Travels with … Miss Gallivant

2015-05-30-20-54-20-4Travel-loving, book-adoring, wine-appreciating, France-living, style-savvy, novel-striving, chocolate-worshipping blogging mother of two based in Bordeaux.

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Your kind of holiday …

Long, warm days discovering all things new in a destination whether sea, city or countryside; pootling about the place but with ample time for respite thrown in

Where you last went to …

East coast USA to stay with my brother and his family in the last October holidays – our first long-haul trip with a six-month old Sweet Pea. New York City was the focus, but we squeezed in no shortfall of side trips too, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut. It was a fantastic family holiday, travelling fabulously together for the first time as the four of us

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And next up …

A long weekend to Porto kid-free and coming up! A bit of a reboot is required, and I do love a city break à deux

Favourite go-to destination …

I fell in love with the untamed beauty of the Cap Ferret Peninsula in south west France when I first moved to Bordeaux, and still I’m smitten eight years on. We go there whenever there’s an opportunity on a blue sky day, winter or summer, to escape the city and breathe in the wild Atlantic air

Atlantic Ocean at Cap Ferret
Atlantic Ocean at Cap Ferret

A place you’d never go back to …

I don’t fancy my chances at the D’Coconut Beach Resort on the tiny island of Pulau Besar off the coast of Malaysia ever again. It was the ultimate holiday hellhole when all we were in need of was a long bank holiday weekend break during our busy schedules while working in Singapore

First holiday with friends …

I ashamedly indulged in package holiday ignominy on the Costa del Sol before heading off to university (and have to admit it wasn’t the only time as a naive youngster, being the only type of holiday I could afford!)

Favourite childhood holiday memory …

Tenby, west Wales. It’s where we spent every summer and is profoundly ingrained in me for all those pure infant pleasures – playing on a beach, eating ice creams, spending pocket money in seaside souvenir shops, perusing the seashore; perfect and carefree, simply being

Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales
Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Favourite view …

The golden orb of sunset over a glistening ocean

Where in the world you’ve felt happiest …

Bordeaux, where we currently live and where my children were born. And Singapore – I moved to the other side of the world on a whim to live with Mr Gallivant eight months after meeting him, and it’s where our love subsequently bloomed

Favourite destination …

I do have a particular affinity for south east Asia; the sights, the smells, the constant stir of activity in the chaotic streets. Based in Singapore for several years, we got to visit most countries in that part of the world and I love every one of them

singapore
Singapore skyline © http://www.businesstimes.com.sg

Dream destination …

There are so many – I’ve had a bit of an obsession with both The Grand Canyon and Uluru since I was a child, and still I’ve never made it to either. I’ve also not yet made it to California and long to do the Pacific Coast drive. Argentina has been on the list for a very long time too; in particular Patagonia for its extraordinary landscapes and Welsh-speaking identity

A pinch-yourself moment …

Probably when ambling along The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling one fiercely cold but brilliantly bright February day, quite unable to believe I really was there

Favourite city …

New York, London, Paris – the kind of cities you never ever get bored of no matter how many times you grace their streets

An unusual travel experience …

Arriving at a Rajasthani village right in the middle of Holi Festival on my first day in India and getting swathed in pink powder paint before sampling some opium with the locals

Celebrating Holi Festival at the Nandji Temple in India © www.ibtimes.co.uk
Celebrating Holi Festival at the Nandji Temple in India © http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

Best all-round travel experience …

Our honeymoon in Nepal. It was a country I’d wanted to visit for as long as I can remember for its remoteness, mysticism, ancient culture and scenic marvels. We also got to spend a lot of time with a local family in Kathmandu which really gave an insight into understanding the way of life in such a very different part of the world, enhancing our travel experience tenfold

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Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

What you last ticked off your bucket list …

The Amalfi Coast – and it lived up to every expectation

Biggest culture shock …

My first time out of Europe, in Morocco many moons ago, I fell for the classic waiter’s scam of ‘seeing the sights’ with a local, and was subsequently chaperoned around a local meat souk flaunting severed camel heads and masses of fetid animal flesh before being ushered off to the ubiquitous uncle’s carpet shop, made to drink an abundance of mint tea and bullied into buying an ornate rug!

What you never travel without …

A few good reads (and if I really divulge, a hairdryer)

A secret little find to share …

The Arcachon Basin isn’t hugely known outside France, but it is an exquisite little corner of the country. It boasts Europe’s highest sand dune, a stunning Atlantic coastline, beautiful bayside beaches, a clutch of charming seaside villages, and is renowned for its ostreiculture, pinasse boat trips and pine forests. And nothing can be more splendid than the sunset from the terrace of the Philippe Starck designed Co(o)rniche Hotel at the foot of the Dune de Pilat, preferably while sipping on something ice cool and alcoholic

Sunset on the terrace of the Co(o)rniche Hotel, Pyla
Sunset on the terrace of the Co(o)rniche Hotel, Pyla
Sunset over the Arcachon Basin
Sunset over the Arcachon Basin

A guilty holiday pleasure …

Indulging in G&Ts in grand colonial and heritage hotels around the world – Raffles in Singapore, Pera Palace in Istanbul, The Winter Palace in Luxor, FCC Angkor in Siem Reap to name a few

A literary travel inspiration …

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Somerset Maugham, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene and seeking out the places where these literary greats based some of their classics, such as Maugham’s travels in Asia, the Vietnam of The Quiet American, Fitzgerald’s French Riviera and Hemingway’s love of Spain

I lost my heart in …

Normandy – I travelled there nearly 16 years ago for a wedding only to meet my future husband!

What travel means to you …

There is nothing more enriching than exposure to a world beyond your own

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