Starry-Eyed Readers at Christmas

Yesterday you heard from the Starry-Eyed Writers; today it’s the turn of a few of the readers. Since you’re reading this, you’re also one of the gang, so add your comments below! The Starry-Eyed Travellers: Iain:Iain Mallory: The legend that is Mallory On Travel. Kate O’Grady: The Accidental Pilgrim falling in love with South Korea Kate Turner: The Brit who’s taking a break from being abroad and currently eating Oxford. Krista Bjorn: The Rambling Tart building a beautiful life. Nerea Prieto de Apraiz: The Spanish chocolate connoisseur supreme.   The Questions: 1. What was your best travel moment this year? Krista: Being adopted by the owners of a bed and breakfast I stayed at on the island of Gozo. Kate T: Going to Switzerland for lunch with the lovely Travel Belles ladies was a definite highlight – it was my first time in Switzerland, and I never thought I’d be able to say I’d popped over to another country just for lunch! The best part was the journey though: a slow climb through the mountains by train, and a leisurely journey back to Italy by boat  – with the bonus of great company. Iain: Visiting Meteora was very special for me, as I have always wanted to visit, but my first-ever press trip which was to the French Midi-Pyrenees probably tops the lot. Nerea: There were beautiful moments during my trip to Perú. One of the most moving was talking to Andrés, a 12 year old orphan kid, in the lodging we stayed in the Valle del Colca. He was living with the owner´s family and had plans to study to...

Starry-Eyed Writers at Christmas

I can hardly believe that it’s Christmas THIS WEEK! I’ve held out for long enough, so for the whole week, everything on Starry-Eyed Travels is going to be festive, merry and oh-so-Christmassy! To get us started, there are Christmas conversations with Starry-Eyed Travellers: today we’re hearing from the writers who have contributed this year; tomorrow it’s the turn of the regular readers, people who have unfailingly supported Starry-Eyed Travels. And, of course, you. Feel free to jump in and add your Christmas wishes, plans and thoughts anytime you like. So, get the carols playing, put on your Santa hat and enjoy the Christmas goodies we have in store! The Writers: Anika: our beautiful lady from St. Lucia. She wrote about a family reunion of epic proportions in Barbados Ruth:the expat Brit roaming across Asia from her South Korean base. She took us to Beijing in the calm before Chinese New Year Becky: the sparkling, happy Welsh lass. She wrote about her adventures Down Under.  Jo: our Africa expert, currently living in Copenhagen. She related her memories of Mozambique.   The Questions: Q: What was your best travel moment this year? …Because they like to show off just what a well-travelled bunch they are! Jo: Although I must admit I never want to do it again, the sheer impact on my heart rhythm shows how enthusing a moment this has to have been! My friend and I absolutely pegging it down the corridor at Terminal 3, Heathrow airport (I will add: “the wind in my hair”, just for humours sake) having heard our names called and the words “this is...

I’m Dreaming of a (very) White Christmas

It’s that time again – the second Wednesday of the month – which has come to mean one thing: The Travel Belles get together Across the Cafe Table and having a bit of a natter. The question we’re answering this month is: If you had to go spend Christmas in another country, which would you choose? You’ll find the other responses here. I know that it is the norm for those spending Christmas in the chilly Northern Hemisphere to want to escape southwards, but I’d like to do the opposite. Here in England (and I’m saying ‘England’ because the same cannot be said for the northern reaches of Scotland) we get a smattering of snow in the winter months, sometimes enough to grind the country to a halt, but rarely the knee-deep, halfway-up-your-front-door stuff. Getting any snow on Christmas Day is rarer still. So, I’d like to head North – perhaps to Norway or Sweden –  and find a secluded log cabin in a small village. Not one of those holiday villages in Lapland, you understand. Just a little local place that nobody outside of has ever heard of. It would be the type of place where rotund, bearded men shrug off thick animal-skin outerwear as they enter ranch-like pubs, drinking ale from tankards as their cheeks grow ruddy in front of a roaring fire. We would have to wear snow-shoes (and a lot of layers) to go outside and on Christmas Eve, a sleigh being pulled by a team of huskies would take us away from all civilization to see the Northern Lights. There, under the hallucinogenic sky,...

SOS Africa

At some point during the last couple of weeks, probably during my leisurely weekend perusal of blogs, an initiative called Travel Bloggers Give Back entered my consciousness. The idea, from Bret Love of Green Global Travel , is to use a blog post to highlight the work of a charity which the blogger personally supports and wants to create awareness about. It is, after all, the season of goodwill. I have written about SOS Africa once before, but now, in the run-up to Christmas and as part of this project, it seems like a good time to catch up on this charity’s work. What is SOS Africa? SOS Africa is a small, volunteer-run charity which supports the education and care of underpriveleged children who live in townships in South Africa. Matt Crowcombe was a student on a gap year in South Africa when he met a school teacher called Henry Matthews. Henry introduced Matt to the reality of life in the Lonely Park township near Mafikeng, where children were lacking access to even a basic level of education. The charity was founded in January 2003 when Matt managed to get together enough money to send a young boy called Thabo to the primary school in Mafikeng. Since then, this small-scale project is fully supporting the education and care of 12 children and has offices in the UK and South Africa. As well as sponsoring individual children, the charity also gets involved with related projects, such as the 2010 World Cup Project, which provided football equipment to schools in the poorest communities so that they could get involved with the celebrations...
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