Sent by Mike Hodgson
Based in Norwich
Welcome to Travel Counsellors. My name is Sacha and travel has been my passion ever since I started travelling around the world as a teenager. I have now visited over forty countries across six continents.
My experiences have included hiking and white water rafting in The Himalayas, skydiving over the Grand Canyon, touring through New Zealand in a motorhome, whale watching off the coast of California, sailing around the islands of Fiji, visiting iconic buildings and temples from the Taj Mahal to the Statue of Liberty. I have also travelled on trains throughout Europe, ferries and cruises around Japan and flights around the world. I have stayed at many of the beautiful beach resorts and hotels in the Caribbean, Mauritius, Australia and across Asia and the Middle East.
Travel has also meant that I have been able to indulge my other passion for wildlife and the natural world. I have been fortunate enough to see the ‘big five’ in Southern Africa, admire many of the world’s birds from the smallest in Cuba (the tiny Bee Hummingbird) to the giant Condors of the Andes. I have watched wild Orangutans in Borneo, Lemurs in Madagascar, snorkelled with giant Manta Rays in Fiji and watched Leatherback Turtles in Trinidad.
Over the last twenty years, I have worked in sales and management with a leading high street agent and now have the freedom with Travel Counsellors to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you whilst planning your next trip.
I am now based in the rural village of Brandiston in central Norfolk with my family.
One of the many advantages of being a Travel Counsellor is that I am available seven days a week. I can create a bespoke holiday and arrange any trip, from your dream honeymoon, fly-drives in the USA, detailed round-the-world itineraries to a weekend break in the UK or Europe. By getting to know you I can provide an enjoyable, effortless and tailored experience.
From the perfect tailor made bespoke holiday, package holiday or flight only I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you plan your next adventure.
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.
17 August 2022
To say that the last few years (prior to 2022) have been difficult for anyone working in travel / tourism, is putting it mildly. After 2 years of cancellations, refunds and hardly anyone being able to travel, it has been followed by a surge in people booking flights and holidays! With very little time off, a holiday was well needed, and we returned to a part of France that we love and have visited before. Périgord region in the SW of France – just east of Bergerac. Despite the news reports of overcrowded airports and long airport delays .. we experienced none of this. Either driving from the UK or as we did, flying and hiring a car from the airport, a car is probably essential. It means you can explore vineyards, sights and the markets easily. We stayed near the town of Bergerac and driving through the countryside here it sometimes feels like the villages have been deserted. You get the feeling that the countryside here may not have changed much in the last 100 years. It probably has not! One popular (if a bit touristy) excursion is a day canoeing down the Dordogne. Lots of companies offer it but we went with Canoe Détente and you can choose between 2-4-6 hr average durations. You park, are driven to the start point, which depends on the distance you choose and slowly canoe downstream. The water is clear and you can stop to picnic and swim, taking as long as you want to get back. Along the way you pass beautiful scenery, castles set into the rocks and peaceful spots to stop. Note, it can get busy with lots of others doing the same.. but does not detract from the day and great fun for kids of all ages. Lots of wildlife to look out for along the way. I saw Kingfishers, Peregrines, Egrets, Black Kites and Grey Wagtails .. no binoculars needed as you slowly drift past many of the birds. During the day it was so hot that most of the time was spent by the pool. We did take time out to visit some of the markets. Bergerac town has a good Saturday market with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and cheeses being sold. Why do the vegetables taste so much better here!? Evenings eating outdoors in the local restaurants .. with great wine but book early as many of the restaurants were busy each night. Whilst the rest of the family relaxed by the pool, or in the case of the two teenagers… slept until late morning, I went out to look for birds and butterflies in the valleys around our villa. Highlights were scarce Black Woodpeckers, displaying Honey Buzzards, Golden orioles, Pied and Spotted flycatchers. The large number and variety of butterflies here is quite spectacular too – Meadow Frittilary, Dryad, Swallowtail .. just some of the many species I recorded each morning. We loved our holiday so much that we are already booked to go back next year. Although we will be combining it with a few days surfing and staying by the coast near Bordeaux. A Summer holiday in Southern Europe .... something we will never get tired of!
04 September 2019
Schools have just started, and summer is already starting to slowly ebb away with cooler days and darker evenings. The school holiday season already seems like a distant memory, but it was only last week that I returned from a great two-week family holiday to Mallorca. Before we left, friends had commented on how ‘bad’ the exchange rate is and how expensive everything would seem. Well, we found that it was not necessarily the case! After a relatively short and trouble-free flight with Easyjet to Palma and short drive to the beautiful SW tip of the island we arrived at our resort between Port D’Andratx and Peguera, surrounded by pine forests and rocky coves. The view from our apartment was stunning and this was going to be my ‘office’ for a few weeks where I managed to work in between trips to the beach, the pool and the bars/restaurants… The beaches are busy in Mallorca, but it is a big island and full of ‘hidden’ coves. You sometimes have to scramble over rocks and through hidden tracks to get to some of these, unless you are the owner of one of the superyachts which seem to be all around the island at this time of year. As long as you don’t mind sharing the smaller coves with occasional nudists it means you can escape the busy resorts and crowded areas easily. We spent many days at this almost deserted cove which was a short walk away from our villa – the one thing to be careful of are the jellyfish which seem to be there occasionally. After Basta was stung by one on his arm it did scare the children but was soon forgotten when they carried on snorkelling, rock jumping, sunbathing and building sandcastles, all the things that make a beach holiday so relaxing. The weather was hot and sunny on almost every day of our stay. This is the great thing about going to Europe at this time of year. I do love the UK but the weather is such a hit or miss situation back home. The beauty of travel to the Mediterranean in August is that this does not (usually) have to be something to worry about, unless like me, you find the really hot weather a bit much sometimes. Reason enough, I think, to invest on the additional flight cost to get you out to Southern Europe, even in the height of summer. There was one day of rain, but this gave us the excuse to head to the hills and visit a beautiful Monastery at Lluc. The Monastery was a mixture of art gallery, museum and cafes. It even had an indoor play area which kept Nelle happy and after wandering through the various rooms and monastery grounds we stopped on the way back at a great local restaurant for lunch. During our stay I did manage to fit in a visit to the best nature reserve on the Island – Albufera Marsh in the North. If you want to experience close views of birds like Black-winged Stilts, Purple Gallinules and many egrets and herons then it is a very pleasant way to pass a few hours (free entry too). The rest of family spent the day at a nice sandy beach and managed to find a beach-front restaurant serving all you can eat breakfast buffet for around 8EUR per person. I missed out on this by the time I joined the others! Food/drink and value for money: The question is, is it still good value to travel to Europe? There is no denying that it is not as cheap as it used to be years ago, and it is certainly much cheaper in Asia or outside of the EU. However, the combination of short, cheap flights with good quality food, safe resorts and almost guaranteed good weather (in summer) make travelling to Europe a good choice. Whatever happens this year with Brexit, this will remain the case. We combined eating in our apartment (which had a small kitchen) with meals out. The cost of food in the supermarket was similar to the UK. If like me, you enjoy the odd glass of wine or beer you will find that wine is ridiculously cheap! (3-4EUR for some good local wines and not much more for better quality). We seemed to end up going back to a great Italian restaurant, Ciao Bello di Salvatore in Port D’andratx. It served pizzas and pasta as close to real Neapolitan food as you will ever get outside of Italy. Five of us with drinks (soft drinks, wine and beer) for around 80EUR a time. Followed by some of the best ice creams I have ever tasted at the busy ice cream shop on the harbour and cocktails from a cool side-street bar. We returned relaxed, tanned and missing our daily swims in the pool and in the sea. Not much more we would have wanted from a Summer holiday abroad. If you would like to book a similar trip please do call me. It is the second time we have visited Mallorca and I can recommend lots of great places to visit as well as being able to book flights and car hire when they are at their lowest rates. The pound may be weak but with a combination of inside knowledge and planning in advance it is possible to ensure you have the perfect European holiday. Sacha
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