Whoop! Whoop! Fabulous blogger LINDA HILL tells us about her Hot Holidays! today.
Having worked in education since leaving university Linda finally decided to ‘retire’ herself and concentrate on having fun rather than working. She loves reading, travel, blogging and gardening and is now kept busy with all four. Linda is a huge cat lover but no longer have any, and has been a huge Bryan ferry fan for 40 years! Her husband is a keen photographer and so the pair of them are always off on their travels to make use of photographic opportunities. Home for Linda is South Lincolnshire in flat fenland prone to fog and grey skies which is another reason to travel and find Hot Holidays!
ES: Linda, thank you so much for agreeing to take part in Hot Holidays! Where did you spend your last holiday and what made you choose it?
LH: Our last ‘big’ holiday was a safari to South Africa at the end of August and beginning of September 2015. We love Africa and have been on safari type holidays in Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia before and really wanted to go to Kenya but felt it was a little too unstable at the moment. We love to see wildlife in its natural habitat although I think South Africa is rather like an enormous safari park as there are so many game fences to keep animals in, keep animals out and generally control the areas that some of that feeling of natural habitat is lost compared to the plains of the Serengeti for example.
ES: Yes, I know what you mean. What is your favourite type of holiday? And your least favourite?
LH: It’s difficult to describe a favourite type of holiday but my least favourite would be going anywhere there’s too many people! I can think of nothing worse than being inside playing bingo with 500 others for instance. As for favourite… Well, I love going to far off places. We decided we’d start ‘out’ whilst we felt young and fit enough so we’ve been to Australia, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for example with Japan booked for next year and then when we get old and infirm we’ll just do a day trip to Skegness or Sunny Hunny (Hunstanton) on England’s east coast.
ES: Ooh! Am jealous about Japan – the one place still left on my ‘to-do’ list. You’ll have to come back and tell us all about it! But tell us about your best ever holiday and just what made it so special.
LH: The best holiday was the trip to Antarctica. We began in Brazil in Rio (where it rained so much we stood at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue and couldn’t see the face in the torrents) and we toured the city, went up Sugar Loaf mountain and saw the beaches. Next we moved to the Iguassu Falls which were utterly stunning; taller than Victoria and wider than Niagra they were magnificent. We did a boat trip to the spray, got soaked to the skin. We also did a helicopter ride over them before moving to the Argentinian side of the falls. That was where I met my first coatimundi – tricksy little blighters that try to steal things out of your bag. Leaving the Iguassu area we went on to Buenos Aires where we boarded a small cruise ship for the next part of the journey. It held 380 passengers but there were only 120 of us because of number regulations in Antarctica so we had two crew for every one of us – boy were we well looked after. The cruise took us to the Falklands which were bleak in geography but bathed in sunshine. How those poor soldiers (on both sides) coped in the winter I have no idea. We saw all the historical sites and memorials which were incredibly moving. As we went further south the weather got progressively colder but the scenery was amazing. Looking out over tabular icebergs and seeing orcas and hundreds of thousands of penguins was breathtaking. Stepping onto Antarctica is one of the best memories I have. I wouldn’t say the force 10 gale rounding Cape Horn was quite so good! We also went to Ushuaia where, bizarrely, there was a London bus parked in one of the streets. After that three days in Buenos Aires visiting a traditional tango club really finished off the holiday well.
ES: That sounds amazing! But it can’t have always all gone smoothly, can it? Have you ever had any holiday or travel disasters?
LH: Where would you like me to begin? Where ever we go something awful seems to happen pretty soon afterwards and we usually have bad weather as in Rio. We went to Uluru in Australia and it rained! We had an earthquake in Cyprus that emptied the hotel swimming pool as the ground swayed from side to side. We went to Egypt and there was the massacre of tourists at Hatshepsut’s temple just after, there was a car bomb in Spain that went off a week to the minute after we left the hotel… We have some friends who ask where we’re going so they can avoid it and some others who have named us the CLASHes (The Curse of Linda and Steve Hill).
ES: Ha ha! Oh, dear! Is there somewhere you long to visit?
LH: I’d love to visit Scandinavia as I’ve only been to Iceland and I really want to go and see Father Christmas in Lapland! I’d also love to go to the Masai Mara in Kenya but Kenya feels a bit unstable at the minute.
ES: Who’s your favourite travelling companion(s) or do you prefer your own company?
LH: Obviously it’s my husband Steve. We also take a PG Tip toy monkey with us when we go away as he kept me company when I was working away from home in New York. He was even frisked for drugs at Buenos Aires airport. It is difficult travelling with my husband sometimes as he’s a keen photographer so his hand luggage is always photographic gear. When we went to Botswana we had light aircraft transfers so our total luggage (hand and hold) was 12kg. His camera stuff weighed 11.5kg so there wasn’t much room for two weeks’ worth of clothes!
ES: Have you ever had a holiday romance? Details, please!
LH: No, but we had our honeymoon in Paris. It was just after we had finished our PGCEs at Nottingham university so we were stony broke. To make up for it we went back for our silver wedding anniversary and did it in style with a champagne dinner at the Moulin Rouge.
ES: Sounds romantic… How would you spend your dream 24 hours if you could go to multiple worldwide destinations with no travel or time restrictions?
LH: Oh. That’s a tricky one. I think breakfast outside the opera house in Sydney, followed by an hour or so snorkelling in the Maldives. Champagne elevenses in Venice and a safari in Tanzania before lunch. I’d spend the afternoon sunbathing anywhere there was sun and reading a good book before getting ready to sail down the Chobe river in Botswana to watch the elephants come down to drink. After that I’d head off to Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir for dinner and an overnight stay.
ES: What a fabulous day! Can I come? What tips or advice would you give to travellers and holidaymakers?
LH: Make sure you have essentials in your hand luggage. I have a pack of five M+S knickers that have travelled the world in case my hold luggage doesn’t arrive. I also make sure I have my contact lens solutions and a toothbrush and toothpaste. A pilot I once met told me to share my clothes with whoever I was travelling with so that if one case went missing we’d still have some clothes each to swear so me and my husband always pack half and half.
Very sound advice!
Linda – thank you so much!!
Follow Linda on Twitter: @LindaHIll50Hill
Or read her fabulous blog: http://lindasbookbag.com