The World’s Best Once-in-a-lifetime Journeys voted Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru at number 4 and was most voted by other travel professionals as one of The World’s 50 Best Once-in-a-lifetime Journeys.
When looking for a suitable trip to keep my 13 year old twins entertained last summer I came across the world of multi activity holidays.
After researching a number of options I finally booked with Undiscovered Mountains and we stayed in Les Olivades hotel in Gap, southeastern France. The activities were less than 45 mins away which gave us ample opportunity to explore the area.
We selected to try:
- High ropes/zip line
- Paddle boarding
- Rock climbing
- Giant Tyrolean
- River kayaking
- River/water rafting
- Canyoning (loved this)
- Horse riding in the Alps
The nearby Lac de Serre-Poncon was a definite favourite where we used our inflatable canoe and the kids enjoyed playing on the Wibit.
Oh…and on the way home we nipped into a local donkey sanctuary.
This public park is located at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, near Kyoto and Osaka, with wild sika deer that freely roam around.
In Nara Prefecture, Japan, the deer are also known as “bowing deer”, as they bow their heads before being fed special shika senbei (called “deer cookies”).
We flew in to Nice (with our two dogs and tabby cat) plus a few suitcases.
Now it’s time to switch on the sat nav and head to our rental accommodation in Aix en Provence.
More updates are on the way…
Tom & Serg, Dubai, UAE
Tucked away on the outskirts of the Al Quoz, Tom & Serg was established in Dubai in 2013 by Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez. The space is an expansive industrial warehouse with exposed ceiling pipework and high ceilings. The open kitchen and white subway tiles provide a trendy, open and inclusive environment to sip coffee while you work, lunch/brunch/brekkie or catch up with friends. The on-brand menu ranges from locally influenced dishes like Shakshouka baked eggs, Baghdad scramble, Quinoa and falafel wrap or there’s the morning after wrap made up of scrambled egg, beef bacon, roast chicken, mozzarella, crushed avocado, tomato, black bean & lime salsa.
A magnet for Dubai hipsters and the thirty-something crowd, this joint would work well in any city. I’m sure we will see this successful blueprint pave the way for future editions.
On my return from a mother-daughter volunteer trip to Cusco, Peru, I was scrolling through the hundreds of pictures trying to find ‘the one’. It’s a challenge I set myself following a family trip to distract me from the fact I have taken far too many pictures, again! The only rule is that it has to capture the spirit of the adventure.
This is it. It’s my 10 year old daughter, Sadie lost on Machu Picchu, one of the world’s best known archaeological sites which is also the home to a herd of llamas. We were visiting during our time-off from working in a conservation zoo.
While I was taking the obligatory been-there-done-that picture with the stunning Machu Picchu background, Sadie asked if she could go up to the watchman’s hut a few metres above us on the next level. I apparently mumbled “yes”. A few minutes later she was out of sight. After a short but traumatic hunt around the area, that included a compact panic attack and random screeching at strangers, I found her near the hut, relaxed and smiling with camera in-hand.
It wasn’t until I was going through her memory card that I came across these photographs and realised what she was doing while she was “lost”. Says it all really.
6 months of offers: luxury, decadence and style
Starting in June, Madinat Jumeirah, the Arabian Resort of Dubai is set to mark its 10th anniversary with 6 months of incredible events, offers and initiatives.
Choose one of the 3 exclusive room and suite stay packages, Deluxe Decadence, Stylish Suites or Villa Retreats to enjoy complimentary dining across a choice of 50 restaurants, afternoon tea in your private villa, luxurious spa treatments and club lounge access.
Starting from AED 1010 plus local and hotel fees per night, applicable on rooms and suites across Mina A’Salam and Al Qasr Hotels, Dar Al Masyaf summerhouses or the private Malakiya Villas, valid until 31 August 2014.
A country filled with sand, lava fields, mountains and glaciers, Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.
On most people’s bucket list, the Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful light dances performed over the Icelandic landscape.
Not only does the capital, Reykjavik have a reputation of the ‘nightlife capital of the north’ but it’s also one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. I’m in.
In a few weeks my daughter and I will be boarding the plane for Peru. Well, I say for Peru. I mean a 30 hour trip via London Heathrow, Madrid, Lima and then onto Cusco.
So, looking down the Global Volunteer Network check list, that means it’s time to get packing!
According to GVN the key to packing for a trip to Peru, and Cusco more specifically, is to pack for a variety of conditions. Cusco is truly a land of extremes with intense sun during the day and cold mountain nights to remind you that you are 11,200 ft/3,400 mtrs.
We intend to travel outside of Cusco to Machu Picchu so we need to be ready for the heat and humidity there too. I’m hoping our experience of seven summers in Dubai will give us a head start.
Apparently, dressing in layers is the answer. Here is the suggested packing list:
- 7 Pair of underwear
- 7 Pairs of socks
- Water Bottle
- 5 T‐shirts
- Sun block
- 3 Long‐sleeved shirts
- Laptop (optional)
- 4 Pairs of pants
- 2 Pairs of shorts
- Swim wear
- Rain gear
- Athletic/walking shoes
- Hiking Boots
Doesn’t seem much, does it? I notice there is no mention of chargers!
Well, the aim is to travel light (background noise: husband choking on a cup of tea) with only one rucksack and a small day backpack. Accordingly, I’m expecting my daughter to treat me as her walking coat hanger and so I’m staying one step ahead of her and limiting the day bag to one.
The return luggage will be a different story altogether…