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Coronavirus put paid to your holiday? Watch a movie instead

By Mark Andrews | Travel | Published:

Has coronavirus put paid to your summer holiday plans? That dream trip you had been looking forward to each year gone by the board as a result of the emergency travel measures?

Had to cancel your trip to Cannes? Well why not watch To Catch a Thief instead

Well, if you can't actually be where you want to be, we're suggesting you try getting as close as you possibly can, by watching a movie or television programme which was actually set in your dream destination.

To add to the atmosphere, you may even want to try cooking a special meal or raising an appropriate glass as you try to imagine your holiday.

We're not saying it's the same as being there, but at least it's a chance to think about what might have been – and possibly do a bit of research for when you eventually get to go there for real.

And there are few let downs in the world which are not made better by a glass of wine and a good movie. Plus, of course, it's a lot cheaper than actually going on holiday.

Here are a few ideas:

Italy

Spanish Steps in Rome - they feature in The Talented Mr Ripley

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Be it the spectacular sights of Rome or Venice, the majestic lakes of the Garda, or the tranquil pine forests of Tuscany, Italy is a must-visit destination at any time.

Unfortunately, at the moment, it is also a 'can't visit', with the whole country having been subjected to extremely tight lock-down restrictions.

But if you've been forced to abandon your Italian holiday this year, here are some great ways to get you nearly there.

Take the 1999 film The Talented Mr Ripley, where huckster Tom Ripley takes us on a virtual road trip of some of Italy's greatest sights as he seeks to bring wayward son Dickie Greenleaf back home to the United States.

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Beginning in Ischia, it takes us through Naples and Sanremo before arriving in Rome where the Spanish Steps and Piazza Lovatelli take star billing.

For something a bit more upbeat, how about The Italian Job? Set mainly in Turin, there is derring-do aplenty – just make sure you watch the original Michael Caine version.

You might, of course want to prepare yourself for your night of Italian culture by enjoying an authentic Italian dish beforehand.

The website cookinglight.com has plenty of recipes which can all be cooked in under 20 minutes, which just gives you time to crank up the Pavarotti and crack open Cantine Leonardo Da Vinci Chianti you had been saving for a special occasion.

Amsterdam

If you've had to cancel your trip to Amsterdam, you could always watch Van Der Valk

With its tightly packed streets surrounding miles and miles of glistening waterways, it's no surprise that Amsterdam is an all-year round favourite.

But if you have had to cancel your break to the Venice of the North, perhaps it's time to reacquaint yourself with a bit of Van Der Valk.

The hit detective series is due to return to our screens later this year with Marc Warren playing the moody, blond hero.

But in the meantime, why not catch up with the original, starring Barry Foster? A total of 32 episodes were filmed between 1972 and 1992, readily available as a box set.

Some of the cinematography is still impressive, and the scripts as sharp as ever. And that theme tune gets catchier every time you listen to it.

Cote D'azur

Missed out on your trip to the Cote D'Azur? You can always watch a Cary Grant film instead

If you are looking to enjoy a touch of the French Riviera from the comfort of your own home, you are spoiled for choice.

And where better to start than To Catch A Thief? Set mainly in and around Cannes, this charming 1955 movie stars Cary Grant as a retired burglar who comes under suspicion when his neighbourhood is hit with a string of jewellery thefts.

Grant, supported by his love interest Grace Kelly, ends up having to set a trap for the new thief to prove his innocence.

The film shows some of the Cote D'Azur's most glorious scenery, with memorable scenes in Monaco and Nice, as well as in Cannes.

If you prefer something more contemporary, you could try the 2006 movie Priceless, which stars Audrey Tautoo as a gold-digger conning her way through life on the Riviera, although that is in the French language.

Spain

Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

For some attractive shots of the capital of Catalonia, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a good starting point, with scenes filmed in Park Guell, an impressive public open space, and Las Ramblas, the familiar main avenue in the centre of the city.

If you like your films a bit more intense, The Way starring Martin Sheen as a father retracing the steps of a pilgrimage which killed his son, shows the solitude of the landscapes in Cilicia and Basque country.

Or, if you fancy something a bit more easy-watching, why not turn the clock back to the early 1990s and catch up with a bit of Eldorado? We won't tell anyone if you don't.

And enjoy a bottle of sherry and a bit of tapas to add to the atmosphere.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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