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.
In July 2014 I travelled to Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. My itinerary was private throughout. From Kota Kinabalu, KK as it is locally referred to, Mt Kinabalu quickly came into view as a dominant feature – 4,095 metres, the tallest mountain on the island of Borneo. The national park has very well marked walks and this is where you start the trek to the summit of Mt Kinabalu.
In November 2011 I embarked on my first trek in the Nepalese Himalaya Annapurna Region. The Annapurna Region is a great region to trek for first time trekkers as you do not trek to as higher altitude as the Everest Region however saying this there is no easy trek in the Himalaya no matter what region you are trekking in.
In August I was lucky enough to have my first trip to India and I undertook a 7 day riverboat trip with Assam Bengal Navigation.