Not one to refuse a challenge, I was happy to be tagged by Paul of ‘My Postcard from’ to give you my A to Z of travel. At the end of this post I’ll be tagging some travel bloggers who I’d like to pose these questions to.
Age you went on your first international trip:
I think I was 10 years old when I went to France with my 12 year old sister for a week. The thing I remember most is the two of us having a fantastic time exploring the ferry while crossing the channel and feeling very grown up at being allowed to travel on our own! We get on really well (mostly) and I’ve always been very thankful to have a sister. (I’m sure our parents were relieved to hear that our host family picked us up safely when we reached France though.)
I’m not really a beer drinker, preferring cider in the pub or red wine at home, however, I do find I’m partial to the occasional beer or two when travelling and I really do like the Corsican beer, Colomba.
Love it all, but I guess if pushed I’d have to say Italian with Corsican coming a close second but as this is heavily influenced by Italy that’s no surprise.
India is the most exciting place I’ve ever been to and I really hope I will get the chance to go back there one day. It is a photographers dream with so many colourful, inspiring, upsetting, exciting and breathtaking things to photograph around every corner. As for least favourite, nothing springs to mind, can I come back to that one?
Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Singing with the London Community Gospel Choir and the Joy Singers Choir at the end of an amazing workshop weekend in Italy… the whole weekend was ‘WOW!’ Read more.
Favourite mode of transportation:
Train. One fond memory I have of train travel is the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor and a great party in the bar carriage. How the waiter managed to balance those glasses on his forehead is beyond me. I could barely stand-up (even before I had a drink!).
I had a wonderful week this summer photographing La Balagne region of Corsica. I can remember sitting at this restaurant, nibbling crusty bread with delicious home made pate and some tasty fig jam, looking out over the hillside to the sea, thinking “This has got to be the best job in the world!” (Even though it was back to the office on Monday!)
Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
Kerala in India was ridiculously humid (the sweat made your eyes sting when trying to take photos), Israel in May by the Red Sea was so hot and dry my skin felt like leather (went back to normal I’m glad to say when I got home) and I remember getting heat stroke in Italy after photographing a lunch spread in the noon day sun. No idea which was actually hottest though.
Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
Ngala Lodge in The Gambia. This is a really lovely hotel perched on the cliffs between Bakau and Farrato in The Gambia. It’s a luxurious hotel without being at all pretentious and it’s the staff that make it so wonderful as much as anything else.
Journey that took the longest:
Coming home from Kerala, India… boat to mainland, bus to airport, plane to Dubai, another plane to Gatwick, train to home town and a taxi to my house. Can’t remember how long it took but it seemed to go on forever. Getting home from work in a snow storm comes a close second though, when a 50 minute drive turned into an 18 hour endurance test a couple of winters ago.
Keepsake from your travels:
Let-down sight, why and where:
I can’t think of one!
Moment where you fell in love with travel:
I don’t think there was a particular moment it just crept up on me.
Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Sunset Beach or Ngala Lodge, both in The Gambia are lovely in different ways. I also remember a really spectacular hotel, Coconut Lagoon in India, that I stayed in for one night, perfect other than the open-air bathroom (which would have been wonderful if the hotel hadn’t been by the waters of Kerala – one word – mosquitoes!)
Everything… the food on my plate (or yours!), the waiter, the view, the restaurant, the street, the passer by, musicans…. the scenery, the cat under your chair, that car… this door… that window… a flower… that shop… their hands… your feet!
Passport stamps, how many and from where?
Recently got a new passport so only The Gambia on it but my previous one had The Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, India, Egypt, Israel.
Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
I had read about this strange building created by a postman over many, many years called Le Palais Idéal in France and thought it sounded really bizarre and interesting so when my next visit to France took me near there I made a point of going to see it. It didn’t disappoint.
How to pick out just one? The Jola initiation festival in The Gambia I went to back in 2007 was pretty amazing. Read more.
From this year, it would be the last day of Calvi’s Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi which I went to in June. The free event on the Saturday afternoon was a truly memorable, musical mystery tour of the citadel. Read more.
A really good meal in a lovely restaurant every now and again.
Touristy thing you’ve done:
Ah, too many to mention – Here’s one: The yellow submarine ride in Sal, Cape Verde. Great underwater views without getting wet!
Unforgettable travel memory:
The moment I realised that the little girl in the long haired wig and long floaty skirt was playing me, handing out mosquito nets, in a school play about malaria prevention in The Gambia. Read more. See the video
Also in The Gambia, drumming under a palm tree on the beach looking out to sea – bliss!
Visas, how many and for where?
Not many and non in my current passport.
Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
Although I love red wine, I know very little about it. I do remember being given some wonderful bottles of wine from the owner of a vineyard in Umbria (after spending ages rearranging the garden furniture around the pool of his agriturismo so I could get the perfect photograph) but I’m afraid I can’t be more specific.
When I was fourteen I went to Austria on a school trip. I’ll never forget my first view of the snow-capped mountains especially a particularly spectacular mountain reflected in a lake. I can remember telling my mum when I got home that it was so beautiful I nearly cried. I couldn’t tell you exactly where it was though.
From this year the view that took my breath-away was of Ostriconi beach in Corsica. Here are two shots taken from the same spot looking in slightly different directions.
I’ve worked in the travel industry (as a graphic designer/photographer/writer) for over 15 years and I’ve done much of my travelling in that time. Great deals as well as the occasional work trip are a great perk of my job. I do feel really lucky to have had the chance to visit so many wonderful places, especially when being paid to do so, including in West Africa – The Gambia, Senegal and the Cape Verde Islands, and in Europe – Corsica as well as much of mainland France and Italy.
Zealous sports fans and where?:
The Gambia – every male Gambian I’ve ever met loves football (soccer).
And now to pass it on! I’ve tried to choose a good cross-section of bloggers who I think will give some interesting answers… I tag:
- Jenny at Jenny Neill
- Melvin at Travel Dudes
- Lucy at On the Luce
- Dave & Deb at The Planet D
- Juno at Runaway Juno
- Grannie at Grannie Banana