Honestly, there is nothing worse than British rain in the dead of winter. It feels like all of the joy in the world has been leeched out – and that’s before the chilly wetness gets into your bones (and under your collar. Yeech.) As well as booking flights for a sunshine holiday, when an invite landed in my inbox to try the a la carte menu at Aqua Nueva, you know I hightailed it to Oxford Circus (quicker than those ice-cold droplets can wriggle beneath my favourite scarf). All thoughts and Patatas Bravas obsessions are very much my own as ever.
But, even better, I’m working with Aqua and we are running a competition to give the winner (hopefully you!) & 3 (of your) friends the chance for some Spanish sunshine – all without having to find your passports and pack your suitcase. Read on….
Where do I even start with visiting Mostar and Kravice Waterfall in Bosnia and Herzegovina? It’s a beautiful, quite sobering and worthy day trip from Dubrovnik. Even on a cold, wet, grey day, they were special – I can only imagine how glorious they will be when the sun is shining.
I honestly never thought that it would be possible to safely visit the Balkan Peninsula. In 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined several republics of the former Yugoslavia and declared independence, which triggered a civil war that lasted four years. The Bosnian War – a long, complex, and ugly conflict that followed the fall of communism in Europe – began & finished in living memory and it never crossed my mind that it would be possible to visit the previously war-torn countryside.
How on earth do I describe Dubrovnik in a way that sufficiently does the city justice and doesn’t just boil down to yet another ‘things to do in Dubrovnik’ blog post list?
When deciding where to go, we took our time researching and consulting friends who had been to the city for longer than just a cruise ship day offloading (a source of many visitors) and when a good friend suggested that if we go to Croatia, that we visit most perfectly preserved medieval cities in the world we fell on her suggestion.
Épernay, the self-proclaimed capitale du Champagne was pretty magical. No, scratch that, really rather magical. We visited as Epernay, Champagne as guests of the Agence Regionale du Tourisme Grand Est but all enjoyment was very much our own.
A good friend of ours had visited Èpernay on a ladies weekend, and had told us of the beautiful champagne houses, the rolling countryside laden with grapevines and the blush stone Avenue de Champagne, which only served to fuel our excitement.
Over a dozen years ago, my Mum and I visited Reims as a day trip from Paris – our first sip of the fabled Champagne region. I can’t tell you how excited I was to visit Reims again as a guest of the Régionale du Tourisme Grand-Est but all thoughts are very much my own.
With train trips as quick as 45 minutes from Paris, Reims (or Rheims as the city is also known) is the perfect gateway to the rest of the Champagne region – and you don’t really need a car to explore the best of the city. As both my lovely friend and I are foodies, our plans consisted mostly of exploring the gastronomic offerings, with the occasional foray into the beautiful cultural history.