We've turned 30! September saw The World @ Braeside Travel hit the momentous milestone of 30 years in business. Now we've had the winter break, and with the emergence of Spring, it's time to start planning for travel in 2020 with our Spring Newsletter. It's been a busy winter with Jo and Lisa both travelling overseas, and Karen and Jo both moving into their new homes.
Karen Kenter's Korner
The flowers blooming in my garden always makes me feel happy. Mind you, this year, with a new garden, well, some dirt patches; a hedge and a few roses, I have a lot to look forward to next year. John and I were able to experience an Alaskan cruise in May this year, it was a wonderful trip, we both learnt a lot. If you have any questions about this pristine and breath-taking part of the planet please get in touch.
We have been enjoying our 30th birthday celebrations in September and will continue to have the longest birthday hopefully lasting all year. Look out for some of our quizzes & spot prizes on Facebook and the website.
My team has been busy again getting all those terrific European deals locked in. We may not be able to advertise in every paper going, but we do have access to anything you may see advertised, so let us hunt out the best fit for you. I am regularly asked what my favourite thing about this continent is. It is so varied, but I love history and especially English history. To stand in a spot that one of history’s heroes or villains has stood is something I relish; skipping down the Swiss Alps with my sister singing the songs from Sound of Music is a treasured memory; staying in the heart of Venice after the masses have left, and having it somewhat to ourselves, was romantic and surreal; the divine Jacaranda blooms in Lisbon during May was magical & the Portuguese tarts delicious and last, but most definitely not least, seeing the beautiful and incredible landmark of the Familia Sagrada in Barcelona.
For those of you who are part of our World Club, I am offering a free tour at the Familia Sagrada for one person on your booking during our 30th year specials, when you travel with us to Barcelona. We may be 30 years old, but the combined knowledge in our office is more like 150 years, so don’t forget to check in with us when you think of travelling to anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
Now enjoy the European rambles from the girls.
- Karen Kenter
The New Riviera
On my recent trip to Croatia, I visited Zagreb & Dubrovnik. What an amazing country, I can’t wait to go back and explore further. Croatia has transformed itself into “The Riviera” of Eastern Europe. Apart from the miles of sunny, pristine beaches and dramatic cliffs, the Dalmatian Coast offers natural beauty, incredible history, fantastic food and wine, plus a more relaxed atmosphere than other busier and more expensive European coastal holiday destinations.
Zagreb, Croatia's capital city isn't as popular as Dubrovnik or Split, but it's a terrific walking city with a café culture and some interesting museums. The museum that tops everyone's list is the Museum of Broken Hearts, designed to help the lovelorn get over a relationship: by contributing mementos of their ex to the museum collection, along with their stories. Single or happily coupled-up, this museum gets everyone talking.
A must see when in Croatia are the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I did a fabulous day trip from Zagreb which is takes about 2 hours but you can also do from Split (about 3 hours).This is Croatia's most popular national park and, many claim, Europe's most breathtaking natural wonder. Sixteen electric blue Plitvice Lakes inhabit a forested canyon, interconnected by stunning waterfalls, and easy-to-hike boardwalks and trails. The park is breathtaking.
They call it the "Pearl of the Adriatic". The walled, seaside Dubrovnik seems to have it all: centuries-old forts surrounding an enormous, picturesque Old Town, scenic wall walks with dazzling views of the cliffs and sea, as well as its famous collection of baroque buildings on marble streets. I even stumbled across the most beautiful Christmas shop down a laneway, amazing!! Dubrovnik is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and the iconic view can be seen from the peak of Mount Srd, after a short cable car ride. Over a coffee at the café at the top, you can see the entire old city as well as the impossibly blue Adriatic Sea and nearby islands. If you are a Game of Thrones enthusiast, you can explore many of the series' filming locations, too.
- Jo Rickard
In the Footsteps of Giants
There’s nothing modest about County Antrim’s coastline. Drive along the famous Causeway Coast, and one stunning site leads to another, from the craggy castle ruins of Dunluce Castle to the pale cream sands of Whiterocks Beach. But as you weave along this great driving route, one sight jumps out as truly spectacular: the Giant’s Causeway. I visited this area in, not understanding what I was going to see.
The Giant's Causeway is an area of interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. I visited this astounding sight in 2008 and have been talking about it ever since. As with all things Celtic, you’ll find the history of this area comes from legends of Giants. The star of the show is Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) – an Irish giant who picked a fight with Scottish big man Benandonner. Legend has it that the giants loathed each other. And so one day after enduring insults from Benandonner, Fionn built a path to use as stepping-stones to reach Scotland, which was then ripped up by Benandonner.
And what a truly unique place it is. An enjoyable walk of just under a kilometre will bring you down to the Causeway itself, where you can hop over the stones, explore the surrounding hills, or just sit and contemplate the puzzling geology that has led to one of the most remarkable natural sites in Europe. Here, the light changes through the day, with remarkable beauty from sharp greens and greys to warm tobacco brown.
- Ashley Copping
Aeolian @ Heart
Off the coast of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands (comprising of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi) are one of Italy’s still undiscovered gems. This seven-island archipelago has seas as clear as the Caribbean, film set worthy landscapes and exceptional restaurants. Despite all this, the Aeolian Islands remain fairly unknown out of Italy....
The Aeolian Islands are like seven sisters embraced by the cobalt blue sea. They emerge from the waters like a little Eden; all are of volcanic origin, but differ from each other in size, appearance, appeal and are all surrounded by myriads of islets. Seven places full of spirit – it’s impossible to say which one is the most beautiful. Each has its own character and its complete microcosm, which has inspired illustrious writers, actors and directors. Two of the islands are active volcanos, but all have their own unique history and Greek myths and legends. The UNESCO -protected Islands are a little piece of paradise, offering a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor fun. Stunning waters provide sport for swimmers, sailors, kayakers and divers, while trekkers can climb hissing volcanoes and gourmets can sip honey-sweet Malvasia wine. Since the departure of Ulysses, things have remained as they were (apart from the comings and goings of daily ferries and hydrofoils and the looting of pirates - which are no longer there), people lived according to the same rhythm of the days. It is so pleasant to enjoy their simple pleasures while on a holiday: the market in the morning, a walk, a granita for breakfast, a swim, a glass of wine, sunset and sumptuous fresh food. Many travellers choose the largest and most vibrant island of Lipari as their first but you can also start from Salina, the greenest of the Aeolian Islands and a foodie’s paradise. Stromboli and Vulcano are ideal for lovers of unspoilt nature with their mighty volcanoes and black lava beaches. Panarea is the refined “VIP” of the seven sisters, while Filicudi and Alicudi are isolated outposts where you can hide from the world for a while. It does not matter which one you choose to stay, daily transport or a simple boat ride will lead you to discover new horizons.