Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Travel Destinations – Kirsty Ferry

We’ve heard about some truly wonderful destinations this past week and today I welcome Kirsty Ferry to tell us about her favourite, which is a bit closer to home but just as lovely:-

Kirsty photo 1I would have to say my favourite holiday destination is Norfolk. We’ve been going to the same cottage every couple of years for almost two decades and it was the first place we took our son on holiday. He was 18 months old and I still remember him quacking at the ducks on the lawn.

Kirsty photo 2‘Our’ cottage is a beautiful converted coaching inn which is practically on the banks of the River Waveney, in a little village called Brockdish, near Diss, on the Norfolk Suffolk border.  It’s a home from home and so lovely to know that when we get there we can just kick back and relax and walk down to feed the descendants of those ducks every night on the riverbank. Even the journey to Brockdish is filled with landmarks we look forward to seeing  and we actually love travelling past the pig farms as we see all the piglets in their little metal tents!

Kirsty photo 3We’re going again  this year and I can’t wait. My latest book is set in Suffolk so it’s definitely an area full of inspiration as well. Plus there’s a very poor Internet connection in the cottage so there’s no excuse for not writing a little bit on the evenings if I get the chance! 

That does sound beautiful and very relaxing – thank you, Kirsty!


Kirsty coverKirsty’s novel Some Veil Did Fall is set in Whitby, another fabulous UK travel destination which I’d love to visit soon!

Please come back tomorrow to hear from Liz Harris, who likes her holidays hot!

Travel Destinations – Anna Belfrage

Most of us love to travel and visit new places and we all have favourites.  To celebrate the e-book publication of my new novel The Jade Lioness, I asked some of my fellow authors to tell me what their favourite exotic (or not so exotic?) travel destinations are and to recount some of their travel tales (good or bad!). Today Anna Belfrage reflects on what travelling means to her and where she prefers to end up:-

To travel is to expand your mind. There is a saying that “he who travels has a story to tell” – which is true enough, even if these days places all over the world are becoming depressingly similar in some aspects. No matter where one sets foot on this world of ours, chances are there will be a McDonalds, and I’m not sure this is a good thing. At all.

Through my work I travel a lot. I have the privilege of landing in new places, meeting new people, on a regular basis. And yes, I have fallen in love with some of those places, such as Istanbul, Treviso in Italy, Chicago and Taipei. My first loves, however, remain the same: London and home.

Anna photoFor some people, “home” is a defined place on Earth. For me, due to an itinerant childhood, “home” has been something I have constantly been looking for, a little corner in the world in which to sink my roots. It took me a very long time to find this place, but since some three years back, an old farm in the middle of nowhere has become home – with a capital “h”.

The house is only a century old or so. It nestles into the stony ground on which it is situated, one side facing the lake, the other the surrounding woods. The farm as such is even older – the ancient foundations of the barn, the impressive stone walls, date back to the 17th century when this part of Sweden was Danish. It gives me a strong sensation of continuity to run my hand along these walls, touch timbers so old each individual adze-stroke is easily discernible. My adopted place. Home.

So when I am out travelling, it is always the inbound journey that fills me with joy and expectation. It is when we turn down the last little lane that I can’t stop myself from grinning, all of me filling with warmth at the sight of the yellow house, the two huge red barns. I imagine my protagonist in The Graham Saga, Alex Graham, feels the same whenever she sees her 17th century homestead rise out of the Maryland woods – a house built in larch that snuggles into the protective hillside beyond. In fact, I know she feels the same way, and over the divide of time and imagination, she meets my eyes and smiles. Home – the best place on Earth.

Thank you, Anna, it does sound like a heavenly place indeed!

Anna coversAnna Belfrage is the author of the successful and acclaimed series, The Graham Saga. Set in 17th century Scotland, Virginia and Maryland, The Graham Saga is the story of two people who should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But as Anna says, “there you are, sometimes impossible things happen, and had they not, Alex would never have met the man fated from the very beginning to be her other half, her companion through life.” For more information about Anna and her books, why not visit her website, her blog, or her Amazon page.

Travel Destinations – Georgia Hill

There are so many wonderful places to visit in the world and to celebrate the e-book publication of my new novel The Jade Lioness, I’ve asked some of my fellow authors to tell me what their favourite exotic (or not so exotic?) travel destinations are and to recount some of their travel tales (good or bad!). Today Georgia Hill is going to tell us about a rather unusual journey:-

I love train travel. The journey across the Cotswolds from my home in Herefordshire to Paddington is wonderful if a little leisurely. I’ve been lucky enough to take the Orient Express from Venice and hope, one day, to travel across Canada by train. I’m even a bit of a steam train geek and get childishly excited whenever I can go on one. Soot smuts and all.

Travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway in the winter of 1989 was a whole other experience. Gorbachev was in power and the old Soviet system was just beginning to crumble. It was an exciting time to go. I travelled with a group of other westerners (it was the only way possible back then; independent travel wasn’t permitted) some of whom claimed were making a documentary for television. They had caused us all sorts of problems at border control, where their enormous cache of film equipment raised alarm and suspicion in the customs officers. Glasnost may have been at its height but it hadn’t filtered through to old-school Soviet bureaucracy!

We boarded the train in Moscow and were headed to Irkutsk and a hard-frozen Lake Baikal, the most easterly point we were allowed. A journey of four or five days. The sleeping compartment was comfortable enough, even though my boyfriend and I had to share with two strangers. The washing and toilet facilities were pretty basic – but even the Orient Express doesn’t do ensuites!

As westerners, we were treated with an equal measure of reverence and suspicion. One or two hardier members of our group strayed to second class to chat with the Soviet passengers but it was futile as the language barrier proved impossible. A young, broad-faced female guard sat at the end of our carriage, dispensing hot chai from an ornate, silver-plated samovar. We drank it from glasses in equally glamorous holders. It was a welcome distraction and broke up the long, boring days.

Food was a bit of a lottery. It began well but three days into the journey, meals depended on whatever supplies could be had at the remote stations at which we stopped. One lunch, which consisted of a bowl of watery broth with a whole boiled egg sitting at the bottom, stays in the memory. Goodness only knows what the less favoured passengers in second and third class ate.

The scenery passing by was monotonous. It was exactly the same day after day. Forest upon snow-covered forest of pine trees, only enlivened by the odd dacha or wooden house. I’ve never felt the sheer scale of a country in quite the same way.

The train was extremely hot. Despite it being the depths of a Russian winter, it remained a steamy 30C or so. Hot, quarrelsome and more than a little stir-crazy, we took to jumping off at stations and running around in T-shirts and jeans, indulging in snowball fights. We recorded a low of -32C at one point, so the novelty of breathing fresh, cold air soon waned and we returned to our stuffy cabins.

One morning, as we were queuing to get back on, feeling the cold freeze the hairs on our bare arms and faces, we heard a knocking sound from underneath the train. Further investigation proved it was our trusty samovar girl. She was hammering at something underneath the rudimentary toilet facility. Turned out whatever went into the toilet simply came out onto the track below. Only, in the sub-zero Steppes, it froze onto the bottom of the train, blocking the toilet. In between serving us delicious, hot chai, her other job was to keep the toilet clear.

After that, funnily enough, we weren’t quite so keen to visit her samovar.

Wendy coverWhat became of the film makers? The leader of our group who suffered a heart attack? The arrest in Samarkand? The sinister men in black who shadowed us? Well, that’s an entire novel! One I intend to write some day.

Love,   Georgia x

Thank you so much, Georgia – so glad I wasn’t on that train with you, doesn’t sound like my cup of tea! 🙂

Georgia Hill’s non train-based novel, While I Was Waiting, is out in July with Harper Impulse.  And you can find her here:-

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