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Life's a beach and it's on your doorstep

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Preliminary information

Time: 60 minutes??

Level: Upper intermediate

To give detailed reading practice
To introduce/review 'holiday' vocabulary
To review & give oral practice with comparatives & superlatives
To practise the language of persuasion, the language of discussion....
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will find the holidays interesting.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult & that it will be interesting vocabulary - choose the text to match the group.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary is tricky so dictionaries on hand would be helpful.

Aids: The text below.


Stage 1 - Intro to holidays & vocabulary review/expansion

10-15 mins tch<>stds

1. Introduce holidays & where they might be going/have gone this year.
2. Ask if they could choose, which kind of holiday would they like - elicit different types of holiday - beach, safari, adventure, trekking, cycling, touring, weekend break, sightseeing, cruise, arctic, retreat etc.
3. If you're not going to use all of the holidays described in the text, choose some that you are not going to use & tell the class about them, asking them if they would like that kind of holiday, hopefully a discussion will ensue. Possibly elicit any ideas for other holidays that might be in the article you choose by giving the title.

Stage 2 - Reading

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std,

1. Handout different holidays from the textto different stds or small groups - the brief is to read for detail as they will be exchanging descriptions later to find the most exciting, interesting, relaxing etc holiday.
2. Stds read - have dictionaries on hand & go round helping when needed, encouraging the stds to guess meaning from context whenever possible. You could design reading & language tasks to go with each piece of the text.

Stage 3 - Information exchange

20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, stds<>tch

1. Put on the board

Which holiday is;

• the most relaxing

• the most exciting

• the most imaginative

• the most innovative

Or choose superlatives to suit. Other purposes could be:
- to give profiles of different people & stds find the best holiday for each.
- stds find the most appropriate holiday for another member of the class.

2. Put stds into groups, each having read about a different holiday - they have to agree on a holiday for each of the superlatives.
You might review some language that they might need before they begin, to make the task more effective - the language of discussion. Elicit/give & write some exponents on board for reference.
3. Task - while it's going on you take notes on +/- things said for feedback later on.
4. When decisions have been made get a member from each group to visit another group to report their findings & possibly give ideas to the group they are with. The roving stds then report back to their original groups who can make changes to their decisions, if they want.
5. Class feedback - see what has been decided & ask for justifications. Feedack on the language used during the task.

Follow up activities

The chosen holidays could then go on to be used in different ways:
- travel agent & customer roleplays - selling & buying
- travel agent & customer roleplays - customer complaining as the holiday wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

- stds could write another description of a holiday location, that fits with the theme of the overall text used, that they know about.

You could follow up on some of the travel agent links given in the article & collect a range of materials from the respective sites for use in similar activities. Or if you are lucky enough to have enough computer terminals, get the stds to do the research & make a project of it.


Life's a beach and it's on your doorstep

Nothing beats a holiday in a house just yards from the sea. Tom Templeton and Jane Knight select 15 of the best beach billets

Sunday April 20, 2003
The Observer

The Windmill Ormos Tskalia
Patitiri, Alonissos, Greece

On the quietest of the Sporades Islands, Alonissos, only a few metres from the sea, stands this windmill surrounded by dramatic scenery, pine forests and deserted beaches. When the wind blows, the sails spin, but climb the external stairs to find bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and balconies overlooking the north-west Aegean. There are no neighbours here on 'broken pottery beach'. Go snorkelling in the crystal-clear water watched only by the umbrella palms, or travel inland where you are more likely to stumble across Alonissosians dressed traditionally in black, or the tinkling of bells heralding the proximity of goats and their herd, than other tourists. Patitiri, the island's only town, which is actually more of a village, is 15 minutes away by car.

Cost: From £482-£708 per person for a week (based on four sharing), including flights, hydrofoil and car hire.

Contact: Greek Islands Club (020 8232 9780).

Paua Cottage
Russell, North Island, New Zealand

Wake up in wondrous solitude to the sun rising from the Pacific Ocean at Paua Cottage, three hours north of Auckland. At the foot of a cliff sits this three-bedroom retreat with 'boatie's heaven', the Bay of Islands, spread out in front of a swathe of sand. You can hire a yacht with a skipper, swim with dolphins or wander through the galleries in nearby Russell (New Zealand's former capital). Or just laze on the decking at the front and back of the cottage, and light a barbecue if you can be bothered. If you can't, stroll to the top-class Omata Estate Restaurant, surrounded by its own vineyards.

Cost: From £1,215 per person for 10 nights (based on six sharing), including the hire of two vehicles and flights.

Contact: Turquoise Holidays (01494 678400).

Hat Chow Samran
Petchaburi, Thailand

Great for anyone who wants a quiet place to observe the rhythms of ordinary Thai life, this three-bedroom painted wood villa sits on a white sand beach amid coconut palms, on the edge of a fishing village barely touched by tourism. Excellent seafood is available from your neighbouring fishermen or at two good restaurants nearby. There are numerous historic palaces, temples and caves to be seen in the surrounding areas. For nightlife, golf and tennis, the larger tourist areas of Cha-Am and Hua-Hin are only 30 minutes away, but perhaps more appealingly it's a five-second dash to plunge into the Gulf of Thailand.

Cost: From £320 per week for two people (excluding flights). Additional people cost £32 each to a total of six.

Contact: (020 8743 5577) property 1685.

Villa Franca
Cala Liboretto, Sardinia

Imagine sitting on the roof terrace with an early-morning espresso, warm sea breeze and a view of a wide sweep of powder white sand stretching to the green wooded promontory of Cala Ginepro on Sardinia's eastern coast. For a swim, you can just slip out of the garden gate across the white sand beach to the turquoise sea gently lapping the shore. The cool, dry, stone-walled villa has been renovated by its owner, Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola. Set among pine trees in its own private garden, it boasts a large covered patio complete with purpose-built barbecue, tiled work surfaces and a wood-burning pizza oven.

Cost: From £705-£1,625 for a week for the entire property (sleeps five). Car hire costs from £235 (seats five), while flights from London to Alghero with Ryanair (0871 246 0000) cost from £8.99 per person (not including taxes).

Contact: Freelance Holidays (01789 297705).

Bedarra Island Villa
Queensland, Australia

This stylish two-bedroom villa sits on the water's edge of Doorila Cove, two acres of private beach, pure white sand and turquoise clear warm water, framed by coconut palms. On the exclusive east side of Bedarra Island, off the Queensland coast, there's great snorkelling, fishing and hiking, and boating facilities and watersports are available on Dunk Island - a 15-minute launch ride away. The supermarket at Mission Beach will pack your pre-selected provisions in cooler boxes and send them over by boat ready for your arrival. A private chef can be arranged for one or more evenings, full-time caretakers for the villa live on the island and a daily maid service is included, but otherwise your stay is all about enjoying intimacy, seclusion and desert island pampering.

Cost: £210-£290 per night (sleeps four). Return flights from Heathrow to Cairns and on to Dunk Island with Qantas (0845 774 7767) cost from £994 per person.

Contact: Contemporary Hotels (00 61 2 9332 2011).

Angelica Point
Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, USA

Standing on tall pillars above a long stretch of sandy beach on Buzzards Bay, this comfortable beach house commands superb views across the water to the Elizabeth Islands and Cape Cod, while Mattapoisett Harbor with Ned's Point Lighthouse can be seen across the marsh. Two flights of steps lead from the wraparound deck down to the sand. The swimming is excellent, and you can apply for a visitors' permit to dig for quahogs (clams) on the beach.

Cost: £2,200 for two weeks (sleeps four).

Contact: New England Country Homes (0870 077 4774).

Fisherman's Huts
29 Beach Walk, Whitstable, Kent

Open the double doors of the ground floor lounge of these tarred-pine wood huts, and step directly on to quaint fishing town Whitstable's beautiful pebble beach. These converted fisherman's huts have had the lobster pots and nets cleared out in favour of en suite bedrooms, sofas and TVs. Breakfast at the trendy Hotel Continental before strolling about the town's galleries and gift shops. Have a bowl at the 10-pin alley next door, or catch a film at the tiny local cinema. Then sup at the fantastic Royal Native Oyster Stores Restaurant before returning for slumber to the suck and drag of the stones in the Channel tide.

Cost: Huts sleeping two adults cost £85 a night midweek, £130 weekends. A family hut (2+2) costs £100 or £150 a night.

Contact: Hotel Continental (01227 280280).

Blue Harbour
Noel Coward's Seaside Estate, Port Maria, Jamaica

Overlooking Jamaica's scenic north coast and the Blue Mountain range, this lush seven-acre estate, with its private cove, offers the ideal setting for relaxation and recreation. Swim, snorkel, explore and delight in native Jamaican cooking. You can rent from one to three of the villas, which come fully staffed with maid service and all meals served and prepared. Built by the prolific playwright and songwriter Noel Coward as his original island retreat and home, Blue Harbour has entertained historic figures and celebrities such as Winston Churchill, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. It is ideally located for shopping and night life in Ocho Rios as well as exploring the Dunns River waterfalls.

Cost: Renting all three villas (sleeping 14) costs from £2,250 to £2,550 a week, including the use of six staff.

Contact: (020 8743 5577) property 6581.

Fare Corallina
off Moorea in the Society Islands, Tahiti

These Polynesian-style bamboo villas are pure Robinson Crusoe in their seclusion, reached by boat in a lagoon off Moorea's north-west coast. Moorea is an aquatic paradise, enveloped by a lagoon with some of the finest diving on earth. An outrigger canoe is provided for your use. The abundant flora and fauna includes reef sharks, moray eels, huge Napoleon wrasses and triggerfish. You can either cater for yourself, use the nearby hosts to cook or boat to a restaurant on another island.

Cost: From £1,609 per person a week, based on two sharing, or £1,426 per person for four sharing. Includes flights and transfers.

Contact: Turquoise Holidays (01494 678400).

Casa Joel
Bay of Ajaccio, Isolella, Corsica

You open the gate at the bottom of the garden of this simple house decorated with pretty fabrics right on to the beach with its fine yellow sand. The two-bedroom property, which sleeps two adults and two children, has a living room but most visitors will sit and dine on the shaded terrace outside, with its views across the fragrant maquis to the bay. Bring the children off the beach at the end of the day and shut out the sea by closing the gate.

Cost: From £393 to £673 per person for seven nights including flights and car hire.

Diani House
Diani beach, Kenya

Colobus monkeys and bush babies live in the palm tree-filled villa gardens fringing the white sands of Diani beach. The property, which sleeps nine, has great views over the beach, and is just 30 kilometres from Mombasa. The five bedrooms have verandas and are filled with antique furniture from India and Zanzibar, including four-poster-beds. When you've had enough of one of the best beaches in the world, there is deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, and wildlife viewing in the nearby Shimba Hills.

Cost: from £1,232 per person for five nights' half board, including flights and transfers.

Contact: Kuoni World Class (01306 747001).

Villa Lavanda
Seget-Vranjica, Croatia

This five-bedroom villa has three large terraces with spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding islands, including Veli Drvenik and Solta, and a garden with direct access to the beach and the sparkling Adriatic beyond. A spacious three-storey whitewashed building, the villa is in the Dalmatian coastal village of Seget-Vranjica with two shops for daily provisions, two restaurants by the harbour and two small bars. You are just 10 minutes from the beautiful walled city of Trogir and 15 minutes from Split. Trogir has many supermarkets and a colourful local market.

Cost: From £1,155 a week (sleeping 10). Croatia Airlines (020 8563 0022) flies London to Split from £261 return.

Contact: Croatian Villas (020 8368 9978).

St Germain Sur Ay
Normandy, France

The white sand at the end of the garden of this modern seafront villa stretches out over the sea and into views of Jersey. On a clear day, it's possible to make out the houses on the Channel Island. At low tide, the buildings on the Isles of Ecrehou, a savage archipelago of islets and rocks, can also be seen. Just 45 minutes from Cherbourg, the villa is a short drive from the beaches used in the D-Day invasion. It has been designed over three floors to maximise the views. Comfortable rather than luxurious, it sleeps eight in four bedrooms.

Cost: From £700 to £950 a week.

Contact: (020 8743 5577) property 7114.

Coverack, Cornwall

Cliffside is a 300-year-old terraced cottage, reputed to have been used by smugglers, with steps leading down to the beach, which at low tide exposes a lovely stretch of sand. Within a short drive are many other enticing beaches, such as Kennack Sands and Kynance Cove, surrounded by acres of National Trust land. Inside, the cosy cottage boasts oak beams, an open fire and a window seat, which looks out from the sitting room to the sea - there are also sea views from the dining room and the two main bedrooms.

Cost: £690 a week in high season (sleeps six).

Contact: Classic Cottages (01326 555555) property 71.

Casa Antigua
Villa Alejandra, Acapulco, Mexico

This private residence with exclusive access to 100 metres of beach was owned by the former President of Mexico, Miguel Aleman. The romantic complex includes two villas secluded within a paradise of walkways around beautiful gardens and tropical vegetation. Casa Antigua has three stylish bedrooms and a pool surrounded by coconut palms, gardens and exotic birds. A six-strong team of staff, including Mexico's renowned chef Susana Palazuelos, will attend to your every need.

Cost: From £2,215 per person a week based on six sharing. Includes flights.

Contact: Exsus Travel (020 7292 5050).

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