Happy New Year to one and all!
I had the good fortune to see in 2018 in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. What an amazing country this is. We stayed in Hotel Holt which is described as “an hotel within an art gallery” – fabulous artwork everywhere.
Hotel Holt is located only a few minutes walk from the city centre of Reykjavik with its majestic cathedral and quaint shops, restaurants and bars.
There were many highlights of this 4 night break – one being a trip to the world’s largest man made ice cave. Several years ago, a team of Icelandic entrepreneurs dreamed of tourists not just exploring the surface of Iceland’s glaciers, but actually getting inside one. Four years and $2.5 million later, Iceland’s first man-made ice cave opened to visitors in June 2015.
The journey across the snowy surface of the glacier is undertaken in a 20 ton customised monster truck named “The Ice Explorer”, which was acquired from NATO by Arngrimur Hermannsson. who is also one of the guides. It was originally used by NATO as a cruise missile launcher.
I have recently returned from a truly amazing trip to Malta, often described as the “Jewel of the Mediterranean”. I was invited to take part in a travel agency educational visit, which involved visiting several hotels on the island from the small and inexpensive Sunseeker apartments in Bugibba to the beautiful 5 star Phoenicia hotel in the capital Valletta.
We visited the beautiful island of Gozo by ferry which takes around 25 minutes. The Cornucopia is a delightful farmhouse style hotel with loads of character and stunning views. It is situated in the village of Xaghra (pronounced Shara) and not only offers guest rooms but self-catering bungalows too. There is a swimming pool set in beautiful gardens, free wi-fi throughout, excellent restaurant and bar and the service is second to none.
While on Gozo, a visit to the Citadel is a must and Dwejra, with its dramatic coastal formations, where part of Game of Thrones was filmed.
Back on Malta, a visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is a must – words cannot describe the beauty of this amazing structure. The painting depicting the beheading of St John the Baptist by Caravaggio is the most famous work in the church and the largest painted by Caravaggio. It is also the only painting that the artist actually signed.
If you want to spend some time on the beach relaxing, you can do this too.
I loved everything about Malta – the friendliness of the people, the cleanliness, the climate and….the fact it is only a 3 hour flight from London.
If you would like to spend a few days (or longer) in Malta, please do call and I will be more than happy to arrange this for you.
Have you ever been on a train from Adelaide through the outback of Australia and up to Darwin? I have and it is a truly wonderful and memorable experience.
The train is called “The Ghan” after the camel drivers who worked in the outback of Australia in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It’s a fascinating journey and takes in Alice Springs and Katherine. The Ghan is 774 metres in length and has 30 carriages including crew quarters, restaurant cars and bars. The guest rooms are very comfortable aboard the Ghan and most have en-suite with toiletries provided. The Ghan is All Inclusive and the food and service truly excellent. Lovely Australian wines are provided with meals and you can also enjoy your favourite tipple before and after meals.
Another wonderful trip is aboard the Indian Pacific and this train travels between Sydney and Perth – a fabulous way to traverse this mighty continent. With 3 nights spent aboard – again, the guest cabins are comfortable and the food and service second to none. Enjoy a lamb dinner in the outback and marvel at the Southern Cross. With no pollution, the stars appear so close, you feel you could reach up and pluck one from the sky.
The Indian Pacific trundles alongside part of the Nullarbor Plain which is semi-arid and four times the size of Belgium. If you are lucky you will spot kangaroos and wallabies from the panoramic windows on the Indian Pacific.
These are only two of the wonderful experiences available to you when visiting the vast continent of Australia.
I have visited Australia several times and would love to assist with planning YOUR holiday to Australia. Do call on 01279 871188.
By Bahnfrend – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
I have just returned from an amazing holiday on the beautiful island of Grenada, otherwise known as “The Spice Island”. The beaches are beautiful, the rainforest with its cute monkeys, so interesting, the spectacular water falls, the rum distillery, the nutmeg factory etc. etc. The list of things to do on Grenada is endless.
We stayed at Mount Cinnamon Hotel which is at one end of Grand Anse beach and owned by Peter de Savary. Grand Anse is the best beach on the island. Our accommodation was lovely – a spacious one bedroom apartment with two bathrooms overlooking the pool and only a few minutes walk through the hotel’s lovely gardens to the beach and Savvy’s Beach Bar. The food was superb and the members of staff, lovely people who just cannot do enough for their guests. Breakfast is included in the rate, but the suites and one and two bedroom apartments are completely geared to self-catering, if this is what you prefer to do.
Along the same stretch of beach lies Spice Island, which is a beautiful 5 star deluxe hotel – some of the rooms have pools, which are small swimming pools (bigger than plunge pools). A bit further along the beach is Coyaba Beach Hotel – this is a very good 3 star hotel set in beautiful gardens with direct access onto the sand on Grand Anse Beach.
I also visited the Calabash Hotel – a lovely 4.5 star hotel with a beautiful pool and the rooms were also of a very high standard.
I cannot recommend Grenada highly enough and will be very happy to chat to you about my holiday and make some suggestions. If this is of interest to you, Please do give me a call.
Wednesday 1 June 2016 sees the grand opening in Switzerland of the longest and deepest train tunnel in the world. The tunnel extends for 57 kilometres to a depth of up to 2300 meters below the Gotthard massif – a mountain range in the Swiss Alps. This flagship project for efficient and sustainable transportation on the north-south axis will permit high-speed travel through the Alps in only 17 minutes. The new flat-track route will not only cut travel time through the Gotthard, but also facilitate transit travel for longer and heavier trains. After 17 years of challenging building work, constructor AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd will hand over the completed tunnel to the Swiss Federal Railways on time and on budget. Switzerland’s internationally acclaimed public transport system – already the densest in the world – has perfected another pioneering first. What an accolade to the construction company!
A great way to discover Switzerland.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel enters into regular operation on 11 December 2016. The shorter travel times will bring neighbouring countries, regions and cities closer together. The dual-track tunnel will enable passengers from near and far to spend more time discovering the many delights of Switzerland north and south of the Gotthard.
A martini is just a martini. Unless it’s made with the delectable Jamaican fruit, soursop. And then it’s heaven on earth.
Find out for yourself at The Cliff, a five-month-old resort in Negril, Jamaica where bartender Ryan “RayRay” Hammond will whip you up the fruity libation faster than you can say, “Make mine a double.”
The tropical martini is, of course, best enjoyed under an umbrella-shaded chaise on the resort’s slice of ironshore coast, which offers a front-row seat for Negril’s daily sunset spectacle. However, RayRay was generous enough to share his special recipe, under one condition: That you make a plan to swing by The Cliff and taste his version for yourself.
No problem, RayRay. As they say in Jamaica: “Soon come.”
The Cliff’s Soursop Martini
1 shot vodka
2 ounces soursop juice
squeeze of fresh lime
Put all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice, and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass, and enjoy.
If you want to experience Ray Ray’s special Soursop Martini, call Your Personal Travel Organiser and I will be happy to organise this wonderful trip for you!
Quickly becoming an extremely popular rail holiday this is a magnificent 8 night holiday into the land of the midnight sun visiting Stockholm, Bodø, Trondheim and Oslo along the way.
The Arctic Circle Train – Stockholm to Narvik This train leaves Stockholm in the early evening, heading north passing through the cities of Uppsala, Sundsvall and Umeå before heading inland and crossing the Arctic Circle into the land of the midnight sun with dense forests, wide rushing rivers and some beautiful coastal scenery, especially around the High Coast. The stretch between Boden and Narvik is the route of the famous Iron Ore train. Kiruna is home to the world’s largest underground mine and these mighty trains are regularly seen transporting their heavy cargo to the ports of Narvik or Luleå. Spectacular Arctic scenery and the famous gateway to the mountains, Lapporten, as you cross the international border at Riksgränsen from Sweden to Norway.
The Northern Railway – Bodø to Trondheim Arguably the most famous train in Scandinavia with truly amazing coastal and mountain scenery as you cross the Arctic Circle. This is geographically the narrowest part of Norway and mountains rise out of the sea in this region. Snow-capped mountains, enclosed bays, 44 stations, 293 bridges and 154 tunnels all feature along the longest rail route (729km) in the Norwegian network. Simply magical!
The Dovre Railway – Trondheim to Oslo This is a journey through scenic national parks, deep mountain valleys and features Gudbrandsdalen valley and the mighty Dovrefjell mountain range with the track rising to 1000m above sea level and the mountains towering above. You will also pass Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake and many wooden station buildings worthy of a quick photo when the train stops. A diverse journey from the ancient capital to current capital city with a vast expanse of beautiful scenery in the middle.
Departures – May, June, July, August
To book this amazing holiday call us today!
There are some strange phenomenons going on around the world and this just caught my eye.
A seemingly drastic dip in the Indian Ocean creates this illusion of an underwater waterfall close to Mauritius.
The reason for the island’s famous waterfall illusion has to do with local sand and silt deposits that flow through the area and fluctuate the color of the water so that it appears like a waterfall heading to who knows where.
Amazing – isn’t it!
If you would like to visit the wonderful island of Mauritius, call your Personal Travel Organiser and I will be happy to assist you.
Have you been on, or ever fancied going on a River Cruise? Maybe you don’t know if it’s your thing? What do you do on a river cruise and how much actual cruising do you do? How much time do you spend in each place? Do you have to follow the crowd when you would rather do your own thing? Do you have to get all dressed up for dinner? What size will your Stateroom be?
River cruising is like staying at a fabulous and comfortable hotel, only – you travel with it. It is like lots of city breaks rolled into one. The ships are light, airy and spacious offering comfortable staterooms, lounges, bars and room to wander around and admire the beautiful scenery that you drift past every day.
The food is 5 star cuisine and the service first class. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are all included in the cost and vegetarians are also catered for. The big plus is, you do not have to book an early or late sitting as you do on the larger cruise ships. Seating is open and you can sit where you choose and at what time you prefer to eat.
Included in the cost are flights, transfers, food and drinks, excursions, presentations, demonstrations and performances and much, much more.
River cruises represent excellent value for money and visit a huge variety of destinations – Germany, France, Portugal, Russia, China – very diverse and fascinating places.
If you would like to find out more, call Your Personal Travel Organiser and I will be happy to answer your questions.
Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world and doesn’t immediately spring to mind when one mentions sailing. However, Sir Ben Ainslie led his team to victory during the recent Americas Cup World Series.
Land Rover BAR took a nail-biting victory in the first America’s World Cup series of 2016, while defender, Oracle Team USA took second reports Bob Fisher from Yachts and Yachting.
It was ‘Super Sunday’ in Oman, a working day for the masses, and a critical day for the six crews in the America’s Cup World Series with three double points counting races in prospect. It was a particularly hard day for the British team – they were the ‘go for’ boat for the rest after their winning ways on Saturday. Sir Ben Ainslie had said that the start was all-important, but this somehow escaped his planning – Land Rover BAR played catch-up in all three races, sometime from last position. It was nail biting for the British supporters. Just where the team was able to make the gains was due entirely to the teamwork on board on a day when the choice of whether, and when, to use the Code Zero as an upwind sail was critical.
Ben was refreshingly honest about the two starts he made and broke the line. “We were going for the leeward end, which if you get it right, pays dividends. It is also risky because you can get rolled by a boat to windward if you are even a fraction late. Yes, it is high risk; we knew that.” Apparently there was also a shortage of transits to judge the exact position of the boat. “We’ll get better,” promised Ben…and they did! It was a great day for the triumphant British team.
Oman has beautiful beaches, wonderful hotels with friendly and hospitable staff and fabulous sunshine. If you would like to explore this truly beautiful country as part of a tour or if you simply crave a bit of R & R and a stunning beach, call Your Personal Travel Organiser today and I will be happy to arrange this for you.