Holiday after major surgery

I am facing some major surgery in the next four weeks. I have a really busy full-on job, and even on holiday I usually go somewhere that is intellectually, physically and mentally challenging, lots of activities like horse riding, hiking, art galleries, amazing restaurants.

I am likely to be recuperating and unable to work for about two months, and rather than sit about at home, I thought it would be lovely to sit about somewhere warm. (I live in the Outer Hebrides, which is pretty wet, windy and dark in the winter)

Where would you suggest I visit? I won’t be able to do too much, but I would go crazy sitting on a beach. Criteria are: great scenery, warm enough to sit outside, fantastic food, possibly some scenic drives or interesting museums where I can sit down.

ALL suggestions considered. Have fun working out where I might like to go!

Many thanks, Kate

drceit 13/11/13    Where to go Link Report

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6 Replies Date Popularity

Hi Kate,

Thanks so much for your question. I’m guessing you’re going to be looking to recover in January-time, when Goa in India is a nice warm temperature. It’s a great place for lounging by the beach for a little while, and when you get bored, plenty to do in surrounding areas – and of course South Indian food is amazing!

This is listed in our Best Place to go in January article here:

And you can find out more about the area here:

I hope your surgery goes well and you recover quickly! All the best,


Lottie Gross 14/11/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Kate,

    hope that you get back on your feet in no time. You don’t say, but I’m assuming that a really long haul journey somewhere like New Zealand might be a bit of a stretch? NZ really fits the bit for rest and recuperation as it is such a beautiful and laidback country. Christchurch and Queenstown are great for strolling and drinking coffee while admiring stunning vistas… two months of soaking in open air hot pools, gentle lake canoeing and a little wine tasting would, I’m sure put the spring back in your step!

    Somewhere a bit closer to home is India. Yes, the cities are a bit crazy and might be too much for frazzled nerves immediately, but head straight to Goa and Kerala for crumbling ruins, charming beach resorts and sensational food. You could take a houseboat journey on the meandering Keralan backwaters (opt for a punted kettu vallam and explore the green waterways at your leisure), or explore tea plantations and national parks on organised tours that will take you from a to b. Back in Goa, you could base yourself in one of Panjim’s guesthouses and take a day trip to Portugal’s one time capital in India, Old Goa.

    My final suggestion (it’s tough narrowing it down!) would be Brazil and specifically Rio de Janeiro and the Costa Verde. Rio is gearing up for the 2014 Olympic Games, so the city has rolled out the red carpet for tourists. Consider basing yourself in charming Santa Teresa in the hills, this bohemian little neighbourhood feels a million miles away from downtown and it has enough quaint museums, boutiques and eateries to keep you busy. The city’s public transport is great, so you can easily get about to explore the beach life and culture of the rest of Rio (and Niterói is right across the bay, with its Museum of Contemporary Art). The Costa Verde stretches west and takes in the island idyll of Ilha Grande, all the way to the cobble-stoned streets of colonial Paraty.

    Good luck choosing!

    Rachel Mills 14/11/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Kate, if you don’t fancy long-haul I’d suggest Marrakesh or Tel Aviv…

    Marrakesh: drink mint tea overlooking the Jemaa el Fna, potter around the beautiful Majorelle Garden, or take a gentle hike in the scenic Ourika Valley, a short day-trip away. You can find very comfortable accommodation in a riad (try or Plus Moroccan cooking is worth a trip in itself: Nights get chilly from now on but daytime temps nudge 18-20C in December

    Tel Aviv: only 5hrs away on easyjet, the “Miami of the Middle East” (forgive cliche!) stays around 20C well into December and has some amazingly good restaurants, interesting Bauhaus architecture, modern art museums and, of course, the rest of Israel on its doorstep. Boredom is not an option!

    Andy Turner 15/11/13    Link Report

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    Morocco is a great idea – I went a couple of Christmases ago and it was pleasantly warm! I was wandering the souks in a t’shirt and cardi, and then spent Xmas eve trekking into the desert on camels (my mum, brother and I were very 3-wise-men-ish)!

    Don’t forget to keep us updated on your plans :)

    Lottie Gross 15/11/13    Link Report

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    These are all lovely suggestions. I am tempted by the closer-to-home options: I haven’t checked the travel insurance sites, but I know that a long-haul flight will carry a greater risk of post-op DVT. I’ve never been to Tel Aviv. In fact there are a million places I’ve never been. Going slowly, I’ll see things at a different level of detail.

    drceit 17/11/13    Link Report

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    Plus I love camel riding. Don’t know if I’ll be fit though.

    drceit 17/11/13    Link Report

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    Great, yes, worth asking your surgeon re: DVT and investing in some lovely flight socks! Another option is Cyprus which will certainly be warmer than the Hebrides if not exactly tropical in Jan. Cypriot hotels drop rates in off season, esp if you are not staying xmas/nye. I’d suggest staying in Pafos (Paphos) or Polis for access to Akamas national park as well as a few Roman sites. For a blow-out treat google the Anassa Hotel.

    Andy Turner 18/11/13    Link Report

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    Still waiting for a date, but the scans are all done and reported. We were discussing trains today…

    drceit 23/11/13    Link Report

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  • Madeira, Malta or Morocco?

    drceit 07/12/13    Link Report

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    I’d vote Morocco – beautiful coastlines, fascinating cities but plenty of places to retreat when they wear you out (especially in a hammam)!

    Here’s some of my favourite RG articles on Morocco:
    The highlights of Atlantic coast:
    Best hammams in Marrakesh:
    How to find an alternative Morocco:

    Let us know what you decide and when you’re off :)
    Good luck!

    Lottie Gross 09/12/13    Link Report

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  • Here is the update: I had my operation on the 3rd January, and so far, doing pretty well. We seem to have landed with a holiday in Greece; some friends own an olive farm, and have invited us to stay. Perfect combination of living with a Greek family, there is a local festival in the middle of our stay, and we’ll get the use of a car for trips. They also have a flat in Athens and a large house on Idhra, where I am welcome to stay with Granny.

    Who could turn down an offer like that!

    To get there, we are going by train from Mallaig to Glasgow (we live on South Uist) then train to London after a few days visiting friends. I love trains, but it is years since I did the Mallaig/Glasgow trip in the winter. It can be spectacular.

    Many thanks from all the advice.

    drceit 13/01/14    Link Report

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    Hey there, thanks so much for the update on your progress! I hope you have a wonderful time in Greece, it sounds like the perfect holiday for recuperation.

    All the best from all of us at Rough Guides – we’re wishing you a fast recovery!

    Lottie Gross 14/01/14    Link Report

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  • Here’s the follow-up: the surgery went well, another 2 weeks and I should be fit for work. We had two weeks in Greece. Not that far afield but there were many reasons why this was a perfect choice.

    First off, we were invited to stay with a friend of a friend, which is always a good introduction to a country. Secondly, if I was unwell, health care was covered by my EHIC card. Thirdly, I wanted to avoid long-haul flights because of the risk of DVT. It also fitted my criteria for food, scenery and museums/archaological sites.

    So much for the pre-trip decision. When we got there, it was warm for us Scots, warm enough to walk around without a coat, and most days were sunny, and by late afternoon, warm enough to sit outside and eat and watch the world go by. We hired a car and drove over some amazing mountain passes in the Peloponnese. Most mornings, we saw museums or archaeological sites. In February, hardly any tourists. If I’d been fitter, we’d have done a lot more hiking as well. I had no idea that there was skiing opportunities in Greece, but we went up to a ski resort on a rack and pinion railway as well.

    Thanks to all of you and to rough guides for your support and suggestions.


    drceit 21/02/14    Link Report

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