I am so thrilled that zany, funny, grumpy, woman-after-my-own-heart traveller Carol E. Wyer is my guest today. *Does happy dance!*
Carol E. Wyer wants to live in a world where gummy bears do not rot your teeth and everyone laughs at least fifty times a day.
As a humorous writer and blogger, she’s been featured in and written for Woman’s’ Own, Yours, Choice, and Woman’s Weekly magazines, the Huffington Post and been interviewed on numerous BBC radio shows, NBC and Sky television and BBC Breakfast television.
When she’s not hiding in her garret writing books and articles, you can find her quaking in the wings, waiting to perform her stand up show, Smile While You Still Have Teeth or being a Loud Mouth on BBC Radio Derby
Her books all encourage us “older folk” to enjoy life, carpe diem and laugh. Her most recently released book — Grumpies On Board — hit the shelves in June. It has attracted a lot of attention from the travel industry and means she and Mr. Grumpy will have to take more holidays soon.
Discover more at http://www.carolewyer.co.uk,
http://www.grumpyoldmenopause.com or http://www.facing50withhumour.com.
You can also find Carol on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carol-E-Wyer/221149241263847 and Twitter https://twitter.com/carolewyer
ES: Where did you spend your last holiday and what made you choose it?
CEW: This may seem like an odd choice but me (and Mr Grumpy) recently headed to Reykjavik, Iceland. It was my birthday trip and I wanted to go somewhere different to the usual haunts – July is notoriously bad for going on a vacation with a grumpy guts that hates heat and children. Iceland seemed an ideal place with temperatures about thirteen degrees.
Iceland is also a place where you can have a few adventures and act your shoe size, not your age. I’d researched it for my book Grumpies On Board and was very keen to check out the fabulous natural sights, take a super jeep safari into volcano craters and up snow-covered glaciers. I also fancied going whale watching on a rigid inflatable boat and finally I wanted to send Mr Grumpy off volcano boarding—unfortunately, he refused to do the latter as it was way too dangerous (that’s why I had insurance, Mr Grumpy!) but we both reverted to ten-year-olds in sprit as we bounced over waves in search of humpback whales and giggled helplessly as we cannoned off road down vertical copper coloured slopes and around craters resembling the surface of planet Mars.
With the sun not going down until almost midnight we broke our usual curfew of bed at nine-thirty and enjoyed all that Reykjavik has to offer. I can say unequivocally it is the best trip we’ve had in recent times—and we’ve had a few.
ES: What is your favourite type of holiday?
CEW: Living with a grumpy old chap we always go on holidays where he won’t get bored. Given he can’t sit still for five minutes or sunbathe and refuses to go swimming, I choose places that offer plenty to occupy him—a happy Grumpy results in a happy holiday. We take a lot of city breaks and go to destinations where we hire a car and really see what the country is all about.
Although I enjoy these trips too I would like a couple of weeks on a Caribbean island where I could snorkel and dive and guzzle cocktails all evening but that is not going to happen—well, not any time soon.
ES: And your least favourite?
CEW: Although I love going away I could never go on a cruise. I tremble at the thought of being in a cabin in a floating hotel. I would feel claustrophobic and even the prospect of jumping onto a small vessel to explore ports and destinations en route holds no appeal.
ES: Oh dear! Tell us about your best ever holiday and just what made it so special.
CEW: Although Iceland was fantastic, my favourite destination and best ever holiday was to South Africa. We flew to Durban, stayed three nights in a fabulous guesthouse on the beach, and then drove into the Drakensburg Mountains.
What made it special? Where do I begin? There’s too much to mention here but the mountains are the most spectacular I have ever seen.
We started our trip at Cleopatra Lodge renowned for its gourmet food and seven-course dinners. After a walk in the evening we’d sit on the balcony of our chalet overlooking a large pond and watch the yellow weaver birds building nests or the red bishops in the reeds. After three days and before we exploded with any more food, we headed further into the mountains to Cathedral Peak Lodge. We stayed in a luxurious thatched cottage—a honeymoon suite, no less—with outstanding views of Cathedral Peak. We hiked the easier routes, explored cave art, flew over the mountain range in a helicopter—which was breath taking—and drove quad bikes up the lower slopes to Lake William.
From there, we headed to another lodge—Three Tree Hill—adjacent to a game reserve. I could observe the rhinos and giraffes wandering about in the reserve from my bath. We learned about the history of the area and the Boer War from the owner and excellent guide Simon Blackburn who took us out on some spectacular walks along with his five dogs—we loved every minute of it.
Finally, we drove back to Durban, spent a night at a luxurious hotel with a golf course and then headed home.
I love South Africa and have visited several times. It is a must-see place.
ES: That sounds amazing, Carol. Have you ever had any holiday or travel disasters?
CEW: Given the amount of travelling I do, I’ve been incredibly fortunate. I can’t think of any major disasters although we did have a rather terrifying experience on an aeroplane going to Munich. It hit a pocket of invisible turbulence. The plane dropped like a stone for what felt like five minutes but was only a few seconds. Unfortunately it happened just as the stewardesses were serving drinks. Coffee shot upwards and several people got covered in it. I was so shaken by the event I fell silent for the rest of the trip!
ES: Which place do you long to visit?
CEW: Canada. It is right up there on my list of places to visit and I have quite a few people who have become virtual friends since I began writing that I want to meet en route.
ES: Who’s your favourite travelling companion(s) or do you prefer your own company?
CEW: Mr Grumpy and I go everywhere together. It would be strange to travel without him.
ES: Have you ever had a holiday romance? Details, please! (We won’t tell Mr Grumpy.)
CEW: Many centuries ago when I was twenty, I had a relationship with an Italian waiter. He whisked me off to Positano on the back of his Vespa, took me to the sea and sat on a rock beside me and combed my long hair after I had been swimming. Those Italians are so romantic.
ES: How would you spend your dream 24 hours if you could go to multiple worldwide destinations with no travel or time restrictions?
CEW: I’d start my twenty-four hours in Norway, in an igloo watching the Northern Lights, grab a husky ride, nip over to Lithuania for a go at ice blokarting then dash off to Madagascar to see some amazing wildlife and sample some exotic beaches and reefs.
ES: What tips or advice would you give to travellers and holidaymakers?
CEW: Always travel light. I pack two tiny cabin sized bags for two people for a two-week holiday. It is well worth the effort of juggling it all about as you don’t have to worry about losing luggage or fret over which outfit to wear every night. I mix a few tops with a skirt and trousers and take two pairs of shoes. It’s easy once you work out how to pack.
ES: As someone who has never been able to do that, you’ve inspired me, Carol. I shall start practising. Thank you so much for being a part of Hot Holidays!