In a travel special featured in the February issue of Reader's Digest magazine, readers and well-known travellers share their surprising, spectacular and funny holiday memories.
Here is a snippet of featured holiday memories:
Cookery writer, Josceline Dimbleby, remebers a welcome from another world. "The things I find most inspiring when travelling are unexpected new experiences," she says. "Two years ago, my friend Johnny and I came across a Lisu tribe New Year festival while trekking in northern Burma. There were thousands of Lisus, many of whom had trekked for days from distant mountain villages, and we were the only foreigners. But they greeted us with their traditional greeting, which sounds like “Hwa Hwa”, followed by warm handshakes."
Joanna Lee Miller, 33, a full-time mother from Kingston, south-west London, recalls her trip to the Iguazú falls as being "spellbinding" and shares her take on this mighty power of nature. "I’ve been lucky enough to have watched the sun rise over the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and the sweeping dunes of the Namibian desert," she says. "I’ve admired Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, Arizona’s Grand Canyon and Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. But nothing - nothing - comes close to the mesmerising Iguazú Falls, which I visited in 2006."
Charley Boorman, co-star, with Ewan McGregor, of motorcycle documentary Long Way Round, loves the feeling of freedom on his travels. "When I’m overseas, my bike - a BMW R 1200 GS Adventurer - is so much more than a means of transport: it’s my home; my freedom," he says. "It carries my sleeping bag, tent and all my equipment. I was a reluctant camper before Long Way Round, but an overnight stop in central Mongolia was a memorable turning point."
Miranda Chada, 38, a research consultant from Marlborough, Wiltshire had an unforgettable and unique honeymoon. "The railway guard blew his whistle and we were off, rattling through the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, while sitting down to dinner on a screeching vintage train," she says. "It was 2004 and I was on my honeymoon, doing my best not to spill my cocktail or spicy soup over my new husband, Bobby. The gorgeously restored carriage, which would have previously been used to transport tea from the cool hilltop plantations down to the hot plains, was all gleaming brass and teak inside."
Aba Eccles, 45, a teacher from Broughton, Hampshire shares her memory of being with family in the French Alps. “My husband Simon and I bought a ruined farmhouse near Briancon in the French Alps in 2003, so, with our sons Kit and Robbie, we found ourselves frequently leaving Grenoble airport around noon for the two-and-a-half hour drive to spend school holidays at our new home/building project,” she says. “Preferring to save our euros for beams of local larch wood and endless tons of lime mortar, we generally brought lunch with us from home. […] We bought a very un-airport-friendly bread knife from the bakery and then left it hidden up a tree beside our favourite picnic spot. Imagine how smug we felt when, travelling hand-luggage-only the following half term, we discovered that the knife had survived the harsh alpine winter and was waiting to slice our picnic baguettes.”
Victoria Woodhall, a yoga teacher and author, let's readers in on a one-of-kind journey to Kenya where she challenged a "local warrior" to a strenuous yoga pose. "Last winter, I was staying at Sasaab Lodge, a remote hotel in the Samburu region of Kenya, and the staff had organised a “Samburu Olympics”," she says. "A group of local warriors had come to challenge us to a bit of spear throwing and club tossing. Us Westerners were, of course, painfully inadequate compared to their prowess, so I decided to issue a challenge of my own.
"How would they fare at the Warrior II yoga pose [a low crouch with both arms and one leg outstretched], which requires considerable strength and stamina?"
Lesley Jones, 44, a writer from east London gushes about a destination close to home and close to her heart. "I have a string of stones, beaded like a necklace on an old shoelace," she says. "It isn’t the prettiest piece of jewellery in my collection, but it makes me smile and think of my beloved Aldeburgh. I live in London, so the Suffolk beach is the place I escape to with my husband, Simon and my two children, Hector, 13, and Florrie, nine. Exactly 99 miles from our front door to the shingle, it’s a place for fun - for cricket and picnics and summer swimming."
Springwatch presenter, Michaela Strachan, talks cooking comforts and the great outdoors. "My favourite holiday accessory is a cob - a mini cooker that you can barbecue on, as well as use to fry, grill, roast and bake," she says. "Not only has it been on a few camping holidays, it’s also been on a road trip to Lesotho in April 2011. My partner Nick, five-year-old son Ollie and I did a road trip through remote areas, so had to take enough food for ten days. We had a travel freezer in the back of the car and the cob came into its own for heating frozen meals, and making stir-fries and risottos."
Samantha Warwick, 43, a chalet host from Morzine, France remebers the time when she discovered a hidden gem in the most unexpected of places. "A graveyard isn’t a place you’d normally find me," she says. "But there’s a bench in the immaculate, flower-festooned grounds of Grindelwald church in Switzerland that I could sit on for hours on end. The atmosphere is serene, not creepy, even at night when candlelight flickers among the lovingly tended blooms and tombs. Winter snow creates an even quieter, deeper peace. As for the view…wow!
Christine Armstrong, 38, an advertising executive from York has memories of feeling alive, getting lost and being mesmerised with his head under water - only he missed the real treat. "I’d always wanted to learn to dive, so when I booked a trip to the jungles and islands of Belize, Central America, in February 2004, I took my chance to venture beneath the waves," he says."When I’d qualified, I signed up to take part in a group dive at the Glover’s Reef atoll. It was heart-soaring. I was transfixed by little fish and slightly bigger fish, and a turtle I managed to track for a while. I surfaced full of triumph and joined in the hubbub of chatter about what an amazing dive it was [....] while I was mooning over Nemo and his mates on the reef, the others had been looking into the deep. At a whale shark."
Full article appears in the February issue of Reader’s Digest magazine - out now.
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