Based in Newmarket

Jennifer Bradnam

It's Nice To Meet You

Hello, my name is Jennifer Bradnam and I am a Gold Travel Counsellor ready to provide you with top level service. As a top agent for the best and most highly regarded travel company, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer you, and my NPS score - along with the high level of repeat customers and referrals from my clients - is testament to the service and attention I give.

I will take the time to find out what is important to you.

Having travelled extensively I have first-hand knowledge of many destinations including South Africa, Indian Ocean including Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Caribbean and the USA - Las Vegas, California, New York and Florida, East coast Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and most of the Med. Travelling to Singapore - experiencing the F1 Grand Prix and all its action and then onto the peaceful haven that is Bali. Having travelled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman I have first-hand knowledge of the Middle East. I love my skiing so can advise you on the best ski destinations to suit your requirements. You can also book your cruise holidays with confidence as I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Princess, P&O, Cunard, Azamara and Celebrity Cruise Lines. A Central America Adventure trip through Costa Rica and Nicaragua, abseiling down waterfalls, zip lining, trekking and cycling; but if laying on the beach is more your thing I have that covered too!

I am passionate about what I do. I pride myself in providing excellent customer service and will always go that extra mile to strive for excellence.

I am qualified as an Australian Specialist with Tourism Australia, and also a Canadian Specialist with the Canadian Tourist Board. Please read my journals of my travel experiences.

I will be happy to discuss, plan and arrange your holiday at a time that is convenient to you. Leaving you free to enjoy your valuable spare time. , including evenings and weekends. I will look after your travel arrangements from start to finish, offering a personal one to one service. Please allow me the opportunity to look after your travel arrangements.

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My Blog

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.

Day of the Dead!

04 July 2019

Most people now think Mexico - think Cancun - think all-inclusive. Well this will show you another side, that you could well combine with a beach stay. Mexico City... Although Halloween is celebrated by many in Mexico, it is El Día de los Muertos ('Day of the Dead'), just two days later, which unites the country in reflection. Each year, Mexico celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away. On 1 November we remember los angelitos, the souls of children, and on 2 November, All Soul’s Day, the spirits of adults. All Souls’ Day is a bank holiday, allowing families to gather in demonstration of love and respect. Together they clean the graves of those who have died and leave candles, sugar skulls, flowers and food. Some even sing, play cards and share stories of the departed. Families also create a colourful altar in their homes, and decorate it with candles, photographs of the deceased, flowers, and sugar figurines sometimes inscribed with the names of the departed. They are not there for worship but to welcome spirits back to Earth. Many believe that the souls of the dead return to visit their families, so the deceased’s favourite food and drink (most notably tequila) are often placed at the altar for them to enjoy after their long journey back home. Paths are often marked by candles and marigolds. They are the symbolic flower of death and are an important symbol of the festival. It is believed that their vibrant colour and scent guide the spirits to the altars. The origins of Día de los Muertos date back thousands of years, to the Aztecs. They considered mourning as disrespectful and chose to accept the eventuality of death without fear. Mictecacihuatl was the Goddess of Death, who watched over the bones of the deceased and presided over ancient festivals of the dead. The month-long celebration to the ‘Lady of the Dead’ was adapted by the Roman Catholic Spanish settlers and evolved into the mix of pre-Hispanic and Christian celebrations of today. Sugar art was introduced by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. Mexicans learned quickly from the friars and adapted the moulded characters used in Catholic festivals into the sugar skulls that are now synonymous with Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Their big smiles and colourful designs reflect old folk art, with the different colours and motifs representing the person they commemorate. Despite being edible, the skulls are normally only intended for decoration, but other foods are also available at this time. Bakeries are filled with ‘bread of the dead’, a sugar-dusted, orange-flavoured bread; and loaves shaped into people, laying at rest with their arms crossed. Markets and shops offer sweets and toys in the shapes of skulls and coffins. Many communities celebrate El Día de los Muertos with their own traditions, which can include all-night vigils and sawdust rug competitions. But the key to the Day of the Dead is that people come together to celebrate. The most publicised festivity is the grand parade of skulls. Mexico City started their annual El Día de los Muertos parade in 2016. Their costumes are spectacular, but the skeletal makeup really captures the imagination. The hundreds of participants put on a spectacular show alongside huge floats and giant skeleton marionettes. The thousands of people who now attend it each year prove that the imported tradition of Halloween cannot wipe out this ancient celebration.

Breathaking Brazil part 1

21 November 2018

At the end of October, I had the privilege of travelling to the amazing country that is Brazil. Flying via Lisbon, it was then a further 10 hours to fly across the Atlantic to Rio De Janeiro. Splitting my stay between two fantastic cities, and then one night at the beach resort of Praia de Bahia RIO: WOW, what a city! From the magnificent beaches, the world-famous Copacabana, Sugar Loaf Mountain and of course Corcovado – Christ the Redeemer, and all things carnival and Samba it really is an amazing city, and a must for your bucket list! We have all heard and seen many stories of the city, good and bad, but the colours, the vibrancy, the scenery and the buzz of the city is mind-blowing. After settling into our hotel situated right on the Copacabana Beachfront, the first visit was to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Taking two huge cable cars across the two enormous spans to get to the top for amazing views over the city and across to Corcovado was worth every minute. For Bond fans, you may recall the cable car being used by James Bond and Jaws in Moonraker! Rio is also famous of course for Carnival – did you know there is a 2 ½ mile stretch purposely built with permanent stands the whole way for the carnival to parade through! I can only imagine what an amazing experience to take part in the carnival or to even watch would be! You can visit the factory, as I did and watch them creating the masterpiece floats, see how they move and create them and hand making every costume. Every carnival has a theme and every float tells a story, which is kept top secret – so don’t tell anyone what you have seen! You even get to try your own costume and learn a bit of Samba whilst there. The highlight of this magnificent city stay was of course to stand at the foot of Corcovado. Taking a tram up the side of the mountain, which was very very steep, through the rainforest area. You arrive near the top and then take the lift and then an escalator - I was shocked at how high up it is! You are there. It was very breath-taking, and quite an emotional experience. The Aura and magnificence was just – well hard to say as it was so amazing – you really need to go and find out for yourself! If you love food, you will LOVE Rio! If you love beaches, you will LOVE Rio! If you love a real mix of cultures, you will LOVE Rio! If you love people you will LOVE Rio – in fact, there is nothing not to LOVE ABOUT RIO!

Breathtaking Brazil part 2 SALVADOR & PRAIA DE BAHIA

21 November 2018

At the end of October I had the privilege of travelling to the amazing country that is Brazil. Flying via Lisbon, it was then a further ten hours to fly across the Atlantic to Rio De Janeiro. Splitting my stay between two fantastic cities, and then one night at the beach resort of Praia do Forte. SALVADOR & PRAIA DE BAHIA Wasn’t really knowing what expect of Salvador, but it didn’t disappoint. The first capital of Brazil where the Portuguese first landed and colonised. The history and the cultural mix of the Portuguese and the African Slave trade is very strong here. A history that the people are very proud of. This is reflected in the buildings, and the people, and the art and music. An eclectic and vibrant mixture that you really feel. The journey from the airport was even spectacular with one of the most beautiful airport entrance roads anywhere! Huge bamboos which arch over the road for a couple of miles. The streets here are narrow, still with cobblestoned roads and pathways. Hundreds of churches and some stunning cathedrals with amazing stories behind the architecture. The Cathedral of slaves, built over many years, by the African Slaves, the San Fransisco Church which internally is all gold, with a huge golden altar, very spectacular. The city is made up of many areas, with the streets all connecting to many squares, where you will find brightly coloured buildings and houses, with people selling paintings, jewellery, and street dancers, and the Oludum drums playing. These were made famous by Michael Jackson and his video “They don’t care about us”, his picture still hangs proudly on the outside of the house he stayed at, and really is one of the most colourful cities I have been to. A funicular lift takes you down the old market area and stretches around the bay as Salvador is situated on one of the largest bays in Brazil, The Bay of All Saints. Newly opened there is now a Zip wire for those wanting a bit of an adrenaline rush or you can party on the beach til the early hours, which the locals certainly do. My hotel, or I should say Parador, was a beautiful old convent, converted to a hotel, was a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of the streets and was a fabulous place to stay. A two-hour journey took us up to Praia de Bahia, a little town with a big heart. The beaches here, as with the rest of this area of Brazil, are amazing. Miles and miles of golden beaches, so if you want to have a beach break after a busy time in Rio and Salvador it is the perfect place to stay. The town itself is a fabulous place to spend a day or evening. Hotels are only a few here. If you want a traditional small guest house and really mix with the locals, you can do that. Or if you prefer there is one all-inclusive Iberostar hotel, which is where we stayed for our one night. Although it was a lovely hotel and ticked all the boxes and gives you this option I hope it doesn’t detract from the local area and local people.

Getting Married?

26 September 2018

Getting married? Huge congratulations, Now the fun can really start, or stress some people might say! Weddings can be challenging to plan. From picking the perfect venue, more importantly the perfect dress! to what to say in the speeches and the some say the hardest part, the seating plan. Traditionally, the happy couple would ask their families and friends to buy them items for their new home, however in modern times, most couples already have plenty of pots, pans, towels, a toaster and maybe even a spiralizer! Instead, why not let your wedding guests contribute towards an unforgettable honeymoon! I understand that no two clients are the same and of course, no two honeymoons and weddings are the same either. As your personal Travel Counsellor, I’ll tailor your experience to your wants and dreams, creating your own unique experience. Our network of local overseas experts across the globe helps you to not only visit a destination but experience it too. We’ll provide you with a fabulous online website and secure payments portal especially for you, where guests are greeted with a personalised message from you and details of your amazing honeymoon plans! We can also provide stylish guest cards that you can send out with your invitations to let everyone know you would prefer a contribution towards your dream honeymoon. All honeymoon contributions from your family and friends will be deposited into one account. After your wedding, you can either put your guest’s generous contributions towards the cost of your honeymoon or if you’ve already paid, you can use your honeymoon fund towards excursions, upgrades or even another holiday. This works well as lots of couples are now doing a "mini-moon" and then go on a bigger trip some months later. I love planning honeymoons and have done lots of exciting trips for clients from cruises, self-drive tours of California, Safaris in Africa combined with beach stays in Mauritius, and the Orient Express from London to Venice and Island hopping around the Greek Islands So get in touch today and let’s get planning the most amazing trip of your lives all with the added bonus of a fund to build to help you realise that dream honeymoon!

Memorable Wedding Anniversary in Vietnam

20 June 2018

Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, it had to be something special. It did not disappoint and was one of the best places I have ever been and best holidays we have ever had. We experienced so much and had such an amazing time it is impossible for me to put into words on here. So here is the itinerary we did, and a few of my pictures. Have a read and look at some of my photos then contact me for all the details of our trip. Day 1: Hanoi arrival – Street food tour in the Old Quarter Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B,L,D) by seaplane Day 3: Halong Bay (B,L,D) Day 4: Halong Bay - Ky Son (B,D) by private car Day 5: Ky Son - Hanoi (B,L) Day 6: Saturday, Hanoi sightseeing - Ho Chi Minh City (B) Day 7: Cu Chi Tunnels - Sai Gon After Dark on a Vespa Scooter (B,D) Day 8: An excursion to Mekong Delta (B,L) Day 9 to day 12: Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang (B) Day 12: Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City departure (B) At good time, transfer without guide to Nha Trang Airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Room is at your disposal till noon time only. Arrival at Ho Chi Minh City Airport and make your own way to the international terminal for your departure flight.

Express Pass Day at Universal

18 June 2018

We were going to get use of our express passes - and go on all the fun rides in Universal we so far hadn't tried. I was with the brave gang of 5 who went off to do the exhilarating rides. We decided that we wanted to do the Mummy, Transformers, Spiderman, Popeye Water Ride (that's the photo where we look a bit wet), the Hollywood Ride (that's the big one), the Hulk (again not for the faint hearted), Jurassic Park, Despicable Me, and Kong. You get the picture. They are all great rides and takes me back to my days doing 'Back to the Future' 25 years ago. The technology on these rides is amazing and the queues can get long. With the express pass you are still waiting for 15 minutes which is hard work when it is so hot, I would say triple it if you are on normal passes. On a normal holiday I wouldn't do so many rides on the same day, I would pace it out and enjoy the ambience as there is so much going on. The rides still go on later so if you are staying on site wait until later when it is cooler and sample the rides as by then the crowds will have gone. The water rides do not operate when it rains, and the pools close too which is a bit of an odd one so it’s good to check the weather forecast. In the evenings we enjoyed different restaurants and venues on the city walk which is just outside the park. Pat O'Briens, with its duelling pianos, took a few casualties the following day with its potent hurricane cocktails. We ate at a few interesting locations like Toothsom chocolate factory. A replica restaurant to the one in Jaws, replica of Mo's Bar from The Simpsons for lunch. My favourite night spot was Rising Star the karaoke bar which if unlike me - you are a singer you can get on stage and sing your song with a live band and your very own backing singers! It was a crazy few days fitting everything in including shopping at the mall before we got on the plane. The malls are excellent by the way so leave some room in your suitcase.

Mosi-Oa-Tunya – The smoke that THUNDERS!

18 June 2018

A trip to Victoria Falls should be on everyone’s bucket list. The smoke that thunders is such an apt and descriptive name for what is likely one of the most awe-inspiring places I have ever been lucky enough to visit – and I’ve been three times! Victoria Falls is easily accessible, just 2 hours by air from Johannesburg and a short road transfer from either Livingstone airport in Zambia or Victoria Falls airport in Zimbabwe. What a lot of people don’t realise is there are two sides to the Falls, a small but significantly beautiful section of the Falls can be seen from Zambia – while the larger Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park is located on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls and is roughly a one-hour walk – depending on how much time you take to marvel and stand in awe of the beauty that is the thundering water of the Victoria Falls. The best time to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls is from February to May, directly after the region's summer rains, when you'll see the world's largest sheet of falling water flowing at its greatest volume. While it is still a marvel in the drier season, the full effect is seen once the rains have been. I have visited during peak and off season and both times it was a wonderful trip. The only downfall with peak season is that when the Falls are at their fullest there are some areas of the Falls that the view is hidden by the immense spray. The Kingdom Hotel – located on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls has a great location. The A’Zambezi River Lodge is also a lovely choice, further from the Falls – however right on the river banks so the game viewing and evening views are to die for. Crossing over the Zambia another favourite of mine was the Royal Livingstone hotel – this hotel is not only on the banks of the river with a gorgeous cocktail deck jutting out over the water – it’s also within walking distance of the Falls and the cost to enter is already included. When we stayed here – not only did the roaring of the water make the most pleasant back drop to fall asleep to, we were also able to visit multiple times a day and see the Falls in all lights, and all levels of flow at no extra expense. For the adventure lovers Victoria Falls offers a multitude of things to do – the sunset cocktail cruise is not to be missed (we had the pleasure of seeing a snorkelling elephant), the helicopter flight over the Falls offers you sights you cannot compare with anywhere else in the world, and for the braver a swim in the Devils Pool is a must. The Devils Pool is an enclosed section of water just above the lip of the Falls. There are elephant back safaris and lion walks, canoe safaris and hiking and even white water rafting for the adventurers. Explore local craft markets and try the local beer and breads, hike through the park, and don’t forget the obligatory pose at the statue of Livingstone, or just relax with a cocktail at the river banks. Victoria Falls has something for everyone and as one of the natural wonders of the world, is something everyone should see! Contact me now to get your next family adventure vacation booked to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya – The smoke that thunders!

NEWSLETTER 2016

15 December 2016

Wow, what a year! I haven’t done a newsletter for a long while so I thought it was about time I did! I also have so much to share with you. Today, 01 December, as I write this, I celebrate 13 years to the day that I started by business and path with Travel Counsellors. I wanted to personally thank every one of you that have been with me along the way. Some of you for the whole of this journey and some not so long, but every one of you are important to me and I wanted to say a big thank you for allowing me to be a apart of you lives, arranging your holidays and being a part of creating some great memories for you and your families. Without your continued support and referral I wouldn’t have imagined achieving so much in the past 12 years and I am so looking forward to the years ahead with you all. This year has been a great year for me and after some upheavals in the last few years, I returned to GOLD, a huge achievement for me and I again only have you to thank. GOLD status is a sales target set for the highest and best Travel Counsellors with only just under 10% of the TC’S around the world achieving the accolade, and believe it or not there are now just over 1,600 of us out there! As well as achieving GOLD I have also had a great year of travels and as usual started the year off with my favourite winter pastime, skiing on Courcheval in the French Alps. I then spent a wonderful week playing golf and sunbathing in Jamaica back in May. In October I went off to San Diego for four days – a bit of a long way for four days but I had an amazing time. My blog is on my webpage so have a read if you want to know more! Next year I will be again skiing in France in February and then Colin and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in October, so we are celebrating with an amazing trip to Vietnam and Singapore. So excited I can’t tell you! And as a Gold TC I shall also be attending the Gold Conference which is either a trip to Jamaica in May or and MSC cruise in October. I will also be going to Bangkok and Phuket! I promise to be here and be booking your fabulous holidays though. Hopefully I will retain this next year, and with your continued and much appreciated trust in me and Travel Counsellors and of course you referrals to your friends, family and colleagues; I am sure I will. Although it has been a great year for myself and Travel Counsellors, the industry has had its challenges again this year. Once again we have sadly seen the loss of some tour operators and holiday companies, some of this due to some terrible incidents across Europe that have affected us all in some way. The loss of Low Cost Beds/Holidays was the biggest loss this year and I am sure we all know of someone that was unfortunate to be caught up in this. It showed how important it is to book your holiday with a trusted company that not only looks after you but is also the most financially trusted and secure company in the industry, so please continue to shout me out to everyone for next year every time they mention the word holiday! This year we have launched our Travel Counsellors app - MYTC. You can download this on your smartphone, IPad etc. You can then see in your hand all your holiday details, documents and itineraries. You also will have my contact details in there so you can call or email me directly from the app and also share my details. If you have already downloaded it I am sure you love it! If you haven’t, download it now! MYTC in the app store is free! And it’s fantastic! And more things will be added to the app in 2017. I could go on and on but think I should stop here before I write a book! Thank you, thank you, thank you once again for making 2016 so amazing and I am looking forward to 2017 and sharing it with you. Take care and speak soon; Jenni

Super San Diego

01 December 2016

Flying with Air New Zealand in Premium Economy was definitely a great way to start this whirlwind trip into California, with a direct flight into Los Angeles. On arrival in the early evening I stayed in Los Angeles for the first night before heading down to San Diego first thing the following morning. The drive was great taking in the views of the Pacific highway and taking around two hours. As this was a bit of a whirlwind trip, on arrival into San Diego I headed straight into the main town and boarded MSS Medway, a huge aircraft carrier which served the American Navy in the Second World War. Now a museum in the port lined up against some cruise ships, it was a very moving but amusing afternoon. Many of the men who served on the ship volunteer their time on board now, showing you around and telling their stories of what life was like on board and during the war. Staying at Mission Bay was beautiful. Miles and miles of white powder sand with a promenade filled with bars and restaurants. The evenings could be spent having a meal watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean – wow. During the day, San Diego has some great attractions for a family holiday including the world famous San Diego Zoo. There is also Sea World and Aquatica where I spent the next two days. Having never been to either of them here on San Diego or in Orlando I was looking forward to finding out more. Sea World was the first visit and again a great day for everyone, of every age. The penguin house was just amazing, and lunch with the whales, let’s just say I got more than a little wet! I was lucky enough to have a behind the scenes look at how everything works, and at the rehabilitation for the ocean animals that are rescued and returned to the oceans and the importance of the background work as well as bringing the animals to the public at SeaWorld Park. This is something I can pre-book for you and your family to experience. Day three was spent at Aquatica. A little further out of Central San Diego it took about half an hour from Mission Bay. A brilliant water park, with some huge slides and a real fun and relaxing day away from the city. Very importantly it was close to the discount shopping mall where of course I had to check would be a good place to get some designer bargains whilst here, and it didn’t disappoint! Thanks heavens for credit cards! San Diego is just 20 miles from the Mexican border so has a big Hispanic influence and history. This shows in the food and culture. Many of the restaurants have very Mexican influenced food and drinks. You have to try one or two of the Margaritas! If you are looking for a busy nightlife the Gas Lamp area is the liveliest area to head to with some great live music bars and nightclubs and you can party into the early hours. For a quieter night head for Mission Bay. My favourite restaurant was Cannonballs, with an open air and open kitchen so you can sit chilled, watching your steak or lobster being prepared with a lovely glass of Californian wine – rude not to try it! On the last day I headed across the huge and infamous Coronado Bridge across from the main city of San Diego connecting the city to Coronado Island. A quieter area than the main city and home to the most exclusive hotels that San Diego has to offer. I visited my favourite hotel The Coronado Del Rey overlooking the most fabulous beach (Baywatch was actually filmed on this beach). This hotel has hosted and entertained politicians such as JFK, Hollywood stars, and more infamously it is where Edward and Mrs. Simpson met. A huge history and just the most amazing and beautiful hotel. I shall definitely be returning for a stay here. Returning to Los Angeles airport I felt that I had only just scratched the surface of this amazing city, but return with the knowledge that I will definitely be returning for a second visit. I can definitely recommend as a great destination for a family holiday or pre or post cruise stay. A city break with a beach holiday combined, it can make a two centre holiday without having to change destination as there is so much to explore and absorb in the city and then a relaxing stay on the beach. Flights are available direct into San Diego or you can fly into LA and spend a few days there as well. Unfortunately not enough time for me to do that this time. Next time, definitely.

Danube River Cruise

16 December 2015

A flight in Munich and a transfer to Nuremberg to see this beautiful new ship, The Emerald Sun. I was greeted by staff who whisked my luggage away to my suite, a check in has never been so relaxing and easy. Boarding the ship along the red carpet, again I was greeted by an array of smiling faces welcoming me on board with a hot hand towel and hot fruity tea which was welcoming on such a cold winter's day. Immediately I felt comfortable and at home. The décor and furnishings of the ship were stunning. After being escorted to my suite, I was going to be spending a week in beautiful accommodation and a floor to ceiling window (that opens half way to give you a feel of a balcony), that would be my personal viewing platform for some of the most beautiful scenery that would be coming my way! As we sailed along The River Danube, our first port of call was Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. On our guided walking tour we got the chance to see one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube and see the city’s architectural highlights, then we hit the Christmas market and of course purchases had to be made! That evening a traditional Bavarian band entertained us which was brilliant especially the yodelling! The next day we arrived in to the city of Passau, with lots of narrowed alleys and cobbled streets. We decided to take the coach tour over the border in to the Czech Republic to the beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage site which has been preserved as an example of medieval life. But travelling through the forests and the winter wonderland only added more magic to this lovely day. Driving back we crossed over the border again but this time into Austria to board the ship in the city of Linz. The next day we arrived into Melk, situated in a wine growing region of Austria. We visited Stift Melk, the 900 year old Benedictine Abbey which features Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture, with its ornate gold leaf walls, 640ft Imperial Corridor and fresco ceilings. Then it was time the next day to visit the capital of Austria, Vienna, with a coach and walking tour of the city, where we saw the world famous Opera House, Burgtheatre, Spanish Riding School, Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It is also known as the City Of Music along with Dreams and Waltzes! After our tour it was time to get to the Christmas Markets, and there were quite a few. We managed three, and of course sampled the gluhwein! We then had a fabulous evening when we had an exclusive classic concert at the Stift Klosterneuburg performed by The Vienna Imperial Orchestra, it was a truly magical event. The next day we arrived into the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, where we had a walking tour of the city taking in the sights of the Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin. On our final day we arrived in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, and what an arrival as we sailed in - absolutely breath-taking! We had a guided tour of the city sights including the Royal Palace of Buda, hilltop castle complex and the Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest. And on our final night we had an evening cruise along the Danube passing under the city’s numerous bridges while in the Horizon Lounge, where we spent the evenings. We were entertained by a Hungarian folk band and dancers, it was a fabulous evening! It was very sad to leave this lovely ship and all the staff who made the week for all of us a truly memorable experience, and I thank each and every one of them and the staff from Emerald Waterways. For the week we were on board the Emerald Sun, we were looked after so well, nothing was too much trouble and the cuisine and service was superb. This was my first experience of river cruising and I can honestly say I am now and truly hooked! I shall certainly be looking to book my own holiday river cruising ( the 18 day Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River is very tempting!) I also will be highly recommending it to my clients, a magical experience not to be missed and a great way to tour Europe and other parts of the world.

Central America Adrenalin

19 November 2014

CATA / G ADVENTURES Wow! What a day to start. After the long haul flight in to San Jose with Iberian Airlines, we overnighter in San Jose and rose for an early start for the 1st road trip to La Fortuna. Giving us our first views of Costa Rica's landscape. Very green and very hilly. Taking the road through the valley to the beautiful town of La Fortuna. A journey of around 4 hours. The early start meant we saw the glorious sunrise and the colours of Costa Rica unfolding around us. On arrival at La Fortuna we went straight in to the action. Famed for its glorious waterfalls, where better to start than with Waterfall Canyoneering. After a safety check with our guides off we set in the 4 x 4 to the top of the waterfall. Not for the faint hearted – I was to discover – but what an amazing experiences, abseiling down the waterfall in 3 big drops and walking and swimming through the river. Adventure all the way, with a dramatic storm to finish with! This was the first and as I discovered not the last Adrenalin rush of the week! Once we were all dried, fed and watered and laughed over the photos taken we set off for the visit to our first volcano and lava field, with spectacular views of Lake Nicaragua which would be crossing on day 2. Our knowledgeable guides explaining all about the now dormant volcano, the flowers, fauna and wildlife that surrounded us, including snakes, frogs and spiders – eek! Can you believe we are still on day one of our G Adventure when we head of the much needed and wonderful sight of the hot spring pools and lagoon to spend the rest of the evening swimming in the pool with the odd cocktail form the swim up pool bar. Day 2 : A more civilised start! Leaving La Fortuna at 8.30, we took a short journey down to the lake for a crossing which took about an hour as we headed up out of the valley to Santa Helena and the Monteverde region on rainforest and clouds. We headed along the untarmacked roads, which added to the fun, and arrived after a couple of hours of travelling to the small, colourful town. Taking in a properly filtered Costa Rican coffee is a must, the technique of pouring the water through the coffee is an art in itself! Activities today were more slow paced than the adrenalin of the waterfalls, but no less fun. Horseriding – you don’t have to have any experience – Tim! As you ride around the hills, and forests and coffee plantations taking in the sights and sounds, I was finding that this was a beautiful and friendly country. After being totally wiped of the floor in the nightclub in La Fortuna – had left that embarrassing episode out, Our CEO, who knew a man that taught Salsa arranged for us to have an hour of Salsa Dancing classes, to build up our appetite for dinner – I don’t think you will see anyone on Strictly Come Dancing anytime soon! Day 3 : The day started with a walk through the Cloud Forest, the rain forest with ancient trees and plants, Jurassic and beautiful. Our guide took us through the pathways explaining the diversity and the importance of the rainforest to us and the planet and showed us many things that only the trained eyes could see – stick insects and bugs and even a rather large - and so he says harmless - tarantula. Hmmmm.. will take his word for that! The Adventure was then back with the zip wiring through the rain forest canopy. By 'through', I think they meant 'over', and by quite a considerable height! With our harnesses on once more we zipped our way through (over) the forest starting small and leading up to the longest zip wire in Central America of 1620m. A must for any adventurous adrenalin junkie finishing with the Tarzan Swing – need I say more! For those of you that have not had enough of an adrenalin for one day you could then head off to try a Bunjee Jump – needless to say I headed for the Coffee! Saint Helena – Ometepe. Another pre-dawn start for our longest journey from the clouds back to sea level to cross the border leaving behind Costa Rica and enter Nicaragua. This journey would take around 5 hours with stops for breakfast and refreshments along the way. A journey of beautiful scenery and winding roads, it really did not seem to take anywhere that long. The border crossing had to be done by foot, so it was off the bus, bags on and walk through the border agencies of both countries separately. Extremely busy and all a bit mad, and very glad we were with Allan our amazing CEO to guide us through the hustle and bustle and take us through to join our bus for the last leg of the journey. Apart from one of our group having a slight temperature and failing the Ebola checks in place! All ran smoothly – they let him in eventually! As we had a wait for the ferry that would take us across to the Volcanic island of Ometepe Island we headed for the beach for lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the busy town of San Juan de Costa. On a normal Gtour you would stay for a couple of days, but we only had a couple of hours before boarding the ferry across the Lake to our next destination of Ometepe and finding out first hand about GAdentures Planeterra project, supporting the local communities with home stays and funding for local community projects, to better the lives of those living here. On arriving at the Island my first impression was that it was a lot busier than I imagined, but this was only in the centre of the town and around the port, we were soon leaving that behind on the short ride to where we would stay. We were met by our hosts, and taken to their homes and shown were we would be staying for the next 2 nights, very much like bed and breakfasts, we ate one evening meal with the family of which you were staying. It was a great way to really absorb the culture and way of life and learn immersed into the way of life. Day 4/5/6 After 2 nights here we took the ferry back across to mainland Nicaragua and onto the colonial city of Grenada. This was a great journey on our first sample of local transportation. The bus station was colourful and vibrant with people selling absolutely everything you could think of! The buses are called Chicken buses and are used by everyone to get everywhere. Called chicken buses as on some parts of the journey it stopped and picked up and dropped off everyone from school children to pensioners and people just getting on the bus to try and sell you some sweets or fruit to shampoo! Hooting horns as they passed other buses was just great great fun, and got very crowded. Certainly no quotas on people seating and standing on these buses. If you squeeze on, you could get on. On arrival of Grenada we walked the city visiting the Cathedral tower to get views across the whole city and I must say I think we all feel slightly in love with the city. A small city but amazing. The main square was awash with people lined by horse and carts and amazing buildings. It was a city that was awash with colour and the sounds of Latin music seeping from buildings, you get the feeling that the city has not changed much over the centuries. Day 7: We finished our journey through Central America with an evening trip up to one of the 260 active volcanos through Nicaragua, Masaya. What an amazing experience. Looking into the Volcano as the sulphur sent continuous plumes of smoke into the air and after a walk through the darkest of caves! We got as close as close and saw the active lava lake bubbling below us. We come to the end of our whirlwind trip through Central America and how we fitted so much in such a short trip I will never know!

An African Adventure part 3- Johannesburg

17 April 2014

Our last destination was Johannesburg. Here we stayed at the Emporor’s Palace D’Oreal, just 10 minutes from O R. Tambo International airport. It is definitely the best airport hotel ever! With an attached casino, fantastic pool area and great restaurant it was a definitely a great place to either start or finish a holiday. We travelled back to arrive just after lunch so spent the afternoon by the pool and having a fantastic dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. A trip into the casino after dinner did not prove very fruitful! Our last day here we had a private tour planned to see Johannesburg and Soweto. Collected from our hotel we headed along the main roads to Soweto and to Vasikali Street. The only street in the world to be the home of two noble peace prize winners. One still lived there, Reverend Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. Nelsons’ house is now a museum. After spending some time here we stopped at the memorial square for Victor Pieterson. Much has changed from the images of Soweto that we remember seeing on the television during the years of Apartheid and industry in many ways is thriving. After driving through central Johannesburg it was back to our hotel and then onto the airport for our return flight home back to London and home, and the end of our amazing African adventure that was just amazing in every way.

AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE – Part 2 Sun City

14 April 2014

Our next destination was back to civilisation with a five night stay at The Palace of the Lost City, Sun City. After flying back to Johannesburg, a transfer of 2.5 hours took us to this luxury and exclusive resort. With its high ceilings, marble floors and amazing grounds with gardens and water falls it is a complete polar opposite of our previous stops! On checking in we were shown to our room, and shown where everything was kept and what was available, and wine and fresh fruit waiting for us. The palace offered three restaurants, Plume (French cuisine), Grill (speciality steaks and fish which turned out to be our favourite) and Crystal (a buffet restaurant). As palace guests you also dine at the restaurants and use the facilities of all the other hotels and areas on Sun City. This is made up of four hotels; Palace, Cascades, Sun City Casino, and Cabanas. There is a central entertainment centre with shops, games arcades for the children and informal dining areas like Nandos and Mexican, and a cinema. The Valley of the Waves Water Park has a man-made beach and huge wave pool. There are two 18 hole golf courses; The Gary Player Nedbank course and the Palace course, which we played. There are also Segway safaris, which we also did and it was great fun! There is also the casino and tennis courts. There is a 24 hour transportation system to take you around the resorts facilities and staying in the Palace meant this was complementary, and always to hand. We could do as little or as much as we wanted and there is definitely something for everyone. Waiter bar service and snack service around the pool meant I didn’t have to move from my sunbed for my afternoon cocktail! Although this is a very opulent five star resort, the costs here were really good, with a three course evening meal with wine and drinks for the three of us in the a la carte restaurants costing around £20 a head. Golf at the Gary player Nedbank course, with hire of clubs and caddy (which is compulsory) for 18 holes with food at half way house was around £60 per person. The Palace course was around the same but with a buggy not a caddy, which is also compulsory.

AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE – Part 1 – Botswana and Namibia

14 April 2014

We have just returned from the most amazing holiday. Plentiful of adventure and experiences. All in a good way! Out first destination was Impalila Island Lodge. Situated where the four countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet. The journey began flying from Heathrow to Johannesburg on a flight of just over 11 hours, then taking a connecting flight to Botswana of just an hour to Kasane Airport in Botswana. From here we were taken by minibus to a jetty to meet our transfer by boat with a man who turned out to be our game ranger and companion for the first four days of this adventure – TT. After passing through immigration in Botswana in the space of 10 minutes we then started our transfer down the Chobe River, stopping at another immigration office, this time for Namibia. We then went on to our lodge; Impalila Island Lodge. We were greeted by the staff on the wooden jetty as the lodge was based right on the river banks of the Mombova Rapids, close to the meeting point of the mighty Zambezi and Chobe rivers. The lodge has only eight rooms. Each is individually located around the river banks with an infinity pool and decking area and outdoor restaurant area. This really is beautiful and peaceful – except for the resident hippo who reminded you he was there with his calls frequently and the birds and other wildlife to keep you company. We were here for three nights and our game drives were taken along the rivers in the early morning and evening, returning for breakfast or dinner. We saw hippo, elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, baboons, monkeys and amazing birdlife. It was a completely different experience from land based safari game drives. Whilst here we also went fishing on the Zambezi for tiger fish; big fish with big teeth! We all caught plenty, TT seeming to know where all the fish were! If fishing or bird watching is your thing, this is one place you have to visit. We also took a walk one morning through the local village, which was around 10 minutes away and passed the local tree to the enormous Baobab, which is thought to be around 2000 years old. Seeing the local life was wonderful. Anything we had wanted to do on the river was arranged and was never any trouble. We could do as little or as much as we wanted. After our three nights here we left for Elephant Valley Lodge, bordering the Chobe – Land of the Giants, in Botswana. After returning by river back to Kasane, this time our transfer was by road for about 30 minutes to Elephant Valley Lodge, a game lodge with around 23 luxury tents situated overlooking a water hole, which was always busy. We were unfortunately only here for one night but as soon as we arrived we had lunch and left for our first game drive into the Chobe. It was a 20 minute drive to the entrance into the reserve, but your game drive really began on leaving the lodge as we saw plenty of elephants and bush bucks even on the transfer. The game rangers were excellent and we were in the reserve until it closed for the night at sundown. As we were leaving at 11 o’clock for our flight back to Johannesburg we didn’t think we would get another game drive, but our ranger realising this asked if we minded getting up early? So the next morning our wakeup call was at 5 am! We left the lodge at 5.20 to be the first at the gates of the park for opening at 6am. This meant we had another three hour game drive just for the three of us, before returning to Elephant Valley to get breakfast and leave for our flight. Fantastic. End of Part One.

Alluring Allure!

13 December 2013

I have just returned from a week in the Caribbean on the Allure of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Oasis Class fleet of ships. What an amazing week it was. I was a little apprehensive knowing the size of the ship and the amount of passengers and crew on board, but I need not have been. Yes the ship is large, but there are so many fantastic areas on board from kids clubs, to card rooms, bars and a nightclub, and even a comedy club. The evening entertainment was performed by professionals that have performed in the West End of London and Las Vegas. The Oceanaria show performed from diving platforms and underwater was just amazing. There is an area of boardwalk which has a fairground carousel, Central Park with garden area, restaurants, a café and a winery! The main Royal promenade was beautiful and had an array of shops, a sports bar, a champagne bar and even an English style pub. The central feature was a bar called The Rising Tide, which raised and lowered between the Royal Promenade and Central Park – whoever thought of that! The cabins were spacious, and very comfortable, from the inside cabins to the suites and with 39 different types to choose from there is one there for you. The ship has a specific check in area to cope with the passengers embarking and disembarking and it went very smoothly and easily. Considering that the ship was going to be full, there were minimal queues and they moved very quickly. Once on board, as I have said, there is something for everyone, and it is a very beautiful ship. There are plenty of restaurants on board as well as the main dining room. The Chefs Table, and restaurant 150, for the finest of dining experience. Italian, Mexican, Brazilian and Oriental are also on offer in the other restaurants. The drinks packages which are purchasable either before or once embarked are a must buy. You can have soft drinks packages through to premium champagne and cocktail packages which ranged from $20 – $55 a day, but it will save you a lot of money by the end of your cruise, and also makes your holiday a fully inclusive one on a level that you wish. I travelled around the Caribbean. From Miami we had a day at sea and then arrived at Labadee in Haiti – their own private island. You could use your drinks packages on the beach here, and a wonderful barbeque was set up for you to dine so food was also included. The following day I woke up to the beautiful site of Jamaica. The port area of Falmouth didn’t offer much, but any of the excursions on board meant a good day of activities to suit all, or if you prefer to go your own way, an authorised taxi can take you to Montego Bay for as little as $10US. I chose the excursion to Red Stripe beach, which was a private beach area. After another day at sea, and making the top of the climbing wall, I had a go at one of the surf Flo-Rider pools the next day and we arrived at a new port of Cozumel in Mexico. Again the port doesn’t offer much other than few shops so I would definitely recommend a taxi away to a place called Chankanaab which was around $10US, and an entry fee of $21US. This is a beach which also had a rainforest area, wildlife and the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. This could also be done as an on board excursion if you prefer. Trips to the Mayan ruins are also organised. It was an amazing day and highly recommended. This was my final port of call as the following day was spent back on board to enjoy the last day and night on board before waking up back in Miami. I had an amazing time, and will definitely be going back for a family holiday and can highly recommend to you. So why not give me a ring and get yourself a great cruise holiday.

A Trip Down Under

09 July 2012

On arrival in Sydney after the long but pleasant flight with China Southern Airlines, I couldn't wait to get into the city and see for myself what it had to offer. The journey from the airport into the centre of the city took about 30 minutes. Our check in at the Four Seasons went smoothly and the hotel is only a two minute walk to the Circular Quay waterfront and the Harbour Rocks area. My room had the most spectacular view of the Opera House directly in front of me and the Harbour Bridge to my left, you really wouldn’t want to have any other view from the hotel window. We headed straight out for lunch at the Opera House Kitchen, a great outdoor eating area offering everything from Sushi to Italian. We then took a guided tour of the Opera House, learning about the history of the build, all the different performing concert halls and performers past and present. It’s not just one giant hall but made up of many, you need to go and see yourself! The following day we headed for Bondi Beach, home of the lifeguards and surfers, and took the coastal route walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach. This is the best way to see the coastline and I recommend you do this and take a break in one of the cafes lining the streets overlooking the ocean. Later that afternoon we went onboard the Harbour Cruise as well which was lovely. The next day we were off to the Gold Coast. The airport is only an hour’s flight from Sydney and when we landed we made our way to Byron Bay, which is found under the shadow of Mount Waring. Byron Bay is a great little town, with plenty to do if you’re more adventurous. We had a little adventure of our own when we went kayaking with the turtles and dolphins. The dolphins playing around alongside the kayaks was just brilliant. The next day we were up early for the sunrise and went for a walk along the beach, up the coastal walk to the Lighthouse, which is set on the most Easterly point of Western Australia and gives the most amazing views down to Byron and Watergos beach. From here it was more exercise as we headed off towards Lennox Head for our surfing lessons with Mojo Surf, which was really fun. After surfing we headed inland to Crystal Castle with its acres of lush gardens, panoramic views, amazing natural crystals and exquisite jewellery. I would definitely recommend a visit there. You can stroll the Buddha Walk, where you’ll see Australia’s biggest Blessing Buddha. There's also the popular Aura Photography, as well as Tarot and Astrology Readings. After a lovely few days on the Gold Coast it was back to Sydney and ‘Bridge Climb’ day - not for the faint hearted! We were taken through a safety briefing and even a breathalyser test! Everyone is breath tested as no one is permitted to climb if they have any level of alcohol in them. We were given suits to wear, and put into harnesses that clip to a wire along the side of the pathway up the bridge. The climb takes about two hours up and back down and it’s a must! I have no head for heights at all, but the guides are brilliant. The views were amazing and something you have to do in Sydney. That evening we headed around to Darling Harbour to the Theatre. Although not the West End or Broadway the theatre is buzzing and a great way to spend an evening. The next morning we took the ferry across to Toronga Zoo where we had an escorted tour with Aborigines, telling us the meanings of the animals to them and the stories associated with them. A new feature of the zoo is some Safari style tents which have the most amazing views across to the City and the Opera House. You can rent these out and spend a night in the zoo! And on New Year’s Eve it has a commanding view of the celebrations in the Harbour. All too quickly our trip had come to an end and we were heading back to the airport for the flight back to London. During my time there I dined at some amazing restaurants (and drank some fantastic Australian wine!) I visited some beautiful hotels and apartments. Australia, When are you going?

Brilliant Babados

21 September 2011

Brilliant Barbados! I have just returned from what can only be described as a fun packed visit to Barbados. There is something for everyone in this great destination and the Bajan vibe is certainly contagious! From self catering apartments, to boutique hotels and all inclusive properties - however you like to holiday there is somewhere for you on the island for you. Blessed with beautiful beaches and the calm seas of the Caribbean, the west coast is now known as the ‘Platinum Coast’, as the cost of the property and land is some of the highest in the world. The east coast has the most beautiful scenery, a rugged coastline and the Atlantic rolling offering some of the best waves for surfing in the world. A visit to DaAction surf shak to sample the Bajan Beach life and watersports lesson was a fabulous day. Barbados is a very safe island. Hiring a car and taking yourself out and about to really very easy and you’ll discover some fantastic restaurants and places to eat out and sample the local food. Oistens Fish Market by day and a buzzing nightlife with food outlets with the freshest fish you can get makes Friday night Oistens night. If you are looking for Michelin star foods, make a reservation at Daphnes restaurant. Set on the beach in Paynes Bay, attached to The House hotel. Whilst in Babardos, I visited lots of hotels including The House, Turtle Beach, Crystal Cove, and The Colony Club, whilst staying at The Tamarind. All are very different and have something to offer everyone and every type of holiday; family holidays, groups and honeymoons. If you want to know more about the fabulous island of Barbados please give me a call.

Amazing Azamara with F1

02 June 2011

I had just had one of the most exciting and relaxing weekends. Flying to Nice and embarking on a 4 cruise on board Azamaras' 5 star luxury ship The Journey. And what a Journey! The ship was small in comparison to the new super cruise ships, and bought you back into the personal service and luxury. Checking was smooth and unarduous, not leaving you with that exhausted feeling we often have when arriving out our destination when we have checked in and flown, transferred and re checked in. Our cabin was lovely. We had opted for an outside deluxe with balcony on deck 8, it was spacious and bright, with everything you could need supplied. A stocked mini bar with complimentary soft drinks, and spirits and wines to purchase. The ship has a main restaurant, a cafe buffet restaurant and 2 additional speciality restaurants. And the food and the service was exceptional. Wines and soft drinks, coffees are complimentary throughout meal times. There is a nightclub on board, for those who like to party into the early hours, a casino, Piano bar for something more relaxed, and quiet, and on deck entertainment in the evenings, to enjoy the warm nights outside. The staff on board were excellent. Very attentive and nothing any trouble, a ratio of almost 2 staff to each passenger. Our itinerary over the 4 nights was perfect. Setting sail on the Thursday evening we woke up the morning overlooking the harbour of Portifino, Italy. Known as one of the prettiest ports in Italy. We had a whole day to explore here, before leaving for our next destinations, St Tropez. A beautiful town on the Cote d'Azur, The streets were bustling with local painters, and street artists. Street cafes where you could sit and sample the best Moules Frites ever! Again after a full day we set sail around midnight, The last tender coming back to the ship and 23:30 so you could spend Saturday night on the town in St Tropez. We woke up Sunday morning with a buzz of excitement, the tender to shore was going to be busy today, and no laying in today! Today the ship was going to be quiet, with almost everyone disembarking to watch the highlight of any French Rivieras year, The Monaco Grand Prix. Cant say that i am an F1 Fan, but the atmosphere was electric. The weather was hot, the noise phernominal. A great great day. I think almost everyone has seen the Grand Prix on the television, but to walk on the roads that they race on and see how narrow they are, and seeing how fast they race was mind blowing. The noise of the cars reverberate around Monacos harbour. Now thats a place to be! The yachts in the Harbour, were stunning, so if your not into cars there's the boats to see that have moored in just for the race. The Azamara left Monaco to a fabulous firework display and heading back to Nice for a disembarkation and return back home, to end what has been a long weekend away that I would recommend to anyone. I travelled with My husband and a group of our friends,most had never cruises before and all are converted to the world of cruising and everything it offers. Were ready to return next year, go on give it try!

Viva Las Vegas

10 November 2010

Every year, Travel Counsellors take an elite group of GOLD Travel Counsellors away on a conference somewhere overseas, and this year the venue was Las Vegas! We stayed in the 5* Encore which is an all suite hotel, attached to its sister hotel the Wynn. The rooms I have to say are the largest ‘standard’ rooms I have ever stayed in and are probably as large as the ground floor of my 4 bedroom house! The property is huge and you need a map to orientate yourself or trust me you will get lost! It is situated on the Strip so well located for all that Las Vegas has to offer. It also has a golf course, several swimming pools, theatres, restaurants and entertainment venues so is a mini resort in itself. One of the highlights was to take a trip over the Grand Canyon, We were taken to the airport at the opposite end of the Strip, just a 10 minute car journey, where we boarded our helicoptor. The excursion took about 4 hours in all, and the whole time was just amazing, flying over the Hoover Dame, flying low through the Canyon and landing right down in the Canyon was just awesome. Another highlight are the shows, No where outs in a show like Las Vegas. I managed to see two amazing performances: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Viva Elvis’ at the Aria Resort and Casino which was really excellent and more of a tribute history, and ‘Le Reve’ at the Wynn theatre which was really superb with some amazing effects. Most shows cost from about £80 per ticket but you can get discounted tickets on the day from several outlets in the city. Our visit to Las Vegas coincided perfectly with England’s match against the USA in the world cup, so where else would we watch it but at the Venetian/Palazzo’s very own sports bar – Lagasse’s stadium. What a great venue! We enjoyed excellent private dining surrounded by countless large television screens, and an upper gallery of US fans! It was probably just as well it was a draw! Amongst all the fun, we did get to do some work. We did a few hotel inspections, and I managed to see the Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay. However Las Vegas is one of those places where you can stay in one hotel, but visit many for dining and entertainment. The key is to get out and about and experience lots of what the city has to offer. I haven’t mentioned the gambling here but it is everywhere and you can opt to take part in it or not. It is more obvious in some hotels rather than others, and the stakes can be high. However this is not all Las Vegas has to offer. This was just a short break of 4 nights and we managed to squash a lot in. It is an amazing place and can be combined with anywhere else in the US, so make a plan to include it in your future American holiday itinerary!

German Christmas Market

05 January 2010

I was visiting friends in Germany in Christmas and have heard so much about the German Christmas Markets that I wanted to visit. It was about an hour by train from where I was staying, and I must say the German Trains were very prompt and extremely clean and comfortable. Dortmund was a lovely place with loads of shops. The market spread throughout the shopping area with hundreds of stalls. Lots of stall selling Gluwein and Beer! There was also a lot of stalls selling traditional christmas decorations including the hand carved wooden decorations and Traditioanl Nutcrackers, and glass. On the whole I had a lovely day and would definitely go again. Although the market wasn't as big as I thought. I personally would recommend Hamburg or Berlin for Germany.

A passage through India

05 January 2010

WOW! What a Journey. I have just returned from the most amazing trip through India. Flying out to Mumbai (Bombay to most of us!) with Kingfisher Airlines, seat pitch of 34" and very comfortable with individual seat back entertainment. There is a +5 hour time difference between the UK and India and the flight takes 8 1/2 hours. . The purpose of my trip was to experience the New Maharajah Deccan Odysey Train from Delhi to Mumbai. The train also does the return itinerary from Mumbai to Delhi. This was only the 2nd week the train had been operating. The first day was spent touring New and Old Delhi, It was very congested and with the most amount of traffic and people I have ever seen in one place! I took a rickshaw ride through the Meenha Bizaar, which was an experience! In the evening we visited Raj Ghat - the memorial that marks the spot the Mahama Gandhi was cremated. Boarding the train in the evening from its own platform we travelled through the night to arrive at the next destination - Agra. Home to the Taj Mahal and the Red fort. Agra was magical and the Taj Mahal as impressive as can be. I now know why everyone must put this on a list of "Lifetime things to do". From Agra to Jaipur. Here you can take an elephant back ride up to the Amber Fort and visit the City Palace. The most impressive building here is the Hawa Mahal which is also known as the "Palace of the Winds" Built in 1799 this is royal grandstand for women to watch city life go by without being seen by the outside world.. Day 4: In the morning I arrived at Sawai Madhopur and Rathambore National Park. It was a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the cities. Rathambore takes you into the story of The Jungle Book and is home to the tiger. Here we went on a game drive in the morning - and late afternoon. I was lucky enough to see one of the tigers - there are now 40 within the game reserve, which has a radius of 3 miles. Udaipur was the next stop on my weeks journey, widely known as the Venice of the East. It is a city of lakes and marble palaces. I visited Lake Pichola which is a beautiful place and is surrounded by hills, palaces and temples, bathing ghats and embankments. A stunning place. Day 6: This was the first day that we travelled through India during day light, as most of the travelling between destinations is through the night, arriving in Ahedabad just after lunch. This is a very old city and the highlight of the visit was the Jain Temple - one of the most beautifully decorated temples. The last full day of the tour was Aurangabad. We arrived and then took a two hour journey to the Ajanta Caves. This is the only tour in India which includes this on the itinerary, and is worth it. Temples have been hand carved in the stone creating caves and temples by the Buddhist monks. A very beautiful place with beautiful scenery. The train reached its final destination - Mumbai - the following morning. Disembarking the train at 08.30 I spent the day with a guided tour of Mumbai, which is a fantastic way to see the city in a short space of time. Our guide was excellent and this is a great city. I flew back to London with some amazing memories and will go back to India again. Visiting in November was lovely temperature wise, averaging 30 degrees with low humidity which is ideal for a sightseeing holiday such as this. I would recommend that you take an onward holiday making this a 2 centre trip ending with at least a few days just chilling out and sitting on a beach. This was a very full on, busy trip. The days are long and you can be off the train for up to 12 hours in a day. The train it self was excellent - the staff were very attentive and nothing was ever too much trouble. The food was amazing, with a choice of Indian or Continental every morning and evening. Sleep also was quite a luxury! As I mentioned earlier the train journeys through the night, and can be very rocky at times! This is after all Indian Railways! But it’s all part of the adventure!

Oman

03 February 2010

I was given the opportunity to jet off to Oman for a long weekend to have a look at some hotels and experience what this country had to offer! This sultanate is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UAE, and is home to a population of just 2.5M people, of which a third are expatriates from overseas. It has an incredible history dating back some 10,000 years and has four UNESCO world heritage sites. Oman also has a diverse topography with mountains and fjords, sand dunes and salt flats as well as lush green hills, desert and a 3100km coastline. A long weekend doesn’t give you much time to explore but we did manage to fit in a city tour incorporating the museum, the Grand Palace and the spectacular Grand Mosque which can accommodate 20,000 people at one time! The Omani culture is very much Islamic and you will see many beautiful mosques with their ornate golden domes throughout the city. You won’t find the sky scrapers and huge office blocks which dominate Dubai’s sky line: buildings are generally 4 storeys high and white with beautiful arches and a very Arabic look. Roads are excellent and traffic flows freely. There is evidence of building works but it is very low key. Visitors to this country are expected to show respect to the local customs, and we ensured that we covered shoulders and knees whenever we travelled out of the hotel. Care should also be taken when taking photographs. I stayed at the Al Bustan Palace hotel (Intercontinental) which is very luxurious and about 45 minutes out of the centre on a good beach, backed by mountains. It has a superb pool with plenty of space in the beautiful gardens. The rooms are beautiful and the beds were just wonderful! It offers great food and great service too. I also visited the Chedi hotel for lunch: it is very modern and has very clean lines in its design. The grounds are lovely and it is more conveniently located being only 15 minutes from the city centre. This is definitely a hotel for couples as they don’t welcome children, and the highlight here is the fabulous main restaurant with its show kitchens. Awesome! I also enjoyed a visit to the Grand Hyatt which was my favourite hotel: several elements in its design definitely give it the WOW factor including the huge stained glass window, the Bedouin tented areas throughout the hotel and the choice of restaurants and entertainment venues. Although the Al Bustan has by far the best pool area, this is a hotel I would definitely return to! One last meal out and I had that at the huge Shangri-La hotel which is three hotels in one. The Al Waha for families, the Al Bandar which is aimed at couples and was where I ate, and the 6* Al Husn which is extremely luxurious. The public areas and rooms at this hotel are indeed luxurious and the setting is fabulous too. I am keen to get back to this hotel and experience a stay here as what I saw on my brief visit looked amazing! Oman has more to offer than just the beaches though and I have picked up some great contacts for adventure experiences. I can offer all sorts of boat trips, trips out to see the countryside including wadis, forts, and mountain villages, as well as chances for more extreme sports such as sand vipers, dune bashing and off road motor biking! Diving is big here with an impressive coral reef and lots of ship wrecks. Traditional water sports such as sailing and fishing, as well as land sports are also available. Oman is also renowned for its turtles: some 20,000 of them come ashore every year to breed and I can arrange for you to witness this. It was hot when I was there – the temperature was in the 40’s but I didn’t find it too unbearable as it was a very dry heat. We flew with Oman Air: it is just 7 hours away and a time difference of just 4 hours. Oman Air was excellent with a seat pitch of 34” in economy and good food. They have new planes on order and will be extending their network to fly to Colombo and Male so great twin centres with Sri Lanka and the Maldives will be available soon. To sum up: this was a fabulous experience and I can’t wait to go back!

Dubai

30 March 2009

I have just returned form a whistle stop tour of Dubai! Travelling on the New A380 Airbus with Emirates - WOW - what an experience - and then staying at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm. The Atlantis was as impressive as it looks in all the brochures and newspaper reviews. The staff were very attentive, the rooms large and spacious with some even looking into the enormous fish tank as a view - bit bizarre but great! My room overlooked the Arabian Sea. The Aquapark adjoins the hotel and is free to those staying, and is open to the public at a charge. So if you choose to stay another hotel you now have the choice of here or the Wild Wadi at Jumeirah Beach. During our short stay I was looked after by Atlas Tours, whom were excellent and made sure we saw all the city has to offer, from shopping and the souks, to skiing in the Dome - fantastic- visiting a Mosque, and the desert 4 x 4 jeep safari in the afternoon and evening. If you’re going on a trip to Dubai, this really has to be top of the list. In the evening we had a barbeque in the desert under the stars which was beautiful. I also visited the Madinat properties including the Mina A Salam, and also the Fairmont and Jebel Ali hotels. Dubai really does have something for everyone, young and old, and is a great destination by itself and as a stop over destination on the way to South Africa, Australia, Indian Ocean and the Far East with good connections. The temperature was a lovely 30 degrees but was not humid at all. There is a huge amount of building work going on, but once on the beach and in the hotels it really is no bother, dust- or noise-wise. I was only there for 2 days in full and will definitely be going back to experience more...If you would like more information about a stay in Dubai, why not give me a call.

Christmas in the Alps

05 January 2009

This year we decided to get away for Christmas and plumped for the French Alps in a catered chalet. I chose Val Thorens as Christmas is still early for the ski season and Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, which can guarantee snow! And snow it did. Fantastic conditions on and off piste for both boarders and skiers. We arrived early evening Saturday and were met by our chalet host of fthe transfer coach, and shown to our chalet where a very welcoming 3 course meal with drinks was waiting for us. Our chalet was based in the Balcons 2400, which was at the top end of the resort, commanding fantastic views across the town and the mountains. Two of our party were non-skiers so this was great also for them. A ski-hire shop was next to reception and also an outlet for the Prosneige ski school was also based there. They were great. We all had the local ski pass which gave us more than enough runs for the week, although the area pass was just £20 more and gives access to the whole of the 3 Valleys. You could easily ski across to Meribel, Courcheval and back for the day. Our family pass - 2 adults and 2 children age up to 17 was approx. £500. Our boys, age 10 and 15 were booked in one of the many ski schools, the main ones being ESF and Prosneige, which were excellent. We chose Prosneige as we got 20% off the ski and boot hire for all of us. As I said before, two of our party were non -kiers, and I was slightly aprehensive before we left about how much they would have to do. I need not have been. The resort was easy to walk around. On arrival everyone pays a local tax of about £6 per person, and this pays towards keeping the roads etc. clear and also gives free bus travel to everyone in the resort, which lopped around every half an hour. This stopped outside our apartment. The walk was about 5 minutes downhill - 10 minutes back up! There were plenty of cafes on the edge of slopes, to sit and enjoy the view and watch the skiing. Loads of shops, indoor pool and sports centre. There was also a 6km toboggan run, the longest in Europe, which was fantastic! Anyone can do it - age 8 to 88! And it was the best fun, and a chance to toboggan like never before. We had the best weather, the snow was plentiful, and we had clear blue skies every day bar one, on the last day, we were greeted with 90kmh winds - so no skiing, unfortunately. This did clear by mid afternoon and a few brave souls did venture onto the lower slopes - not me! The lift pass was credited for this day. During the week the slopes were never busy, even though it was Christmas, and sometimes we were the only people on a particular run. There are so many runs and lifts, we never queued for the lifts. The pound dropping like a stone to 1 pound = 1 euro, has made eating out expensive, but everything else made up for this. My tip would to be stay in a hotel on half board basis, or a catered chalet. Our chalet was excellent. The bathrooms were not en-suite but, we did still have a bath/shower room to each room. The food was excellent, prepared by your host every day, except their day off, when you all eat out, although breakfast is prepared for you. Don't worry about sharing a chalet with someone you don't know. It's a great way to meet other people and you all have something in common straight away - Skiing and Boarding, If you want to know more about Val Thorens or any other ski resort than please get in touch. I will certainly be returning sooner rather than later!

Winter weekend Break/Conference

25 November 2008

I have just returned from our Annual conference held in Marbella. Staying at the Puento Romano Hotel. A leading hotel of the world. And this it certainly is. The hotel is located right in the middle of Puerto Banus and Marbella. Away from the busy resort, but just a 15 minute walk in either direction to each resort. The hotel is beautiful. The rooms well furnished and very comfortable, and although a large hotel, it is very spread out making it a calm oasis. Adjacent to the hotel is the Tennis Club where Davis Cup matches have been held. Ehilst here I found an excellent choice of hotels, excellent choice of restaurants, superb scenery into the mountains surrounding the area. Our conference was held in the Marbella Conference Centre, it was superb. Easy to access, just 5 minutes by coach or a 20 minute walk, and very well run. Whilst here I did an Adventure Challenge! This involved a 1/2 trip by coach up into the mountains and then taking part on orienteering (very short course)! mountain biking, abseiling, archery, rock climbing and blind folded driving!!!!! I was a very apprehensive, but need not have been. It was great fun, not too difficult so anyone could manage most if not all of the challenges and was a great team building afternoon. Golf courses in the area are also perfect. The area was a lot nicer than what I expected from the Spain we have know in the past. This is a more upmarket area of Spain, and the prices do reflect that. If you are looking for a weekend or mid week break in the winter, or even looking for somewhere to have a conference, Marbella is perfect. With temperatures around 23 degrees and sun, you cannot go far wrong. I enjoyed a wonderful weekend here.

My customer stories

Sent by paul bradnam

Jenni was just a joy to work with - organised, knowledgeable, full of enthusiasm and so helpful.

Sent by Ian Mccabe

Gave Jennifer a budget and said anywhere hot didn't mind where, came back with a fantastic deal to sidari. Brilliant customer service throughout, absolutely no problems

Sent by Charlotte Badenoch

Jenni our travel consultant is amazing at her job. Always professional and extremely informative about any aspects of planning our trips. We have booked all our breaks away with her now for the past 18 months, from Canada to Edinburgh and a few in between.

Sent by Tracey Clerc

Jenni was very patient, helpful and efficient helping us decide on and book our holiday. Would have no hesitation in recommending her to friends

Sent by Sharon Eames

Jen is my go to If I am going away I ring Jenni, Simple, as that I know everything will be taken care of and she knows what I need and like x

Sent by William Allen

Charming and very helpful. Seems to know what she's doing!

Sent by Evelyn Inman

I always receive great service from Jennifer Bradnam. I know that when I book my annual trip to see my son in Cyprus, Jennifer knows exactly what my requirements are. I have the utmost confidence in Jennifer, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend her services to friends. My daughter and her partner have used Travel Counsellors for over 15 years, and recommended Jennifer to me.

Sent by paula wood

Jennifer always adds small touches which are very helpful, printing off our paperwork and sending it to us together with our bagage labels which are always filled out for us. She is always very quick to reply with any requests and quotes nothing is too much trouble.

Sent by Philip Dingley

Jennifer has great knowledge of the hotels and locations available. She selected the perfect destination for our honeymoon.

Sent by Rebecca Manning

Excellent service! Very friendly and helpful, Wouldn’t use any other travel company now. Thank you

Sent by Emma Maillard

Jennifer Bradnam was fantastic. She responded to my emails incredibly quickly and was able to provide me with many different options. I always feel safe using Travel Counsellors. Thank you!

Sent by Lucy Newnes

Jennifer Bradnam was fantastic. She responded to my emails incredibly quickly and was able to provide me with many different options. I always feel safe using Travel Counsellors. Thank you!

Sent by Heidi Ince

Jenni was super helpful, extremely knowledgable about my particular holiday. She got me a fabulous unbeatable price. Was friendly and efficient. Will definitely use Jenni again for future holidays and will gladly recommend her to family and friends.

Sent by SALLY BURCH

Great personal service. Jenni always has time to answer any questions or queries I may have

Sent by Malcolm Hadley

Always friendly but most of all very helpful were vistas we’re becoming impossible you sorted out in minutes,

Sent by Keith Donno

Since we as a family started using Jennifer, It really is like the start of our whole holiday experience. She is always there at hand to answer any queries, you know that if anything doesn't quite go to plan. Just 1 phone call and she will sort it out. We would never use anyone else. Thank you Jennifer

Sent by Zoe Godfrey

Jenni always seem to know exactly what we want even if we don’t! Love that! Thank you Jenni x

Sent by Sharon Eames

I look to Jenni for all kinds of help and advice, she always looks after me and makes sure what we have is just what we asked for, and after all these years she knows what to do, it's very reassuring having her at the end of the phone.

Sent by Nicola Hickford

Jenni is always good at offering advice for any hotel choice that we may suggest, whether it be positive or negative. We have never been disappointed with her choice for us

Sent by Lindsey Cornish

Excellent friendly service!! Thank you very much

Sent by Lesley Cooper

Excellent service - not only recommend but use ourselves from now on

Sent by Sheila Lithgo

It’s important to me to actually talk to someone in this age of technology, so much is pre-recorded or email, I prefer to speak to someone

Sent by Sharon Mattheus

Jenni literally saved the day. I had booked what I thought was a lovely holiday in Portugal for our 30th wedding anniversary to be told by numerous people that it may not be what I expected! When I spoke to Jenni she agreed that she wouldn't have chosen it for us so I promptly cancelled and Jenni found us the most amazing trip to Greece - can't wait to enjoy our 10 day break in beautiful Greece next month! Thank you Jenni

Sent by Amanda Lamb

Jennifer has gone above and beyond and helped to secure us a fantastic holiday. She is so easy to deal with, extremely helpful, always at the end of the phone and instinctively knows the sort of holiday we need. We'd be lost without her!

Sent by Andrea Garrad

Jenni is wonderful. I love it that she knows exactly what we want without me knowing it in the first place. Will use Jenni for everything!

Sent by Danielle Miller

Listened to specific constraints on timings & quickly came up with perfect short cruise break which looks like fantastic value for money. Love the envelope full of itineraries, flight info and luggage labels.

Sent by Paul Wilby

Jenni is always awesome at arranging whatever requirements I give her and do not hesitate to promote her where I can! I cannot imagine dealing with someone friendlier than the lovely Jenni!

Sent by Catherine Brimmer

Fast, efficient and friendly service and Jenni is great at coming up with suggestions.

Sent by Jeffrey Newnes

Jenny always goes above and beyond what we ask of her. We gave her very short notice on our half term holiday and she delivered us a great package, taking all the stress of us. Nothing seems to much trouble and she always has a smile on her face

Sent by sheila Lewis

We have always had very good service from Jennifer she is always very helpful

Sent by Austin Hornsby

Jennifer was very helpful and sorted our holiday out very quickly and with out any fuss.

Sent by SHARON EAMES

Jenny is kind and supportive with a wealth of helpful advice and knowledge to help us choose a destination for our honeymoon. She even came over to talk India through with us and then after discussion we ended up with singapore but jenny was really kind and understanding with our indecision. Many thanks to her we are very much looking forward to our honeymoon in Singapore Ubud and bali - so excited.

Sent by Ann Thompson

We wanted to thank you so much for a wonderful holiday. We will always remember it, Thank you so very much. Ann and Alex

Sent by Bob Parkin

She is brilliant!

Sent by Zoe Ball

Jenny has always been very patient with me and my families needs and wants for our holidays. We have used her services several times and have also recommended her to friends. 5 * treatment!

Sent by Keith Donno

Hi Jenni Just want to say a huge thank you for once again picking out the perfect holiday for us as a family. We had a fantastic time and it was just what we needed. Your a star.

Sent by Malcolm Hadley

This is the third time booking with Jennifer, who saves you money, But does not cut on service. We have recommend this service to many people they all come back and say nothing like the tour companies who take your money and forget you! This lady is very kind and understanding to all your needs, then when you arrive home contacts you and asks if everything was as you expected.

Sent by Michelle Thomson

We had the best holiday ever. It was beautiful, hot and the food was amazing. The apartment was big and so clean. We would definitely go back again one day and I have recommended the area to my friends. We ate out every night and couldn't get over how cheap the food was. Fav meal, olives, bread etc, 4 adult meals steak/mussels & squid, two cokes, large beer and bottle of wine....£51!!! It was delicious! So now I guess we start saving for next year! Where to next? :-)) Thank-you, all four of us agreed it was the best holiday.

Sent by Smriti Agrawal

Thanks for booking a lovely holiday for us. The hotels were great with fantastic locations (especially the Loews at Hollywood and Argonaut at San Fran.) Thanks once again. Wouldn't have been possible without your help and guidance.

Sent by Dave Clark

What a top notch holiday! From start to finish everything went without a hitch, your contact in Croatia (Elspeth) did you proud organising extra bits for us (Canoeing on the sea at night/ a day trip to Venice (tops!)/ making sure of times of transport and pick up etc) and the transfer company didn’t let you down either, unlike cabs here it was dead on time. Hotel staff great, rooms clean and stuff works, so you can’t ask for more. The gym at the second hotel was brilliant, and yes despite a full day walking/hiking it got a good 90mins use each day. I would more than recommend you to all I know, you gave my two lads and myseIf a chance to mix it up (some quality time) that due to my old work ive never been able to do before…..I don’t think any of us will forget the night canoe in the middle of the sea, at least a mile from shore with the biggest thunder and lightning storm over head Ive ever seen, just brilliant. Thank you.

Sent by Terence Mays

I already have recommended Jennifer to some friends in Somerset. We were very impressed by every aspect of the service provided and even when Jennifer was away on a break there was back up from another counsellor. Well done.

Sent by lesley Whiting

Before I spoke to Jenni I was having all sorts of difficulties finding a suitable location for a holiday. The high street agents didn't seem to know what I wanted and didn't even ask what my level of expenditure was. Jenni was professional from start to finish and sourced good locations. Even when we were not sure she was happy to look for further resorts. We are now sorted and looking forward to going on a fantastic holiday in March. Thank you Jenni.

Sent by Ray Thake

Since we dealt with Jen she has always been so good, quick, 1st class service you can’t beat her. I have recommended her to loads of friends and family and they say the same. Can’t fault her in any department.

Sent by Shanc Ellington

Thank you for booking our ski holiday. We can ski from our apartment down to the school. There’s lots of place to eat and shop. Today I skied from the top to the bottom of the blue run. Shenac. Age 8. Ps. They do very good hot chocolate here.

Sent by Paul Turner

Jenni was recommended to me by a friend over a year ago, and fortunately I'd kept her contact details. I sent her a brief description of what I was wanting, and over the weekend she had found exactly what I wanted. Jenni was very fast in not only replying to my mail, but booking my holiday as well. Have already told work colleagues about her. I would not hesitate in using Jenni again.

Sent by Tom Ryan

I would just like to say, how pleased I am with the service that I received from Jenni at Travel Counsellors. I have just returned from a trip to the Hotel Atlantis in Dubai. I can honestly say it was the best holiday I have ever had. Jenni's input from the very start and her knowledge of the resort and airline was outstanding. The whole holiday ran as smoothly as she promised, and it was reassuring knowing she was only a phone call away. I have already recommended her to several friends and family, and hopefully we will be returning to Dubai next year. Thank you Jenni for everything that you did. The personal touches went along way.

Sent by Douglas and Rosie Alexander

A definite 10. We absolutely loved our time in the Maldives. We would all say it was easily one of our favourite holidays ever. We swam with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and all the fish you could ask for. You really understood the type of place we like... simple, boutique-type hotel with friendly hotel staff with a big dollop of style. The people we met there were right up our street but the best part was having some quality family time. Thank you for understanding our needs even when we couldn't always put them into words. We'll definitely return to Maafushivaru.

Sent by Richard Knights

Great weekend and great hotel. We would certainly go back. The admin and support from you and the TC team was once again truly outstanding. Looking forward to the next trip.

Sent by Samantha Dyson

Jennifer was recommended to me by a work colleague and I have been really impressed with the prompt response and the options given to us. Excellent value for money and would 100% go to her again for future holidays.

Sent by Catherine Williams

Wow that was a fabulous holiday. Total luxury that couldn't be faulted. Beautiful room and amazing facilities. Thanks so much for a perfect recommendation!

Sent by Sadie Jones

This is the second time I have booked my family holiday through Jenni Bradnam. She is efficient, helpful and I would certainly recommend her.

Sent by Nena Harding

Jennifer has been so helpful and patient as this holiday unfolded, always listening to questions and ideas and working with me on the anwers and revising plans. A real star.

Sent by James Power

Jennifer was so helpful. She took her time with us as it is going to be an expensive holiday for the whole family. As we had been to Florida several times we know of the layout of things. She was so good at going through everything as if we had not been before. Would recommend her to family and friends.

Sent by Vicky Goodman

A massive thank you to Jenni for sorting our holiday this year and getting us such a good price - right in the middle of the school summer holidays! Super quick at responding to any emails or telephone calls. We really appreciated her coming to the house to arrange it too. The last holiday Jenni sorted for us was fantastic so we are really looking forward to this one.

Sent by Brian Ashwood

Jenni lives just around the corner and came to us to chat about what we want, sorted it and kept us upto date. It was not off the shelf but a put together trip.