s favourite tube station?). With plasma TV screens in each bedroom for Sky Sports fans, plus a jacuzzi, iPod stereo system, Playstation and board games, this is a stylish alternative to humdrum hotel accommodation in London.
EAST WHEAL ROSE, CORNWALL
Forget pasties – it’s Cornish pedalos you want. A great place to find them is the idyllic boating lake at East Wheal Rose – and that’s reached via a short, scenic hop on the Lappa Valley Steam Railway from Newquay. It’s been going since 1849 when it was first opened as a mineral line from Newquay to East Wheal Rose, and has one of the oldest railway trackbeds in Cornwall. Stay nearby with a large group of family, friends or cricket team-mates at historic Melancoose Mill (sleeps 12), a Classic Cottages property. Set in a peaceful valley close to Watergate Bay and three miles from Newquay, it offers a maze of rooms, terraced gardens and a pedalo-prohibited pond.
Even if the budget doesn’t quite stretch to a super-yacht while holidaying in Monaco, guests can still enjoy time on the Mediterranean water. Ski Vol, stationed on the public Larvotto Beach and at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, offers pedalos as well as jet skiing, flyfish-rides, banana boat-rides, doughnut-rides, water skiing, wake boarding, parasailing and canoeing with prices starting at €15 pp (approx £13). One man likely to look disdainfully at paltry pedaloers while whooshing by is Kyran Bracken: the World Cup-winning rugby brusier was recently spotted jet-skiing in the Principality. The Visit Monaco website has more information.
Umbria’s Lake Trasimeno is the perfect place for family pedalo fun. It’s reportedly Italy’s cleanest body of water, and its shallow depth means gentle, safe waters. Away from aquatic cycling, a regular ferry connects to two beachy islands, Maggiore and Polveses, while waterside restaurants serve up fresh fish straight from the lake. Things weren’t always this idyllic: during a mighty Roman war, Trasimeno’s water once turned red with the blood of massacred soldiers. Real Holidays offers self-catering at family apartments at the San Feliciano Residence, its shared wood-burning outdoor oven and large pool positioned to face the lake’s epic sunsets.
The more cultured water-cyclist will head to Greece for some Peloponnese pedalo action. Nestled around the curve of a sheltered bay, the village of Tolon boasts a long, sandy beach and a plethora of watersports, including pedalos for hire. Pummel those pedals, avoid capsizing like a loaded Lancastrian, and it won’t be long before you reach two pretty islets just across the bay. A tempting array of cafés and small restaurants line the beach at Tolon, while some of Greece’s top ancient sites – Epidavros theatre, Mycenae and Olympia – all offer un-athletic alternatives for days out. Sunvil Holidays* offers self-catering at the beachfront Stella Apartments.
Those Freddie-followers undertaking devout pedalo pilgrimages have but one option: to head to the very place where Flintoff became flotsam. St Lucia, in other words: a picture-perfect Caribbean island boasting volcanic sulphur springs, banana plantations and palm-fringed beaches. Explore* has a 14-day group tour that combines St Lucia with two other islands – the Creole-accented Martinique, and the wildlife haven of Dominica, where further water-based fun arrives in the form of a canoeing excursion.
*This company is an AITO member. AITO is the Association of Independent Tour Operators: 140 independent and specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of 100% financial security, high-quality holidays and excellent personal service.