This vast area situated at the southern and of the South American continent, and straddling the countries of Chile and Argentina, offers a wide range of travel styles. From 5-star spa luxury to 5-million star camping treks, and everything in between, it is no wonder that Patagonia has been the “Place to Go” for countless travellers over the years.
If you have EVER dreamed of going to Antarctica, fulfill your dream.
In December I returned from an expedition with One Ocean Expeditions on their ship, Akademik Ioffe and it’s incredibly difficult to put into words the sights, the sounds, the smells and the emotions that I experienced. A fellow traveller said that she wasn’t sure what to expect, but her expectations were certainly exceeded – I would have to agree.
I am flying over the sparkling expanse of the Mozambique Channel to one of the most exotic, forgotten and ecologically diverse islands on the planet, Madagascar. My first glimpse of this fabled island was not really as I imagined as what I saw, initially horrified me – smoke and fire. Not one or two fires, but dozens, burning the land and sending dirty grey plumes spiralling upwards into the skies like mini tornadoes. Little did I know that my first impression of the island would be totally reversed when meeting its warm people, seeing its unique wildlife and spectacular landscapes which would takes us on a spell bounding journey.
Colombia has long been recommended to me as the best destination in South America, being less visited by other tourists; and for many years, I have been thinking of taking ‘my travellers’ to this country. I was hesitant up until recently, due to the political unrest and reputation of the drug lords etc. Over the years the country has seen a long internal conflict compounded by rampant drug production. However, Colombia is now entering a new era of peace and a consequential growth in tourism. Tourism is increasing at an annual rate of about 12%. A couple of years ago, Thor Travel consultants, Sandra Worsfold and Nieccia Miller, visited Colombia on two separate occasions, returning with rave reviews.
About 10 years ago, I first heard of a journey in northern Spain that Pilgrims have been walking since the Middle Ages. Known as the Way of St James, Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or simply The Camino, the route was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1987. Since then, the popularity of this journey as a Pilgrimage slowly increased until, in 2010, the movie, “The Way”, starring Martin Sheen and son, Emilio Estevez, put this journey onto the radars of those who walk for sport and leisure.
Having organised this trip for so many clients over the past few years, I felt it was time I went and had a look at what it was all about for myself.
On a recent trip to India I embarked on a Private Organised Tour for just myself and my husband. This meant that we had our own Private Car and Driver and Private guides in the many different cities that we visited and we stayed in many Heritage Palaces and Forts which have now been converted into Hotels.
Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, 8:25pm on a Friday night and the city is electrifying. A cacophony of noise and kaleidoscopic neon colours, voices competing with scooter engines, hooters, music blaring from distorted radio speakers, BBQ smoke filing the air as the sticky heat of this old colonised French city wraps it all in a frenzied whirl. It’s like the Vegas of Asia, as we zip through the streets, dodging kamikaze scooters, we make our way to the Liberty Central hotel, where the rooftop pool welcomes our tired and buzzing minds. This is the starting point for our 7 day river cruise along the mighty Mekong Delta, a fabled river system seeped in history, romance and conflict, The pulse of South East Asia.
In July I travelled to Central Australia for a short break. We arrived in Alice Springs to unseasonal warm weather – 27 degrees, and after collecting a 4WD at the airport we headed through “The Gap” to the town proper. A number of years ago I lived in Alice Springs for 6 months over the summer, so the first thing that struck me was how green it is. The contrast with the red landscape and blue sky is stunning and the view of the MacDonnell Ranges from Anzac Hill quite spectacular.
Colombia has a, perhaps, colourful history – cocaine trafficking, drug cartels, kidnappings, guerrilla armies to name a few, however I didn’t ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the towns/cities we visited (Bogota, Salento, the coffee estansia, Medellin, Cartagena).
After months of agonising stressing, planning, preparing, cancelling and rebooking, my partner Scott and I were finally on a flight to Negombo, Sri lanka via Kuala Lumpur. We stepped out of the airport and embraced what would be our first impression of Sri Lanka, the smell of fresh rain on earth mixed with a distinctive spicy flavour, streaming lights of eccentrically decorative tuk-tuks taxis weaving through traffic as Indi-pop distorts their speakers.