After a five month tour around the world The Barely Backpackers have put together a fantastic video to help us share their travel experiences.
Well worth a watch!
Hills Balfour took the entire company of over 60 people to Berlin last weekend for a fun filled few days. We all absolutely loved it, spending time out of the office together was a luxury indeed. We all went on a walking tour the first day and then divided into a number of different tours on the Sunday – including a walking tour, beer tour and a food tour.
The highlight was the very special dinner we had at the top of the Reichstag – looking out at the wonderful views of the city.
Berlin certainly has something for everyone and is a very accessible, cool and reasonable city both to live and visit these days.
Here our very own Rhys Powell, Sales and Marketing Account Director put together a great video for us:
PR Account Manager Josie Self writes about her recent trip to Kenya…
As part of the Kenya Tourism Board UK team I’ve been lucky enough to travel to the ‘home of safari’ on many occasions, but after four years spent hosting epic press trips it was high-time I experienced the magic of Kenya on a personal holiday!
I thought long and hard about where to stay, in the end I couldn’t resist the brand-new Angama Mara in the Mara Triangle Conservancy and Kinondo Kwetu on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline for some post-safari R&R.
Here are my top four moments:
Angama Mara, suspended onthe Oloololo Escarpment looking down over the Mara Triangle conservancy, is quickly earning a reputation for having the most incredible views in the whole of Africa. The best way to soak up the surroundings is during a ‘Out of Africa’ Anagama bush breakfast with South African sparkling wine overlooking Mara plains – elephant and giraffe on the horizon and antelope trundling around you. Even better, the picnic chairs, blankets and cushions are set up on the mound where Robert Redford and Meryl Streep picnicked while filming ‘Out of Africa’ 30 years ago.
During our three days in the Mara Triangle we spent time with four separate prides. From the seven youngsters working their way through an antelope with blood on their paws, to a couple of ‘honeymooning lions’ under a tree, it was such a treat to get up close and personal with the Kings and Queens of the jungle!
While I could have easily spent three days lounging in one of Kinondo Kwetu’s beachfront cabanas, the best way to beat the post-lunch slump was to drag a kayak into the Indian Ocean and jump inside! Once out on the open water we were able to do some gentle snorkelling above the nearby coral reefs
As we visited during Kenya’s ‘Green Season’, the traditionally wetter months of March, June and November where brief tropical storms turn the plains emerald green, we woke up to beautifully clear skies each day and witnessed theatrical thunder and lightening in the afternoons. On our second day we took advantage of the morning sunshine and were guided through the bush by Angama’s resident Maasai naturalist John Peenko. On our walk John taught us how to tell the difference between cheetah and hyena paw prints, male and female giraffe hoof tracks and medicinal and poisonous plants
Jason Matthews: Trade and Marketing Account Executive, UK, Ireland and Nordic for Tourism and Events Queensland writes about his ideal European Christmas Bucket list:-
My European Christmas Bucket list
Having only moved to the UK 10 months ago this will be the first Christmas I’ve celebrated in the northern hemisphere. Coming from Australia, the concept of a cold Christmas huddled around the fireplace, with the possibility of snow seems far removed from the seafood barbeques on the beach under the beaming Aussie sun. Having a serious case of wanderlust I didn’t want to miss out on all that Europe offers during the holiday season, so I’ve put together a list of five places for a special Christmas abroad –
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche plays backdrop to what’s often named as the Christmas market of all Christmas markets (and there’s a lot – Berlin has around 50 alone scattered across the city!). Claiming to have “the right present for everyone!” this market is Berlin’s largest and seems to be the place where you’ll find that elusive last gift idea on your Christmas shopping list.
Credit: Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt
Thirty minutes outside of the Scandinavian capital is the oldest recorded Swedish town – Sigtuna. Here Christmas is all about tradition, underneath Steninge castle you’ll find traditional Swedish food like reindeer meat and smoked sausage which can be washed down with a variety of Christmas drinks (called “glogg” in Swedish).
A Christmas in Brussels is like entering into Santa’s very own amusement park – it’s fun for everyone with an ice rink, a ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, concerts, marching bands even a sound and light show at the historic Grand Place! Definitely a great Christmas getaway destination if you’re looking for lots to do over your Christmas break!
In Austria, they make the most of their White Christmases with a very “cool” Christmas tradition of pulling out the skis for a Christmas Day in the snow. Alpbach decorates its slopes in fairy lights, the hot tubs are overflowing and carols echo from village church. Join Santa on the slopes for a great way to burn off that turkey and Christmas pudding!
Perhaps the coldest climate of all the Christmas getaway options, the Iceland locals are sure to greet you with a warm welcome. In Iceland it’s tradition to give warm clothing as a gift in December to ward off the frightening Christmas Cat who gobbles up anyone not equipped for the cold and wintery weather. So pack well and remember lots of winter woollies!
With so much to do and see each Christmas in Europe, missing out on surfing Santas and sun burned Boxing days doesn’t seem so bad at all!
Sarah Junker, a Senior Account Executive writes about her recent visit to Scotland…
We recently flew up to Glasgow and then drove to Glencoe for a hiking weekend with friends.
We took an early morning flight to Glasgow from Stansted on Friday morning, allowing us to spend the day and a night in the city being tourists. Glasgow is a great city with fantastic pubs, delicious food (we chose Indian) and great shopping opportunities. I would have loved to have spent longer there in order to visit the Modern art museum which was definitely on my top priority list!
We visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum instead and it’s probably one of my all-time favourite museums – stunning collection of really diverse art, natural history and archaeology. They even have one of Dali’s most famous paintings, the ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’.
We then rented a car and drove up to Glencoe on Saturday morning via stunning scenery – past Loch Lomond (very scenic, very long loch) and on to Glencoe, site of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in the 17th century, now just simply one of the single most scenic landscapes I have ever come across – in the UK or abroad. The ride itself towards the valley is tear-jerking, an entirely surreal landscape of heath, pools and soaring mountains set in beautiful light.
We stayed at Glachaig Inn, a charming and cosy inn with three bars, good food and a perfect location for the stunning backdrop. We hiked up one of the Three Sisters on Sunday, called “Bidean nam Bian”. It was a three-hour hike with breathtaking views and sometimes slippery footing as it had snowed. Although it was absolutely worth the occasional scramble as otherwise it was a very well maintained path.
We drove back to Glasgow after the hike and arrived back in London around 9pm on Sunday evening.