Welcome to the Spring 2018 Edition of our Seasonal newsletter. In this edition, we discuss our recent trips to Europe, plus the events we have had in store. It's been a busy couple of months, see below what we got up to!
Karen Kenter's Korner
The warm weather is on the way. I have been enjoying the spring flowers but never so much as witnessing my son Dylan marry the love of his life amid a blooming and colourful spring garden. It was a wonderful day for our family; they were engaged 4 years ago on our family trip of a lifetime camping in Africa, in the spray of Victoria Falls. It really was as romantic and wet, as it sounds. At the time they were in their mid-20’s we were mindful of the costs and opted for a more adventurous option that we would all enjoy. So pleased we did it, booked a year early so all leave and savings would be organised and travelled with another family. The parents did have a few days in a more luxurious safari camp after sending the kids home. If you have older teenagers or young adults, it makes for marvellous memories, we all still talk about it now.
The World of Travel never sleeps and is continually changing. In our world we are regularly training to keep up with all the new destinations and reviewing old favourites. Ash and I had a rainy weekend at the Gold Coast for a workshop. We stayed at the QT Gold Coast, it has a lovely family beachy feel, with interesting areas to eat, drink and be merry. It certainly is a place we would recommend after this visit. I had a week in Siem Reap, delivering all sorts of goodies and a battery recharge for me.
At this time of year, you will see lots of advertising and sales offering "amazing", "unbeatable" or "too good to be true" offers. There are just too many good offers to communicate to you even if we sent them out 5 times a day.
However in most cases, we can access anything you see advertised in the travel world. Watch out for the "unbeatable" deals that require you to pay in full on the spot, as the full range of terms and conditions may not be explained. There are often highly restrictive cancellation and change costs - if you can make any amendments at all.
As with anything else, if you do decide this is the deal you are after, we would still welcome the opportunity to help you build this into your dream holiday.
We do not take our own beautiful country for granted and hope you don’t either. We have all travelled extensively and can tailor a wonderful holiday experience in some of the world’s most amazing places. The field of lights in Uluru has been extended and really a worthwhile short break or part of a longer holiday.
We are having an Aussie Christmas theme for our Christmas BBQ (keep reading to see more) this year and have invited some of our domestic travel partners to join us. It is going to be a bonzer night. See details on our website and look out for the invitation email, hope to see you there.
Jo Goes Cruising
Liverpool is a city famed for being the birth place of The Beatles, but there’s so much more to the city than just that. One of the first things I really noticed was the friendliness of the Liverpudlians. They truly are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have met in my travels. With a unique sense of humour and one of the best known accents, I did struggle with understanding them at first.
With architecture in the city as far back as 1500 still standing, Liverpool really does have some stunning buildings. The Three Graces — the buildings most synonymous with the city is located in Albert Dock, with the largest collection of historically listed buildings in the UK. What once was a famous docking port is now a buzzing district in itself; packed with galleries, museums, bars and restaurants. I recommend this area to stay if you are visiting.
I stayed at Holiday inn Express Liverpool Albert Dock, It is a converted redbrick warehouse situated at Albert Dock and next door to the Beatles Museum. The lovely rooms overlook the dock and within walking distance is all the shopping, cafes and restaurants you could ask for. The staff were helpful and caring when my bags went missing for 2 days from my flights.
Did You Know?
Liverpool is proudly the home of more number 1 singles than any other city in the UK? Admittedly, this is mostly down to The Beatles, but a wealth of fantastic musical talent has been nurtured in the dockside city. The Liver Building was amazing to view and is one of the most iconic sites of Liverpool. Of course I did the “ferry cross the Mersey” and sang along loudly with everyone else.
Liverpool, once regarded as great port city is now more famous of course for the Beatles and taking half day tour was the best way to see everything – Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, the homes of John & Paul as well as hearing all the local stories was a fantastic experience.
Enough about Liverpool, the whole reasons I was there was to cruise with Fred Olsen Cruises on the Black Watch. This ship is small (850 passengers) but perfectly formed. It lacks the bells and whistles of the mammoth giants that sail occasionally, but its small scale means it is not overwhelming and is perfect for touring the Scottish coastline. With a smaller ship, you get a real sense of family and friendship with the other passengers. The access of the port in Liverpool, made embarkation and disembarking so quick and easy compared to other UK major ports.
We passed Fingal's Cave. Located on the inhabited island of Staffa in Scotland's Inner Hebrides it’s a hidden gem, and perfect for a unique picture. The next stop was Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands. The fusion of Christian, Nordic, and Celtic heritage, is truly unique and well worth a visit. In the evening we passed the Sound of Mull, a picture-perfect stretch of water flowing between the Isle of Mull and the shores of Scotland. Another superb photo opportunity here, with the 13th Century Duart Castle, arguably one of the prettiest castles in the Highlands.
I was lucky enough to spend my birthday on Black Watch and was serenaded by the wonderful Filipino crew with an amazing rendition of Happy Birthday together with a lovely cake. As it that wasn’t enough, my UK travel agent travelling companions organised a High Tea on a red double decker bus which took us around the port city of Glasgow. It is a city famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture and has an amazing music scene, some of which we got to enjoy whilst enjoying a glass of birthday bubbles.
I was truly surprised by the uniqueness of Liverpool and the absolute jaw dropping beauty of Northern Scotland and being on Fred Olsen Black Watch made it all the more special – such a lovely way to travel.
Returning to the Aeolian Islands for the past 2 years has filled me with such wonderful memories; I just love sharing my little corner of Italy with my clients and friends.
2018 was the second year this tour has run. We based ourselves on the island of Lipari for 7 nights in a hotel that is very close to the main street for shopping, restaurant, bars and nightlife. From Lipari, we took boat trips to the outer islands of Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Alicudi, Filicudi and Vulcano.
No two islands are the same, each has its own unique character: beautiful beaches; spectacular views; landscape and of course food. Each island greeted us with its contrasting colours, small winding streets through the local towns and the smells of the local cuisine lingered from homes and restaurants.
No trip to Italy would be complete without tapping into the local cuisine and the Aeolian Islands are famous for their accessibility to fresh seafood and fish, their caper production and their local wine called Malvasia. Our handpicked local restaurants did not disappoint with their delicious and generous feasts of food.
The Aeolian Islands offer a memorable swimming experience with clear blue water, ducking in and around coves and bays, amongst impressive rock formations. Everytime I return, I learn more about the rich in history of the region. You can trace time back to the bronze age, with the stories of classical mythology, Grecian antiquities, Roman ruins through to 18th Century Baroque Churches and forward into the 21st Century.
I am still dreaming of clear skies, deep blue water, spectacular sunsets and delicious local specialities. I hope I can share these memories with you next July when on the 2019 tour.
In September we held a Wine and Cheese Night by Scenic. With 20 customers attending, it was a packed house and we loved every minute of it! Jarrod from Scenic updated everyone on the latest news, with Stacey sharing some of her experiences.
If you missed this one, not to worry - we will be holding more events with suppliers in the future, so be sure to watch out for the next invitation. Have a look below at some of the snaps we captured during our last event.