Sent by Geoffrey Leafe
York 8/16/2021 11:12:00 AM
Based in York
Hi, my name is Alison and I live in of York with my husband Russell and our dog Harvey!
I am passionate about travel and thrilled to be working as a Travel Counsellor. With 20 years of experience in the industry, I still get excited about all my customers’ travel plans, whether it be a family holiday, UK or short break, ski holiday, cruise, luxury/bespoke tailor-made or long haul holidays including weddings and honeymoons. I just love making dreams come true.
I eat, drink and sleep travel and have been lucky enough to see and experience different countries throughout Europe as well as Florida, New York, Jamaica, Mexico and the Indian Ocean. My passion is Italy, especially Tuscany, I have visited it many times.
As a Travel Counsellor I understand that it's not always convenient for everyone to discuss their travel requirements during the normal working week. Using state of the art technology I am able to work flexible hours from my home office, which means I can be contacted at a time which suits you, including evenings and weekends.
Whatever your holiday needs, I can arrange everything for you down to the smallest details. Leave all the research to me and I will find the best deal for that perfect holiday, saving you time, energy and money. My time is dedicated to you through every single process of your holiday.
Your holiday is as important to me as it is to you. Along with Travel Counsellors financial protection, I promise you will receive 100% honest and impartial advice. I will listen to your needs and use this information to create your perfect holiday.
Thank you for taking the time to read my details and I look forward to hearing from you. Whatever your enquiry, great or small, I am happy to help.
No need to wait, turn your dreams into reality!
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
28 October 2021
I have just returned from a fabulous week sailing on the river in the Douro Valley with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises with my husband Russell It was a 2 hour flight from Stansted direct into Porto Airport with Ryanair, other Regional airports are available and although we live in the North of England the flight timings worked better for us. Getting through passport control and collecting luggage was fast and efficient and we were met in arrivals by our private transfer representative, who drove us to the Port of Gaia and we were met at the ship, the beautiful Sao Gabriel, by the lovely Miriam. Due to Covid protocols regarding cleaning, we couldn’t board and check-in until 3pm, so were taken to a hotel opposite where we could freshen up and secure our hand luggage. Matias the Cruise Manager greeted us at the hotel and gave us details of local restaurants and attractions of Gaia that we could experience whilst we were waiting and we’re so pleased we had that time, Gaia is fabulous with its tapas restaurants, museums, port tastings and cable car. I would go back here to spend more time exploring. Having met the cruise manager back at the hotel, he escorted us onto the Ship to check-in and we were greeted with cooling towels and a refreshing drink. We booked a Deluxe cabin on the lower deck with a small window as it suited our budget, it was compact, but suited us as for us it was just our place to sleep and shower, but that’s not to say next time I would love to try and different category. Every single detail was catered for, with high end products in the shower room, a state-of-the-art entertainment system with English TV, movies and free internet. Afternoon Tea was served as we arrived with my absolute favourite thing “Pastel De Nata” (Portuguese custard tart). We relaxed on the top deck before getting ready for our Welcome Cocktail with safety briefing and Port Talk with the Cruise Manager. Matias ran through our itinerary and inclusive excursions for the week, so we could decide which ones we wanted to do, but alongside this you receive a Daily Programme in your Cabin every evening, detailing the day, Our Itinerary consisted of Porto, Entres-os-Rios, Pinhao, Vega de Terron, Barca d’Alva, Peso da Regua, Gaia We stayed overnight in Gaia as our first Excursion was a walking tour of Porto the following morning, before setting sail in the afternoon. Porto is a vibrant town with colourful townhouses and unmistakable landmarks, like the 19th Century Stock Exchange Palace with the famous Moorish Arabian room. The ship only sails during the day and docks in the evenings. Everyone got up early this following morning to sit on deck to watch us going through the deepest lock in Europe, Carrapatelo Dam, 115ft deep. Arriving into Entres-os-Rios we took a short walk to the Douro Museum for a signature lecture on the “Magical Douro Valley” and learnt about the unique geology and wine making history, which was fun and informative as well as tasting wine at 10.30 in the morning ??. A beautiful, air-conditioned coach drove us to lunch at Qunita da Pacheca, a family owned wine estate, known for its Old Tawny Port, where we had a tour of the vineyard and saw where they still crush the grapes with their feet! After an amazing 3 course lunch with wine and a 40 year old Port we were taken back to the ship. Day 4 we had a scenic sailing this morning with a commentary from Matias, it was fabulous sitting on our loungers on the top deck in the sunshine, whilst we were told about all the port and wine houses along the Douro River. After our lunch we went on one of the two excursions on offer to Castelo Rodrigo, a beautiful scenic drive took us to this enchanting village on a hill, where we got to taste local almonds, almond liquor and wine, what not to like?? Our 5th day was an exciting one as we were leaving Portugal for the day and taking an excursion to Salamanca, we were driven again in a very comfortable coach approx.1.45mins to the city where we received second breakfast in a gorgeous local hotel before taking our tour. We got plenty of free time too to explore on our own and do some shopping if we wished as well as sampling some local Spanish tapas and Sangria. After dinner we were treated to a Flamenco Show in the Vintage Bar. Another Morning scenic sailing on Day 6 with a cooking demonstration of “Pastel de Nata” by the pastry chef Liliana, with tasting samples along the way ??. Arriving into Pinhao in the afternoon, there was a choice of 2 excursions to either the Sandeman wine Estate or a Vineyard and wine tasting at the Quinto do Roeda which is known for its vintage ports. Day 7 we sailed back to Gaia, it was a bit overcast today and a bit chilly to sit on the deck, but the lounges on board have floor to ceiling windows so you can watch the world go by quite happily and chat with fellow passengers. Russell and I went on the Guimaraes City tour this afternoon. Guimaraes was the home to the First King of Portugal, we had a wonderful guided walk through the well-preserved old town with its unique architecture and charming little plazas, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a farewell cocktail party we were early to bed as we had a 4am transfer back to the airport. The tours cater for all passengers with differing levels of abilities, so you could go on a hiking or cycling tour if you were up for it. We loved the fact that we could do as much or as little as we wanted to do. The small heated pool on the top deck was fabulous, or just sit in the lounge and relax, read a book and chat to the crew and other passengers I can honestly say this won’t be my last river cruise it’s a perfect way to relax whist on holiday. Every day there is a yoga or stretch class in the morning and every evening cocktail hour whilst listening to the wonderful Matias about the following days Port of call and excursions available. With the cruise being all inclusive, including a 24hr self-service coffee area, 24 hour bar if you so wish, all alcoholic beverages, wine and soft drinks and the amazing trips on offer, it’s a very cost effective way to see so much and only unpacking once. I can highly recommend that you consider this trip with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises as it has been the most memorable trip that we will remember forever and we can’t thank the crew enough, who were all truly magnificent, for making this the most special of holidays.
22 September 2017
Travel is in my blood and I am so passionate about it, so I consider myself so luck that I do a job that I love. Much to my joy, I was rewarded with a place on an educational trip to the stunning island of Mauritius with 8 other colleagues! We flew from Heathrow with Air Mauritius who looked after us really well with an upgrade to business class and we arrived to the most wonderful welcome, the warmth and friendliness of the local people became apparent straight away. We arrived at our first hotel, the beautiful Constance Belle Mare Plage. The rooms here were stunning, with plenty of space, and a lovely bathroom that opened into the bedroom, and I had a lovely view out over the pool area to the beach. We had a very busy schedule over the 3 night stay which included wine tasting, a cookery class, a mixology lesson, Golf Lesson (luckily for the guests we stayed on the driving range, we weren't quite up to the standard to be let loose on either of the two 18 hole championship courses) and I can definitely say I won’t be taking up golf any time soon. Finally we enjoyed a relaxing spa treatment. Being wined and dined in some of the seven restaurants was a culinary experience, each with a different theme and the food was just amazing, my favourite was the Blue Penny Cellar Restaurant. During our stay here we took a boat trip with "One Love" this was so much fun, we did some snorkelling, saw wild monkeys, a beautiful waterfall and had the most delicious BBQ on the beach, whilst being entertained by our guitar playing barman and our lovely guide Iris singing to us. It was then time to check out of this stunning hotel and head off on to the next, on the way there we visited the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden and saw the giant Tortoises and the magnificent lily ponds. Iris our guide from Connections then took us to an authentic Creole Retaurant located in a tropical garden in Moka, wow, the food was incredible. In the afternoon we stopped off in Port Louis where we visited the Fort and the Fruit and Veg Market, before doing a little retail therapy, bartering with the local shop owners for a bargain, such fun. Then we arrived at Luxurious Le Prince Maurice, again to a wonderful welcome and was totally blown away by this hotel, the view from the reception took my breath away. My room was spectacular so luxurious, I couldn't quite believe I had this huge space to myself, the bathroom alone was bigger than most hotel rooms. The special touches that this hotel offer really do make this a 5* luxury resort, from having your sunglasses cleaned, and a power pack brought to you by the pool, to a little bottle of alcohol free bubbly in the family suites for the kids on arrival! They really do cover everything. Again we ate in a few of the restaurants and again the food was outstanding, my favourite here was the floating restaurant. The pastry class we took part in got pretty messy and funny, but the Chef was so patient with us and we got to eat our efforts too. One of the highlights of this hotel is the Wine Cellar, the biggest in the Indian Ocean, we had another wine tasting and got to see a bottle of wine valued at $12,000! Another amazing massage in the hotel spa, rounded up the trip. Although this was my second trip to Mauritius I fell in love with it all over again and will go back and with my husband this time. It truly is a beautiful, magical place and the people are so genuinely warm and friendly. Thank you to my colleagues and new friends that joined me on this remarkable trip, you were all amazing and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to meet you all. I also want to give huge thanks to Emma from Constance for hosting this trip and looking after us all so well, you were fantastic. So thank you Emma and thank you Constance Hotels, and Mauritius - I hope to see you soon!
08 August 2016
Tuscany is amazing and one of my favourite places. We stay in a friend’s cottage (Ca'de Boni) which is a home from home and yet has access to the lively village community of Pergo with bars and restaurants and is close to the historic town of Cortona. The area is really well connected with good roads and trains and within an hour you have access to the very best of Tuscany sightseeing: Cortona, Siena, Arrezzo, Trasimeno, Montepulciano. Florence (1 hour) and Rome (1.5 hours) can be reached by train. Nearby LAGO TRASIMENO is the fourth largest lake in Italy and it takes only 20 minutes by car: door to beach. The best swimming spot is Castiglione del Lago, where you can take a picnic under the many shady spots under the trees. It is also possible to take boat trips on the lake to the very pretty Isola Maggiore. There are lovely walks around the lake and some good fish restaurants for a leisurely lunch. Cortona has changed dramatically over the years and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. It overflows with galleries, historic churches and the world famous Etruscan Museum. Cortona is the place to go searching for treasures like art, pottery, jewellery, shoes, leather bags, designer label clothing but also unique hand crafted clothes - individually tailored. Montepulciano is a renowned wine area and there are plenty of vineyards to tour and cellars where you can taste the wines. Camucia is the next village along from Pergo that has a market every Thursday morning and is a must visit. We purchase all our fresh veg and fish for our BBQ’s which is such good value and super fresh. My husband’s favourite thing to buy is ‘Porchetta’ from several vendors at the market and is very popular with the locals too. Getting around is so easy and the scenery is stunning, we could go back year after year!
21 February 2015
Being chosen for an educational is an honour and I was really excited to be going to Dubai with MSC Cruises as this would be my first time in the UAE. We arrived very early morning into Dubai and were transferred to the Moevenpick Bur Dubai Hotel for a rest before inspecting the hotel later on that day, followed by a gorgeous lunch. This is a great hotel and would be ideal for a pre or post stay in Dubai due to its close proximity to the port and airport. After lunch we explored the Jumeirah Beach Residence and visited the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which is situated in the heart of the Dubai Marina District with superlative shopping, dining and beaches all within easy reach. A stroll along 'The Walk' took us to the JA Ocean View Hotel with its magnificent sea views and modern interior. So feeling tired, but excited we then made our way to Port to embark on the MSC Orchestra to start our journey around the UAE. We arrived in Abu Dhabi the following morning and enjoyed a visit to Ferrari World, the largest indoor & first Ferrari Theme Park in the world, with the fastest roller coaster in the world and I was brave enough to go on it. Day 2 was at sea which gave the chance to relax by the pools and then later have a ship inspection. The Orchestra accommodates 2550 guests and is a beautiful ship with the MSC signature Italian style and is suitable for all types of cruisers. Everything from the food to the staff were amazing! Day 3 arrived in Khor Al Fakkan and explored the small town around the port, but an excursion would be the best option at this port to experience life in Abu Dhabi. Day 4 Muscat renowned as one of the worlds greatest ports since ancient Rome. An open top hop on, hop off bus was the experience this day and it was a great way to see Muscat with its bustling souq, Grand Mosque and Sultan's palace. I loved it here and would have loved to spent longer visiting the sites. Day 5 Khasab, Oman - a Dhow cruise took us on the scenic and tranquil Fiord, observing the coastal villages. Seeing the dolphins swim alongside us was again another great experience as was swimming in the pristine fiord at Telegraph Island. Day 6 after disembarking the Orchestra in Dubai we were taken to the Atlantis on the Palm and after exploring what this large hotel has to offer, including their Lost Chambers Aquarium and Dolphin Bay, we had a few hours in their Aquaventure waterpark to enjoy all the rides and lazy river. This is an amazing hotel on the Palm with so much to offer its customers, all I can say is WOW! Later that evening after another fabulous hosted meal at The Manzil Downtown Dubai some free time was had to explore the largest shopping mall in the world and see the famous Dubai Fountains (this is a must when visiting Dubai) Day 7 another action packed day in Dubai with a guided CityTour taking in the Marina, a photo stop by Burj Al-Arab hotel, on Jumeirah Beach. We took in views of the white marble dome and minarets of Jumeirah Mosque and had a Tour of the old quarter of Dubai, Bastakiya, also a water-taxi ride across Dubai Creek and visited the exciting Spice Souq and shop for bargains. That afternoon for our last night, we were picked up from our Hotel to end our day with a 4x4 Jeep Safari in the Desert, another must excursion. After Quad biking, Sand boarding and a camel ride we watched the sun set whilst sipping champagne - a truly memorable experience. I loved my first visit to Dubai and it certainly won't be my last.
02 June 2015
I've just returned from a fabulous 4 nights in New York. This was my second visit the first being 10 years ago and it was as I remembered it. I stayed at the Warwick Hotel on 65 West 54th Street a good central location, the rooms are a very generous size. The best way to explore and enjoy is either by foot (a good comfortable pair of shoes is needed) or by the Hop on, Hop Off buses that can be pre booked before you go and they have human guides on all the bus routes who give you a bit history about the city. It is definitely like being in a movie set and quite often there is some kind of filming taking place. There is so much so see and do, to name a few, I loved Top of the Rock, the views are amazing, we went up to see the sunset and we were not disappointed. A must is to go on the Staten Island Ferry across to Ellis Island and around the Statue of Liberty. Brunch at Sarabeth's opposite Central Park a good place to Celebrity watch! I have so much more I could share, but if this is a place you would like to go, just get in touch I am happy to share my knowledge about this great City.
03 June 2015
I just love Italy and one day would love to have a holiday home there. I've mostly travelled around Tuscany, but for a change we went to Sorrento for 2 weeks, to see the places we've always wanted to see like Pompeii, Capri, Ravello, Positano, Amalfi and Herculaneum. We stayed at a fabulous boutique hotel the Mar Alimuri in Meta just 6km from the centre of Sorrento, which wasn't a problem getting to as the hotel provided a courtesy bus to get you there. From the harbour we got a ferry across to Capri, which is so pretty, although very busy, here you can shop in the designer boutiques, or sit and people watch at a pavement café sipping an Apperol (Italian cocktail) or jump in an open top stretch cab and tour around the island. The Italian public transport is efficient, cheap and easy to use, a train from Meta took us straight to Pompeii, which is truly amazing and the local SITA bus took us along the Amalfi coast road where you could hop on or off at your favourite spots, its not for the faint hearted as the road is twisty, but it's a great way of seeing the coast line along the way.
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