Sent by Ruth Hatfield
York 6/19/2020 11:00:00 AM
Based in Knaresborough
Hello and thank you for visiting my web page. I’m Sue Manning, based in the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Boroughbridge, close to Harrogate. I have been fortunate to have travelled far and wide ever since I was knee high, yet still I have a never-ending list of exciting places to discover! After many years of living and working abroad I have now returned to the UK and am delighted to have joined the Travel Counsellors independent network of highly trained travel professionals.
So here's how I can help you. I know your time is valuable and you shouldn't have to spend it ploughing through travel brochures, trawling the internet or hiking up the high street to find your ideal holiday or next city break. Happily, I can offer you a far better and completely stress-free option of doing all that hard work for you! I can help you define exactly what it is you would like to get out of your holiday and match you with the trip that you actually want. I have the freedom to offer you a unique, flexible and truly personalised service, with access to a vast array of accommodation, flights and extras at some of the best rates in the industry - that's great news for your wallet!
Whatever kind of trip you fancy and whatever your budget, I will take the time to understand what's really important to you and I promise to listen carefully to your exact requirements. Let me piece together the jigsaw puzzle for you and take care of all the fiddly little extras, all of which combine to ensure the best possible experience for you. It's my job to stay on top of travel trends and upcoming hot destinations and to offer you a unique, smooth booking experience before, during and after your trip. And, crucially, every trip you book through me gives you 100% financial protection.
I am passionate about sharing the world with you and really look forward to hearing from you. You can contact me by phone or email at any time that suits you (no restricted office hours here!).
“Oh the places you’ll go!” Dr. Seuss
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.
20 June 2020
Having spent a good few years living and working in Mallorca, lockdown after my recent return to the UK has given me plenty of opportunity to reflect on my happy times there, in particular my life in the stunning town of Sóller, nestled in a large fertile bowl-shaped valley and famous for its orange groves and terraces of ancient olive trees. The gorgeous Port of Sóller spans a large horseshoe bay on the northwest coast of the island and sits in the foothills of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Serra de Tramuntana. What I love most about Sóller is that it is something of a hidden gem. Before the opening of the Sóller Tunnel in the 1990’s it was tricky to get to and so managed to emerge unscathed from the overenthusiastic tourist developments of the 70’s and 80’s. It has retained every bit of its traditional charm and rustic stone architecture. Nowadays road access from Palma and its airport takes a scant half hour and yet many visitors still opt to make the journey on a bone-shaking 100 year old wooden train. Originally introduced to transport citrus fruit from the valley to the capital, it is now one of Mallorca’s best-loved attractions. My Sóller day would start at 5.30am when I would pass through the deserted main square, the Plaça Constitución, which later would buzz with lively pavement bars and restaurants, music and dancing. My first stop was always the local bakery, Forn Es Pa Pagés, to pick up fresh bread, croissants and ensaimadas (local sweet pastries) for guest breakfasts at Casa Bougainvillea, the boutique hotel where I worked. Guests always wanted to know the best places to visit locally and I never knew quite where to suggest – there are so many! Culture vultures loved the Ca’n Prunera museum of modernism, an elegant masterpiece mansion at the far end of the main shopping street, La Lluna. Think intricate floor tiles, window engravings, spiral staircase, modern art and sculpture garden. The 13th century Baroque San Bartolomé church is a sight to behold as it dominates the main square. On the opposite corner sits the most striking Santander Bank you will ever see! Its daringly modernist frontage was designed by a disciple of Gaudi. Nature lovers tend to head for a “tasting” stroll around the Ecovinyassa, a lush organic citrus farm, or the Alfabia gardens, a former estate with an historic gothic-style house, 18th century water fountains and tropical gardens. I remember once attending a bizarre musical evening event here – a blend of beatboxing and flamenco! Probably never to be repeated… Those craving a nautical experience should check out what the Mezzo Magic team down in the port have on offer. Heavenly sailing excursions on a fine fleet of luxury sailing yachts and motorboats. Half day, full day, sunset or overnight and beyond. After a long day grafting in 80% humidity and temperatures up to 40°C, we would often hop on the quaint vintage tram down to the port for a cooling swim in the sea and an evening picnic on the beach, now appealingly clear of all sunbathers who had by now headed off for evening cocktails and dinner. Another favourite question from the hotel guests was “can you recommend a good place to eat?”. Don’t get me started. Try Ca’n Pintxo, legendary tapas bar famous for “pintxos”, mini skewers of finger food, each one an art form in itself. For a mountainous salad and a gaspingly super-strength gin and tonic, head to our buzzing Saturday night local on the main square, Sa Granja, run by brother and sister act Juanpe and Belen. A favourite haunt of the locals was Bar Molino, tucked away on the outskirts of town with mountain views from the rustic terrace and offering simple but delicious local fare. Down in the port there is a fabulous choice of hotels, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. One of my consistent favourite eateries would undoubtedly be Só Caprichos, set in an elevated position with sweeping views across the harbour. Steak on the stone, fabulous fish and ice cold rosé…. Leaving the port and heading on towards Deià and Valdemossa look for the clifftop Na Foradada restaurant. This is THE spot for sipping cocktails against the background groove of live DJ chill out tunes and one of the best sunset views on the island. The ambience is so romantic that one of our friends actually re-proposed to his wife here! My most memorable experience in Sóller? Es Firó – the Moors and Christians festival! Everybody loves a party, but this is the mother of all parties! Devilishly wild, noisy and typically chaotic! The annual May fiesta draws in thousands of costumed revellers to reenact the unsuccessful Moorish siege of the island. The celebration involves mucho music, dance, wine, fireworks and gunfire! But beware, if you don’t book your wristband well in advance, you won’t get anywhere near… Although Sóller, for me, was a place where I lived and worked, a place where I led an everyday life and not a holiday adventure, I could not help but be drawn in by its magical ambience, an irresistible blend of rustic and traditional, mountains and sea, elegance and chaos, modernist and Gothic. It is a place to which I shall return often, not just to relive old memories, but also to create new ones.
14 April 2020
Our 3-week Thanksgiving Amtrak train journey along the USA’s east coast from Boston to Washington DC took us not only via New York, but also via incredible Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love. A large, yet surprisingly compact city densely packed with culture, history and oozing with personality! Where did we stay? We bagged ourselves an unbelievable deal at the 4* Kimpton Monaco Hotel. And wow! Just wow! An upscale and dazzling city centre adaptive re-use project of the historic Lafayette Building on the corner of 5th and Chestnut, the bold design in this hotel is cleverly interwoven with distinctive pieces of Philly culture. And the hosted evening wine hour in the lobby lounge went down very nicely thank you! We treated ourselves to a Corner King Spa Room on a high-up floor with 180° views of the Independence Historic National Park and the Liberty Bell. The bathroom featured a deep vintage soaking tub with an enormous (no room for modesty here) picture window … and a yoga mat. What did we get up to? Our 3-day Philadelphia Explorer Pass saved us around 40% on the top attractions and we made great use of the included Hop On – Hop Off bus to get a good grasp on what we wanted to see more of. Departing directly from the hotel doorstep in the Old City, where the Founding Fathers did all their founding and fathering, we embarked upon a time-travelling walkabout to take in the so-called “Birthplace of the United States of America”. First stop Independence Hall, where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. Next stop the Liberty Bell, iconic symbol of American independence, which cracked in the early 1840's after nearly 90 years of hard use. Attempts at repairs proved unsuccessful and the bell was silenced forever. Nobody living today has ever heard the bell ring. We strolled on along whimsical cobbled streets to Betsy Ross House, purportedly home to the seamstress who deftly stitched the first ever Stars & Stripes flag in the 18th Century. Scare Yourself Silly in Philly! The Eastern State Penitentiary. Opened in 1829 and quite possibly the creepiest place I’ve ever visited. Prisoners here were not allowed to interact with other prisoners in any way. They ate alone, exercised alone and read the bible (the only book they were allowed) alone. They weren’t allowed to talk to each other or to the guards. On the rare occasion they were taken out of their cells, hoods were put over their heads. Guards even wore felt shoe covers to keep the prison as quiet as possible. Utter silence, utter solitude. It was meant to inspire penance. Instead, it inspired insanity. “Scarface” Al Capone was just one of many of America’s most notorious lawbreakers to be held here. Unbelievably, this haunting world of crumbling cell blocks and empty guard towers was operational right up until 1971! Hungry? Always. Philly cheesesteak? Don’t mind if I do! This local speciality is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak with melted cheese and caramelised onions in a long hoagie roll. According to Philadelphia Magazine, the city’s eateries serve 60,000 Philly Cheesesteaks every single day. We stopped by Joe’s Steak & Soda Shop in Torresdale, where they have been dishing up the original simple sandwich of bread, steak, cheese and onions since 1949! Suitably recharged after devouring our 1,200 calorie cheesesteaks, we propelled ourselves at speed up the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The 72 steps were immortalized by Sylvester Stallone’s triumphant run in the film “Rocky” and have been declared the 2nd most famous filming location in the world. Taking a picture at the top, arms-raised in victory is a must on any first visit to Philadelphia. Consider it a rite of passage. Interested in learning more? Why not get in touch to see how I can help you with your own Phabulous Philly experience! email@example.com 01423 210 155
York 6/19/2020 11:00:00 AM