Hello, my name is Gerard and I'm based in Buxton, Derbyshire, the gateway to the Peak District and home of the famous Buxton mineral water. My wife Maggi and I have a 23-year-old son Teague (who lives in Jerusalem and works in Tel Aviv in the financial sector), and 20-year-old daughter Sorcha who is studying Medicine in her 3rd year at Edinburgh University.
My hobbies/interests include walking, running (depending on who is looking, it can seem like I am just walking quickly), rugby (Sale Sharks season ticket holders and also Munster rugby fans due to my family background), chess, theatre, world music and fitness training.
I have more than 30 years’ experience working within travel in a variety of roles. I spent 10 years as an adventure tour guide and in operations and marketing for one of the leading adventure tour companies in the UK - with Explore Worldwide. Elsewhere I worked as a tour manager for a UK luxury tour operator - Bales Worldwide, over a period of 10 years.
My experience overseas as a tour guide/leader has seen me living in areas including Egypt, India, Turkey, Spain, Guatemala, Jerusalem and the Holy Land. To give you a little insight, I have led trekking trips, 4x4 jeep safaris in the Negev Desert, Israel; and camel safaris in the Thar Desert, India. In addition, I have led trips throughout the Middle East, Southern Africa, South and Central America, Central and South-East Asia, China and Hong Kong.
Some of the special destinations I’ve worked in whilst leading groups include North Korea, Bhutan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Tibet, Nepal, Iran, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, and Mali.
Whether it be short-haul or long-haul destinations, short or long duration, adventure or luxury or travel itineraries with both elements, I feel that I can personally add to your experience. It is my local knowledge and contacts that can make your experience something unique, and special and one never to be forgotten!
Please call me to talk about your travel plans - and let me take care of all your requirements. I look forward to hearing from you!
Everything you book with me is protected by either ATOL or the Travel Counsellors Trust which provides a 100% financial guarantee against supplier failure, so every aspect of your trip is safe.
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so please either fill in and send the form below or simply give me a call and I can get things started for you:-
Sent in by Stuart & Sheila Loaring
Oswestry, 26 March 2019
I am writing in response to your telephone message and, to thank you very much for the work that you undertook on our behalf in making the arrangements for our trip to Cyprus. Our holiday was a great success; we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as well as benefiting from some lovely winter sunshine! The ‘Alexander the Great Hotel’ is a first-class resort hotel; in particular, the staff are charming attentive and always prepared to help and offer advice. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them no matter how trivial. The buffets, both at breakfast and dinner are superb and extensive and, as dinners are ‘themed’, are never the same on consecutive nights. All the food is attractively presented, freshly prepared and regularly refreshed so that it never looks ’tired’ or messy. The speciality ‘a la carte’ restaurants really do offer ‘fine dining’ in very attractive settings with attentive waiter service. The public areas are spacious and very attractive, and the bedrooms are large and well appointed. The spa and leisure facilities are good quality and well maintained. The transfers worked seamlessly and punctually using good quality taxis. Over all we felt that it was good value and a well organised package. Once again Gerard, thank you for arranging, what was, a most pleasant and enjoyable winter break. We appreciated your efforts on our behalf very much.
Sent in by Ruth Brace
Furness Vale High Peak, 03 September 2018
As a widow and grandmother I had the opportunity to take my sixteen year old granddaughter who lives in Germany to stay with my niece in Sydney Australia. Gerard arranged the trip for us, I wanted to visit Hong Kong too where I'd been staying many years ago. We had the most fantastic holiday, the Hotel in Hong Kong was great, the staff were so friendly and helpful. All transfers were arranged and went like clockwork, and the flights were good too. Gerard arranged the electronic visas, luckily my granddaughter has a British passport so he could do this by e-mail. We have many precious memories and thank you Gerard for making it such an easy wonderful adventure.
Sent in by Pete Gustard
Buxton, 26 March 2018
Another great holiday from Gerard, chocked full of unforgettable sights and memories. Excellent service from start to finish, thanks!
Sent in by Peter Gustard
BUXTON, 15 November 2017
We LOVED Lisbon. I’m not sure where to start we did so much! …and there’s loads more we didn’t! You were right in the respect that it was good to give it a week (which is unusual for us for a city break) because there’s so much to see. We loved Alfama and Mouraria where there’s so much authenticity left in the city… mind you we ate (and drank!) our way around most districts, they all had something to offer! Time Out Market was great, as was the seafood practically everywhere…. and the pastries! We popped to Belem, Sintra, Cabo de Roca amongst others… all fantastic. So, in summary, you’ve set the bar very high with Kas and Lisbon… so where we going next? No pressure :-) Thanks for everything
Sent in by E Bravant
Ilkeston, 25 August 2017
Our recent visit to Botswana was excellent. It is as described with mainly simple accommodation including tents in the bush but sitting by a campfire under the stars with the sounds of the bush around is all part of the experience. . We were exceptionally lucky in seeing so much wildlife and particularly animal behaviour. It included an overnight kill of a giraffe being guarded by some very smug lions with jackal and vultures waiting, a leopard kill of a young zebra with the leopard in a nearby tree and the carcass being fed on wild dogs and then hyenas. (sadly mum zebra also in the background), elephants crossing a wide river trunk to tail to get to fresh grass on an island, wild dogs with a litter of about 10, giraffes fighting, hippo feeding on grass behind the camp at night, rhino on a walking morning many beautiful birds and much more. Gorgeous red African sunsets and camp fires in the darkness. We liked Botswana - it had the feel of a country pulling together and proud of what it had achieved - a mainly peaceful friendly democracy. Not all perfect - but the children almost all go to school and we met many at a site of ancient rock paintings . We travelled mainly by robust truck over very bumpy tracks but very little walking and lots to see. The African guide driver/organiser/mechanic was very good -we felt very safe even when we got stuck in deep mud/water on the last evening. We climbed out and we were towed out by another vehicle. Go prepared to be part of the team and you'll have a great time.
Sent in by Pete Gustard
Buxton, 26 July 2017
Hi Gerard, Just a quick note to let you know the Kas Holiday was absolutely brilliant! We’d have never have found the place without you so thank you very very much! Your recommendations with regards to activities etc were excellent and Kas certainly is a unique place. It was excellent to be surrounded by Turkish people enjoying themselves, fantastic food, totally laid back feel and LOTS of things to do. Perfect. Thanks again, Pete (and Carolyn who thinks it probably was the coolest place she’s ever spent her birthday!)
Sent in by Mo Stewart
Buxton Derbyshire , 18 July 2017
I recently travelled on the Tsars Gold Train from Beijing through Mongolia to Moscow. As a single traveller I thought it was the best way to carry out the Trans Siberian journey and Gerard was happy to help to arrange all the details. The tour, run by Titan Travel, was of an extremely high standard with excellent accommodation and food in hotels and on the trains. The main tourist guide and those at each destination were knowledgeable and helpful, ensuring that the needs of the group were met fully and that we saw as much of each area as possible. I can throughly recommend this tour and the services of Gerard will ensure that all your needs are met.
Sent in by Peter Thompson
Chislehurst Kent, 24 May 2017
The Kenya trip was fantastic. The game drives were better than expected and the Lake Turkana Festival was probably the best three days of any trip I’ve done. There were just 4 of us with a tour leader and a driver. Including us I counted just 19 non-African tourists over the 3 days. We felt very privileged to be there and have such access. The roads were rough and the accommodation sometimes basic but the area is so remote so you expect that. As usual, Gerard's help in booking this trip was exemplary.
Sent in by Elaine Redfern
Hallaton, 20 April 2017
I can't recommend Gerard enough. His attention to detail is first class. His care about our needs and requirements second to none. We arrived back after our trip to Guatamala with a message on our phone asking whether everything had been ok. Nothing is too much trouble.
Sent in by Jeannie Monaghan
Buxton, 29 August 2016
Trip perfectly pitched to suit my brief and even better than I could have hoped for. You looked after me well and your depth of knowledge is impressive. It was so relaxing to know that everything was organised, reliable and professional. I felt very safe having you as my agent and first port of call. Exceeded my expectations and would definitely use you again.
Sent in by Kevin Whittaker
Basingstoke, 09 December 2015
We were undecided on where to go on holiday and after some research ourselves, decided to get in touch with Gerard who had organised our honeymoon a year earlier which was superb. Having given an idea of the sort of thing we wanted we stayed in communication viewing several options and opting for a trip to Sri Lanka. Before the holiday whenever we had any questions Gerard made sure that we were completely happy with everything, by checking with the local operators with any questions. The holiday was excellent; some travelling around exploring the country with a superb guide who absolutely knew some great places to visit, but also invited us to participate with a scheme helping out local communities by planting trees which was wonderful to be involved in. We had our final five days at a very nice beach hotel, with excellent service and an incredible location viewing the indian ocean sunsets. The holiday was incredibly relaxing which is thanks to it being so well organised for us by Gerard. We certainly would not hesitate in asking Gerard for his help for a third holiday booked through him.
Sent in by Graham Jones
Ripon, 22 September 2015
An excellent holiday arranged through Gerard, no problems with a complex itinerary and where we required a hotel which was just a very brief stopover with no time for luxury, Gerard found an appropriate hotel, on occasions when we had time to extend our stay the hotels chosen were first class. Will certainly use his service again.
Sent in by Terry Dryburgh
Ripley, Derbyshire, 22 June 2015
The whole holiday, involving four hotels, two flights and five train journeys, all went perfectly smoothly. The destinations (in Franconia) were just as exciting as we expected, the hotels were all excellent quality and very well situated. The trains all ran to time, and even the weather was pretty good! It's reassuring to go on holiday with all the relevant tickets in your pocket, safe in the knowledge that all the reservations, etc. have been taken care of - so you can relax from day one and get in the holiday mood. We shall definitely have no hesitation about asking Gerard to help arrange holidays for us in the future. It not only takes all the hassle out of the process, but Gerard's knowledge, experience, and contacts open doors that would otherwise remain closed to us. All in all, we had a fabulous holiday thanks in no small part to Gerard's input at the planning stage followed up by super-efficient booking arrangements.
Sent in by Ruth Brace
Furness Vale, 28 May 2015
I've just returned from a wonderful holiday almost a month away visiting relatives in Nova Scotia then onto Iceland for a complete tour of the Island. A complicated journey but Gerard arranged my travel which all went to plan no hitches. All the Airlines were great and as no direct flights to Halifax flew to Philadelphia first no problems here. Gerard also printed out my return boarding pass from Reykjavik and posted to me. He recommended the tour group for Iceland and speaking to other visitors we had one of the best tours going. My computer is old and grumpy so I was very grateful as Gerard said he could send my itinerary by post. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Gerard and will certainly use him again. He has much experience and copes with all the little niggles that crop up.
Sent in by Elaine Redfern
Hallaton Leicestershire, 18 May 2015
My husband and I would like to recommend Gerard as an excellent travel counsellor. We have used him very recently April/ May to set up a holiday to Peru with Cox and Kings for us. From beginning to end a great committed service from him, with attention to detail second to none. He was most obliging when we wanted to change certain details and was on the phone to see how we had gone on the day we arrived back. He took all the worry out of a complicated tour with 6 hotel changes and planes, coaches, boats and trains thrown in.
Sent in by Andy Collier
Buxton, 09 April 2015
I used Gerard to sort out a tailor-made trip to Australia with a stopover in Singapore. He understood our needs and wishes and sorted out hotels, airport transfers and care hire. The hotels were great and in good locations, all the airport transfers worked perfectly with the result that all the hassle and stress was removed and we able to enjoy our hols to the utmost. I would definitely use him again.
Sent in by Janet Armstrong
Derby, 28 February 2015
What a wonderful trip we had to Northern Norway on the ship 'Nordnorge' via 'Hurtigruten'. Everything worked like clockwork, from the ship's ports-of-call to all the crew and Elisabeth, our tours co-ordinator, who never seemed to sleep. The food was simply gorgeous, served by friendly, happy staff. We were so lucky to see the Northern lights on Sat. Feb 21st when everyone rushed out onto the decks. The excursions were extremely interesting and exciting, especially Husky sledging.....the dogs loved it as much as us! Thank you Gerard, for making us feel important and stress free. Shall certainly use you again and recommend your firm to friends and relatives. Best wishes and many thank yous
Sent in by John Johnson
Leicester, 12 December 2014
Gerard was introduced to us by a friend. We gave him a series of ideas on where we wanted to travel during the eight weeks of our around the world holiday, and he built up a package based on our instructions. Regular emails and telephone calls smoothed out any queries before we left, and he was also in touch with us whilst we were away to make sure things were going well. We shall soon be speaking with him again to discuss future trips as his expertise made a good itinerary even better.
Sent in by Kay Howells
Llantwit Major , 03 December 2014
We've very recently returned from our trip to Costa Rica arranged through Gerard at Travel Counsellors. Gerard has arranged trips for me in the past so I knew we could rely on him! Every aspect of the trip exceeded our expectations. My partner and I have travelled extensively throughout most regions of the world, although Costa Rica certainly lived up to all that we'd read about it. The arrangements Gerard put in place for us went like clockwork. From being met at the airport through to the various guided jungle hikes and hot springs experiences he booked on our behalf, no detail had been forgotten. At each location we visited, all the hotels and lodges were magnificent. The staff, the food, our rooms (or suites in some cases!) and facilities were excellent - among the best we've stayed in. We couldn't have made better choices had we made them ourselves. All the people we met were informative, courteous and inspiring at all times, in their knowledge and passion for Costa Rica. The guides at all the National Parks were so well informed and were able to spot and identify the birds and animals so quickly that we'd not have seen a fraction as much had we been on our own. So, all in all, this was a trip of a lifetime - thank you Gerard for making it special.
Sent in by Ann Smith
LEEK, Staffs, 19 November 2014
“Did my Service make you smile”... it sure did Gerard! Well what can I say about this Travel Counsellor from Buxton? Gerard Heelan has been my chosen and trusted Travel Counsellor for many years and has been instrumental in planning my adventures in India, Central America, Turkey, Sri Lanka. Being a widow of advancing years, it is gratifying to know Gerard is always there to answer any questions which may arise. I would not hesitate in recommending him to my friends or colleagues.
Sent in by Krzysztof Jakubowski
Guildford, 24 February 2014
Gerard helped to arrange a five day trip to Iceland for my wife, two children aged 13 and 11 and myself. The accomodation at the Grimsborgir Luxury apartments was five star! The resort also boasts a fantastic restaurant with very high quality, tasty food in Viking size portions. The dinner buffet on alternate nights was gorgeous, with various Icelandic delicacies to sample and a choice of two hot courses and various desserts. Grimsborgir is ideally situated for touring the main Icelandic attractions. Just 60km from Reykyavik it is only 20km from Thingvellir National Park and the geysers and waterfalls at Geysir and Gulfoss. The weather in Iceland is very changeable and although we had a mild -2 to +2C during our stay the wind chill varied from -6 to -10C. Gloves, trapper hats and thermal balaclavas are recommended. As a family we love touring by car and the 4WD Suzuki Vitara was just the right combination of comfort and ability on the icy roads to make us feel safe and confident. The landscape seems to change around every corner and we took hundreds of photographs. In winter it is mostly khaki brown with olive green highlights and dazzling white ice and snow on the hill and mountain tops. The volcanic geology does just about everything imaginable with rocks, smooth ancient lava flows, jagged outcrops, giant cliffs of basalt, iced up waterfalls, vast black plains of ash, plaited with sparkling streams down to the sea.....and in every direction craters old and new. We would like to thank Gerard for his outstanding service in organising the trip and for his watchful eye when there was a minor change to the itinerary.
Sent in by Philip & Kathryn Barton
Buxton, 22 March 2013
With the benefits of Gerard's extensive knowledge and personal experiences of India, we welcomed his hotel recommendations and his willingness to accommodate our specific travel requirements. We appreciated him guiding us through the visa application process, and would have no hesitation in using his services again or recommending him to others requiring a bespoke itinerary.
Sent in by Ruth Quinn
Wigan , 21 January 2013
Thanks to Gerard our holiday was stress free. We had changes to internal flights that could have been quite time consuming but Gerard investigated all options and re-arranged for us. We have used Gerard before and will continue to use his services in the future. His professionalism and customer service makes booking a holiday a pleasurable experience.
Sent in by Clare Walecka
Ealing, 22 October 2012
Gerard arranged the perfect bespoke trip to Jerusalem and Petra for myself and my mother who was making a nostalgic trip back to Israel after more than 60 years. From the driver to meet us, location and standard of hotels, an expert local guide and assistance at the airport, his personal local knowledge was invaluable. He even provided us with guide books! Truly a holiday to remember.
Sent in by Tony Bradley
Marcham, Abingdon, 25 September 2012
We have returned from a two-week holiday in the US (Chicago, train to San Francisco, and Yosemite) that was successful and enjoyable in every way. Gerard's knowledge and expertise encouraged us to proceed with it. He chose an excellent hotel in the centre of San Francisco. The additional travel information that Gerard provided was an unexpected bonus that proved really useful.
Sent in by Terry & Wendy Stephenson
Fleetwood Lancashire, 19 June 2012
We have just returned from 3 weeks holiday touring California and Las Vegas staying at 8 hotels, all of which were booked through Gerard, including flights and car hire. We can't thank him enough for his services which went far beyond the call of duty. We had a wonderful time and will be recommending him and Travel Counsellors to all our friends and family. Saving up now for our next holiday!
Sent in by Mo Stewart
Buxton, Derbyshire, 14 May 2012
I have just returned from a 7 day Western USA Air Tour. What a fabulous experience!!! Private aircraft into all the destinations (San Francisco, Yosemite, Canyons and much more) followed by wonderful guidance by the Tour Director and excellent hotels, breakfast and dinner all included. I recommend everyone to book this before prices for this exclusive tour surely rise! Gerard's professionalism will ensure your trip is one to treasure.
Sent in by Ann Smith
LEEK, 06 December 2011
My INDIAN RHAPSODY.... made possible by Gerard Heelan's superb knowledge as a Travel Counsellor, he having spent several years as a Tour Guide with Explore in India. Gerard was instrumental in dispelling my early fears on this adventure of a lifetime, travelling North and South of this vibrant, colourful country enabling me to enter the "mindset" of these wonderful people. A "Travel Counsellor" who assisted me with Visa applications, flights and was on track of my journey every step of the way, even anticipating the dreaded Strikes which prevailed on my return.. A True Travel Counsellor in every way that I would not hesitate to recommend to my fellow intrepid companions.
Sent in by Peter Thompson
Chislehurst, Kent, 12 February 2011
I can't praise Gerard highly enough for the excellent personal service that he has given me. His manner is clear and efficient and he has replied quickly to messages and e-mails. When I needed to postpone my trip he dealt directly and promptly with the company concerned and re-booked for me. I would not hesitate to contact him again for possible future holidays.
Sent in by Jan & Norman Anderson
Loanhead, 21 January 2011
Decided to visit Moscow/St Petersburg, and on the recommendation of friends, contacted Gerard to organise our trip. His care and personal attention has been excellent every step of the way. Now have a wonderful trip booked for late May, totally stress-free for us as Gerard organised every little detail. We highly recommend his services and will use him again.
With independent access to thousands of travel suppliers around the world, I've got an eye for added value. Take a look through my latest selections below. But even if nothing particularly catches your eye - don't worry! Let's chat and I'll take the hassle away from tailoring a perfectly personalised holiday just for you.
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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.
13 November 2018
My daughter Sorcha (20 years of age) and I travelled to Berlin in the summer of 2017. Flying with EasyJet from Manchester we flew to Berlin Schönefeld, and from the airport we took the Airport Express Train (RE 7/RB 14) which runs twice every hour from Berlin city centre to Schönefeld Airport. The journey time from the airport to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main station) is only 30 minutes. Whilst one can also use the S Bahn. The Berlin S-Bahn is a rapid transit railway system in and around Berlin, the capital city of Germany. It has been in operation under this...
13 November 2018
This year my friend Michael and I went away for our annual boys’ reunion and to a destination we had both wanted to visit for a long time - Beirut, Lebanon. We flew with British Airways from London Heathrow direct to Beirut. On arrival we were collected by our hotel taxi and within 30 minutes were checked into our hotel - an independent four-star deluxe apart-hotel located in a unique part of central Beirut. For night-time activities everything was located within relatively easy walking distance – however one of the advantages of our hotel was that they supplied a free...
05 November 2018
Manchester to Barbados - Flight time 8 hours 40 minutes - from after which you can immerse yourself into a wonderful sunny experience with Barbadian charm always being on tap. During my stay I experienced cycling with Randy (a champion BMX rider in the Caribbean, especially on downhill) who nurtured me slowly (due to my limited fitness compared to his) through the middle of the island on a bespoke itinerary. Whilst elsewhere I partook on a Rum Bus Tour on a circumnavigation of the island with Teds Tours where Ted supplied us with Rum throughout at each stop near enough....
25 October 2018
My wife Maggi and I had always set our sights on visiting the Amalfi Coast and this year we managed to achieve our goal. We flew from Manchester to Naples (flight duration 3 hours), were met at Naples airport and transferred directly to the mountains of the Amalfi Coast in an area known as Agerola (known also as the “small Switzerland” with spectacular views overlooking the coastline). We were based in an AgriTurismo property – a local Italian family farmhouse where the hosts were busy picking grapes to make wine, picking cherry tomatoes which we consumed copious amounts of with the...
25 March 2017
In October 2016, my mother and I decided to travel on our very first cruise – and as this trip was especially for my mother, after reviewing all the options available – the best suited option was to travel on the Oceania Nautica. Our sailing was below the maximum capacity, with around 550 people travelling (684 being the maximum) and 400 staff– which made for a very enjoyable experience. Oceania Nautica excels in personal attention to detail and the highest level of service and food being offered throughout the whole sailing. We decided to arrive one day early into Barcelona...
23 March 2017
My wife Maggi Heelan recently travelled as a single traveller with an Adventure Tour Company to Nepal in February 2017 - this is her account of her trip - Having being lured by the name of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and seen Levinson Wood’s TV series on Nepal I decided to book a two week trip. This wasn’t a trekking trip but one which would give a flavour of the whole country visiting the capital, rural areas and a wildlife park. With just two weeks available and wanting to see as much as I could, I booked to...
27 February 2017
Each year around late January early February two male friends and I arrange a short weekend break away. This time our destination was to be Dubrovnik, Croatia. Previous weekend breaks have included Krakow, Prague, Budapest, Marrakesh, Jerusalem (twice), Lisbon, and Treviso/Venice. As there were no direct flights from Manchester (I live in Buxton, Derbyshire) I drove down to Gatwick to join my friends Michael and Krzys. We flew with British Airways directly to Dubrovnik, and the flight duration was 2 hours 35 minutes. I had arranged a taxi transfer from the airport which took us about thirty minutes to reach our...
22 February 2017
After many years of wanting to visit Sri Lanka, I eventually made the jump and had a wonderful journey over 2 weeks in the last two weeks of January 2017. Flying from Manchester with Emirates, I flew via Dubai to Colombo, Sri Lanka. As the aeroplane started its landing approach the first thing that I noticed was the infrastructure of well-maintained roads and motorway. Before I had even landed there were things about Sri Lanka which already differentiated it from its neighbours. Upon arrival I was met by representatives of the company who look after all of Travel Counsellors'...
20 December 2015
For our annual family holiday 2015/16 (Dec/Jan) my wife Maggi, daughter Sorcha and I ventured to Namibia, South West Africa. We flew with Air Lufthansa from Manchester to Frankfurt and with Air Namibia from Frankfurt to Windhoek (The Capital of Namibia) directly. The outbound flying time was 11 hours, whilst the inbound flight was time 12 hours 10 minutes (with connection time in Frankfurt to add on for both sectors). Arriving in Windhoek Airport we picked up our rental car – a Toyota Hilux – I would recommend this type of vehicle for a fly drive holiday in Namibia...
22 January 2014
Our holiday to Guatemala comprised 6 nights in Antigua and 6 nights on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Antigua is the old baroque capital of Guatemala with charming cobbled streets. The central area of the town is a Unesco World Heritage site with numerous working and derelict churches. We stayed in an old converted monastery with a wonderful atmosphere, excellent rooms and superb food. On our first day we had a guided walking tour of Antigua, this helped us get our bearings but also to appreciate this beautiful town and the history of the Maya. The town is full...
01 February 2013
The annual boy’s trip which comprised of Krzysztof, Michael and I saw us this year (February 2013) visiting Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, which is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union. Prague is also the historical capital of Bohemia, an area that over the years has been annexed by wars, seen parts reclaimed and ultimately divided up into administrative regions. Our wonderful hotel was located in the centre of old Prague and adjacent to the Municipal House. The 100-year-old hotel provided a rare chance to put you back in the gilded First Republic (1918-1938). It is tastefully furnished...
23 December 2012
Previously I had worked in India for one year (two six month seasons) as an adventure tour leader – leading camel safaris in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan combined with tours around the main highlights of Delhi, Shimla, Bikaner, Jaislamer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra, and Varanasi. This was the first time for my wife and two teenagers to visit Northern India, seeing us visit Delhi, Mandawa, Samode Palace, Jaipur, Ranthambore (Tigers), Karauli , Agra (Taj Mahal) and Varanasi (also known as Benares) on the Ganges. Taking us from place to place was our excellent driver - this is one country...
13 January 2012
Each year in January I normally go away for a short weekend break with some friends of mine – who I know from my travel background. Michael used to be an Overland Expedition Driver – using a converted British Military Bedford style truck – adapted for travellers. Routes included London to Nairobi, London to Kathmandu, and the length of South America. Whilst Krystof a GP, is a past client of Michael’s trips. This year we decided to head for Budapest, Hungary (previous weekends have included Jerusalem, Venice, Krakow, and Marrakech). Our base was to be the Corinthia Hotel located...
25 December 2011
In 2011, my family and I travelled to Cuba using Air France flying out of Manchester via Paris to Havana. There is the option to fly direct from Gatwick if preferred. Cuba seems to attract a variety of clientele. Those looking for beach & sun normally make their way to Varadero (or Cayo Coco), and if it is of interest can add on Havana and Trinidad. Or for those looking to see more of Cuba – travelling further afield, where there can be a variety of accommodation and transportation that may require a more flexible approach. One of the main...
17 September 2011
I was invited by the UK Jamaica Tourist Board to experience first-hand the delights of Jamaica – so firstly I would like to thank Torrance Lewis the Jamaica UK Sales Manager – who was a wonderful host, and an excellent Ambassador for Jamaica. He oozed the Jamaican karma – very relaxed, nothing was ever a problem, and taught me the following expressions which seemed within the areas travelled, to be used quite commonly: Irie Man - meaning :“good”, “fine”, “okay”, “hi”, “happy”, “pleasant”, “high”, “alright” Yeah mon (tourist areas) or Yeah Man (Kingston) - "it’s okay / I agree" One...
28 January 2011
Flying to Jerusalem takes around 4 hours 30 minutes, probably less time than driving from London to York on a Friday evening. We left London on a Friday at 1030 UK time – and allowing for a 2 hour time difference (time in Israel is GMT + 2 hours), you arrive at around 5pm local time. On arrival in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, having pre-arranged a taxi transfer we were whisked off to Jerusalem which takes about 45 minutes. I normally stay in the Jerusalem Hotel as it has such a wealth of character and is a family run establishment,...
20 December 2010
The annual family holiday saw us following in the footsteps of the mighty Pharaohs. Our adventure began literally on the day of departure from Manchester – as the winter snows in the UK seemed set to prevent us from reaching our destination with thousands of people stranded across the country as flights were cancelled. Was the Pharaohs Curse already upon us! KLM Airlines came to our rescue and although delayed by 24 hours, they eventually managed using a rerouting of flights, to ensure we arrived in Cairo. So a big thank you to KLM. The first impression on landing in Cairo is...
29 August 2010
Turkey has such a lot to offer that it can easily draw you back time and time again. Luckily in my past I worked in Turkey as a Mountain Tour Guide and Tour Leader for a UK Adventure Tour Operator and managed to spend six months leading tours in Eastern Turkey, six months in Central Turkey and six months in Western Turkey - which allowed me to experience so many different aspects of this wonderful landmass. I have a great affection for this country and have returned many times since, both independently and with my family. This time I returned to Kas...
26 December 2009
Over the Festive Period of 2009/2010 my family (Maggi my wife, son Teague 14 and daughter Sorcha 11) visited South Africa for our second time. On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg we were incredibly lucky with our Rental Car. We had pre-booked a medium size car with Air Con, which is definitely recommended in what is their summer time; however we were upgraded to a Toyota Hilux Double Cab 4x4 Drive – what a difference this made to our journey. In future we will now book this style of vehicle when ever it is feasible. After staying...