CUNARD – JAPAN GRAND VOYAGE

” Join us on Queen Elizabeth and immerse yourself in her evocative art deco elegance. Our newest Queen exudes style and has an especially refined feel. Prepare yourself for a truly remarkable voyage”

This stunning voyage round trip from Tokyo, offers eight Japanese calls, one in South Korea and one in Russia. Explore mountain-fringed islands, castles, Shogun history, seafood and sake.

17 May 2022

18 days

Return flights from Manchester

From £3879 pp

Take a look at this incrediable journey!

Day 1

In 1859, Yokohama became the first major Japanese Treaty Port opened to foreign trade, so there is interesting maritime and international flavour to one of the country’s most accessible and second largest cities.

It’s an exciting city filled with Japanese charm and culture, and is less than 30 minutes’ train ride from Tokyo, so there’s an opportunity to sample two of Japan’s greatest urban centres.

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3

Once the base of Japan’s largest fishing fleets, Kushiro, ‘The City of Mist’, is your gateway to the pristine natural beauty of the Kushiro Wetlands and Akan national parks.

Kushiro is surrounded by breath-taking natural beauty, which is often overlaid with a thick mist, giving it a surreal feel. This one-time prosperous fishing port is now known for its stunning Kushiro Wetlands and Akan national parks – and its endangered, Japanese red-crowned cranes.

Day 4 – At Sea

Day 5

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a city on the south of Sakhalin Island. Now belonging entirely to Russia, the southern part of the island was briefly once claimed by Japan, and nods to this heritage remain.

Sakhalin has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and the Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs are among the island’s indigenous people. There have been many claims and counter-claims to the territory, or parts of it, over the centuries, mostly involving Japan and Russia. The island was split between the two nations for much of the 1800s; indeed Japan owned at least the southern half of Karafuto, as they named Sakhalin, until the end of World War II when it became totally Russian.

Day 6

Otaru lies close to the city of Sapporo on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s islands. Hokkaido’s scenery comprises dense forest, mountains and marshlands, dotted with mineral-rich hot springs.

Hokkaido is seen as wild and rugged, where nature dominates. So it was only in the late 1800s that the population flourished. Much of Otaru’s industry at this time focused around the herring fishing industry, and the wealth it brought was reflected in its so-called ‘Herring Mansions.’ One of these still stands nearby on a hill overlooking the sea and is open to visitors. Further inland is the Former Aoyama Villa, an even more lavish house owned by the Aoyama family who made their fortune from herring fishing.

Day 7

Hakodate is one of the most popular city destinations in Japan. Here you can experience diverse dynastic architecture, the last Shogun battlefield and enjoy shimmering night views from Mount Hakodate.

The Motomachi buildings from the Edo period and Meiji era of the late 19th century blend with western-influence to create an exciting cultural concoction. In Goryokaku Park, where the last battle of the Japanese civil war was fought, you can now enjoy peaceful contemplation amongst the fragrant blossom of 1600 cherry trees.

Day 8

Savour the natural landscapes in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture of Honshu, the largest and most populous island of Japan. Aomori sits between the southern end of Mutsu Bay and the fine Hakkōda Mountains.

At the heart of the Tōhoku region, Aomori charms you with its unique blend of ultramodern architecture and sleepy fairytale castles, amid scented cherry blossoms.

Day 9 – At Sea

Day 10 – Another chance to see Tokyo

Day 11 -At Sea

Day 12

Capital of the Akita Prefecture, Akita City is located in the north of the Tohoku Region of Japan. Its Jizōden ruins are a major archaeological site, with artefacts dating from up to 40,000 years ago.

The city is known best for its Kanto Matsuri festival at the beginning of August, where performers balance bamboo poles up to 12 metres long, with 50 paper lanterns attached, lit by real candles.

Day 13

If you’re in search of historic Japan, look no further than Kanazawa. A UNESCO recognised City of Crafts and Folk Art, Kanazawa emerged from World War II largely unscathed, and the city is now one of the best surviving examples of Edo-era architecture in Japan. Consequently, Kanazawa evokes a feeling of stepping back in time and it’s this connection to the Geishas and Samurais past that fascinates and delights in equal measure. Step ashore for a vision of the way things were, savour tea in an authentic 19th Century teahouse, and feast on Japan’s finest delicacies, fresh from one of the country’s oldest markets.

Day 14

Maizuru is known for its red-brick buildings and nearby natural attractions. It’s also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan’s capital for 1,000 years and laden with sacred temples and other historic sites.

For many, Maizuru is an invitation to head to wonderful city of Kyoto, birthplace of the tea ceremony and the Geisha tradition. You could watch a demonstration of samurai kembu, the traditional sword dance of the samurai, while any discovery here will include Shinto shrines, Zen gardens and incredible temple complexes. In fact, Kyoto is home to an astonishing 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Day 15 – At Sea

Day 16

There is no doubt nature has been generous to the fine Korean island of Jeju-do, also known as Jeju Island. This is home to the mythical Cheonjeyon Falls, the stunning scenery of Sunrise Peak and the world’s longest lava tube.

This picturesque haven is a honeymooners’ mecca and it certainly is a heart-warming destination. Newly-wed, happily married or still looking, you’ll fall in love with Jeju-do’s charming setting.

Day 17

Japan’s first real contact with the West was through Portuguese explorers and Jesuit missionaries, and then Dutch merchants. Apprehensive Shoguns thus closed Japan to foreign trade except at Nagasaki.

Stop by Peace Park for a moment of serenity, or visit the Confucian Shrine to see the influence that the Chinese community has on Nagasaki.

Day 18 Return Home – Flights to Manchester

PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER CUNARD CRUISE. WE WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU MORE.

Prices are based on 2 adults sharing an inside cabin. Prices subject to availability and change and correct as of 29/09/2020 1644

FAMILY FESTIVITIES IN MADEIRA

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES ON THE ISLAND OF MADEIRA THIS CHRISTMAS…

… STAYING 9 NIGHTS AT THE BEAUTIFUL CALHETA BEACH HOTEL IN A SUITE ON AN ALL INCLUSIVE BASIS. FLIGHTS DEPART FROM LEEDS/BRADFORD ON SUNDAY 20TH DECEMBER 2020 AND WE’VE INCLUDED A PRIVATE RETURN TRANSFER FOR YOU TOO.

FAMILY OF 4 PRICE £2679.00

FAMILY OF 3 PRICE £1928.00

TO BOOK THIS FANTASTIC OFFER CONTACT @arundeltravel ON 01943 462209 OR POP IN AND SEE US. WE ARE HUGE FANS OF MADEIRA AND WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU MORE ABOUT IT.

Prices are subjest to availability and change and based on 2 adults sharing a room with upto 2 children aged 12 years and under. prices correct 29/9/2020 at 14.42.

The ‘C’ Word

The ‘C’ Word

This year, more so than any I can think of, we have needed some escapism, to get off the roller coaster of life and to give our family a sense of normality. It is no secret that the travel industry like many others has been suffocated by the ongoing pandemic and I’m sure like many of you, we felt we were firefighting on a daily basis to keep our travel agency alive. Whilst we have been one of the lucky ones, reopening our doors – we are (or were) exhausted and needed some ‘us’ time.

So what to do – I closed my eyes and thought of the place that makes me happy,  an island that is filled with age old memories and  where I knew I would be able to get the biggest (and much needed) cuddle from one my best friends…

… That is my ‘C’ word – Corfu

Like most of us that have travelled this summer, the build up to jetting off to our chosen destinations was slightly over shadowed with the quarantines regulations constantly changing and the slight apprehension of mask wearing in the airport and on the plane. However, putting all that to one side we are all so glad that we bit the bullet, packed our suitcases and headed out to the sunshine.

It is true, that feeling of walking off the aircraft and the sunshine hitting your face is one of the best feelings in the world and its never made me smile so much.

Driving north along the east coast of Corfu is always so spectacular, views across the rugged coastline across to Albania, passing through the coastal villages along winding roads lined with olive trees and smiling faces is just the best start to a holiday. We were already beginning to relax when we arrived at the Katia Studio’s and Apartments on the outskirts of Kassiopi.

You may remember me staying at the Katia Apartments last year with my lovely friend Kirsty when we came out to visit Lucy, and luckily Nick and Holly instantly loved it as much as I do. I’ll quickly remind you. The Katia is a small, family run complex with a great pool area and gardens that take you down to a natural un-serviced (therefore very quiet) pebble beach. It’s a very happy 2* complex, with basic self-catering facilities, a fantastic restaurant that serves delicious homecooked Greek food ( plus to Nicks and Hollys delight a great English breakfast – all day) To me it’s set in the perfect location, a gentle 20 minute stroll into the beautiful, bustling harbour town of Kassiopi or a 5 euro taxi ride and owned by the delightful Alex and Joanna. The staff are characterful, full of fun and very friendly – it really is a great base for a Greek escape.

We came out for 11 nights and spent the first few days by the pool and on the beach, recharging our batteries and then we decided to have an adventure!

I was trying to work out how many times we had been to Corfu, I think mine is around 8 or 9, Nick 4 and Holly is 5, and we have never explored the northwest coast, we have followed in the footsteps of the ‘Durrells’ and stayed in the beautiful areas of Kalami, Nissaki, Agni and Kassiopi (and I thought nowhere would be as beautiful but …) so we hired a car and headed out on an journey of exploration, hysterics and hysteria.

We were just so excited as we jumped into our Red Suzuki Jimney – trust me there was nothing flash about this car but we grew to love it like a comfy old armchair and it never let us down.  With our free map of Corfu in hand our first stop was the Old Town of Perithia – one of Corfu’s oldest villages and a heritage protected site. 130 houses , many built in Venetian style stand abandoned and in different stages of disrepair but it’s amazing to hear that the village built back in the 14th Century, perfect for sheep farming and the cultivation of olive and vines was fairly prosperous, unfortunately its demise came when tourism brought a wealth of jobs to the coastal areas and locals moved further down the mountain in search of work. Although often classed a ghost town, Old Perithia has a village square with a handful of Tavernas and is a favourite spot with locals for Sunday lunch, filling the village with laughter and delicious tasting mountain fare. We stopped for at ‘Gabriels Steps’ Taverna where I just could resist having homemade apple pie for breakfast (yes you read that right) and were presented with home grown figs for us to try – perfect start to the day. It’s very rural here so expect to see all sorts of wild life including snakes – we nearly stepped on a baby viper, so got a bit of a sprint on thinking ‘where there’s a baby viper, there’s a Mummy viper!

In our haste to get up the mountain we forgot to fill the car with petrol, so for the first hour Holly was panic stricken that we were going to get stuck, in what would literally been in the middle of nowhere, never to be seen again, so we drove back down the mountain to fill up – actually there are petrol stations all over but at this point we hadn’t realised!

So after a bit of toing and froing up and down the mountain our next stop was to head over to the famous Palaiokastritsa, now I told a bit of a fib earlier – Nick has been here before, about 30 years ago on his inter-railing days so he was really looking forward to reminiscing – Falling of mopeds, sleeping on the roofs of hotels and swimming in the turquoise waters. I don’t think he was disappointed, and Holly and I certainly weren’t.  Although I’m sure it is a lot more commercialised than it was all those years ago ( can I say that 😊) the resort is still stunningly beautiful, arguably one of the most picturesque villages on the island with a beautiful monastery, lone rocky coves and the main Agios Spyridon Beach  looks like somewhere that you would find on the shores of Thailand. We arrived too late to spend time on the beach on our first visit so headed back to spend a few hours there a couple of days later – we just could not come home without swimming in these beautiful surroundings. The snorkelling here is unreal, there are so many different colourful fish and the water is so clear. I’m not going to lie, it is busy and they have made the most of the tourism with trendy beach club style bars and souvenir shops but once you are nestled on your towel or swimming in the coves it is pretty perfect.  Now if you have been to Greece during the summer before, you’ll know that the sea is a good temperature and after a little bit of faffing about its pretty easy to get submerged. Word of warning, the sea in Palaiokastritsa is freezing, it’s up to 5 degrees colder than sea on the north east – now I am not one to make a scene, but there was a lot of screeching going on when Hols and I were trying to get in.

On our first visit  to this area we took a mountain route, through some amazing villages such as the beautiful Lakones  which is gifted with spectacular views over Palaiokastritsa. The main street through the village is very narrow, so only allows for one-way traffic at one time, and works on a traffic light system so you may have a small wait to pass through it. Trust me when I say that the driving isn’t easy and the roads not great but gosh the views are insane so completely worth it. Nick did make the driving look pretty simple so I thought I’d give it ago, so of course at the top of a mountain I insisted that I drive so Nick could have a turn at looking at the views.  Let me set the scene here, I’m looking pretty cool, my curly holiday hair, pretty headband, oversized sunglasses and the jeep roof down, feeling dead confident. So can you remember the car chase in the James Bond Movie – For Your Eyes Only, the cliff edged hair pin bends, roads that you can just about squeeze two cars past each other – yep that is literally the road I drove down. We started off with jovial giggles, which turned into raucous belly laughter, I then turned a corner and came face to face with a bus to which I swerved so hard that poor Nick ending face to face with a bush that came through the window. From that point the hysterics turned to hysteria, Hols just could stop laughing (nervously) and from that point the only words Nick shouted was “you’re on the wrong side of the road” We finally parked up and I burst into tears – with a mascara stained face and my hair looking like a lions mane, I silently thanked god that we had made it alive. I am not sure Nick saw any of the view after all and he drove for the rest of our car hire adventures.

After all the excitement we were starving, and both Nick and I were wanting some seafood. One of the best things about having friends living here is the recommendations that they can make for restaurants, so that evening we ate at the Taverna Glyfa. We booked a table for 5pm so we could soak up the incredible view whilst eating fried shrimps, anchovies and sword fish steaks – amazing!

The next day we stayed fairly local and headed up the coast to Kalamaki Beach. The east coast is renowned for it pebble beach and clear waters, but here the beach is sandy and offers such safe bathing for families. You can walk out a long way in the water and the sea only comes up to your knees so its perfect for babies and toddlers to have fun. The water is so warm, all I needed was some bubble bath and rubber duck and I’d have been on cloud 9. That said – frappe, donuts, watermelon and good company comes a very close second. Take your own beach towels and find a your own perfect spot or because Kalamaki is a serviced beach so you can treat yourself to a pair of sunbeds and a brolly for just 7 euros for the day. There is plenty of parking at Tavernas and as long as you buy a coffee or snack the owners are really happy for you to use the facilities.  The drive down to the beach isn’t for the faint hearted and test your breaks its really steep but makes for a great day out.

That evening, we ate in possible the most special and best restaurants I have been to, not because it was fine dining, or cosmopolitan, but because it was true Greece. Chasing the most incredible sunset up the mountains to apparently one of the highest restaurants on Greece we arrived at the family run Boozoovey’s Café and Tavern. The food here is grown in the garden and is homecooked. We just didn’t know what to choose so we went for it  and ordered a full meze for starters – Spicy Tsigareli, ‘Tigania’, Roasted Stuffed hot peppers and for mains, rabbit Stifado. The wine was rustic, the service unbelievable and the food the best I’ve tasted in Greece. 

As I mentioned earlier we spent part of our final day with the car in Palaiokastritsa and then headed up the west coast to a watch the sunset at Agios Georgios. Another beautiful drive over the mountains, and just as we though we couldn’t beat the last view, we turned a corner and were wowed again. We even met the famous Costa Provatas. He and his wife are Artists and Jewellery makers and sell from the side of the road in one of the beauty spots. I joked with him that he must have one the best office views in the word. They have had been selling their hand made products in the same spot for over 10 years – quite unbelievable to be honest. Nick was delighted that we managed to get a hand painted fridge magnet!

After a few wrong turns, some exciting reversing we pulled up just in time to see the sunset in the charming Agious Gerdiuos whilst eating  delicious salad and chips. We chose the Athina restaurant and were so glad we did, the service was brilliant and the setting perfect!  After another adventurous journey in the dark on the way back, we said goodbye to our old friend Jimney and relaxed with a well needed Ouzo and lemonade.

We decided to stay put for the next few days, apart from arranging an evening boats trip to Corfu town, a recommendation from one of our customers that had done it last year. Unfortunately, the weather turned and although it was really warm the wind really got up and our trip got cancelled. We were really disappointed as wanted to explore the fortresses and get lost in the old town, but as we drank wine in the Venus bar overlooking the sea in Kassiopi, we thanked our lucky stars it had been, the waves were crashing against the rocks and the swells were massive. It would have been scary to be out there but it was stunning to watch on dry land and we made a lovely new friend – Philipa the cat. We managed to get the last table in a restaurant we had wanted to eat in all week – Kima which looks over the harbour and ate grilled octopus, village sausage and seafood linguine and risotto – delicious.

Kassiopi is just so delightful with great character. Over the years I’ve been coming it has changed, not for the worst and not for the better – It’s just different and that why we can keep coming back. Its great for all ages, for young families the eateries are children friendly, there’s a lovely ice cream and smoothie parlour and a great little park. For young adults there a handful of music bars and water sport services on the beach and if you like good restaurants there is plenty to choose from at a range of different prices. We actually ate in Best Kabab one evening, the chicken giros are amazing and Holly said the tzatziki was the best in town! For a great cocktail or if you love a good chocolate crepe head to Jasmine and say hey to Lucy whilst your there ❤️

If you like a good mooch like we do, there are some lovely shops from homemade crafts to fashion boutique selling beautiful clothes and jewellery. If your feeling energetic head up the hill and explore the old castle ruins.

Our last day was filled with fruit salads, ouzo and friends sat on Avlaki Beach – this is a small beach about 20 mins walk from the Katia in the opposite direction and really popular with the locals. It’s fab watching the paddle boards bobbing by gracefully and hearing the kids laughing. A meal in our favourite restaurant Cavo Barbaro was the perfect end to our holiday, of course more tears as we said goodbye to our lovey friend Lucy and her family but we know we’ll be back to our bolt hole in the sun very soon.

Guest Blog – Wonderful Waidring.

Today Elevenses with Arundel Travel is a Sunday Special as it has been written by one of our customers and fellow Otley businesses owner Tim Wilkinson and I have to say it’s absolutely great – I hope you enjoy reading it as much a I did. Thank you Tim❤️

“Now I’m not the most enthusiastic passenger but one flight I’m always happy to book is the Jet2 LBA to Salzburg route. By no means the cheapest but it’s rapid, leaves at a reasonable time and, coupled with the ease of car rental at the comfortably sized, mountain fringed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart airport, gives immediate access to any number of ski resorts in the Austrian Tyrol and Salzburgerland

A bus can get you to the town centre railway station for trains to larger town resorts but braver Alpinists can simply walk across the car park, pick up a hire car and head straight into the Alps. Last time we visited was to a tiny village called Waidring. Two routes, a longer one south which passes by the ski jump town of Bischofshofen, or more directly by crossing through the ‘German Nose’ bit of Deutschland that sticks out into Austria but attracts a supplement at the car hire desk (if you tell them that’s the way you’re going…)

Less than a pleasant hour’s drive later, and only four hours door to door, Waidring offers lots of lovely self-catering apartments, frustuck pensions (B&B) and traditional hotels of all budgets, some with ‘dampfbad’ (steam sauna – although not a stitch allowed in Austria!) and other wellness spa facilities. Owning a B&B ourselves not getting up for breakfast is a welcome relief so we self-cater at Appartement Winkler, a converted hotel 300 yards walk from the gondola ski lift

The Steinplatte ski area won’t keep an expert busy for more than a day or two but 42 euros gets a day ticket for the slopes starting with a ride in the gongola lift with cabins themed on diving bells. In summer the plateau at the gondolas arrival station features a dinosaur park and observation platform. The ski lifts are efficient and the pistes mainly simple, forgiving and treelined making the m ideal for beginners, improvers and the nervous, with the added curiosity of skiing over the invisible unmarked border into Germany. Wooden mountain huts dotted around serve the staple mountain food of kaserspatzle (cheesy noodles), pork and sauerkraut, germknodel (steamed suet pudding) and, of course, apple strudel. Always nice to take a break for a mug of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, with or without deadly Stroh rum depending on how your morning has gone

Back on terra firma everyone must join in the apres ski celebrations and a huge farm themed barn of a bar, Zardinis Schindldorf, awaits at the bottom of the gondola station. Chronic versions of songs, some you’d know, such as Country Roads and the – ever popular with Teutonics – Living Next Door To Alice, get the souped up electro-oompah treatment and the volume and dancing increases as the Salzburg brewed Stiegl beer, Pear Williams schnapps and spiced gluwein flows

After the après has died down thoughts turn to evening dinner. The weary and comfortably numb can eat in their ski gear at the après bar, and watch the weekly folk dancing and music performance although, a hot shower and clean clothes later, our choice tends to be between the Post Hotel (every Austrian town has a Post Hotel, Waidring’s dates from 1416) for hearty Austrian fayre or the Schneidermann restaurant near the outdoor stage (every Austrian village, town or city has a municipal stage), probably my favourite restaurant in the Alps

Morning brings a choice; back up the Steinplatte or a drive twenty minutes back towards Salzburg is the family resort of Lofer which styles itself ‘der schoenest Alm’ (most beautiful Alp, hard to disagree) with its own network of lifts and runs. To the west lays St Johan, a bigger working town with a station, hospital, brewery, traffic, commuters and its own ski mountain and beyond that an hour away is the metropolis (in ski town terms) of Kitzbuhel. Charming in itself but not on the friendly village scale of Waidring, horse drawn carriages queue up amongst the ancient, traditional Tyrolean buildings to show the town off to day trippers. The Hannenkham mountain hosts the ultimate in downhill World Cup ski races each January and the local sports centre hosts fixtures of the Kitzbuhel Adler (Eagles) ice hockey team, which competes in the Alps League with other Austrian, Italian and Slovenian clubs

Our week featured unprecedented snowfall which closed the ski lifts as fallen trees and avalanche risks were cleared although we usually take a day or two off midweek anyway. Local busses run in any weather and we found a meeting of international husky sled dog teams camped by the lake at nearby St Ulrich to visit as they prepared for the weekend races

Although low key and quiet – unlike the larger ski holiday factories – Waidring has all amenities at hand and some you might not need such as a schnapps distillery and a bell foundry although if you love it as much as we do don’t bother looking for a holiday home there, nothing ever comes for sale and new builds are prohibitively expensive; the locals intend keeping it for themselves and we can quite understand why”

Finding our paradise in Poros

You would think that because we have the travel agency and because I’ve worked in travel since forever, that finding our family summer holiday would be easy…

… Ok I will admit, it’s completely me that causes weeks worth of angst when it comes to choosing. I don’t even think that I’m that fussy ( Nick and Holly might disagree ) but I do have certain things that I know I really like and that would help make our family holiday perfect.

We aren’t talking luxuries here like spas, butlers and chandeliers. All I would like is to be in a small property with a lovely pool area and great views from our balcony, to be a stones throw away from the beach and easy strolling distance from traditional restaurants and we must have 2 bedrooms- Holly our teenage daughter is fabulous but very messy and, well she’s a teenager. We like to explore and Nick loves to pick up a fridge magnet or two so to be in a place that we can hop on the local bus or boat is really important – it sounds easy doesn’t it.

After weeks of too-ing and fro-ing finding something and then changing my mind, Nick took the reigns and decided we were going to have another Greek Adventure and we booked the Aegean Villas in Poros. Now we haven’t been self catering for a long time so we were excited about being able to do our own thing (secretly I think Nick was more excited about not having to get up for breakfast), we packed up the UNO cards and our favourite coffee and off we went…

… we flew from Manchester Airport, we hadn’t been to this airport for ages and to be honest that was the bit I was dreading the most but it was great. The meet and greet car parking was seamless and before we knew it we were through security having a coffee. Holly was in her element looking round all the shops and the time flew by.

Poros is one of the Saronic islands and is situated just one and a half hours by ferry from Athens, so after an overnight stay in the centre of Athens we jumped on the Sea Cat 6 and arrived in Poros Town and instantly we were blown away by its beauty and charm.

Our accommodation, the Aegean Villas was located in a small town called Askeli and it was perfect. There was literally 8 apartments, all with either a pool or pool and sea view. We had a maisonette which gave us loads of room and the balcony was huge – perfect for watching the sunset and of course games of UNO (weirdly I have never played it before, it was great fun). They were cleaned daily and the apartments, pool area and gardens were kept immaculately.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but one of my pet hates is fighting for a sun bed by the pool and here we were in the peak season and no matter what time we went to the pool there was never a problem this may have been down to the amazing location, literally thirty seconds walk to the beach. There are areas here where you can lay on the rock platforms or throw your towels down on the sand for free, or you can take a set of sun beds and a parasol, buy a drink and they are yours for the day, it was incredibly cheap.

As I said before we had gone self catering and there were a couple of supermarkets nearby and a fantastic bakery. I wake up quite early so would pop up and see what delights I would pick up for breakfast and lunch or tea. I think the chicken, feta and cheese pie were a hot favourite ( and my hips would agree) along with anything featuring chocolate for Holly.

Askeli is great, it has a really lovely feel about it and loads of different facilities. On the beach there is a great water sports centre with banana boats, waterskiing, parasailing and all sorts of adrenaline packed fun. There are some great restaurants that have weekly live music and Greek dancing which was fun to watch and to eat out was very good value for money. We each had a different favourite restaurant, but mine was definitely Olga’s Restaurant – Poros Troizinias. I loved the way they took you to the food and told you what it all was, it really inspired you to try something different, the food was all homemade and delicious. For a sweet sensation the Once Upon A Time Cafe And Snack Bar made a fantastic Banana and Chocolate Crepe, they even delivered to the pool! To be honest we enjoyed all our meals out so it’s quite difficult to pick a restaurant. No matter what you would like to eat -seafood, pasta or traditional food there was all was a restaurant to suit.

It’s easy to get out and about from Askeli too. The local bus goes every hour to Poros Town which takes about 15 minutes. You could actually walk or hire a bicycle depending how energetic you felt. We got a taxi a couple of times and this was only 5-6 euros each way. From Poros Town you can take the ferry to Hydra (45mins) Spetses (1hour 20 Mins) and Aegina (40 Mins) or for some ancient history pop back across to Athens for a day exploring the Acropolis.

Poros Town is idyllic, built up into the hillside with a clock tower placed on the top like a cherry. Narrow winding streets, quirky little shops including the good old fashioned souvenir shop. Nicks eyes lit up when he saw the row upon row of fridge magnets and Holly is like a magpie for anything shiny so it was like Aladdins Cave for her. Walking to the top of the town is a must – the views are incredible.

There are some great restaurants along the harbour front over looking Galatas on the Peloponnese and some amazing yachts, however if you walk away from the hustle and bustle you’ll find some lovely little tavernas, with great service, fab food and spare seats. A great thing to do from here is to jump onto one of the water taxis that take you across to Galatas. It takes about 5 minutes and cost a Euro, you will definitely get the best view of the town from here and there are some fantastic places to eat here. We ate one evening here in Babis Taverna / Ταβερνα Μπαμπης 1979. I choose beef stifado, it was amazing and so was the service. There is no need to panic about getting back across to the island either because the water taxis run every 10 minutes 24 hours a day.
If you want to try something really special try the Cine Diana, the open air cinema. They were showing some great movies whilst we were there, we just ran out of time to go, but it was highly recommended to us.

We will definitely come back to Askeli and Poros Island in the next couple of years. There is so much more to explore including Love Bay and the Russian Dockyard.

We would love to tell you more about our amazing trip and if you would like more information please pop in and see Nick and I.

Beautiful Croatia

Sometimes all you need is amazing memories to make us smile…

… As many of you know Cavtat, Croatia is one of my favourite places in the world and I hope todays Elevenses With Arundel Travel adds a little spring to your step ❤️

Nick, Hols and I went on holiday to Croatia last Easter and had the most wonderful time. We stayed in my favourite resort of Cavtat in the Adriatic Luxury Hotels- Hotel Croatia and it was amazing.

The Hotel is completely different to what we would normally stay in as a family, but we thought we would give it a try due to it having an indoor pool as we weren’t sure what the weather would be like with us going over Easter…

… and we are so glad we did ❤️

The service has been fantastic and very accommodating ( Holly was on crutches ) – from a lovely warm welcome when we checked in, the pool bar staff with great sense of humours, waiting staff always with a smile to the guys that ran us up and down the hillside even in the rain so we could still enjoy meals out.

The indoor pool area was lovely, lots sun beds with fresh towels and the water was a great temperature. The Spa area was lovely and relaxing and the treatments were really reasonably priced too.

We were really lucky with the weather so we made the most of the sun terraces comfy chairs, fantastic views, cocktail hours, amazing food and of course read some great books next to the outdoor pool – we are definitely coming home with a nice glow.

We treated ourselves to a sea view room, and I can’t think of any room that I’ve ever had with a better view. The way the hotel is situated means that the views are uninterrupted and we saw some beautiful sunsets. Sitting on the balcony with a wine or coffee was just so relaxing, listening to the waves lapping against the rocks and no traffic noise apart from the odd yacht cruising by.

Cavtat never disappoints me, I just ❤️ it here. It’s so charming and characterful. The buildings are beautiful and full of history. It wasn’t too busy as we were early season, but all the shops, restaurants and bars were open and the food we ate was fabulous – Seafood, Lamb, Steaks and really tasty desserts, actually we even ate a kabab whilst sat looking over the bay, it was really good. La Bohême and Restaurant Dalmatino were our favourites. The service and food were amazing and we will definitely go back when we visit again!

We wanted to do some exploring whilst we were here, so we booked a trip to Bosnia. We had wanted to go here for some time and because it is so close to Croatia, it was a great opportunity. The trip included the Kravica waterfalls and Mostar, it took 12 hours but it was just fantastic (and yes for those that know us, we got a fridge magnet!)

Waterfall Kravica was stunning and well worth the walk down. On the Trebizat River it reaches 28 metres in height and is home to all sorts of flora and fauna. In the summer you can bath in the river and even walk behind the falls…

… it was a little bit to chilly for us to take a dip.

Driving through the Croatian, Bosnian and Herzegovina border control took some time but it was worth it. The countryside in both countries is beautiful. We drove through the The valley of the Neretva river. The valley of the river Neretva, surrounded by mountains, is a unique natural phenomenon, the swampy area of the valley is rich in rare species of flora and fauna, and is an ornithological park with over 400 species of birds.

Following the Valley and driving down some pretty hair raising mountain passes we arrived in Mostar and oh my gosh it is absolutely beautiful. The old bridge across the Neretva the river was built by Osman Turks in 1566 is found in the UNESCO world heritage list. The bridge was destroyed during the war of 1992-1995, was restored in 2004, and today it symbolises the peaceful life of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the summer they hold two bridge diving competitions and people come from all over the world. Surprisingly they have to wear wet suits as the air temperature can reach up to 40c and the water temperature never rises above 10c. Mostar’s old town was like something from a fairy tale. Cobbled streets lined with craft shops, cafes serving tea and baclava and some beautiful river view restaurants. We ate a traditional Cevapi, it was delicious.

With the day over, driving through the mountains, valleys and along the coast during sunset was a perfect way to finish our adventure.

We have had a fantastic time, giggled lots and made some amazing memories. All 3 of us would definitely recommend this hotel and there was a huge variety of walks of life – friends, couples and family’s from toddlers to teens.

If you would prefer a smaller hotel I just love the Hotel Cavtat, fantastic location, roof top pool with amazing views and bedrooms overlooking the sea – simply beautiful (not one for the kids though)

Have a lovely day everyone and keep well

Helen, Nick and Holly x

Falling in love with Budapest x

Grab your coffee and a little treat…
… Here’s our first ELEVENSES WITH ARUNDEL TRAVEL we hope you enjoy it ❤️

We have been very lucky to have travelled all over the world, but one city that is a clear favorite with us is Budapest.

Budapest is one of the most interesting places I have ever been, with history sitting beside modernism, a real beauty and the beast story and it’s just as romantic.

Joined together by the Chain Bridge, Buda and Pest couldn’t be two worlds further apart. Buda is full of old character, and taking the old funicular to the top of Castle Hill is where it really hits you. With a view that takes your breath away, you can slowly meander through the old streets, with its unusual shops and cafes, watch the changing of the guard in the square outside the castle and explore the Fishermans Bastian. I would definately recommend taking a refreshing G&T at the top of the tower for the most awesome uninterruped views of the Parliament building across the river. If you want to soak up the history here, the Budapest History Mesuem and the Hospital in the Rock will fill you in on all there is to know about how these two cities joined. It is really fascinating.

Work your way down through the winding castle steps, past the ornate opera house and across the bridge and you arrive in Pest. The Parlement Building was actually inspired by our Houses of Parlement and is a proud landmark of the city, walk along the Danube to see the moving memorial ” Shoes on the Danube Bank”. If you like to shop, this side of the river is for you, with its boutiques and designer shops you’ll definately be in awe. You can also walk into the Jewish quarter from here. The beautiful Great Synagogue, is actually the largest outside the city of New York and the ruin bars in the quarter offer a very unique experience. The old abandoned buildings left to decay after WWll have been turned into artsy, laid back bars and restaurants offering a fantastic night out.

If you’d like a bit of time out, head to one of the amazing outdoor thermal spas, jump on one of the river cruises and sail down the Danube, its a brilliant way so see the amazing buildings, or hop on a bike and cycle around the magical St Margaret’s island, be sure to stop at the dancing fountain on the hour, it’s a great experience.

By now I’m sure you know I love a great bite to eat so here are my top places to go.

Coffee and Cake, one of the highlights of going everywhere by foot was stumbling upon this amazing Cafe – Asztalka Cukrszda the homemade cakes are to die for, actually I think Nick had two, or maybe that was me!

Borbirosag, tucked away behind the central market was a great find. It gave us a great chance to try some traditional, if not of the wall food and some amazing Hungarian wine.

I could go on forever about this amazing city, but I want you to go and explore it and see the many other fantastic sites Budapest has to offer, you won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Lots of love Helen x

Ps, Don’t forget the goolash, it’s served everywhere with paprika sauce, and believe me no matter where you eat it, they’ve got it right.

Book your holiday with a trusted travel professional.

We are so proud that we are a member of ABTA and that we receive the most up to date advice regarding news about your holiday plans.

There is no hiding from the fact that the Coronavirus has taken the centre stage in the media this week and is the topic of conversation for most, especially if you have planned or are planning a holiday, however with so much conflicting advice being given – who do you listen to?

Many of you have booked your holiday with us before and know that we only offer holidays that are covered by the Package Holiday Regulations, but what does this mean for you and those that are still waiting to book?

We thought we would share this great Q&A session of the top most asked questions ABTA have received this week from customers that are planning to travel to destinations with reported cases of Coronavirus.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF MY TRAVEL PLANS ARE AFFECTED?

A: Your travel plans may be affected in different ways, depending on Foreign Office advice. If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a destination and your holiday arrangements have been affected, your travel provider will get in touch and advise you of the options open to you. Travellers are advised to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. The Foreign Office also has a specific page with more information on Coronavirus https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.

Q: WHAT IF I AM UNSURE ABOUT GOING ON MY HOLIDAY?

A: Most destinations do not have any British Government advice against travel as a result of coronavirus, and of course a number of cases have been reported here in the UK. The Government advice is based on their objective assessment of risk, and they will always put the safety of UK citizens first. They will advise against travel to a destination when they judge the level of risk to be unacceptably high. If there is no Government advice against travel to your destination, you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there’s no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as there isn’t normally cover for disinclination to travel but you can check the terms of your policy.

Where the Foreign Office advises against travel to a country or a specific resort or area of a country the following applies:

Q:DOES MY TOUR OPERATOR HAVE TO REFUND THE FULL PACKAGE OR ONLY PARTS OF MY HOLIDAY THAT ARE CANCELLED?

A: Tour operators can offer alternative holidays if they are able to. If these mean a significant change to the original arrangements, for example spending the whole or part of the holiday in a different country, you aren’t obliged to accept the alternative and will be entitled to a full refund of the package price.

Q:WHEN AM I NOT INTITLED TO A FULL REFUND?

A: If you have booked a package and are not due to travel imminently, tour operators will decide on an ongoing basis how far in advance they’ll begin offering alternative arrangements or providing refunds. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice is in relation to imminent departures and it is too early to say that your holiday can’t go ahead as planned. Therefore, customers with future departure dates will be required to wait to find out whether the advice changes and their holiday can continue as planned. If you cancel early you may have to pay cancellation charges.

Q:IF I CANNOT FOLLOW MY INITIAL TRAVEL PLANS DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK AM I ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION?

A: You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator.

Q:I’VE BOOKED A FLIGHT TO A COUNTRY WHERE THE FOREIGN OFFICE CURRENTLY ADVISES ALL BUT ESSENTIAL TRAVEL TO THAT COUNTRY OR A SPECIFIC RESORT OR AREA I OF THE COUNTRY, WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

A: Speak to your airline or travel provider to check what the airline’s policy is. You should also check your travel insurance to see if this will cover any additional costs.

For the most updated information from ABTA please follow https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak

Please don’t sit at home worrying, pop down and see us if you have any questions, that’s why we are here and remember the kettle is always on ❤️

PART 1 – Discovering Cyprus with Cyplon Holidays by Nick Parry.

I was so pleased to to be able to go on to this amazing fam trip with Cyplon Holidays and it was a perfect way to learn all about this specialist tour operator and the Island of Cyprus.

Over the last 40 years Cyplon Holidays have been providing their customers with quality holidays. They have unrivalled knowledge of the destinations that they offer – Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Jordan and Sicily are just to name a few, plus Island Hopping in Greece and Croatian Cruising.

Cyprus has always been somewhere I’d wanted to visit, but somehow have just never got there – so what an amazing way to see it!

The group was travelling from 20-November until 24th November 2019 so I was definitely looking forward to some winter sun. Spending 2 nights in Paphos & 2 nights in Limassol was going to be great, I was really going to see a lot!

Cyprus is stunning and exactly how you imagine it, a beautiful Mediterranean Island with crystal blue waters and miles of golden beaches. I was definitely right about getting some sunshine, the weather was fantastic and I would highly recommend it during the winter months, although the climate is great all year round making it perfect to visit anytime.

Our first stop was at the Louis Ivi Mare. This luxury 5* hotel only opened in May 2019. I loved spending 2 nights here, it’s contemporary and modern and is located on the beach front, just a short walk to Paphos harbour. The food here was incredible. The hotel operates on Half Board Plus which means you can have breakfast and evening meals at the hotel including alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks with dinner. There’s 3 restaurants to choose from- the main buffet, ‘Meze’ a speciality Greek Restaurant and an Asian Fusion Restaurant Akakiko Japanese Restaurant, we ate here one night it was delicious.

The outdoor pool here is the largest in Paphos and it even has a jacuzzi that’s big enough for 10 people. The pool area has stunning views over the beach and promenade. There is also an indoor pool and a fitness centre.

Guess what…

… The Louis Ivi Mare only has 148 rooms, so you can imagine how amazing the service is. All the rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, bathrobes and slippers, and come with balcony or terrace.

During our 2 days in Paphos, we looked around another 8 hotels, it was such a fantastic opportunity for me to see these.

Our team highly recommended to our customers the Constantinou Bros Hotels – The Asimina Suites, Athena Royal and Athena Beach, and after visiting these hotels I can understand why.

The Asimina Suites is a 5* Adult Only hotel with its own area of beach. All of the suites have large balconies and some even have private pools with wooden decking!

The 4* Athena Royal Beach Hotel once again is adult focused. It has 3 swimming pools and an incredible 24 rink green bowls court. There’s a great spa here too with heated indoor pool.

Families will love the 4* Athena Beach, it’s paddling pools, a water slide and 3 swimming pools will make it a great hit with the kids. This hotel is in a great position, just a short stroll to Paphos harbour and directly on the beach.

One of the most iconic hotels in Paphos has to be the 5* Annabelle and this spring reopened its doors to show of its €11 million makeover! This hotel is pretty special. The Annabelle is set in 6 acres of beautiful gardens and is mixes classic, elegant and modern perfectly. The rooftop pool and terrace adds an extra wow factor to this hotel.

The 5* Almyra is the Annabelle’s sister hotel and went through its own renovation in 2008. The designer rooms have amazing views over paphos and the secret valley. Activities such as scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing can be arranged onsite. Just a 30 minute walk to Paphos centre makes this hotel a great choice.

‘Holiday perfection for couples’ is the Amavi’s tag line and, yes I could see me and Helen here…

A ‘Made For Two’ hotel, the Amavi is set on a blue flag beach with unobstructed sea views and postcard sunsets, there is no better way way to relax. I could really feel the intimate atmosphere of this hotel and love the design and furnishing that contributed to it. It’s in a great area to reach bars and restaurants too.

Our last hotel (but certainly not least) to visit in Paphos was the multi award winning Elysium Hotel. It has a world class spa, 5 incredible restaurants and bedrooms that shout luxury. The Elysium definitely has a romantic feel about it and would be perfect venue for a wedding. For weddings, couples can choose between a traditional Chapel ceremony or to tie the knot on the sunset pier.

So I hope you can feel how enthusiastic I was about the hotels in Paphos, but what about the resort of Paphos itself…

… for me Paphos was a fantastic surprise. I was expecting a loud noisy resort that was very commercialised but what I found was a lovely clean resort with a compact centre and great atmosphere. There is a whole range of eateries, suiting every budget and some lovely cocktail bars. The harbour area is really bustling and a great place to try out a seafood meze, before exploring the castle walls. If you fancy taking in some history, head to the Tomb of the Kings and the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park. The beach areas in, and surrounding Paphos are clean, sandy and perfect for safe bathing. There are some beautiful secluded bays great for snorkelling and many of the main beach areas have water sport centres and lots of facilities. I didn’t know, but the island is fantastic for cycling and extremely popular for Crown Green bowling.

I have so much more to tell you about the next party of my journey, so watch this space for my next blog. For now if you have any questions please pop in and see me, I would love to tell you more.,

I hope I’ve inspired you so far,

Nick x

AMAwaterways

We love ❤️the fact we can work with family owned independent companies just like ourselves..

The lovely Joanne called into see us for our weekly breakfast training and told us all about the amazing product of AMA Waterways , a unique award winning company that can offer our customers the ultimate river cruising experience.

With its award winning fleet of 23 ships to chose from, sailing

🛥Europe

🛥Vietnam and Cambodia

🛥Africa

They strive off their attention to detail. Their individual state rooms offer at least one balcony so guest can enjoy a panoramic view whilst sailing down the river. All the ships are elegant and classically furnished and they are very proud to be part of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs – a prestigious international culinary society. AMA Waterways offer some truly outstanding tours highlighting all aspects of each area visited.

No wonder the word AMA is derived from the Latin word for Love..

Myself, Leanne and Melissa have all been lucky enough to experience river cruising and we would love to tell you more about this outstanding product.

Call in and see us, we would ❤️ to help you experience an unforgettable journey along some of the words most amazing the rivers.

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